MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Tracy Racine is continuing a special tradition at his antique shop, Any Old Thing. Located on Main Street in downtown Middletown, it’s filled with unique items, the lighting among his favorite.

From coins to ceramics to clocks of many shapes and sizes, each piece comes with their own history.

"I actually sell a lot of instruments here," he said, referring to an old clarinet in his care. "However, it would’ve needed padding and it would’ve needed a little more work than it was worth, so I decided to repurpose it and turn it into a lamp."

Just outside, with carols ringing through the air, he’s preparing for everyone’s favorite holiday: Christmas. Every year, Racine spends a few days decorating his storefront with wreaths, colorful lights, and massive ribbons. He said the people of Middletown expect him to continue his yearly traditions, but this time, it carries a different meaning.

"This year, especially with COVID-19, people have been staying home, and I want them to feel welcome when they come downtown," he said. "So I’ve kind of started an initiative, and hopefully other businesses will follow suit, to decorate the outside of their businesses and hopefully that’ll bring some people downtown.”

Through social media postings, he’s encouraging folks to 'Deck the Downtown.' His neighbor, Freddie Williams, owner of the 6 West Barbershop, plans to follow suit because he said we all need something to smile about right now.

"It brings their minds back to good times and better times. I think it’s real inspirational that other businesses do it as well," Williams said.

The complete display takes Racine just about half-a-day to complete, and he is inviting all businesses to get their decorations up early.