Santa is ditching his coat and donning a Hawaiian shirt as he brings Christmas cheer to Chestnut Hill early this year. This weekend, in fact.
Santa is ditching his coat and donning a Hawaiian shirt as he brings Christmas cheer to Chestnut Hill early this year.
Germantown Avenue will be hosting its first Christmas in July event, held on July 24th and 25th, or “Christmas Eve” and “Christmas Day.” Businesses along the avenue will have a chance to dust off their Christmas decorations and many have already come up with promotions to offer the “holiday” shoppers, including ornament sets, discounts on holiday apparel and decorations and dinner and drink specials.
The event will be running in place of the usual summer sidewalk sale, “The novelty of the promotion and having Santa and Christmas carols in summertime would be a way to give it a fresh look and get people interested and intrigued in a way that a simple sidewalk sale may not,” said Philip Dawson, Executive Director of the Chestnut Hill Business District.
John Derr, the publisher of the Local, had brought the idea for the event to Dawson back in early January, “I had some grandiose idea of turning Chestnut Hill into Christmastown USA to attract everyone who missed a lot of the traditions of the Christmas season due to the pandemic and the restrictions,” said Derr.
Derr and Dawson pitched the idea at a Chestnut Hill Business Association meeting and received positive feedback from the members, who believed it was a new and novel promotion that could bring shoppers in and get people excited, especially during a traditionally slower time in Chestnut Hill.
“I quickly learned from Phil and from many of the merchants at the CHBA membership meeting that they liked the idea, but the cost to implement it in its entirety would too much to consider,” said Derr. While Derr’s original ideas, including a Stag & Doe Night and a holiday parade, spanned past the limits of what the CHBA could implement cost-wise, the avenue will still be filled with Christmas cheer from a Victorian caroling troupe, a brass quartet and of course, Santa’s jolly laugh
“I think the CHBA and the merchants came up with a great plan to replicate the good cheer of the holiday season and, hopefully, the neighborhood will turn out and support their local businesses and restaurants,” Derr said.
The Chestnut Hill Community Association will be hosting an author event and book signing of Derr’s modern sequel to the Charles Dickens classic, Another Christmas Carol, accompanied by wine, cheese and Christmas cookies.
The event will be running in place of the usual summer sidewalk sale, “The novelty of the promotion and having Santa and Christmas carols in summertime would be a way to give it a fresh look and get people interested and intrigued in a way that a simple sidewalk sale may not,” Dawson said.
If the event is well received by the community, it is likely that Christmas in July will return in following years, as Dawson believes the idea both benefits the commercial corridor and brings foot traffic into Chestnut Hill.