Why do we relish traditions around the holidays? Why do we become nostalgic about certain things that we do with family and friends? You don’t see people planning to go to the same play every March or going to see a display around Valentine’s Day. But in San Jose, the Christmas season seems to bring out some wonderful traditions.
Christmas in the Park is the one tradition that I can vividly remember as a child and now enjoy going to with my cousins or nephews. I love seeing those same displays (especially the bears fishing), rolling a coin down the Wishing Well, and buying an extremely overpriced blow-up Santa on a stick; most of those traditions remain true even 20 years later.
The Skating Under the Palms ice rink has further enhanced Christmas in the Park. There is just something cool and fun about skating outdoors as if you live where ponds and lakes freeze over.
We can all imagine and get lost in the holiday spirit. It’s hard to be stressed or worried when you are downtown at Christmas in the Park. It is probably the one single tradition that makes people from Los Gatos, Saratoga, and other nearby cities come to downtown San Jose for a night with their family. It would be nice to find other reasons for people to do so all year long.
All the hotels are decorated so beautifully downtown and it is really something to see. I do remember as a kid the Sainte Claire Hotel would pretend that Santa was jumping off the roof of the hotel with spotlights and music. I called the Sainte Claire and when I asked about it, the woman on the phone started laughing and said they don’t do that anymore. It’s too bad, because that was a tradition that was just burned in my memory.
However, change brings the beginnings of new traditions as well. Something new that I don’t remember as a child are the trains in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, all from different countries with models of their buildings and terrains. I remember walking through the lobby as a child and seeing the most beautiful decorations around Christmastime, but the trains are something new to me. If you have any little boys in your life, take them there.
There are a lot of great things to find in downtown San Jose as the holidays approach. So, for a moment, let’s not hear “Bah! Humbug!” or any complaining. Let’s appreciate and share some of the holiday traditions that we have in San Jose.