Behind the Scenes: Holiday windows

From the November 22, 2012 edition

Flower Child is the 93.3 FM of local stores. The windows of the cavernous retro shop in the Short North have shamelessly been rocking around the Christmas tree since Halloween (as the radio station has been doing with holiday music).

I have no problem with this.

Every year between Halloween and Thanksgiving I hear indignation that Christmas décor is up too soon, the music starts too early and no one seems to like the pilgrims anymore. But Thanksgiving is like Valentine’s Day — the love and praise should be in your heart and lips all year ’round. I welcome the innovative holiday window displays whenever the store owner’s deem them necessary to go live.

Mostly what I appreciate is the artistry behind them. My favorite place to go holiday window shopping is in the Short North Pole.

Joe Valenti, for example, who owns Flower Child and crafts the shop’s creative displays year-round, first started doing out-of-the-box displays after he accidentally broke some Waterford crystal in a department store setup he was working on; he liked the way it looked in the store’s light so much, he left the shattered glass as part of the art.

Or consider Short North Tavern. The bar annually displays an evolving “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” mural by local artist Bob Corkwell (which, purists, won’t go up until after Thanksgiving). See if you can spot your bartender in the rendering.

Some displays echo the DIY-tenacity required of locally owned stores: Tigertree’s dancing winter scene of snowflakes, foxes and deer was constructed by the owners and the mechanically skilled father of one of them.

The whipped cream on the hot cocoa, though, is that one can enjoy all this art without needing to consider the postmodern implications of the way Rudolph’s nose is lit. Holiday window displays are just meant to delight. Their evocations are simple. For that I give thanks.

Photo by Meghan Ralston