Quirky, Crafty, Original: Handmade Holidays

Two weekend fairs put the "hand" in "handmade" (actually the "made," too).

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Dec 5, 2013  |  Updated 1:12 PM PDT
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Quirky, Crafty, Original: Handmade Holidays

Unique LA

Unique LA? It's all about local artisans who make really cool stuff, then sell directly to you. Meet them, and find great gifts to buy, at the California Market Center on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8.

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Dancing and holidays go together like hot and toddies, but we only ever hear of traditional waltzes and seasonal swing nights and grand balls in this category.

The far more common dance, however, and the one most of us perform, to various successful degrees, is the Giving-and-Receiving Strut. There's an art to presenting someone with a well-chosen gift, and the art of receiving it well? It's not one everyone has mastered.

But a handmade, artisan-produced good has a way of taking the heat off that particular dance. There's something about a one-of-a-kind ornament or purse that casts a bit of Christmas magic, and it conveys to the giftee that giver was out there, trying extra super mega hard.

Lucky for you, and all of us, that there are two upcoming places in which to try extra super mega hard: Unique LA, which spreads out at the California Market Center on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8, and the Harvest Festival, which plunks down in Pomona from Dec. 6 through 8.

Unique LA gathers together over 350 regional artisans who make nice stuff, and, yep, most-to-all of the nice-stuff-makers are there, talking about what they made and meeting you in person, personable-like. The indie craft affair also brims with lively extras, free cocktails and crafty DIY goodness. Cost to get in? Ten bucks.

Harvest Festival -- or as it is sometimes known, Harvest Festival, the Original Arts & Crafts Show -- also brings together hundreds of craft- and art-makers in one gift-selling, carol-playing spot. Distinctive wooden boxes, photographs, and such'll fill out the festiveness. Cost to get in? Nine bucks.

And, nope, we're not saying gifts have to be one-of-a-kind-y to be well-received. Not all. Just chosen with care and thought, is all.

But, truly: If you tell your giftee that you met the artist who made the item they just ripped open, then that is Automatic Christmas Cred, something many of us seek but only a few special souls achieve. It's within your reach.

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