I guess the day after Thanksgiving is the unofficial start to the Chrismukkah season, though I did have a woman rather cross with me that we hadn't put out menorahs yet at Crazy Wisdom on November 1st. (If you spot the unintended pun, you're a bad person.) I realize Hanukkah starts on December 8th this year, but come on.
Anyway, my roommates and I did not wait until it was December to put up our tree and decorate it. Kimmy and I had a lot of fun shopping for new ornaments at the World Market in Portage/Kalamazoo while we were visiting my mother. I bought a little miniature tea set ornament and, best of all, a purple dragon!! The store had two, so I bought them both and gave one to my brother and his family.
This past Wednesday, I met up with my boyfriend Greg at his house in Dearborn Heights, and we drove through the impressive light display that is set up along Hines Drive every year called the Wayne County Lightfest. You pay $5 per vehicle to get in, and the drive is just shy of 5 miles long. Mostly the displays are Christmas themed, but there are also scenes for Hanukkah and Kwana, as well as many, many nondenominational Santa Claus and toy light-up scenes. If you are in the Detroit area and enjoy holiday light displays, you cannot miss this one.
If you live around Ann Arbor, you may already know about this one, but I've lived here for a few years now, and it was new to me. I'm talking about Midnight Madness, which takes place on the Friday after Black Friday as a way to promote local holiday shopping. Restaurants in downtown Ann Arbor offer drinks specials or half off appetizers, etc, while the shops run sales and have special events like music or caroling, sometimes offering special treats, and participants stay open until midnight. In Kerrytown, there was a wine tasting.
Crazy Wisdom usually stays open until 11pm on Fridays anyway, so the extra hour wasn't too much of a stretch for me, and I had two helpers that night instead of one. And am I ever glad I did! It isn't called Midnight Madness for nothing. We had a near nonstop line from when I got there at 7pm until just after 11pm. It was nuts! The store was a mess, and there was nothing I could to clean it up because I was shackled to the register. It broke my hear to see so many empty easels and the books on the tables in shambles. *sob sob* But the ridiculously high sales made up for it. To say simply that Midnight Madness was a success for us wee little local shops is a gross understatement.
Midnight Madness really is a great time. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood and elated to get some great deals. Some people didn't know there was anything special going on and were enticed to "go back in," as one man put it, to buy more things. People around Ann Arbor should check it out. I think it's a better time than Black Friday at any rate.
It turns out that Kerrytown does a lot for the December holidays. The same night as Midnight Madness they host KindleFest, which includes a children's lantern parade, as well as a visit from St. Nicholas and Krampus. This Friday the 7th, from 4pm to 9pm, is the Kerrytown Holiday Greens and Gift Market with community-wide caroling and fires for roasting marshmallows and keeping warm. (Though December has been unseasonably warm so far for Michigan. Not that Michigan is ever really seasonable. We're a very nonconformist state.)
If you are looking for more things to do around Detroit to brighten your Christmas or Hanukkah or Solstice or what-have-you, there is also Christmas at the Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad in Flint, and, of course, Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. I was very sorry to have missed Noel Night this year. (Read about Noel Night on the Huffington Post.) Here is a rundown of Noel Night 2011, including some pictures.
Well, that is what I have been up to this past week. I hope I've given some of you some fun ideas for the approaching holidays, and if you missed out on some events, like Midnight Madness and Noel Night, I hope you mark them on your calendars for next year. Winter greetings, everyone!