Despite all this Bird's crowing about how sick she is of the shopping mall craziness, I still managed to visit Seattle's central retail area, Westlake, before the retail overload eventually set in. Say what you will about how commercial the holidays are -- and yes, this Bird would agree with that -- but there's still a bit of wonder to be found in store windows, amid designer labels and price tags.

It's surely a result of our consumer culture, but there's a nostalgia in looking at store window displays for the holidays. It's like a little diorama of tinsel, light and magic, even if all they're trying to do is get you and your wallet into the store. There's an art to that method of marketing. It made me think of that old 1980s gem of a good/bad movie, Mannequin. Aside from this Bird's eternal guilty pleasure WASP-y love of Andrew McCarthy (St. Elmo's Fire, Pretty in Pink, Less Than Zero... etc.), that fantastically cheesy romantic comedy stuck in my head as I was walking by all the store displays. Kim Cattrall didn't suddenly come to life, but I saw imagination and fun behind the panes of glass. Cut-paper worlds of Cinderella and the North Pole, brightly colored tinsel trees filled with ornaments, and of course the big bright star on the corner of what used to be the Bonmarche. I know, I know -- the Bon is no longer, but I still call it the Bon Star. It was one of the first things I saw lit up on my first visit to Seattle years ago, when I was considering the Pacific Northwest to be my home. The city was lit up in its holiday finery and it felt like a brightly-lit welcome sign to encourage my move to this Northwest wonderland.

Over ten years later, and I haven't regretted this choice. The holidays remind me to count my blessings, be thankful for the friends I've made and the life created here, because it is truly a good one. Not to sound like a crazy old Bird, but perhaps by the guiding light of this giant electric star, I found my way to this place, and that is a blessing worth counting.

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  1. Oh Magpie, what a touching post. Beautifully written and so honest and true. Loved the Andrew line. From one relocated Southwesterner to another, it was a good thing to move up here and Happy Holidays! R&R

  2. Thanks for sharing these photos. I haven't made it down there, but love looking at the window displays. So pretty.

  3. The paper cut-outs are fantastic. I still love looking at shop windows...I never really get tired of holiday hoop-la...but I don't like seeing it start so early--you know right after Halloween; it's too soon.


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