Just a shout out to the BloggingBelmont.com community to wish everyone Happy Holidays!! Christmas is over and today is Boxing Day, which is a holiday in the UK and the former Empire, but just the day that you drag your empty boxes to the curb here in the U.S. Judging by the backup of parking onto Cross St., the shops downtown got a good amount of last minute business. It remains to be seen, however, how badly the economy and the ill timed snow storm last week affected their overall numbers. In the meantime, Hanukkah rolls along here in the Roberts household, as elsewhere, for three more nights.
With the insanity of the holiday shopping season over, thoughts are turning to the New Year. I’m pulling together a list of Crazy Ideas for 2009, to go continue the Eight Crazy Ideas (that just might work) that was quite popular with readers last year. I’ve had folks suggest ideas to me, which I’m going to include in this year’s list in the hopes of getting to Nine Crazy Ideas for 2009 on or about New Year’s Day. I’m going to kick off the effort today with an idea that I pinched from a recent article in the Globe and use Crazy Idea #1 for 2009 to call for a First Night Celebration in Belmont. The idea here is simple: Belmont has a wonderful assortment of shops, restaurants and other attractions. In a down economy they all need all the help they can get. A New Year’s Eve party would be a great way to get folks out and about in town, patronizing shops and giving a boost in the arm to our town’s economy. It would also be a bonding event for town residents and kids, give local artists and bands a stage on one of the most important nights of the year, and allow us all to celebrate our town. If Needham is any measure, there’s a lot of pent up demand for these kinds of celebrations — much of it from local residents who are wary (or weary) of traveling into Government Center for Boston’s first in the nation First Night. According to the Globe, Needham sold out more than 2,500 buttons to last year’s celebration and sold out. It has ordered twice as many for this year. There would be up front costs for the town, of course, but it would be money well spent if it brought residents together, helped out our downtown shops, and attracted more businesses to town. Here’s my vote for a Belmont First Night, starting in 2010.