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Holiday Shopping

Anti-Chain Store Holiday Roundup

The simultaneously dreaded and excitedly anticipated holiday shopping season is upon us. Before you succumb to elbowing your way through throngs of aggressive deal-seekers at the mall, consider some alternative avenues for procuring unique and thoughtful gifts. The next two weekends will be key. Tomorrow kicks off KPFA’s Crafts & Music Fair and Sunday marks the next installment of Mission Indie-mart. Next Thursday, Dec13th, the charming smattering of shops on Clement between 4th Ave and Arguello will extend their business hours to 9pm. Next Saturday, Dec 15th, Bazaar Bizarre touches down in Golden Gate Park. If you don’t feel up to leaving the comfort of your own home, surf over to etsy, a staggering site filled with handmade goods from crafty folks all over the world.

KPFA Craft & Music Fair
Tomorrow and Sunday local public radio station KPFA will be hosting their 37th annual Crafts & Music Fair at the Concourse Exhibition Center. 220 artists selected by a jury of peers from around the country will be displaying sculpture, metalwork, glass, ceramics, jewelry, fine art photography, paintings, textiles, weaving and more, and proceeds from the Fair ($10 admission for adults) will benefit the country’s first nonprofit listener-sponsored free speech public radio station.

This year, East Bay Heritage Quilters, an organization that makes and distributes over 1,000 quilts every year to children living with AIDS and HIV, born drug-addicted and without homes, will be displaying quilts and offering hands-on quilting activities. If you’re feeling lazy, free shuttles will run from the 8th and Market MUNI station and Caltrain Station. The Bike Coalition will be running bicycle valet.

Mission Indie-Mart
Local superstar Kelly Malone and cohort Charles Hurburt will be hosting the December edition of their bimonthly Mission Indie-Mart at 12 Galaxies this Sunday from 12pm - 5pm. What can you expect here? Cheep beer, finger-lickin food, great music and hipster indie designer goods from over 40 vendors. Basically it’s a party with eye candy and an excuse to knock some gifts off your list. Admission is free.

One Night Only: Clement Street
Follow the topiary trees on Arguello on Thursday and you’ll find yourself on a charming little block with eight boutiques and galleries that have extended their hours for one night to 9pm, along with several café’s and restaurants to keep things lively.

Shops include Péché Mignon, a boutique specializing in French imports (exquisite linens, tableware, kitchen accessories, home décor galore); Park Life, gallery and retail store; April in Paris, peddler of custom leather goods by Hermes-trained Beatrice Amblard; Fleur*t, European baubles, perfume and trinkets; Kumquat Art & Home Boutique. European imports -- especially popular are the toys and trinkets imported from Germany; Period George Antiques; With Style, a boutique with women’s and children’s clothing from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan; and Marques, a store with new, vintage and antique furnishings.

Bazaar Bizarre
“Not your granny’s craft fair!” -- Bazaar Bizarre began in 2001 in New England and has expanded to events in LA, Cleveland and SF. This year’s Bazaar Bizarre will take place in the County Fair Building of Golden Gate Park. In addition to a burgeoning list of vendors also of the crafty/indie vein, if you sign up early enough you can attend craft workshops to make something of your own: REgifting – Reconstruction of an old button-down shirt (free), Zip-Top Shoulder Bags Made Easy (free), Made with Love: Hand-Sewn Holiday Gift Tags (free) and Glass Etching for Gifts ($25 materials fee) are just a few. $1 admission

etsy
Incredibly easy to use and overflowing with handmade gems, http://www.etsy.com is a site that allows anyone to create their own online store for peddling their wares. “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade” even provides several friendly tools to make shopping easy. First and foremost the Gift Guides section allows you to view suggestions depending on recipient (Mom, Dad, girls and boys by age, significant other female or male, office mates, book worms and writers, etc.), occasion, or price range.

In the left hand navigation bar you can also choose from other tools such as “Colors”, which allows you to shop for items by color if your recipient has favorites. The “Geolocator” allows shoppers to browse items by location, as well as seller name, material or tags; all sellers tag their items with descriptors. Another nice feature is the rating listed under the seller’s name, which shows the number of transactions and rating from those transactions.

Many of the sellers on etsy are open to customizing items as well. Seller sarahparrott825 from Providence will make you a custom Gocco screen printed stationery set of 25 cards and envelopes for $30. In fact, etsy is a great place to find unique greeting cards if you’re tired of the boxed and Hallmark options. Local husband-wife design team des Troy offers refreshing and aesthetically pleasing Gocco printed Hanukah and other holiday cards in their etsy shop, destroy.etsy.com.

From screen printed tea towels to all kinds of jewelry, affordable art, cufflinks, hand sewn turntable covers and even Johnny and June or Ramones window shades, you can spend hours “window shopping” at etsy. If you can’t make up your mind, there is always the option of gift certificate as well. Just remember deadlines for placing your orders are rapidly approaching, as sellers wrap up their orders and prepare items for shipping.

KPFA Crafts & Music Fair
Sat. Dec 8 & Sun. Dec 9, 10am - 6pm
Concourse Exhibition Center
8th Street at Brannan
http://www.kpfa.org/craftsfair/index.html

Mission Indie-mart
Sun. Dec 9, 12 - 5pm
http://www.indie-mart.com/
2565 Mission Street
Cross: 22nd Street

Péché Mignon
147 Clement Street
415.221.6000
www.pechemignon.com

Park Life
220 Clement Street
415.386.7275
www.parklifestore.com

April in Paris
55 Clement Street
415.750.9910
www.AprilinParis.us.

Fleur*t
15 Clement Street
415.751.2747
www.fleurtstyle.com

Kumquat
9 Clement Street
415.752.2140
www.kumquatart.com

Period George
7 Clement Street.
415.752.1900
www.periodgeorge.net

With Style
36 Clement Street
415.379.9195
www.withstyleboutique.com

Marques
6 Clement Street.
415.752.7722
www.marqueshome.com

Bazaar Bizarre
Sat. Dec 15
SF County Fair Building
Golden Gate Park
http://www.bazaarbizarre.org/sanfrancisco.html