Haddonfield is just the sort of pristine little town that was made for a pre-Christmas shopping binge.
Haddonfield has long prided itself on its history - 150 buildings were declared architecturally significant in 1971. "We have history here," the Preservation Society's executive director, Joan Aiken, told the Bulletin in 1980. "We didn't make it up, like Chestnut Hill did."
Amid its colonial housing and quaint side streets sits the admirably pedestrian-friendly downtown shopping district along Kings Highway. There's a 25 m.p.h. speed limit and the main drag is striped with traffic-calming crosswalks. A few stores try too hard to be charming, but there are genuine pleasures, too.
Most of the businesses are independently owned, and range from the ransackable Haddonfield Antique Center (9 Kings Highway) to the endearingly esoteric Conte's Card Castle (3 Haddon Ave.), which will satisfy all your "Magic: The Gathering" and sports-card needs. There's even an old-school candy store, the Candy Buffet (220 Kings Highway), with barrels of cheap treats that can be bought by the pound.
In short, Haddonfield might be a good stop for those who haven't yet purchased enough stocking stuffers. That's why the borough is throwing a Midnight Monday before Christmas, where most of the businesses on or near the main strip will remain open until the wee hours.
Last year marked the borough's first attempt at minting a nascent tradition. "It's for all the last-minute shopping, the do-or-die for Christmas time to get your things," says Remi Fortunato, the retail recruiter for the borough's Partnership for Haddonfield. "All the boutiques are participating. There's just one that isn't sure."
Success has bred ambition. Haddonfield will be adorning this year's Midnight Monday with additional trappings, including carriage rides, strolling singers courtesy of the Camden Catholic High School Choir, and a DJ playing holiday music and Top 40 hits.
But do not be put off by the dubious pleasures of what will likely be a near-endless loop of Adele and "Jingle Bell Rock." (The discerning shopper will keep in mind that earmuffs are in season.) Midnight Monday is an unparalleled chance to hit a concentrated array of retail open very late, and very close to Christmas. Best of all, Haddonfield is a mere 20-minute PATCO ride from Center City, and those trains run all night long.