Having people slow down for a little window shopping is precisely the goal of a festive display that’s become a holiday staple at Brian’s Foto Source in downtown Elmira over the past decade.
Owner Brian McHugh says he’s happy to see children’s faces light up as they pass by the front window while Christmas shopping with their parents.
It’s become such a popular feature that children have begun asking McHugh well in advance of the holiday when the display will be back.
“The kids want it, they don’t want me to change. They come in October asking when am I going to put the Christmas display up – they look forward to it. I don’t really know why I started doing it, I just did it. People liked it so we kept doing it,” he explained.
Adding a few items, the display is of West Montrose, featuring one Grinch and a large display that takes up two windows, filled with small, painted figurines representing citizens ice skating, seeing Santa and some replicas of storefronts. The window on the other side of the door is filled with different-sized nutcrackers, ranging from one as a tall as a child and another nutcracker dressed like Santa making toys, with some new additions this year.
“We got more nutcrackers to fill in the window on that side,” he said, motioning to the window display. “I don’t think we did much to the other side because the kids like what’s there. They expect to see it, so I don’t want to change it.”
McHugh noted that the display next year will be similar, as it has been in previous years. The small West Montrose Christmas village has become something of a staple for those checking out the window.
For McHugh, there’s one compelling reason for continuing the annual festive display: “It’s the kids. It’s all about the kids.”