A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why Christmas snowflakes are still up

Written January 29th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

On Third Avenue, lighted Christmas decorations brighten the darkening afternoon on Jan. 29, 2024.

While I was sitting at a light on Third Avenue in downtown Albany Monday, my gaze turned to the lighted “snowflakes” on the poles a block away. Near the end of January, why are Christmas decorations still up?

It was a question for Lise Grato, executive director of the Albany Downtown Association. I reached her via email, and she replied right away:

“They are installed and removed for us by [the] City of Albany,” Grato wrote. “We asked them to leave the snowflakes up a little longer as we needed to shoot some photos for the manufacturer. Somewhere in there, the bad weather hit. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll see if the photographer got the shots and notify the city.”

After Thanksgiving, the festive lights are always a welcome addition downtown. Years ago, and I mean in the 1990s, the first set of about 40 were made from donated materials by students at South Albany, Lebanon, and West Albany high schools.

At the newspaper at the time, we called the creations “snowflakes,” and believe it or not, this caused a short-lived flap.

The steel framework of the originals had eight corners. “Everybody knows that snowflakes have only six sides,” some know-it-all sniffed.

After that, if memory serves, we called them “Christmas stars,” at least for a while.

Now, as the photo reminds me, the decorations have six corners and actually do resemble the shape of a giant snowflake. There are 78 of them on display downtown, and they are made by Crystal Valley Displays in Lebanon.

This last weekend, springlike temperatures would have made snowflakes melt. Those made of steel and wire will be going back into storage soon. (hh)

13 responses to “Why Christmas snowflakes are still up”

  1. DeeDee says:

    I love the “snowflakes” and I think it’s great that they stay up until the end of January. After all it’s still winter. The snowflakes brighten the drudgery winter look here in Albany! Please keep them up through January from now on!

    • Patricia E. Kight says:

      I agree – I love the “snowflakes” and would be delighted if they stayed up all year!

  2. CHEZZ says:

    With all the snow/ice/wet/dark, sometimes it is good to leave the lights on…

  3. Leslie says:

    Oh is winter over? I leave many of my Christmas decorations until March as they become Winter decor. Snowflakes do not necessarily represent just Christmas. I happen to like winter.

  4. Jennifer D. Munro says:

    Leave them up, please! They are so cheerful during the dark winter afternoons/evening.

  5. Joanna S says:

    I am glad they are still up – on these dreary winter days they add some cheery light to downtown.

  6. Shirley Karstens says:

    I have enjoyed seeing the snowflakes, stars or whatever we wish to call them during the dark mornings and afternoons. I think of them as winter decorations.

  7. Cap B. says:

    Leave the snowflakes up all year long. They are pretty and bring extra light. Besides, why spend the time and money to take them down and put them back again.

  8. Millennial Snowflake says:

    I’m team Leave Them Up Through January! Snowflakes aren’t only for Christmas, the same way flowers aren’t only for Valentine’s day, or pumpkins for Halloween.

    They’re the cheeriest seasonal decoration and go a long way towards driving out the gloom of winter. I’m always sad to see them go! I wish we had more twinkle lights downtown.

  9. Patricia Eich says:

    I agree, leave them up through January. Right after New Year’s or even before, the Christmas lights in the neighborhood start to be taken down and it’s so dark after those lights are gone.

  10. Bill Kapaun says:

    Good to see some white, hexasexual snowflakes.

  11. Isaac says:

    Please leave them up! Snowflakes are for winter, not just Christmas and we still have 6 weeks of winter and short days/long nights left!

  12. Nancy Strohlein says:

    In total agreement. Would be great to have the snowflakes up for all of January.


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