The Windows of Joy

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

As a child Christmas began with a trip to the “Crescent Window.” I stood outside the window in awe…on the other side of the glass were musical moving displays. It was magic. Each year there was something different. I was excited to find out what would be moving behind the window. It could be anything from Santa’s workshop, to woodland creatures preparing for winter, or ballerinas performing the Nutcracker.

After staring at the musical moving displays our family would venture into the store and see Santa Claus. I would usually skip this part. Santa scared me. After two years of torture my parents decided not to force me to visit jolly old Saint Nick. I watched my brother and sister visiting Santa from the safety of my father’s arms.

Next was dinner at “Under the Clock” the restaurant inside the Crescent Department store. I was treated to a warm grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate milkshake. It was a luxury, we only got milkshakes on very special occasions. I looked forward to this day every year. What was even more important was the fellowship with my family. I don’t remember any fighting. I remember love, laughter and joy. Happiness danced all around us, just like the “Crescent Window.”

Our joyous family tradition came to an end when the department store closed its doors in the mid 1980’s. Our family tradition lived on in our stories, photographs and our hearts.

Then in 2016, in an old downtown warehouse a discovery was made. The Crescent Window displays dating from 1917 to the 1980’s were located. Four sets made their rebirth last year and I was there. I was so moved. It was a Christmas miracle in my mind. Something that I thought was forever lost had been found. I stood looking at the dancing ballerinas of my past for a long time. It was freezing outside, but I didn’t care. My heart was filled with warmth. I cried. It was magic.

The windows are back again this year. I ventured out. The wind was sharp and cold.

There I stood locked in awe watching Santa and Mrs. Claus prepare for Christmas. I glanced over to my right and saw something more beautiful than the windows. My father holding his great granddaughter, both were staring in awe at the moving displays. There in the freezing cold were four generations of my family enjoying a tradition I thought was gone forever.

We ended the day with a warm dinner out. Sharing food, laughter, love and happiness – this is my favorite Christmas tradition.

Merry Christmas, I hope you feel love, laughter and happiness.


Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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