From the December 12, 1941 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

The Vineyard has put on its finest Christmas dress, despite the outbreak of war. The business districts of down-Island towns glow with lights and Christmas brilliance as never before, and the stores which line those streets present a more gay and festive appearance even than in recent years.

Vineyard Haven’s Main street is festooned with Christmas lights for the first time, and a splendid job of decorating has been accomplished. Oak Bluffs, with a couple of years’ experience in this line, and an accumulated stock of wiring and fixtures, has added new and attractive features to the broad street, now arched with colored lights, with hanging illuminated bells and stars.

From the entrance of Oak Bluffs to the end of the business district, the store fronts blaze with lights and decorations. Prominent among these are Our Market and Leonard’s Motor Service, both seasonably decorated, and the Seven Seas Cafe, with candlelit windows.

Pearsons Drug Store displays its usual Christmas-trimmed windows banked with merchandise in Christmas packages, and in one window a huge fireplace of red bricks, over which stockings filled with toys and candy are hung. Phillips Hardware Company has windows filled with toys and practical gifts, all illuminated with colored lights.

Snow with simulated snow-laden window panes, backed by a display of merchandise and colored lights, marks the Herald Drug Company.

Vineyard Haven’s display is not yet complete, although the majority of business displays have been arranged. Beach Road businesses, including the oil companies, Angelo Frank and W. E. Dugan, will display their usual wreaths, Christmas trees and candle-lighted windows. The Pacific Oil Company station and display room features merchandise, wreaths and lights, and the Dukes County Garage its customary Christmas tree, well decorated and lighted.

At the other end of town, Beatrice Flowers has windows filled with Christmas wreaths of various kinds, plants and similar decorations, of a nature similar to the display at Morrice’s, the length of Main street away, where poinsettias and many varieties of potted plants and flowers are displayed among the artificial and natural wreaths.

The Ben Franklin Store has windows crammed with toys against a background of red paper bricks, the whole lighted at night. Cronig Brothers Market have a special display of products in one window, where small panes are lined off with red Christmas streamers. Decorations include holly, fruit, and a Christmas tree.

The A. & P. Company has Christmas colors and merchandise. The Vineyard Dry Goods store has window backgrounds, complete from floor to ceiling, of a deep red with silver leaves scattered across. Against this are displayed evening gowns and Christmas packages strewn upon a snowy base. In the store an evergreen tree stands in an alcove, lighted in blue, which gives it a winter sunset effect, and there are decorations throughout.

Christmas merchandise and colors fill the windows of Smith, Bodfish and Swift Co. Frank Swift’s two windows are filled with stars, large and small, cut out and wired for lights. The larger stars are four feet across, and are equipped with small ledges on which merchandise is displayed. The interior of the store has more stars, arranged in a similar manner. Suggestive of the war is the equipment, scattered among the window display, for handling incendiary bombs and fighting fire in the home.

Tilton’s has a large tree, beautifully decorated, sitting in the midst of articles scattered on a snowy base. Lillian’s Style Shop displays gowns, the Christmas colors among them; Vineyard Haveb Shoe Repairs has green streamers and red wreaths; E. T. Walker and Company has wreaths, tinsel and icicles.

Brickman’s has a Christmas paper background, with gift luggage covered with snow and lighted by stars on one side, and in the other window a fireplace, with a ship model on the mantel and Christmas lights. The interior if filled with a Christmas display. The Cooperative Store displays wreaths and merchandise. Hallowell’s restaurant is gay with green streamers crossing windows filled with huge potted plants.

Edgartown has been slower in getting fixed up for the Christmas season this year, but some of the stores are ready and festive. Avery & Tobin is transformed as usual, and the windows are effectively dressed. Red and blue lights flash and sparkle in the gift-dressed windows of Hall’s Department Store, and across the street the Leroy W. Vose store expresses the Spirit of the Christmas season in wrapped gifts and other attractive symbols.

Both the Edgartown Drug Co. and the Colonial Drug Store have put on Christmas array, and Connors Market bears the impress of the coming holiday.

Other decorations are in process, and another week will see the lights all in place and the wreaths and ribbons hanging.

Compiled by Hilary Wall