© 2012 Tony Onorati. All rights reserved. Union Square in San Francisco with the Macy's Christmas Tree.

“The holidays don’t start until…”

20th Anniversary of Songs of the Season – the CD

You can fill in the rest of the sentence.  Here in San Francisco, the saying is, “The holidays don’t start until you’ve seen Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season“.  This is pretty much true.  The holidays don’t start until we have attended Songs of the Season. This year, however, was a bit bittersweet, but nonetheless, it did start the festive feeling of the holidays stirring.
(If you click on the CD cover image to the right, it will take you to an Amazon.com page where you can purchase the album).

View of Frederick & Nelson with the Bon Marché star

Original star of the Bon Marché in 1957

Thanksgiving was amazing but now that Christmas and Hanukkah are swiftly approaching, I am not really feeling in the holiday mood so much.  Even with building my own replica of The Bon Marché star, I am not feeling the holidays much.  And to be honest, I have not felt them since the last time Brian and I went to Seattle for Christmas and New Year’s.  Since then, the holiday feeling doesn’t really hit.  Maybe it is the lack of snow, or the simple fact that it doesn’t get cold enough here to need real winter clothes, or that nothing says the holidays to me like that star over the Bon Marché, or Frederick & Nelson‘s department store in downtown Seattle all decorated for the holidays.

Frederick & Nelson’s department store decorated for the holidays

Now that I am older, pushing 40, I still have yet to make my own holiday traditions like my family had when I was a kid.  Everything that I remember and associate with the holidays has changed so dramatically that you wouldn’t know that it was the same thing; or the stores we fondly remember, like Frederick & Nelson, which is what traditions were built on.

The Christmas Star Shining Brightly From The Bon Marché

Today, The Bon Marché is long gone, bought out by Macy’s and finally changed names some years back.  Frederick & Nelson went the same way as it’s parent, Marshall-Field’s.  F&N closed and went bankrupt in 1993; while Marshall-Field’s became Macy’s, just as the The Bon did.  Thank goodness we still have Frango, a Seattle original, claimed by Chicago, treasured by people everywhere.

While many of my childhood memories of Christmas and the holiday season may be fading as I get older, there are some things about those wonderful years I will never forget.  Sitting on Santa’s lap at the Downtown Seattle Frederick & Nelson just after Thanksgiving with my wish for what I wanted to find under the tree that year, to the Frango chocolates that my grandmother would smuggle to me, to the star blazing brightly from the top of The Bon Marché – those are the memories that keep the holidays alive for the child in me, and many other “kids” who called Seattle home.

Union Square in San Francisco with the Macy’s Christmas Tree.

Living in San Francisco, I have new icons to add.  The massive Macy’s Christmas tree in the middle of Union Square.  Just as the holidays don’t start without seeing Donna Sachet’s Songs of the Season, they also don’t start without seeing this massive tree lit on the day after Thanksgiving.  The two now go hand in hand for me.