Photograph by Alana Clark

By Jolie Higazi

There are few towns in Northeast Ohio that have such a unique feeling to them as Hudson when it comes to the holiday season. Every year, Hudson comes alive with an old- school, nostalgic feel to get people ready for the holidays—and it keeps people coming back to enjoy it year after year.

From its numerous holiday festivities to its dozens of unique small businesses, Hudson offers plenty of reasons for visitors to enjoy the town and get in the holiday spirit. Plan a day or an afternoon of shopping and dining in Hudson this season, and you’ll wonder why you ever stayed home and did your holiday shopping online.

The day after Thanksgiving is often known as the official start to the holiday season, but Hudson takes a more relaxed approach to Black Friday. On November 23 from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Hudson kicks off the holiday season with “Come Home to Hudson,” with nearly 100 local shops and restaurants offering special deals and events to get people in the holiday spirit.

There will be plenty of carolers (with caroling booklets distributed so visitors can sing along), lights on Village Green, Olaf hanging around town for pictures, and a visit from Santa and his elves.

On December 1, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding through the town on a fire truck and will greet children at the Gazebo on Main Street. The day after is the Hudson Holiday Walk downtown, a Hudson tradition that many say is their favorite part of the holiday season. A live nativity scene will take place on the Clocktower Green (and even includes sheep and a camel…not to be missed). Carolers from Hudson High school and Girl Scouts from around the region will be caroling all over town. There will be reindeer rides (ponies dressed as reindeer, but don’t tell the kids that!).

The town will also offer horse-drawn carriage rides, a hot cocoa warm-up station, and plenty of crafts and activities for the whole family, such as Operation Snowflake (writing a letter to a soldier) and a Stuff the Humvee Toy Drive.

With so much to enjoy around the city, here’s a sample of what some local businesses have planned for the season:

MOD (matter of design)

This Hudson shop has been awarded as Akron-Canton’s Best Furniture Store for years and will be offering specials for “Come Home to Hudson” day (Black Friday) and for Small Business Saturday. Along with the unique furniture and gifts, the store will be offering hot chocolate and cookies to visitors and an offer for a $20 gift card for every $100 spent in the store. They’ll also be running this special during the December 2 “Hudson Holiday Walk.” Stop by and check out their unique gifts, including Seattle cheese trays made from wine barrels, along with plenty of hostess gifts and seasonal scented locally made soaps.

Hudson Fine Art and Framing Co.

On Small Business Saturday, the gallery will be offering a new collection of 300 Whiskey Painters of America paintings. The opening begins at 5:30 p.m. and will offer whiskey-infused appetizers, drinks, and hundreds of small paintings that are perfect for gifts. Whiskey Painters of America paintings are made with the brush being dipped in whiskey instead of water, giving each one a special touch!

The paintings will be on display throughout the holidays, along with homemade ornaments for those hard-to-buy-for friends on your list. In addition, the gallery will be participating with a handful of other galleries on Dec. 14 for the Holiday Gallery Hop, where you can even see a whiskey painting demonstration.

Riley’s Clothiers

Riley’s Clothiers has been a longstanding staple for clothing and accessories in Hudson, and features plenty of great gift ideas for family or friends. Consider stopping in for a handsome, high-end men’s shirt from Sweden that can be worn both dressed up or down for a more casual look. There’s also plenty of cozy cotton flannel shirts and merino wool and cashmere sweaters that are great gift ideas for anyone on your list.

The staff at Riley’s loves the atmosphere in Hudson during the holidays and enjoys how much all the decorations “make spirits bright.”

And when you need a break from all the shopping and holiday festivities, consider grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants Hudson has to offer.

Rosewood Grill is a cozy spot in the nice century-old Turner’s Mill Building. ​Regardless of the occasion, they’re known for doing “whatever it takes” to make guests feel special and accommodated during their visit. They’ll be offering extended happy hours Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., along with opening for lunch Monday through Saturday starting December 17. Stop by for fresh squeezed mimosas or for a $75 Sunday Wine and Dine dinner for two, which includes a bottle of Napa Valley Wine. The owners unequivocally say the best part of Hudson during the holidays is “the coziness of the town.”

Oak & Embers Tavern, featuring a southern dining experience of fabulous Barbeque, Bourbon and Beer, is located at 7774 Darrow Rd. in Hudson. With a menu created by the husband/wife team of Mark and Gretchen Garofoli, diners rave about the authentic smokehouse barbebue menu offerings, cooked long and slow with special rubs and sauces, as well as an amazing array of Bourbons and more than 100 craft beers.

When visiting Hudson for the holidays, you’ll know that you’re shopping and dining local and supporting small business merchants while experiencing the magic of the holiday season—something that you just don’t get when you shop online. For more details about special activities, events and shopping experiences in Hudson, visit