Yup. It's that time again. The decorations on our Starbucks cups and rising anxiety levels confirm it: holiday season is upon us. Before you start to stress, check out this handy guide for finding unique, handmade gifts for everyone on your holiday gift list -- including yourself. We feature familiar favorites (with new names), as well as up-and-coming newbies, and most everything in between. Happy shopping!
Renegade Craft Fair
Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion, San Francisco
More information at renegadecraft.com
The granddaddy of all indie craft fairs, the Renegade Craft Fair returns to San Francisco this weekend and will likely continue to dazzle with over 300 makers, enough food options to make Costco jealous, and hammocks, which should come in handy after all the shopping and grub. The offerings encompass everything from Pendleton-esque pillows by Barrington Blue to Claire Vivier-style clutches by Minnie + George, one-of-a-kind jewelry and cards, and of course, TERRARIUMS. Fortunately, event sponsors Square and Shyp are prepared to help you with your spending-and-sending needs -- stop by the Shyp booth to mail gifts straight from the fair and use enter the code RENEGADE14 into the app to get a $10 shipping credit. Pretty solid. Be sure to commemorate all of your accomplishments at the end of the day with a free photo shoot courtesy of the Magnolia Photo Booth Co.
Jack of All Trades Market
Nov. 8, 11-5pm
Jack London Square, Oakland
More information at jackofalltradesoakland.com
The second Saturday of each month, the Jack of All Trades Market features loads of local goodness, including over 100 makers and artists, food start-ups and food trucks, and numerous DIY workshops like the sure-to-be-popular -- wait for it -- “make your own terrarium.” Take advantage of free performances by local bands, street dancers and musicians as you peruse the vintage clothes and antiques on display. The event is pet friendly, so feel free to bring your dog, cat, rat, or all of the above. If you’re coming over from San Francisco, consider taking a ferry from the Ferry Building -- grab a little cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and some Acme bread to snack on as you're whisked across the bay and dropped off right at Jack London Square.
The Lab's 24-Hour Telethon
Nov. 15-16, 12pm to 12pm
The Lab, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco
more information at thelab.org
If we’re being totally honest, the majority of us can probably admit that gift shopping goes something like, “one for you, one for me, another one for me…” So thankfully The Lab is here to help you create a little more balance in that equation. The experimental art and music venue is ending its Kickstarter campaign with a 24-hour live telethon to gather money to finish renovations and -- if they reach 150K -- fund a program of new commissions by local and international artists and musicians in 2015. This is something we want, people. Help build The Lab by making a tax-deductible donation, and be rewarded in a variety of ways: singing telegram, seat at the telethon, use of the space for your own purpose, or -- the old public media favorite -- a tote bag! As with all things, the size of your reward is dependent on how much you give. How rewarding will it be to support vibrant new arts programming in a venerable old space?
"3rd on Third" Holiday Market
Nov. 21, 5pm-8pm
3rd Street and Newcomb Ave., San Francisco
More information at 3rdonthird.com
Once each month, 3rd on Third throws a block party in the Bayview/Hunters Point district. (October's event included a haunted house, a trick-or-treat trail and a Michael Jackson Thriller Extravaganza.) November's edition is a holiday street fair and block party featuring locally made gifts, food vendors and the annual Community Tree Lighting at the Bayview Opera House (the city’s oldest theater).
San Francisco Center for the Book's Holiday Fair
Nov. 22, 11am-6pm
San Francisco Center for the Book, 375 Rhode Island Street, San Francsico
More information at sfcb.org
Things that constitute the majority of my mail: Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, credit card offers, Golden Gate Bridge toll invoices, and DirecTV bills for that guy who lived here two tenants ago. Then, one day, a card. Ahh… the joy of getting a card in the mail! Don’t you want to bring that kind of joy into another person's life? San Francisco Center for the Book’s Holiday Fair has your back. The eighteen-year-old SFCB moved to a 7,000-square-foot space -- around the corner from its old address -- last year and houses pretty much all things book-related. The Holiday Fair features a wide selection of artist books, letterpress prints and cards, and other handmade ephemera. Stop by to peruse the limited-edition works by a wide variety of printers, bookbinders and artists and check out the 300+ workshops that are offered at the center each year. Note for this season: giving the gift of learning is sexy. Aim to send out a card that won’t be discarded -- shoot for the stars.. or the mantle... or the fridge...
Celebration of Craftswomen
Nov. 28 - Nov. 30
Fort Mason's Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco
More information at celebrationofcraftswomen.org
If you want to set the proper tone for your holiday season, you might start by avoiding the annual "several die, dozens injured in bargain hunting stampede" tradition at big box stores this
Thursday evening Black Friday. Instead, start your Thanksgiving weekend shopping in a civilized manner for distinctive gifts hand-crafted by 150 women artists. The largest and most-respected women's arts and crafts show in the U.S., the annual Celebration of Craftswomen includes fine art, jewelry, ceramics, metal, leather, wood, glass, candles, enamel, the list goes on... New features added this year include gourmet food trucks and live craft demonstrations. While there has been no explicit talk of terrariums, this year’s event sounds like a Pinterest fantasy come true. As always, proceeds benefit The Women’s Building, a community center that increases economic security and promotes social change to improve the status of women and girls.
Oakland Museum of California Holiday Festivities
Fridays, Nov. 28 - Dec. 19
Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland
More information at museumca.org
In addition to the OMCA Store, which already offers a wide selection of art prints, apparel, toys, games, home décor, artisanal jewelry, and cookbooks, the Oakland Museum of California has highjacked its "Friday Nights @ OMCA" series with a schedule of events designed to celebrate the holiday season, starting on Black Friday with music, wine, and food from Off the Grid. Don't miss the OMCA Store Holiday Trunk Show on Dec. 5 featuring work by local artisans specially curated by the museum store staff. On Dec. 12, CCA MADE showcases work for sale by twelve California College of the Arts students. Check out the Diwali celebration (no, it’s not Indian Halloween) in November and WinterFest in December, which explores diverse holiday traditions including Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Mexican Christmas.
Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
More information at elmercadosf.com
La Cocina and Do415 join forces to provide food, merch and entertainment for this holiday pop-up right in the heart of S.F.'s tourist territory. Featuring 20 food vendors and 40 DIY artisans, the festival aims to "focus on the small businesses that underpin our economy." But what sounds really delicious is the Friday night kick-off "O, Mole Night" dinner, featuring James Beard Award winner and Top Chef contestant Traci des Jardins and host of other high-profile chefs serving up every kind of mole sauce imaginable. The mercado closes out on Sunday with the La Tamalada Cooking Class. Learn to make tamales from the best, including Alicia Villanueva, Dilsa Lugo, Guadalupe Guerrero, and Isabel Pazos. Shop and play for the rest of the fest while a host of local indie bands provide the holiday soundtrack -- curated by our pals at Noise Pop.
West Coast Craft
Dec. 6-7, 10am-6pm
Fort Mason's Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco
More information at westcoastcraft.com
The West Coast Craft fair distinguishes itself by carefully selecting designers, artists and craftspeople who reflect the mood and aesthetics of the West Coast lifestyle. You'll see familiar locals such as Taylor Stitch and Four Barrel, alongside Inner Richmond favorites Foggy Notion and pretty-little-things-paradise Gravel & Gold. Tempting as it may be, don’t limit yourself to things you can access easily year-round, this is your chance to explore goods from other parts of the west coast. Get your rain (fingers crossed) jackets from Portland’s Otter Wax and bring some character to your living room with Eric Trine’s home furnishings.
San Francisco Bazaar Holiday Show
Dec. 13-14, 11am-6pm
Fort Mason's Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco
More information at sanfranciscobazaar.org
San Francisco Bazaar, formerly Bazaar Bizarre, comes to Fort Mason to close out a busy shopping season, filling up Herbst Pavilion with over 150 artisans from the Bay Area ("it's by locals for locals," people) one last time before 2015. If you’ve been procrastinating this long, you’re surely not alone, but don’t resign yourself to that Cheesecake Factory gift card you picked up by at the Safeway check out -- it doesn’t need to end like that. Get to the Bazaar early; the first 200 visitors at the door each day will be rewarded with an art print and a limited-edition tote. Free DIY workshops will take place throughout the weekend with The DJ Project and DJ Questosahn providing beats to fuel your creative endeavors. And the free goodies don’t stop there; there are free snaps by Magnolia Photo Booth Co. and a "Crafty Raffle" is scheduled to take place at some point during the festivities.
KPFA Crafts Fair
Dec. 20-21, 10am-5pm
Craneway Pavilion, Richmond
More information at kpfa.org
Berkeley public radio station KPFA returns 44-year-old annual Crafts Fair to the East Bay this year (after spending 19 years in S.F.). A juried vetting process that prioritizes originality and a high level of craft ensures a wide array of quality exhibitors at the show. The fair continues to provide the community with reliable gift options, featuring 200 artists and designers who produce one-of-a-kind, handmade and limited-edition goods in a wide variety of media. The Fair's new venue, Richmond's Craneway Pavilion was originally a Ford Motor plant before it was transformed in WWII for the war effort. End your shopping season by supporting a beloved local radio station and finding the right gift for that final person on your list.