Do you like your Christmas nostalgia sugar-cookie sweet… or frosted with irony? You could satisfy both urges by visiting an over-the-top seasonal display — or you could drive to seasonal attractions that cater to Christmas’s increasingly divergent demographics.
For traditionalists, Stockbridge, Massachusetts is a pilgrimage sight. As the home of magazine illustrator Norman Rockwell, it was also the model for one of his most famous paintings, “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas.” The canvas itself hangs in the Norman Rockwell Museum outside of town, but every December the town turns itself into a re-creation of the painting. Main Street hasn’t changed much since 1967 — the year the picture was published — so all that’s really needed is to park the appropriate vintage cars in the appropriate spots and presto: instant aw-shucks time warp Christmas.
A very different Christmas Past is on view in Brevard, North Carolina, which is this year’s host city for the Aesthethically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum and Research Center — Stephen Jackson’s traveling annual display of his fifty favorite 1960s aluminum Christmas trees (he has hundreds). Jackson’s collection runs the gamut from traditional silver to bold freaks of nature in pink, gold, green, and teal with frosted tips (“peacock”). Some of them revolve, and all have been thematically decorated by Jackson. The admission proceeds go to charity.
Both attractions only last a couple of weeks, so pack the car with winter survival gear and get moving. And bring a bag of nuts to Brevard; its white squirrels are hungry this time of year.