Winter: Portland has a great way to celebrate the holiday season, it’s called Merry Madness, which is a pretty good description of how most people feel during the holidays. Sponsored by Portland’s Downtown District, Merry Madness usually happens each year, mid December. I suggest you get a group of friends together and plan to meet at the Merry Madness’s “happy hour”. Last year it was held at the Hilton Garden in the heart of the Old Port but, the venue changes each year so you may want to confirm before you go. Happy Hour is free for all guests to attend with free appetizers and cocktails to kick off the event. All the participating stores stay open late, usually until 10 pm and offer special sales and refreshments for shoppers. Shoppers can also hop on the free horse and carriage rides around the downtown and Old Port area. This is a great event to enjoy with your girlfriends. Last year, we all met at the Hilton Gardens in the Old Port for the kick-off party and shopped all the bargains at Betsy’s, J’Adore and Longfellow Books. It was fun and really put us in the holiday spirit. We ended our night of shopping at Local 188 where the gingersnap martini certainly hit the spot. Merry Madness is a fun way to get shopping done and support your local businesses in Portland’s downtown district. Be sure to mark your calendar and taken advantage of a fun way to spend some time getting into the spirit of the season!