The Valentine window on Long’s Hill
Sharon Hynes celebrates the holidays year-round. Her front window is a familiar sight to regulars in her neighbourhood, and with Valentine’s Day here, she has engineered a window display to warm even the snowiest of souls. Strings of heart lights glow a cherry red, and paper valentines are scattered about. In one corner, an illuminated heart pierced with cupid’s arrow flickers in the window. Visitors lucky enough to be invited inside for a cup of tea can’t help but notice that the inside of her house is often decorated too—a giant inflatable heart currently adorns the back of her front door and red and silver streamers cascade from the ceiling.
People noticing her home for the first time have mistaken it for a store or even a daycare, Sharon says. Since she’s been decorating the front window of her home for many years now, she has many stories to tell. Answering a knock on her door one night, she met a woman who wanted to thank her: “she said, ‘when I feel down, I just head on by your house and it makes me happy,’” Sharon says, glad she’s able to bring a smile to people’s faces.
In the summertime, her window changes frequently, attracting tourists and their cameras. During a lull in major holidays, cats are a favourite theme, and through the revolving parade of elves and Jack-o-lanterns (even groundhogs on February 2nd) one constant resident of the window is a plush cat that has been gazing at the world outside for years.
Sharon’s mother in particular is a fan of her daughter’s decorating. She likens it to the excitement of a child waiting for a glimpse of a department-store toyland—a magical moment when you reach the top of the escalator and the holiday toy display is revealed in front of you.
Back inside, my gaze lands on her four-foot tall valentine tree, a reappropriated Christmas model with red sparkly, synthetic pine needles and draped with a delicious-looking plastic candy garland. A giant ‘I love you’ plushie heart sits on top.
“It’s a happy house,” Sharon beams.
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