The Holiday Ideal – Found in Montrose

At a previous holiday kickoff in Montrose, Theodore Brennan, left, and Oli Reesha revisit a holiday memory by visiting Santa. The vintage fire truck and Santa will again be found at the corner of Ocean View and Honolulu on Friday evening.
File photo


‘Plaid Friday’ kicks off the holiday season in Montrose and includes carolers, a community sing-along, a tree lighting and, of course, Santa.


Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.

                                                               ~ Norman Rockwell


Norman Rockwell’s depiction of the American life he saw graced for years the covers of The Saturday Evening Post. They show snowy small towns and Santa checking his list. Nowadays that ideal of American holidays is depicted in rom-coms ala the Hallmark Channel – although ironically many of the Hallmark movies that show perfect U.S. holiday towns are actually filmed in Canada.

But Canada has nothing on Montrose because this small town knows exactly how to do the holidays right with carolers, friendly businesses whose owners know most customers by their first name, a horse-drawn carriage and Santa greeting kids along the avenue. This is how Montrose celebrates the holidays.

The holiday season begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving. While most are pushing and shoving their way through malls and big box stores for the best deal, great deals can be found in a much more friendly way in the Montrose Shopping Park.

This year Montrose business owners will be hosting Plaid Friday, renamed from their traditional White Friday when some business owners would white-out sales tax. Plaid Friday, which was created in 2009 in Oakland, encourages people to do their holiday shopping with locally owned and independent businesses.

Montrose’s Plaid Friday is part of the movement to celebrate the diversity of local and independent businesses, said Dale Dawson, business administration and event services coordinator for the Montrose Shopping Park Association.

On Friday, Nov. 26, the holiday season is kicked off at the corner of Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard with the Hummingbird Conservatory Carolers performing at 5:30 p.m. to 6 pm. followed by a community sing-along. This all builds up to the tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. “Snow” will also gently fall on the crowd.

There will be several dignitaries on hand to celebrate the holiday kick-off including members of the Glendale Fire Dept. who will be collecting toys for their Cram A Classic toy drive. Santa will stop by and be available for photos from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“On Saturday, holiday shoppers will benefit from the spinning wheel of prizes that include newly designed Montrose tote bags and $10 scrip redeemable at many shopping park merchants and restaurants,” said Dawson.

Spins are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the corner of Ocean View Boulevard and Honolulu Avenue for shoppers who bring receipts showing they spent at least $50 at shopping park merchants, Dawson said.

The holiday celebration continues on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 26 to Dec. 18. Montrose Old Town holiday will include complimentary horse-drawn trolley rides and hand-led pony rides for kids. There will be strolling carolers and holiday music. And photos with Santa will be available on Saturdays and Sundays as well.

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