Making holiday memories in Gettysburg
I’ve always loved Christmas in Gettysburg. Growing up I loved seeing Frosty the Snowman on the Square and so many of the other decorations that were eventually lost in one of the fires that plagued Gettysburg in the early 1980’s. I remember vividly the February 10, 1983 fire that turned the historic Gettysburg Hotel into a burned out shell. It stood that way for 8 years until its grand re-opening May 15, 1991 as the Gettysburg Hotel, Best Western.
Now, every Black Friday at 6pm we get to hear Santa say those magical words “Light That Tree” while he’s standing on the beautiful front porch of the Hotel. We had a very magical tree lighting this year. Santa was brought to town in a WWII jeep courtesy of the WWII American Experience Museum. I can’t help but think that President Eisenhower would’ve been very excited and proud to have watched this happen. A 5 Star General who commanded the allied invasion, D-Day, June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, and later chose Gettysburg as the place he and Mamie called home; the only home that he and Mamie ever owned. Eisenhower also used the Hotel as his office during 1956 while recuperating from a heart attack.
After Santa’s arrival and lighting of the Gettysburg Christmas Tree, he hung out his shingle and was open for business greeting 2-legged and 4-legged fans at his Shanty. Maybe shanty isn’t the right word to use anymore as Santa’s little Gettysburg home has been repainted to have a Gingerbread House appearance. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out (much deserved credit to our painter and artist Norm Joyner for its beautiful new look). I hope that everyone gets a chance to visit Santa and create a great Gettysburg Christmas memory.
Helping to spread more Christmas cheer this holiday season, GARMA’s elves will once again be giving out $1000 in GARMA gift certificates to random shoppers. We enjoyed this so much last year that we’ve decided to make this an annual tradition. Last year shoppers were so excited to receive “free money” toward their purchases. However, sometimes if something sounds too good to be true it’s hard to fathom that it is. I will always have this great memory of trying to give a customer a gift certificate to use toward their lunch and the customer refusing because they didn’t believe me. So, I turned to the next table and gave the gift certificate to an ecstatic patron who stated, “I read that this was going to happen, I can’t believe I got picked”. If you’re approached by one of our elves, take the gift certificate!
Free parking is available again during the holiday season. Parking is free Monday – Thursday, all day, on the square, the first block off the square, and the first block of Steinwehr Ave. Please be mindful of the 3 hour limit.
I’m also excited to welcome two new GARMA members. The WWII American Experience Museum at 845 Crooked Creek Rd. and The Lincoln Diner on Carlisle St. For a complete list of our GARMA members go to www.gettysburgretailmerchants.com. Have a great holiday season!
Jennie Dillon is the President of GARMA and owner of Artworks, 30 York St.