When you buy something -- say a lovingly glazed ceramic cup -- do you enjoy gazing deeply into the eyes of the person who made said cup as you fork over your hard-earned cash monies? Do you want to support small, locally-owned businesses instead of the big-box stores with questionable labor practices? Well then I say to you: way to be a conscious shopper!
If you’re on the hunt for hand-crafted/artisanal/custom/bespoke items, below is a list of places where you can find those lovely things, check off your holiday shopping lists and actually feel good (well, less bad) about all the money you just spent.
Temescal Alleys Holiday Artisan Fair
Sunday, Dec. 6, 11am-4pm
49th St. (between Telegraph Ave. and Clarke St.), Oakland
This weekend, stop by the quaint Temescal Alleys just off Telegraph Ave and 49th St for a day-long fair featuring local guest vendors among the existing shops. In the mood to peruse ceramics, textiles, jewelry, home decor or moon calendars? This is your one-stop shop for all of the above. Plus, Doña Tomás provides nachos and the alleys’ forthcoming Rose's Taproom pours beer.
Misfit Toy Factory & Creative Marketplace
Saturday, Dec. 12, 6:30-10:30pm
Root Division, 1131 Mission St., San Francisco
More interested in watching the art objects you’re about to buy come together in front of you by their makers? Root Division’s annual Misfit Toy Factory brings over 40 Bay Area artists into their gallery for the on-site fabrication of affordable ($20-$60) “small sculptures, handmade wares and giftables,” which I assume means things you can give as gifts. This year, in the new and bigger Root Division, an additional “Creative Marketplace” features preexisting goods, also know as stuff not made onsite.
Dec. 12, 4-8pm & Dec. 13, 11am-5pm
1015 Pacific Ave., San Francisco
Perfectly timed to fulfill your last-minute shopping needs, WinterShop is a two-day pop-up retail space in San Francisco’s Nob Hill featuring wares by some pretty notable local designers and artists: Ari Bird, Alyssa Block Studio, Mia Christopher, Chelsey Dyer, Maker & Mineral, Savnnah Rusher, Lana Williams and Chelsea Wong. If you still haven’t found the perfect ceramic cup for your best friend, chances are it’s here for you to pick up, along with some original artwork, apparel and (oft-affordable) zines.
Case for Making
Open daily, 11am-6pm
4037 Judah St., San Francisco
Still haven’t found the perfect gift for that special someone among all the lovingly-glazed ceramic cups and Victorian baubles? I think it’s time to make something yourself. Stock up on beautiful and inspiring art supplies at the Outer Sunset’s Case for Making, where they carry everything from German oil sticks to Italian glue sticks. And if all else fails: they even have gift cards.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Weekends through Dec. 20
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, San Francisco
To be fair (ha!), this is more than just a shopping destination. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is an experience akin to stepping inside a snowglobe. On weekends from Nov. 21 to Dec. 20, the Cow Palace transforms into a Dickensian version of Victorian London, with hundreds of costumed players performing in music halls, pubs, dance floors and shops. Costumes (even just a bonnet or a hat!) are encouraged to help visitors get in the festive mood, so long as you don’t dress up like of Dickens’ principle characters.