Gallery: Detroit museum revisits classic Christmas charm of 'Hudson's Holidays'

November 23, 2021, 9:50 AM

Reminders of a bygone era downtown, on display 10 more weeks. Five other photos are below. (Photos: Detroit Historical Society)

Pure Detroit nostalgia is on view through January at the Detroit Historical Museum, where "Hudson's Holidays" turn back the calendar to a pre-1998 tradition. 

Original furnishings, artifacts and holiday decor from the downtown department store are throughout the Cultural Center attraction to "bring back the memories and magic of Hudson's ... just in time for the holiday season," a description says.

"Visitors will learn what made Hudson’s so popular, like its huge selection of merchandise and full-service approach, which went beyond in-store restaurants, salons and alterations departments to offer amenities like a circulating library, a writing lounge and an in-house dry cleaner."

The exhibit includes vintage fashions, Santa Bears, a horse-pulled delivery wagon and Toy Town items such as an Easy-Bake Oven and Erector set. Mural-size photos "evoke the massive building’s distinctive features," adds the promotional blurb. 

Nostalgic reactions flow onto the museum's Facebook page, where Janet Turner-Wentz of Eastpointe posts a black-and-white snapshot of "my sister and I visiting Santa at Hudson’s in the early 50’s -- it was so magical!"

Angela Black-Wilkins of Detroit is "looking forward to taking my girls back down memory lane." And Alison Waite Becchina, now living in Simi Valley, Calif., recalls: "Hudson's at Christmas was the best! We believed in the magic. And of course it was the real Santa, not one of his 'helpers.' I would love to see this!"  

Plan a visit:

  • Where: 5401 Woodward Ave., just north of the Detroit Public Library

  • Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday

  • Admission: $10 adults, $8 for seniors, students, active military and first responders (with valid ID); $6 for children; $35 for a household (up to six people with same address)

  • Free days: Each Sunday in December, with live entertainment

  • Website:

  • Parking: The museum lot on Kirby Street, between Woodward and Cass, costs $9 during museum hours

Photos from museum:

The "Basement Store" at the Woodward Avenue flagship, around 1950. (Photo: David B. Hillmer)

The main floor during the 1940s. (Photo: David B. Hillmer)


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