Children from West Essex and beyond lined up to take photos with Santa Claus at Caldwell Flowerland Saturday.
Mr. Claus was escorted by Caldwell Police to the festively decorated shop where he spent the day listening to children's wish lists and smiling for photographs.
The annual tradition was sponsored by the Caldwell Merchants Association. New this year was a Holiday Treasure Hunt. Children and their families visited various shops in the downtown looking for a hidden gnome. At the end of the hunt, children were presented with special goodie bags.
The holiday events coincided with the third annual Small Business Saturday, a "Shop Small" initiative founded by American Express.
Pink Bungalow, Smith & Company and Runway saw an influx of shoppers Saturday, many who took advantage of a $25 rebate offered to American Express cardholders who registered their credit cards for Small Business Saturday.
Debbie Hickey, proprietor of Somewhere in Time, said Small Business Saturday has become one of her biggest sales days of the year—even though she does not accept Amex.
Caldwells Patch partnered with American Express to help promote Small Business Saturday by offering free parking in town from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 100 meters were covered with blue plastic bags marked "Free Parking" on Saturday.
The borough will bag meters for the rest of the holiday season starting Dec. 1, according to an announcement made at last Tuesday's borough council meeting. Many shops will also have extended and Sunday hours during the coming weeks.