Merry Kitschmas

When I return from a trip, there are many, sometimes competing, thoughts running through the undoubtedly paisley shaped region of my brain that is dedicated to decorating and landscaping. Like my sometimes outlandish nightly dreams which might star the (unlikely) likes of Raymond Burr hours after my viewing of Rear Window, these thoughts on design are influenced by what I have seen over the course of my day and my travels. I return from Colonial Williamsburg thinking, “I need more candles! Yes, more candles…and wing chairs!” I return from Rehoboth Beach thinking, “Shells! I’ll incorporate shells!” I return from Baltimore at Christmastime thinking, “A hubcap Christmas tree! I’ve got to get me one of those!!”

Well, maybe not the hubcap tree so much, but I am liking bicycle wheel snowmen a lot. They, like the hubcap tree, are a fixture at the kitsch extravaganza that is 34th Street in Baltimore. If you’re not familiar with the area, just take Falls Road south, make a left on 36th, pass the three story pink flamingo strapped to the fire escapes on the left, make a right on Keswick, park in front of the house with the backlit screen on the porch roof showing the Pink Panther’s Pink Christmas show on a Blue Ray loop, make a left, and you’re there. 34th Street is one solid block of skinny little rowhouses decked out from curb to rooftop with lights, candy canes, inflatables, motionette Santas, makeshift trees with beer cans for ornaments, train sets, menorahs, music, and more.

And the good news is that you too can have a crazy Christmas house, because there are two houses for sale on the block! 729 W. 34th is on the market for $245K and 719 is listed for a bargain $234K. Built at the turn of the century (the 20th century), they both give you the chance to trick out your house the way you always wanted, with a guarantee that no humbug neighbor is going to call the cops.

I’m not really in the market, but I am kind of hooked on the snowmen. I’m really digging these ones in this photo link, and I want ’em. I wonder if it would be too forward of me to just mail a postcard to 708 W. 34th and ask (beg) the residents to help hook me up. Stalkerific, I know, but you have to start somewhere. Plus, I figure that if you have 45,000 people parading past your door every year, you’re not so much into privacy, right?



  1. Monica said,

    December 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Liking this one Cheryl. 🙂 I have to tell my Dad about the bicycle wheel snowmen and hubcap tree. It will truly fit in with my parents camp in NY. Upstate New Yorkers are very famous for their half a bathtub upturned with Mary stutue inside (this is an all year ornament). Perhaps he’ll even make a pilgrimage to 34th St. next year. 🙂

    • Cheryl said,

      December 31, 2009 at 1:45 pm

      Hmm…haven’t seen the bathtub with Mary. Very innovative! If that’s up your dad’s alley, then I think he would really enjoy 34th! I know it was a highlight for me this Christmas!

      We also enjoyed the PEACE house on 34th. Lots of peace symbols and the word ‘peace’ in different languages. Hayley signed their guest book, writing, “Peace out!” She was so tickled with herself.

      Happy New Year to you, Monica! See you soon at book club?

  2. Lorraine said,

    December 31, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Down here some folks call the bathtub with Mary a “grotto”!
    Welcome back Cheryl. Happy New Year from “Downunder”. Hope 2010 is a marvellous year for our favourite Dover family.

    • Cheryl said,

      December 31, 2009 at 1:46 pm

      Happy New Year to you as well, Lorraine. Your visit was surely one of the 2009 highlights!! My best to you, Dieter, and your family!

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