A Charmed Christmas

December 24, 2007|By Troy McCullough | Troy McCullough,Special to The Sun.

If you're in Baltimore for the holidays and can't get into the spirit, consider yourself a Grinch -- no city does Christmas like this city. Nearly every neighborhood gets into the act: From modest rowhouses in Highlandtown to large homes in Guilford, lights are strung, lawn displays are erected and an annual decoration overdrive commences.

Few cities inject their personalities so effectively into their celebrations as Baltimore does. The Washington Monument serves as the city's official Christmas centerpiece. While some might think twice before dangling festive lights from a venerable 178-year-old monument dedicated to the father of our nation, Baltimore does so with glee every year. And there's no denying that the adornment brings a certain Charm City elegance to the otherwise august edifice.

But the ultimate Baltimore Christmas display is found each year on 34th Street in Hampden. The transformation of the street into a surreal holiday wonderland is as much a celebration of all things Baltimore as it is a marker of the holidays. Even the most hardened of holiday cynics would struggle to leave the street without a smile on their faces.

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