I caught myself being my father the other day, when I told my teenage daughters that "Christmas isn't about things, it's about memories and experiences." I think they know that at 18 and 19, but I had to say it anyway!
One of my greatest Christmas memories is going to Filene's at Downtown Crossing in Boston with my grandmother, when I was a young boy, about five. We actually went a few different times. My grandmother actually called it "Fileens", with a short "I" - most people said it that way. We would take the Hudson Bus in Medford to Downtown Crossing and then we'd go to Filene's and buy my white Christmas dress shirt and the red tie that went with it. I remember it was very cold waiting for the bus and my grandmother - "Mum", as we called her - wrapped her fake fur coat around me to keep me warm. I remember vividly getting to Filene's, going in the store and seeing the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights and the smell of the perfume wafting through the air.
I was reminded of these wonderful memories last week when I went to ring the bell for the Salvation Army, in front of the Macy's at Downtown Crossing, across from the old Filene's, which is now a Primark.
I'm sad the Filene's is gone, but thrilled that the building and it's grand architecture still exists. Downtown Crossing has come alive again with new stores, renovated theaters, and, of course, the Ritz Carlton! It's fun to see young children making Christmas memories with their families again!!!