Five hundred feet of garland, countless rolls of ribbon, and classic and not-so-traditional Christmas ornaments are uniting in holiday spirit a pocket of Philadelphia's Society Hill section.
On their cobblestone streets of Colonial rowhouses, residents are expressing themselves and celebrating the season by decorating about 30 old-fashioned lampposts.
"The point is to get to know your neighbors," said Laura Temple, who has been decorating a few lampposts in the community for about five years.
A few weeks ago, Temple and another neighbor, Judy Block, encouraged other residents to decorate the lampposts, known as "Franklin" poles because of their Colonial look.
"This year, we asked, 'Would y'all like to decorate some?' " said Temple, who works in information technology for Community College of Philadelphia. "And things just took off."
Neighbors in the 200 block of Delancey Street, the 200 block of Spruce Street, and on American and Philip Streets between them, have been putting their own special touches on the poles.
Some have theme designs; others offer traditional holiday looks. All are draped with Douglas fir and cedar garland, Temple said.
One pole, decorated by Temple, features a New Orleans theme, with Mardi Gras beads in purple and green and matching ribbons and blown-glass bulbs.
Temple said she was inspired by several visits she had made to the Big Easy over the years.
"I love jazz," she said. "When I was a little girl, my father played the trumpet. I just love New Orleans."
Another featured two stuffed black bears climbing a pole bedecked with pine cones, fireplace logs, and ribbons.
Bobbie Turner, another resident, said the poles brighten the streets just a few blocks from Headhouse Square.
"I like that they are all a little different. I think that's fun," Turner said. "I like that they have a unique theme. It just kind of makes me smile."
Block pointed to the pole she decorated, describing the theme as inspired by Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
The pole is adorned with artificial apples, pears, and grapes, cinnamon sticks, pine cones, and colorful ribbons.
"This is a new tradition we're starting," Block said. "It epitomizes Society Hill."
Each brown-and-black lamppost, with a lantern-style light at the top, was adopted by a neighbor in the first week of December. Before being decorated, each pole was affixed with a white snowflake emblem bearing the phrase "I'm adopted."
Temple said each neighbor paid $30 to cover the cost of the garland.
"The neighbors, as we started to do this, we started to get to know each other," Temple said, "even though we're just around the corner from each other.
George Kelley, who decorated a pole with ribbons and glass ornaments, said he liked that no strings of lights were used on the poles.
"I think this makes the neighborhood look more traditional," Kelley said.
Samuel Miller, 7, looked wide-eyed at a pole he helped decorate. It featured lollipops, ribbons, and glass ornaments.
"I like this one because it has candy - and I like candy," he said.