The holidays are all about tradition for my family. Having spent 15 years—the majority of my sons’ lives—in Saratoga Springs, but recently moving to Beverly Hills, our best holiday memories are all tied to this sweet, oft-snow-covered community. To us, the holidays in Saratoga meant bustling crowds of holiday shoppers along Broadway, the sparkling lights that line the streets and the promise of the fun, seasonal festivities that await.
To me, nothing said “the holidays in Saratoga” more than the larger-than-life, glorious holiday wreath that hangs from the Adirondack Trust Company building each year. I recall eagerly awaiting the day when—and watching with glee as—the wreath took its place on the building’s stately, alabaster façade, a sure sign that the holidays were right around the corner.
Another, equally special, albeit newer tradition that I looked forward to with every passing year was the elegance, beauty and sophistication of The Adelphi Hotel’s luxurious holiday decor—whether I was taking it in downstairs at Morrissey’s or just gawking at it from street level. And then, of course, there were the glitzy decorations that adorned the many spectacular houses in the city. Some homes were completely decked out in lights from their chimneys to their foundations, while others had white, twinkling lights ever so perfectly placed. Every year, my kids would pick the perfect, flurry-touched night, and I’d fill up the car with hot chocolate jugs, warm cookies and eager boys, and we’d drive around Saratoga, enjoying our neighbors’ most spectacular holiday displays. While it was always a joy picking out our favorites, the most important house in town was always Santa’s, which magically appeared on Broadway each November. Once it was in place, my boys and I would count the days ’til Santa and his reindeer would arrive there—the night of the Victorian Streetwalk—and although the line would be long, we’d look forward to that moment when we were able to patiently enter Santa’s abode and deliver our wishlists directly to him. Imagine the sheer joy of the occasion!
Now that I’m bicoastal, there are many things that I miss about living in Saratoga year round, but none so much as this magical time of year. Saratogians should truly feel fortunate to have these beautiful traditions, and as I walk beneath the palm trees under a clear blue sky, I find myself dreaming about our special time in Saratoga and asking quietly to no one in particular: What’s your favorite Saratoga holiday tradition?