The communities of Sun City and Glendale celebrated Christmas 161 days early this weekend, complete with shopping, Santa and candy.
“It’s very nice, they need something like this around here,” said Shirley Boyle of Surprise while purchasing a few festive finds at the West Valley Lutheran Thrift Shop in Sun City.
Boyle, who is originally from England, thought the holiday cheer was a great idea, and loved the opportunity to pick up a few decorations, which store volunteer Jean Ann Rogan wrapped up in holiday gift bags for her.
“I collect snowmen,” Boyle said, admiring the newest addition to her collection.
The thrift store is considering extending its annual Christmas in July sale at its Sun Bowl Plaza location. For now, the sale will continue through July 31.
In downtown Glendale, shoppers went from shop to shop offering discounts on Christmas supplies as the heat of the day contrasted with the cool December on their minds.
Friends Angie McNamara and Janie Machamer welcomed the chance to do a little shopping, for Christmas or otherwise.
“We’re shopping buddies,” McNamara said, adding they had never been to the event before. “It’s something for everyone.”
The fifth annual event even drew Santa from the North Pole, to the delight of children eager to take photos with him at A Mad Hatter’s Antiques, Collectibles & Home Décor.
For Melissa Cochran and her children Alexa and Dominic Atamian, the event offered the chance to do something a little different without spending a lot of money.
“I thought I’d check out this antique store and the kids, of course as soon as I said ‘Santa’ they were all over it,” Cochran said as she watched the children take their photo with Santa. Dominic asked Santa for a snowmobile for Christmas, even though he might not get much use out of it at their Scottsdale home.
Chocolate lovers of all ages decorated a Cerreta’s Chocolate Christmas tree at the candy shop, adding frosting, nuts, and even more chocolate.
The Glendale Visitor Center accepted school supplies for the annual Back to School Supply Drive, which will benefit local elementary schools, in the spirit of holiday giving.
The event also kicked off the start of decorating downtown Glendale for the Glendale Glitters festival in November, where 1.5 million lights will be hung around the historic district.