Janet Anderson poked at the remnants of what had been a roaring blaze in front of A New Leaf, wearing a festive foam holiday tie.
Anderson’s job for the day: help keep shoppers warm during Saturday’s West Concord Holiday Stroll, the annual spotlight on the area’s eclectic businesses.
“It’s been a busy day out here,” she said as the afternoon began its slow fade into darkness.
Adding a festive air, polar opposites Santa Claus and Grinch wandered around Commonwealth Avenue, respectfully listening to wishes and granting scowls to passing shoppers.
Inside the balsam-scented Joy Street Life & Home, customers browsed everything from candies, to candles, to jars filled with festive cocktail ingredients which, once mixed, could be placed upon one of the jokey drink coasters.
Stockings, judging from the line at the register, were decidedly getting stuffed.
“It’s been so busy today — even more than during West Concord Days,” said Margie Paraskewich as she straightened out a table. “It’s been non-stop.”
Down the street at Concord Firefly, Mary Klinoff piled tables outside her small store high with warm and humorous socks alongside racks filled with comfortable women’s clothing.
“It’s been crowded in harem but everyone seems to be happy to be getting out,” she said.