Whether you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one or Galentine’s Day with your girlfriends, February 14th is all about love. People all over the city are celebrating the holiday, all in their own way.
You won’t find many people who will refer to DC as the ‘city of love.’ “Washington can sometimes be a little bland,” says Gregory Nelson. But there’s nothing bland about one home in particular on 16th Street NW. “They call me Mr. Holiday,” says Nelson. “I don’t do anything small, my philosophy in life is everything is better with a theme,” he says.
This month’s theme: Love. Every single holiday, Mr. Holiday’s home is decorated, and people love it. Kids take their field trips here and families make it part of their traditions. “We even had a proposal at the Eiffel Tower,” says Nelson. “The gentleman said, ‘I can’t afford to take you to France, but I can afford to take you to the Eiffel Tower, will you marry me?'” Nelson says the proposal happened in front of the faux tower in his front yard.
Thankfully for DC, Mr. Holiday isn’t alone in his love for love. “We’ve got a quirky neighborhood,” he says. Just a few blocks away, is the famous ‘Barbie Pond.’ This display is known more for risqué displays, but on February 14th, there’s nothing but love. A tree next to the pond is filled with love letters from people in the neighborhood.
The signs of love are everywhere in DC, like a utility box set up on Park Road. A sign outside the box says, ‘open me,’ and on the inside are instructions for DYI Valentine’s Day cards, complete with pens and envelopes.
“Oh I love this, I think it’s wonderful,” says one woman walking by the box. “Anything spontaneous and positive is good these days.”
No one knows who is responsible for the Valentine’s boxes, but the intention behind each display is the same: to spread love. “I really believe if you can leave a thumbprint on someone’s life, you really have a great gift to give. This is really my thumbprint to the community,” says Nelson.
As for Mr. Holiday, he gets plenty in return when he sees the dozens of people stopping by his home. “It brought more than a smile to my face,” he says.
Mr. Holiday says tonight is the last night for the Valentine’s Day decorations. His next project – will be decorating for Saint Patrick’s Day.