Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Every year on Black Friday, the Downtown Council presents its Christmas Open House on the Square. This year, the group is attempting to make it bigger and better than in years past.
The President of the Downtown Council and co-owner of Something Southern, Mark Huelse, says that this event is one to be excited about.
“Last year we stepped it up and did a Christmas tree and some pictures with Santa. This year we are hoping to take it to the next level by adding carriage rides, a bigger tree and special store hours,” said Huelse.
The Christmas Open House promises sales from the on-Square businesses, too, according to manager of the J.E. Neilson department store, Amanda Hyneman.
“We will be opening early at 7 a.m. From 7 to 10 a.m. we will have 25 percent off store wide,” Hyneman said.
T-shirts will be given out to the first 175 children at the event. The council is also offering a chance to win something called “Downtown Dollars.” The grand prize will be $500, followed by a $200 prize and three $100 prizes. One can qualify with a minimum purchase in any store, but you do have to be present to win.
Sherry Grimsley, an Olive Branch resident, says that she attends the event every year.
“I do live closer to Memphis, but coming to Oxford is a much better experience. The larger cities are so crowded from Black Friday that it is not enjoyable to attend. Coming to the Christmas Open House is a lot less catty,” said Grimsley.
Huelse agrees, “It is much more intimate. The atmosphere of the square is something that cannot be reproduced.”
Hyneman says that the Christmas Open House is about something more than sales; she says it is about tradition.
“People do come to shop, but they also come to visit. People enjoy walking around and seeing people that they haven’t seen since this event last year. It is a great opportunity to find unique items and see old friends.”
The Downtown Council’s Christmas Open House will take place on Nov. 23 on the Square in Oxford. It will last from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.