34th Street in northwestern Baltimore is better known as Christmas Street. Every year from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the 22 houses in the neighbourhood string lights, put out a hubcap Christmas tree, and even run train sets in and around some houses.
It all started in 1991 when Bob Hosier first strung lights to connect his house with a neighbour’s across the street, creating a canopy of Christmas lights on the block. He told Business Insider he has been taking his house to “the next level” since he moved to the street — into the house where his wife grew up — in 1982.
Hosier likes to cover his entire house in multicolored lights and only switches to white lights for New Year’s Eve when he drops a ball in his front yard. The mayor even awarded Hosier a certificate for the best holiday decorations in the city.
Once the whole neighbourhood got involved, 34th Street became a tourist attraction. Everyone can choose how to decorate his or her own house. There’s no theme, and neighbours don’t have to participate.
“But they usually want to join in when they see the rest of us out there laughing and carrying on while we decorate,” Hosier said. “That’s why I like the holidays. It’s the one time when everyone goes out of their way to be civil to one another.”
There isn’t really competition among neighbours to outdo each other, Hosier said. They’re all invested in making the “Miracle on 34th Street” the best it can be. Although living on 34th Street didn’t directly inspire Hosier to go all-out with Christmas decorations, he did say it was a happy accident.
One year when he was remodeling his kitchen, he found even more of a connection between the iconic Christmas movie and Baltimore’s 34th Street: It used to be common to line a floor with newspaper before covering it with linoleum, and under one square Hosier removed, he found a newspaper ad announcing the opening of the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.”
“It was fate,” Hosier said, “I framed it and hung it on my porch to remind myself how special what we do on this street is.”
Neighbours on 34th Street string lights across the street to create a canopy of Christmas lights.
A utility pole turns into a palm tree when it’s decorated with Christmas lights.
Everyone can put up whatever decorations they like, but Christmas lights tend to be the focus over props.
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Local artist Jim Pollock built this hubcap Christmas tree.
Here’s a look at an elaborate Christmas train display on 34th Street.
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