Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mall Memories -- Day of Christmas

During the late '70's and early '80's, there was an annual event celebrated in my family.  One weekday in December my mother would call my sister and me in sick at school. Then along with my other sister, we would head off to the "big" mall. We had our own local shopping mall, but there was another, larger and more grand, with more shopping and dining options: Crestwood Mall in South St. Louis County, Missouri.

Crestwood Mall 1986
We called the event "Day of Christmas". Yes, we laughed at the label even then, but it meant a day of Christmas shopping, spending time with family (my grandparents met us there) and don't forget, an authorized skipping of a day of school.  It also meant lunch at Woolworth's.

That may seem simple to most people, but to us, it was a big event.  The mall had a Woolworth's inside it, having been swallowed by the mall in a then-recent remodeling. After having spent the day wandering the mall visiting the usual stores like B. Dalton's, Walden Books, Radio Shack and K.B.Toys while my mother and sisters shopped the anchor stores Sears, Famous Barr and Stix, Baer & Fuller, lunchtime would find us in the Woolworth's cafe.

Given the season, the special of the day was always the turkey platter. Let's face it, it was turkey loaf, but having any turkey outside of Thanksgiving was a treat for me. And it came with all the pre-made fixings: mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

This coffee shop looks a lot like our Woolworth's cafe did.

After lunch, we would wander the aisles of Woolworth picking out cheap trinkets to exchange with each other on Christmas Eve. And though I call them "cheap", to me, having bought them with my own money and invested a lot of thought picking out just the right thing for every family member, I felt like I was giving the greatest gifts ever.

This cashier's pin worn sometime in the '70's is a reminder of those times.  To me, Woolworth's really was The Christmas Headquarters.

Woolworth's was dissolved in 1994, either closed or sold and converted to other stores.

Crestwood Mall closed in 2013 and was demolished in 2017.

The site of Crestwood Mall 2018


  1. Great memories. We had a Woolworth's in a mall near us, and shopping it at Christmas was just so much a part of the season. And they had a dining space next door, that even had a connecting door from the store, so you didn't have to go back into the mall. Thought that was so cool.

    1. That's how ours was. Just a dividing half wall between the store and the cafe. There were 2 floors to the store.

  2. As a young child I remember my mother taking me to an in-store restaurant, I think it was in Sears. I barely remember it, although that picture is somewhat reminiscent. Never found the restaurant when I was older, so I assume it was removed at some point. Now Sears is gone altogether.

  3. Gotcha. In my neck of the woods twas a Walgreens restaurant. Thought their open faced Turkey sammy with mashed potatoes was 4 star dining. Looking back now was most likely a few banquet meals warmed up

    1. Thanks for sharing the memory, Gamer. I recall a Walgreens with a lunch counter in downtown St. Louis as well, but I never ate there. Hmmm. Banquet meals. That's a thought. Maybe we can recreate our lunchtime memories...nah.

  4. Oh how I miss Woolworth's ours never left the downtown to join the ranks of Mall walkers.


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