I’m sorry, but, any snobbery I have melts away under the electric holiday lights that herald the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
If you’re any kind of Richmonder, you’ll start filling up your time with the Bizarre Bazaar, a Victorian Maymont Christmas, and a chat with the Legendary Santa, who knows exactly what you mean when you ask for “a less selfish outlook on the year ahead, plus Cheers on DVD.”
I was brought up to respect the bizarreness of the Bizarre Bazaar, an intense craft show with a no-holds-barred attitude towards the level of artisanship they offer. No matter how old I grow or how wizened my typing claws become, I will shout the praises of the Bizarre Bazaar to the rooftop to which Santa Claus himself would spring! This is Christmas incarnate! Adjust thy calendars accordingly!
- Thursday, December 4th – Sunday, December 7th • See site for times
- Richmond International Raceway, 600 E. Laburnum Avenue
- $7 for adults and $1 for children (no strollers, pleaseandthankyou)
I was also brought up to respect the absolute authority of the Legendary Santa. Although, maybe it was the Real Santa–who can tell these days? What I’m saying is, as a child-who-is-now-an-adult, you should give your utmost respect to a Santa guy who spends a ton of time committing to become as most like the Real Thing as is humanly possible, considering that the Real Thing doesn’t exist. Anyway, this guy has poured heart and soul into being there for your kids at CMoR, and you should get behind that or you will learn the scathing lessons of Christmas Future, the worst Christmas of all (don’t remember which Christmas that was for ol’ hapless Scrooge? imagine your name on a tombstone and no one mourning your death. YEAH THAT’S THE DEAL.)
- It’s complicated, but there are many dates and times
- CMoR Central, 2626 W. Broad Street
- Free, but with some cash you can expedite or improve your experience.
I was ALSO brought up to respect the lighting of many tiny electric lights, especially when in the form of reindeer and trees in the heart of downtown Richmond. Yes, I’m talking about the Grand Illumination, which these days also involves the electric outlining of the Richmond skyline. If you hate your city and/or hate the holidays, you will avoid this amazing event. But if you’re the rest of us, then I’ll see you there.
- Friday, December 5th • 5:45 – 7:00 PM
- Da James Center, on Cary Street between 9th Street and 12th Street
I was ALSO ALSO brought up to believe that creepy things should be suppressed, so I almost didn’t include the newish tradition of RVA Krampusnacht. It pays homage to an anti-Santa that accompanied the Jolly Old Elf through his jaunts in Bavaria. Were your kids good? Great! Santa has a little something for them. Were your kids lacking this year? Sucks to be you, they’ll be accosted by Krampus and life is pretty much gonna suck. The modern-day version of this terrifying dichotomy is the Krampuslauf, which starts at the traditional “Portrait House” and walks scarily up Cary Street, just like our forefathers in Austria intended.
- Saturday, December 6th • 5:30 PM
- Portrait House, 2907 W. Cary Street
- Just dress up appropriately, please
OK, OK. You got me. I’m a stickler for anything “old-fashioned,” particularly when it applies to “Christmas.” Throw in “Maymont,” and I’m putty in your hands. My other Richmond childhood memories of Christmas involve walking through Maymont, full of wonder, and seeing some shadowy top-hatted figures alighting carriages in the dark, while people sang carols, holding candles. Yeah, top THAT! You can have Dooley Mansion tours from $5 and horse-drawn carriage tours from $5, too. Or, you can wander around on your own, wondering what it felt like to be so frigging awesome. Up to you.
- Sunday, December 7th • 12:00 – 5:00 PM
- Maymont Mansion and Carriage House Lawn, 1700 Hampton Street
- $5 or free!
Photo by: Joriel “Joz” Jimenez