We're cutting down significantly on gift-giving this season, for two reasons: there's that economic crunch we're all feeling, of course, but we're also enjoying focusing on what really matters--family and friends. And we're loving that our loved ones are doing the same. But for the handful of gifts we are giving, we're turning to local art bazaars. Here's a round up of three in Austin that stay open late (at night and in the season) and are sure to satisfy the gift-giving list.
We made a commitment to give only handmade this Christmas, so we've enjoyed picking up organic cotton hand-printed shirts, local pottery and jewelry, and organic soaps and candles (we figured all-natural local soy candles can't be on the black list!). Local art bazaars are a great place to grab unique gifts from people in your community. It's giving you can feel doubly good about!
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar This downtown bazaar will run until December 24 and is jam-packed with glass, sculpture, metalwork, fibers...any kind of local art available. To top it off, there's live music (what Austin is famously known for) every day. Entrance fees run from $3 on weekdays to $6 on weekends, but it's worth it.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar We visited this bazaar over the weekend, and it offered original items from over 80 artists. No entrance fee for this one, and it's open 'till midnight Friday and Saturdays (the rest of the week it goes from 10-10, and 10-6 on Christmas Eve). We milled around (and happily so) for a couple of hours with lots of "Look at that" and "Did you see this" before purchasing a few gifts.
Keep Austin Bizarre This is a truly multicultural event that boasts 100 vendors and 60 live shows, running the gamut from music to yogic dance to circus acts! Housed in the Parmer Events Center downtown, there's a $5 entrance charge, but it's free on Mondays. This bizaar is open until December 23 from 11-11 every day.
So, if you're in the Austin area, be sure to make it out to one of these great opportunities to buy local. And if you're far, far away, look for art fairs in your neck of the woods.
Photo: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar image, 2008.