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Holiday Nostalgia: Not Available Online


 Last week, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership announced plans for the upcoming downtown holiday festivities. And sure enough, Pittsburgh is doing it right again, bringing back many of the traditions that draw folks into downtown for that holiday nostalgia they remember as children. It got me thinking, you really can’t buy that online.

Many of us recall that feeling we got when our parents brought us into the city for the holidays. Remember when department store windows would come alive with festive figurines, colorful lights, and the sound of cheerful choo-choo trains? Inside these stores were endless tinselly trinkets, joyous tunes, and the scent of peppermint. While department stores are becoming a thing of the past (not just here in Pittsburgh, but nationwide, as well), in-person shopping is still alive and well, and the downtown community in Pittsburgh is committed to offering that nostalgic feeling to all who visit.

This year, it all starts with the Grand Opening of the annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square, on Friday, November 18. Here, you can shop with vendors housed in holiday chalets as you stroll through an illuminated square filled with holiday charm. Immediately adjacent to the square, you’ll find the nostalgic ice skating rink in PPG Place, where you can skate around the towering holiday tree.

Next comes the 61st annual Highmark Light Up Night, on Saturday, November 19. This event marks the official kickoff of the holiday season in downtown Pittsburgh. As a child, I remember thinking how amazing it was that all of the buildings in the entire city came alive with lights to celebrate the most magical time of the year. This all-day event begins at noon and is filled with tree lighting ceremonies, lively music and entertainment on several stages throughout the golden triangle, merry food and beverages, and of course, holiday shopping. And not only can you not buy any of this holiday cheer online, it’s free to attend any of these events. Now that’s holiday nostalgia at its best!

Don’t forget to bring the kiddos and their wish lists because visits with Santa are being held in the beautiful Heinz Hall Courtyard from November 18 through December 23. This is especially exciting, because Zoom with Santa just wasn’t the same, and who doesn’t remember eagerly anticipating waiting your turn in line, hoping you wouldn’t forget a thing while chatting with jolly ole’ St. Nick?

For us retailers, we are committed to creating a memorable in-person shopping experience, especially during the holiday season. Recently, FN participated in a Halloween Trick or Treat Boutique Crawl with the other downtown boutiques. Those who attended loved the feeling of downtown shopping and socializing with their friends as they strolled through the city on a beautiful evening, enjoying beverages, treats, and friendship at every stop. These experiences are not about bargain hunting or getting the best deal, but rather about supporting the community where you live and work, and that’s neither a feeling nor a benefit you can replicate on a computer screen. So, for the holidays, the downtown boutique community has lots in store (no pun intended) for all of your holiday shopping nostalgia.

Here at Fresh Nostalgia Boutique, “nostalgia” is our middle name! We’ll be gearing up this week, starting with creating our holiday window in time for Light Up Night on Saturday, November 19, when we’ll be featuring a hot cocoa bar with all the toppings to warm you up all evening long.

Next up is Small Business Saturday on November 26. Inside the shop, you’ll find lots of holiday gifts for everyone on your list, including our popular curated gift boxes, to help you keep your gift-giving simple by taking advantage of our hand-picked items. These are all boxed, beautifully wrapped, and ready for giving! Free gift wrapping is always a holiday staple at FN.

Then, on Wednesday, December 7, get ready for an evening of late shopping with another crawl, returning by popular demand! Everyone had so much fun at the Halloween crawl that they were asking for a winter version, and we’re excited to provide it! This “A Christmas Story”-themed event is better than ever, highlighted by a raffle that includes tickets to the A Christmas Story play at the O’Reilly Theater (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Public Theater), in addition to individual giveaways, food, and beverages at each participating shop.

So, if you find yourself feeling nostalgic this holiday season, close that Amazon window, get off your computer chair, rev up your four-wheeled sleigh, and fly to downtown Pittsburgh to experience all the nostalgia your screen can never provide.

For information on the A Christmas Story play at the O’Reilly Theater, click here.

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