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What to know about the 36th annual Old Webster Holiday Open House

Get a kickstart on your holiday shopping at the 36th annual Old Webster Holiday Open House.

WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — A long-standing holiday tradition, in Old Webster, will bring something for everyone this weekend. The 36th annual open house will kick off "the most wonderful time of the year.” It's a time to shop and support small businesses and have fun with all members of the family.

The streets of Webster Groves will be aglow Sunday getting you in the mood for the holiday season. The weather will feel like Christmas time so throw on that scarf and hat and get ready to walk the streets and pop in and out of stores with special tastes from area restaurants and deals offered in many stores.

5 On Your Side got a sneak peek in this week's Monica in the Metro. Story Seven co-owner Sarah Jozwiakowski talked about how much fun it is for the whole family.

"All the shops do something special, there are carolers, Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and carriage rides,” she said. Paisley boutique owner Stacie Swederska added, “Balloon artists, face painting and pictures with Santa.”

There will be festive food and drinks available for purchase up and down the streets and lunch or dinner opportunities at the growing number of restaurants Webster offers.

A big part of the afternoon is shopping, and many stores will even take a chore off your plate.

“We will have gifts prewrapped like glassware, wine and candles,” Swederska said.

The open house tradition started by the patriarch of the Rolling Ride Nursery, Jim McMillan, a longtime radio host of the show "Growing Green" in St. Louis.

"He did it as a way to jumpstart the season earlier than in December when everyone is thinking about it,” McMillan’s daughter, Lynn Cressler, said.

His vision was to bring everyone together to get in the spirit and start their decorating from a tradition passed down through the generations. Rolling Ridge Nursery opened in the late 1950s and it’s known for their wall of bows and unique plants in their nursery. When the tradition started, there were maybe 10 businesses in Webster and now the streets are packed with tons of brick and mortars.

Trolleys will take you up and down the street to make the festivities even easier.

Jozwiakowski is excited to see the shoppers at Story Seven and can feel the excitement from the shoppers.

"It's just a really festive atmosphere and the streets are filled,” she said.

They all are excited to see so customers back in person after limited shopping over the last couple of years during the pandemic.

Swederska is excited for her 11th experience with the festivities at Paisley Boutique and loved decorating to get ready for the stores and the streets to be all aglow and festive.

"It's a great time to come out and have some twinkle and sparkle in your life and just enjoy what the holiday season brings,” she said.

She's also noticed many people wanting to get dressed up for events again with so many galas and holiday parties coming back.

For that age old argument of whether you wait until after Thanksgiving to shop and decorate, Cressler said, “If people are going to decorate, they're going to do it early so you have to put it up, people want it.”

It's also difficult for businesses to try to get all of the Christmas decorations put up in a day so that's why many have to start putting it in their stores early.

"The little elves were working very hard this year, we order our decorations in January and get them in, price them and put everything up this year over a two-week period,” added Cressler.

Swederska has long loved a quote she saw earlier this year – "Thanksgiving is a day and Christmas is a season!”

All the owners told 5 On Your Side their favorite thing about this tradition is the energy the shoppers bring and the happiness on their faces.

The 36th annual Old Webster Holiday Open House is Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along Lockwood from Maple to Rock Hill and along Allen, Gore and Moody.

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