Originally published in the Chillicothe Gazette, November 14, 2021

by Sheena Brown

Every year I look forward to the moment, usually just after Thanksgiving (though sometimes slightly before), when I can finally decorate for Christmas. I dig the colored totes from the far reaches of the garage, put on the Bing Crosby playlist, and make hot chocolate for anyone willing to help. Together we unwrap ornaments, sort stockings from past pets and current children, and say goodbye to things that have unfortunately reached their end.

In our house, this is so much more than a task to be completed. It is a trip. A traveling back to loved Christmases: the one when I got a small trampoline as a child, the first one my husband and I spent as a couple, and the one when our daughter constantly “redecorated” the tree. This ritual acts as a thread, pulling all the memories close and helping stitch an excitement for the ones yet to be made.

Downtown Chillicothe has its own traditions and rituals. We are so lucky in that way. It’s not an accident that this town was voted one of the Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine. No place is perfect, but we have something special here. That is undeniable. A walk down Paint Street on a sunny afternoon serves as proof. So much history and hope.

Downtown Holiday Open House is one of my most favorite collective traditions. It is the weekend in November, this year the 19th through the 21st, when local shops pull out all their glittery best and welcome us in hopes that we may find those special somethings for loved ones on our lists. A horse-drawn carriage click clacks its way through the glowing streets, children and brave adults slip and slide their way around the ice-skating rink, and people gather to marvel in the magic of the season. And it really does feel magical.

Festivities begins on Friday, Nov. 19 with a Light the Park event at 6 p.m. and the welcoming of the biggest celebrity of the season, Santa himself! After that, shops remain aglow until 9 p.m. and then reopen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. In addition to seasonal shopping, ice skating, and carriage rides there will also be some special fun at the library!

Join us at the Main Library at 140 South Paint Street between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20 to help make ornaments for our children’s room Christmas tree. There will be fun for children and grownups alike and even a story time or two.

If Downtown Holiday Open House is not yet part of your Christmas tradition, this is a good year to begin. It’s sure to bring out the childlike wonder in us all. See you there.


Sheena Brown is a sentimental holiday enthusiast and Youth Services Clerk at the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library.