In decades gone by, before new suburban shopping centers lured customers away from Cherry Street, Maconites would flock to downtown for Santa Claus, holiday shopping and fantastic Christmas displays. As we mark Christmas 2018, we thought long-time Macon-area residents would enjoy a trip back to a simpler time.
Downtown Macon Christmas Lighting (ca. 1940s-1970s)
Lights were hung from the Terminal Station down Cherry Street and ended at Fifth Street in downtown Macon with the assistance of Macon firemen and their ladder truck. For many years on Thanksgiving day, families would gather in downtown Macon to see the Christmas Parade. After the parade, the Christmas lights in downtown Macon were turned on when Santa pushed a big red button. (the guys in the alleys pulled the switch)
Letters to Santa Claus
The Christmas wish lists, written by local children of all ages were mailed to Santa (via the Macon Telegraph) and then published in the newspaper.
Downtown Department Store Window Displays
For decades, the holiday season included visits to downtown Macon to check out the Christmas displays at the big department stores, Stores that participated for many years included Dannenberg’s, Kresses and Belk.
Listening to Santa on the Radio
Children would sit around the radio waiting for Santa to come on, (you could hear the wind howling in the background as Santa read some of the letters he received at the North Pole. He had that wonderful Santa HO HO HO, telling children to make sure they were good)
Visiting Santa Claus
Santa Claus’ sleigh pulled into downtown Macon the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day every year to a rousing welcome. Stores were decorated inside and out especially for his approval as Santa himself flipped the switch that turned on thousands of Christmas lights that hung in the downtown district. Santa would ask that the downtown merchants stay open until after the parade so that he could make unexpected appearances to let the good children know that his elves were working at full capacity gearing up for the big night.