Handmade Finds: A Trio of Holiday Markets

Artisanal LA, Abbot Kinney, and Renegade offer offbeat selections.

There've been a few commercials that have used Christmas morning, or the first night of Hanukkah, as the central setting, at least three or four, we imagine. 

We jest, of course; gift-opening has long been a central emotional theme of our adverts, but rarely is the physical item the focus of the camera. Rather, the look on the person's face, the one opening the gift, is what hits us square in the heart.

But how does the gift giver draw out such a happy look from the gift receiver, apart from gifting a six-month trip around the world or a hilltop castle? Unique, of course, is the way to go, the funky, beautiful, odd, one-of-a-kind-y, bespoke-as-all-get-out gift. Craft and handmade fairs are awash in such touch-the-heart treasures, and a few are on their way in the days to come...

Artisanal LA: "150 local makers" shall make for Pasadena on Saturday, Dec. 5. The free-to-enter, you-stroll-it street fair -- it runs along Holly between Arroyo Parkway and Fair Oaks -- is the second holiday outing for the festival, which pops up a few times a year, festively, at spots around town. Find great baby togs at LA Dill's Clothing, fragrances via Sigil Scent, small succulents in wee pots at Lutume, and lovely stationery at Alabama Brown. Several Pasadena businesses'll show, too, and a few out-of-towners.

Renegade Craft Fair: There are few grander settings than Grand Park come the holiday season, what with the tree at Music Center Plaza and the general vibrancy in the air at our cultural venues. Adding to this is this robust maker gathering, which'll land at the City Hall-close park on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13. Over 300 talented people and outfits who make cool clothes/soaps/jewelry/such by hand will be there, including Evelo Designs and Good Company Wares.

Abbot Kinney Marketplace: Venice, and the artists who work and live there, is vivacious most any day of the year, but the sparkliest season has a way of adding a little flavorful salt to the mixture. This recently introduced makers market, which kicked off over the summer, is hosting an extra holiday event on Saturday, Dec. 5. Candles, wearables, and other funky finds await. And, yes, we went with "salt" earlier because you'll stroll in that sweet briny air that's found just a few blocks from the beach.

Lucky you, if you have to find a unique present and aren't doing the whole trip-around-the-world or hilltop-castle gift this year. Maybe next?

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