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Signs of change

The switch from Halloween ghosts to the trappings of Christmas is something to see and admire the next time you drive through Hartselle’s central business district after dark. Not only are many storefronts teeming with Christmas themes and inviting shoppers to step inside and take advantage of discounted holiday buys, but also lighted Christmas decorations emphasize the same message. Bright lights depicting images of angels, gifts package and candy canes really bring focus to the holiday season. 

Some homeowners are already following suit by decorating picture windows with lighted Christmas trees and transforming their front lawns into winter wonderlands of inflated holiday characters – snowmen, lighted trees and a waving Santa Claus.  

Many more will join in the ritual the day after Thanksgiving. 

Unfortunately, two of the Main Street businesses that have been a big part of past Christmas seasons have closed their doors permanently: the custom picture frame store at 333 W. Main – the former Slate & Son Custom Frames – and Hartselle Antiques at 209 W. Main – the former V. J. Elmore Store.  

Two restaurants are recent newcomers to that part of downtown. Both seem to be doing well. 

The continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely have a bearing on the celebration of the holiday season. While the state-mandated limit on the number of shoppers who are allowed to be inside a retail store at any given time has been lifted, the use of facemasks and 6foot social distancing remains in effect. This could lead to the cancellation of large public events where social distancing is not possible – including Christmas parades. 

Some big box chain stores have already indicated they are opting to spread out price discount offers over the last few weeks before Christmas, in an effort to avoid the typical large crowds of shoppers on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. 

The best bets for a safe holiday season seem to be a combination of more shopping earlier than usual and online, along with small family gatherings and more time spent driving around town to see and admire what others are doing to celebrate the Christmas season.