Christmas season is fast approaching, and downtown Goshen is decked out with winter-themed decorations. Plastic evergreen is wrapped with lights around the black light posts, with snowflake-themed lighting fixtures extending out into the street, eight feet or so above the ground.Electric lights strung throughout evergreen trees and hung in storefronts illuminate the downtown. Each storefront has its own decoration decisions to make. While these decorations may be easy to brush past without second thought, each business must put thought and preparation into their profusion or lack of decoration.
Plastic holly, bulbs, Christmas lights and cream plastic candles with fake candle wax dripping down the side decorate the windows of Elephant Bar. Fables Books have two golden reindeer inside their windows, snowy fox prints, Christmas socks, a display of Christmas books and a wire manger representation.
At Soapy Gnome, a local handcrafted soap shop, the Christmas decorations are carefully planned and considered months in advance. This year, they’re going for a specific theme — Scandinavian winter. Part of the decoration process included making themed labels.
”The label I did started in August,” said Tara Sparks, a store employee. “Soaps take 30 days to cure, so all of that stuff has to be done way ahead of time. This year we decorated the Sunday right after Halloween; we want to be ready for the hometown holiday open house.”
The bottom of the storefront window has a row of two-dimensional cardboard houses painted by the store owner, former science teacher Jenny Frech. Lights, ornaments and snowflakes are hanging from the ceiling with fishing wire.
“Last year we did all red, which was great because it went into Valentine’s,” Sparks said, “but this year we did all white, which would also go into January/February. We didn’t want to take it all down right after.”
For some stores, brand and profit depend on fancy, themed winter displays. “The Window,” a local food pantry, gives out their wares for free, so decoration is a bit less intentional. In their window? A plastic Christmas tree overflows with knitted hats, with swirls of almost any color. These hats come from an unexpected location; the Elkhart County Jail.
“The inmates there have a program to teach them how to crochet,” said America Molina, The Window’s executive assistant and office manager. “So they crochet hats for kids and people in poverty or lower-income classes. We hang them up there on the tree like ornaments, and people walk by and think, ooh, I like that hat, so we give it to them.”
Cold winter months can be difficult to withstand. Decorations throughout downtown Goshen provide glow and glamor to a gloomy season.