Checking Out the Window Wonderland: Christmas Windows in the City

Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017
Bloomers Company, 603 W. Main, Knoxville, December 2017

I found a perfect night, recently, to take a walk through the city with my camera. What’s a perfect night in December, you ask? Well, it’s a misty, rainy night with glistening streets and mild temperatures. Sure, I was cozy inside my home, but I recognized the night for what it was and took a walk, for you.

Christmas Tree in Krutch Park, Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017
Fizz, 27 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2017
Boyd’s Jig and Reel, 101 South Central Street, Knoxville, December 2017

There’s really nothing prettier than a city in the rain at night. It sparkles just a little extra in every direction. But most of the time we miss it because we are dashing from one dry spot to the next. Still, whether it is Paris, New York City or downtown Knoxville, it just looks a little prettier in the rain.

The purpose of the walk was to photograph the windows around town. Thirty-four businesses (complete list here) are participating in this year’s version of the annual window decorating event: Peppermint Window Wonderland. The idea is to decorate with the peppermint theme in mind and many, though not all, did just that. There is no contest this year, simply a unified effort to make the city beautiful for the holidays.

100 Block of Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017
Lox Salon, 103 W. Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, December 2017
Alley Beside Tomato Head, Knoxville, December 2017

What I found as I walked around were many businesses whose windows were decorated just because it’s Christmas, though they weren’t listed in the official guide. Perhaps we’re to the point that Christmas window decorating is simply an understood part of the season. It’s certainly grown to the point that an entire evening’s activity can simply be to enjoy the windows. I remember several years ago seeing one decorated window and thinking, “Hey, we’re like a big city!”

Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, December 2017
Mast General Store, 402 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017
Krutch Park, Knoxville, December 2017

The other, unavoidable, outgrowth of such a walk is that the city itself, the streets, alleys and buildings also sparkle and demand attention. So much so that I wound up with as many photographs of the city as I did of windows. It’s hard not to fall in love with the city on a mild, misty night at Christmas.

Rick Terry Jewelry Designs, 618 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017
Lonesome Dove, Central and Jackson, Knoxville, December 2017
Nothing Too Fancy, 435 Union Avenue, Knoxville, December 2017

So, come downtown and do all the fun things we always have to offer. Come downtown and look for the elf in local shops, ice skate, enjoy the treats along the peppermint trail. For goodness sake, please come downtown and shop local. But if you happen to have some time on a misty night, grab an umbrella or simply get a little wet and enjoy the sparkling city we all love in a light you’ll not forget.

The Flower Pot, 700 S. Gay, Knoxville, December 2017
Gay Street, Knoxville, December 2017

I’ll have many more photographs from this series on the Inside of Knoxville Facebook Page later today.