For over three decades, the massive, glitzy Christmas displays of Greengate Mall were a sight to behold, so much so that the holiday extravaganza was well known all over Western Pennsylvania. Evoking nostalgic memories reminiscent of the days when Christmas carolers and window-shopping in the falling snow were commonplace all across Downtown Greensburg, the mall provided its own set of experiences to the entire community, although it didnít replace the nostalgia of Christmas past. Around early to mid-November, the mallís annual light-up night celebration marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season. As Christmas came nearer, the bustling shopping environment mixed in with the festive holiday atmosphere created an energy so stimulating and sensual, it became the focus of nostalgia. These nostalgic experiences would leave a legacy that would forever haunt former mall employees and patrons.
Each year, the Christmas displays focused on a different theme; some tens of thousands of dollars were spent over the years to design and build the holiday scenes. A thirty-five-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree was the centerpiece, complete with a miniature train for children. The preparation for the displays began months in advance, although construction of the pieces themselves took place a few weeks prior to the start of the holiday shopping season. The components were built and detailed off-site, and then assembled into a number of large displays in the mallís common areas. Author William Severini Kowinski goes into great detail chronicling the process of building and assembling the scenes in his book, The Malling of America: Travels in the United States of Shopping.
Take a trip down memory lane and relive the magic of a Greengate Christmas through our online photo album.