As I’m sure many of you can relate, I wasn’t as productive as I should have been over Thanksgiving break. This past Saturday, I got back to Baltimore and wasn’t particularly in the mood to get started on the papers and projects with looming deadlines the following week. So, as the master procrastinator that I am, I hit up my friend and asked if she wanted to grab dinner somewhere near campus.
We decided on somewhere in Hampden, and as we made our way through the streets, we noticed an oddly high amount of traffic. Wondering what was going on, my friend suddenly remembered that it was the opening night of Miracle on 34th Street.
Miracle on 34th Street, also known as the Hampden Christmas Street, is now in its 73rd year. During this winter tradition, houses along 34th Street in Hampden light up the night with holiday-themed decorations. Lights come on around 5:45 p.m. every night until Dec. 31 and will be on all night on Dec. 24 and 31.
The annual tradition was started by Bob and Darlene Hosier, who first strung up lights on their rowhouse on the corner of 34th Street. It was obvious which house was theirs when we first stepped onto the street.
The house was ablaze with light and color, with decorations covering almost every inch of the house and front yard. Christmas music played in the background as we admired the lights. A bright “Seasons Greetings” light was the first thing to catch my eye, before it traveled down to lit-up figures including Santa and Mrs. Claus right below.
My favorite decoration was a little animatronic ferris wheel with holiday-themed teddy bears slowly rotating on the house’s rooftop. Another teddy bear-related display had several stuffed animals placed on a seesaw. Other attendees posed for pictures under a little garland-laden arch with a mistletoe strung from the top.
Another interesting house on the street was dog-themed, selling dog treats, cookies and hot chocolate to raise money for the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, more commonly known as BARCS. All proceeds from the sales were to be donated to the shelter.
The house was also adorned with extremely cute dog-themed decorations and lights, and pictures of adoptable animals were also pinned along the house’s front fence. My friend especially enjoyed this house as a dog owner herself.
Several doors down was another rowhouse not to be missed: what many call the Hanukkah House. It was pretty clear to see why, as the rowhouse was themed to fit the Jewish holiday. Light-up dreidels lined the rooftop, and blue lights were strewn across the house. Even the home’s owner was dressed to the occasion, wearing a blue suit patterned with various Hanukkah-related items as he greeted attendees.
As we traveled further down toward the end of the street, we were drawn to a house with a large Christmas tree made of hubcaps outside.
Other interesting metal-made sculptures embellished the porch. The house also advertised an artist exhibition inside, with a long line of people standing in line waiting to get in.
Intrigued, we decided to take a look. It turns out the house was owned by local Baltimore artist Jim Pollock. Pollock, a Maryland Institute College of Art graduate, personally designed and created the stand-out tree as well as other metal sculptures that were exhibited in the front room of his home.
From Baltimore-themed manhole covers to mini bottlecap Christmas trees, his art was fascinating to look at.
Overall, we had a great time at Miracle on 34th Street. It was a great way to enjoy a Baltimore tradition while getting into the holiday spirit.
My friend and I definitely felt extra festive as we walked back to her apartment, where I helped her to set up a Christmas tree while listening to Michael Buble sing about how it was beginning to look like Christmas.
Even now as I frantically rush to finish the work that should have been done days ago, I don’t regret taking the time to see this iconic Baltimore attraction.