Bright lights, wreaths and decorative garland are just a few of the signs the holiday spirit is spreading throughout St. Clair Shores.
Many businesses along Mack and Harper Avenues have already started decorating for the holiday season by putting up lights and window displays.
One particular section, 9 Mile and Greater Mack, has created an eye-catching display with white festive lights on more than 20 curbside trees that glow at night. The 9-Mack Merchants Association decorates these trees every year.
"We are in full holiday spirit here," says Gloria Kinne, owner of CirCare and a board member of the Association.
Kinne says the recent mild temperatures have made it more enjoyable to decorate outside, but the association always gets their festive lights on display right after Halloween.
According to Kinne, the association includes about 30 businesses in the 9 Mile and Greater Mack area. It is an eclectic group of businesses which includes restaurants, retailers, jewelers, dance studios, specialty stores and banks.
Many of the businesses in the association are planning special events, promotions, and extended hours during the holiday season. Harper Sport Shop, for example, has added Sunday hours during the month of December from noon until 5 p.m.
CirCare offers an additional 10 percent discount if the gift is purchased at their store and then donated to Toys for Tots. CirCare will even wrap the gift at no charge.
Other signs of the holidays in the area include: Shores Inn Restaurant, which has green roping and lights on the exterior of the building; Connie's Children's Shop, which features displays of holiday wear; and Jan and Jim's Hallmark, which has endless amounts of one-of-a-kind Christmas decorations, cards and stationery.
The holiday decorations are just one of the many events sponsored by the 15-year-old association.
Kinne says the association was formed to help and support the local businesses and to raise awareness and support the community. Several times a year the association meets and plans activities. Kinne says the annual JuneFest is a popular event and is a thank you to the community for supporting their businesses.
The newest member of the Association is Artisans Knitwear which recently relocated from Grosse Pointe Park. For the holidays, the store is sponsoring a special in-house event at 6 p.m. Friday. Knitters are encouraged to bring leftover yarn and do a "yarn" exchange with other knitters.
Refreshment will be provided. Attendees are also encouraged to bring scarves, hats, sweaters and other winter accessories to place in a donation box. Artisans Knitwear will then donate the winter clothing — machine-made or hand-made — to a homeless shelter.
Holiday decorations are also up along Jeffeson where the Lakeshore Village Shopping Center has the parking lot decked out in lights.
And Harper Avenue businesses — including Greenhouse Growers, Hall's Nursery, Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace, Mancuso's and Viviano Flower Shop — have fresh green wreaths and grave blankets on display outside their stores.
According to Marianne Viviano of Viviano Flower Shop, every year they display their grave blankets in November when most cemeteries will allow memorial coverings to be placed on grave sites.
As business owners continue to decorate with more lights, Christmas trees and other signs of the season, they are encouraging residents to enjoy the displays and shop locally.
"We'd like to invite everyone to check out our lights and get into the holiday spirit," Kinne said.