We're not going to take the predictable Christmastime cheap shot at malls (and those whose livelihoods depend on them). Hey, malls are fine and people carp about them too much. But during the holiday season the giant covered shopping arcades Americans flock to become too crowded and crazed for our taste. Better to patronize a more laid-back, less tightly thronged retail environment such as the city of Maplewood. This inner-ring St. Louis suburb is a nice place and especially so every December, during its Maplewood Christmas Tree Walk. The walk begins this evening at 6 p.m. in Citizens National Bank Park (7300 Manchester Avenue, Maplewood), where there'll be caroling, the grand lighting of the Christmas tree and Santa Claus' arrival. Festivities continue with free carriage rides and hot chocolate until things wrap up at 9 p.m. Maplewood merchants have a lot of interesting things to offer; tonight's the perfect time to view them. For more information on the free event, visit www.maplewood-chamber.com.
Fri., Dec. 7, 2012