One reason I'm behind in the holidays is that I've been having some fun. And that, my friends, is a good thing!
One jolly time was the visit from my friend Suzanne, who lives in Canada. We have been friends since high school theatre and visits either direction are mandatory! So, when she comes at the holidays, we have to go shopping!
These windows are from a favorite shop in nearby Mason called Keans. They have wonderful gifts and vintage candy!
Then we headed to Lansing's Old Town where we bought Michigan-made products at Old Town General Store and headed to the glorious Bradly's Home and Garden.
They were decorated to the hilt. Check out a closer look at my favorite of their many trees with the cute red and white theme.
I liked this display, too.
I found a couple of things. Suzanne was on a roll!
Oh, I love Christmas trees!
We also met up with another friend from high school in Mt. Pleasant. Julie lives up north and it was a perfect meeting spot! We had a an absolutely wonderful time catching up over a very long lunch! (And Julie makes amazing cookies!)
After Suzanne left (and Rick returned from his trade show) he and I joined friends Mark and Jan to head back to Old Town for their first Krampusnacht event.
This was the first year of the event that focuses on Krampus -- a very un-Santa-like character from European folklore. Its roots date back to pre-Germanic paganism, the son of a Norse god of the underworld, Hel. Krampus resembles the devil with his hairy, mangled body, a deranged face with bloodshot eyes and giant horns -- half goat, half demon.
His "partner in festivities" is St. Nicholas. Traditionally, they work hand in hand on December 5 (Krampus) and 6 (St. Nick), with St. Nicholas rewarding the good children with gifts or treats and Krampus punishing the bad, beating them with switches or taking them away. A friend working in a gallery said that night was their best day of the season.
The festival was good fun and surprisingly packed with people -- we agreed we hadn't seen that many people in one spot in Lansing in ages! The merchants had to be thrilled with so many wandering into stores. (Even if they didn't buy anything that night, my guess is that they'll be back during the holiday season for shopping!)
There were some fun activities, too, for both adults and children.
We were all enjoying some fire dancers who twirled fire sticks and "ate" the fire.
Quite impressive! (Don't do this at home.)
There was a Misfits market (regrettably, too badly lit and too crowded to see the merchandise, but a good idea for future events) and the Krampus parade, which took place on the crowded sidewalk, as various costumed creatures passed down the narrow path between the crowd, occasionally "tormenting" children in a reminder to be good.
Lots of the Krampus and other costumed figures posed with the kids, who seemed delighted that it was all in good fun! And some of the costumes were very elaborate!
While the event had the potential to be scary for kids, I didn't see a tear, just lots of big eyes and happy laughter.
They knew St. Nick was there, too. Maybe that's why they were on good behavior!
So, I hope that today I am leaving you with a bit of a smile.
Enjoy the season spending time with friends and doing new things.
And remember -- be good! Krampus may be finished for this year -- but I have a feeling he remembers!