Christmas has returned to Frederick, making our town into a city of lights just as the days are shortest and the nights are chilly and dark.
The ghosts of Christmas Past have been glimpsed in the streets of the historic district, our parks and our neighborhoods.
The Kris Kringle Procession last evening brought a crowd to the streets of downtown, and the brightly lit boats from the annual Sailing Through the Winter Solstice display are attracting visitors to Carroll Creek Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Millions of white lights twinkle above Market and Patrick streets above the heads of shoppers as they go from store to store, and then stop for a bite to eat or a sip of hot chocolate. They suffuse the Old Town with a beautiful golden glow.
For a few moments it can almost seem like the good old days.
Some of our favorite memories from Christmases of the past are the candlelight tours of homes, churches and museums. They are back again this year as well, except in slightly different form.
The watchword to remember while enjoying the holidays is “careful.”
Christmas Present requires a lot of caution because of the continuing pandemic which is still striking hundreds of our friends and neighbors with the deadly COVID-19 virus every week, and taking the lives of too many people. Almost 800,000 Americans have perished in this plague, and so we have to accept restrictions on our lives, to protect ourselves and others.
That means the candlelight tours have been turned into virtual visits for museums and churches. The Museums by Candlelight virtual tours conclude tonight, but starting Tuesday, you will be able to join the virtual Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship. That will continue through Dec. 27. Go to visitfrederick.org to learn more.
For several years people were trooping through some of the most beautiful homes in the city on holiday evenings to see spectacular decorations. That is being replaced by a driving tour.
Celebrate Frederick has organized the Light Up Frederick! Holiday Decorations Tour and Contest and it will run from tonight through New Year’s Day. Each evening from 5 to 9 p.m. you will be able to drive past some spectacular holiday displays. For a $10 per-person donation, you will receive a downloadable map and a booklet describing the displays.
There is so much to do to celebrate the holidays.
The Maryland Regional Ballet is once again presenting “The Nutcracker” this weekend at the Weinberg Center for the Arts, and next weekend the center will be hosting the annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” the stage version of the Charles Dickens classic. And on Dec. 21, the Frederick Children’s Chorus will be presenting the singalong to Handel’s “Messiah.”
Scarcely a day goes by during the holiday season without a story in our newspaper about one local celebration or another. At the beginning of the month, Celebrate Frederick was hosting the “Scents and Sweets” contest at the Delaplaine Arts Center featuring intricately decorated gingerbread houses and elaborate wreaths.
Holiday train gardens featuring dazzling displays of model trains are open for visitors at the Brunswick Railroad Museum, the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, the Roads and Rails museum in Frederick and Thurmont’s Christmas Celebration. They are a long way from the toy trains of your youth.
And you should not forget to do as much Christmas shopping as possible at the local stores all around the county. Shop Local and support local merchants.
Everyone wishes the pandemic were over and done, but it isn’t. And it does not look as if it will be anytime soon. We are adapting, as we humans always do, to the changes in our world. If you get your vaccines and wear a mask indoors, you can feel fairly comfortable.
And we can all hope that Christmas Future will allow us to return to our favorite activities from the past, safely and in good health.