Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving my family bundles up and heads to the Hampden section of Baltimore for the official lighting of Christmas Street. It’s become a tradition in our house, and I’m all about traditions lately.

Christmas Street is one block of rowhomes on 34th Street that are all decked out for the holidays — thousands upon thousands of lights and decorations of all sorts are on display. The decorations stay up through the beginning of January but that Saturday after Thanksgiving is the most magical and awe-inspiring for us.

We stand in the cold (we always seem to be experiencing the coldest weather of the season to date on that Saturday) and wait with anticipation with hoards of other people for the official lighting. I love hearing those collective “oohs” and “aahs” once they flip the switch and the block is illuminated.

Shortly after the lighting, Santa and his wife arrive in style – in a pick-up truck. Santa is in the back, waving to everyone and ho-ho-hoing, while Mrs. Claus takes a warmer and more comfortable seat in the truck’s cab.

And then the festivities begin….

People walk up and down the block admiring the decorations, some of which are downright brilliant and creative, if you ask me.  Sometimes there are open houses to see some of the residents’ artwork. And on that first night Santa and Mrs. Claus bring a chair out to the street where they stay for several hours to hear the wishes of all the children – AND hand them each a homemade cookie. They easily hand out a couple hundred of them.

As you might guess, this is a big deal to the residents of this sliver of 34th Street and a source of pride. They do all of the work themselves, get no sponsorship and accept no donations. All of the expenses – from the lights, the decorations, the goodies to the skyrocketing electric bills – they pay for out of their own pockets. And through their dedication, effort and spirit they give onlookers not only a good time but a sense of wonderment, a taste of Christmas magic.

Here are some shots from our outing:

Surrounded by lights, I feel like I’m in a fantasy world…

And what kind of Baltimore festivity would be complete without Natty Boh and crabs? None that I can think of…. 🙂


How can you find out more about what I’m doing? Want book a portrait or event session? You can find the latest by checking out my Web site, selecting that neat little “like” button on my Facebook page, following me on Twitter or dropping me an e-mail at

Hope to hear from you!


About Jenn Long

Writer and photog. Uncompromising loyalty to my lip balm, lotions, a good mocha and funky socks.
This entry was posted in Baltimore, chasing the light, events, light, out and about, photo essay, photography, seasonal, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Traditions

  1. Tracy Z says:

    beautiful photos!
    I can’t wait for Christmas =)

  2. i feel like a cheat appreciating these photos so much, im freaking jewish!

  3. Rock Kitaro says:

    Oh my goodness… Very nice!

  4. rtcrita says:

    Gorgeous! So glad I hit the “earlier” button on Freshly Pressed to discover your blog. I love looking at photgrapher’s blogs because photography has become a hobby of mine that I would like to see become something I could do to make a living–at least part-time, because I love doing it and it is an extension of my creativity and artistic self.

    I have been practicing with taking night pics with no tripod (everything’s always spur of the moment anyway) and sometimes get good results just in the way I steady myself and turn my settings. Your images are so clear and I love the color! And that tree with the LP’s is way cool, man!

  5. inidna says:

    I’m already in a Christmas craze and these photos just added to it! I got a huge grin on my face when I read the words ‘Christmas Street’–so freaking cool. I love that Christmas tree with all those records and you’re right all these lights make it seems like you’re in some very happy fantasy world! Oh, I would so love to be there 🙂 Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  6. purcelk says:

    lovin the holiday spirit!

  7. Hylic says:

    nice pictures! love them

  8. Captivating photographs! Rebecca

  9. Pingback: Traditions Lights – Baltimore « Mbconsulting's Blog

  10. Wow, they truly have the Christmas spirit in Baltimore. Very beautiful photos!

  11. Nice photos you have here. Very well focused, and I love the Chrismas feel! 🙂

  12. Waiting for Christmas dearly, but excited at the same time how to make it special this year too…

    and these pics add to it more!

  13. Nice photos….
    Like it… 🙂

  14. faith752 says:

    因为有如此漂亮的圣诞树,圣诞节会变得更加浪漫。期待! 圣诞节快乐!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s