Friday, December 12, 2008

More Non-Mall Shopping Ideas

"Part Deux" of my thoughts on the commercialism of the holiday season --

You're probably going to spend more than $10 a pop at these places, but you might find some deals anyway. You'll definitely find original items. (They aren't going to know the retail value, so you might be able to spend less...)

So there's no need to go to the mall or a giant conglomerate for holiday shopping. Yes, your loved ones might want something like a cool game for Xbox/Playstation, but what better way to show them that the holidays are about family -- and not conspicuous consumerism.

If you're going to spend, you might as well give it to the independent business-person than hope the prosperity trickles down from the conglomerate's profit margin. So look at the owner-operated shops around town, or check out these special shopping opportunities.

I think I might even do a third instalment for last-minute shoppers (like me).

I heard about these online shopping links on NPR. Do with it what you please: RetailMeNot,, PriceGrabber...


SAT 12/13 & SUN 12/14

10am to 7pm (SUN: Noon to 6pm)
Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair
at First Parish Church, 3 Church St, Cambridge (Harvard Sq)

I like going here for my Christmas shopping for the women in my life (jewelry & arts-crafty stuff), but I've also seen funny t-shirts, cheap art, etc.
(Also: THUR 12/18 to TUES 12/23)

SAT 12/13 & SUN 12/14

10am to 6pm
Cultural Survival Bazaar
at Center for Latin American Studies, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge (Harvard campus)

A chance to purchase fair-trade crafts from all over the world. They should have some international food and entertainment.

SUN 12/14

9am until 3pm
Comicazi-Con and Bad-Ass Christmas Bazaar
at VFW George Dilboy Post, 371 Summer St, Somerville (Davis Sq)
$3 (includes toy & comic book)

In the spot where Bazaar Bizarre got its start, the guys from Comicazi are doing their own thing.. There's gotta be a lot comic books and geeky gifts available at the this event. It looks like several of the other local Davis Square stores and some local comic book artists will be selling wares (and other things)... Again there's something for your small fee. There's a chance to win a "Rock Band II" game too.

Don't be afraid of the giant crowd, it's mainly the Jingle Bell Run.

SUN 12/14

11am to 8pm
Arts & Crafts Fair
at "The Loft", 438 Somerville Ave. #4, Somerville (near Union Sq)

Don't know much about this, but I think this loft is the home of the very awesome Audrey Ryan -- so I get the feeling this really will be a place to find "cool and cheap presents". I don't know how many artists/artisans will have stuff for sale, but the info I saw listed:

hand made Hula hoops, original punk rock clothing, vintage gifts and clothing, vinyl bowls & bracelets, handmade jewelry, handmade hats, blown glass, photography, stain glass ornaments, homemade goodies by the "food geek", and much more...
Additionally you can listen to live acoustic music while you're shopping (or if you want to linger during or after checking out the merch):
Noon to 2pm: "Ed and others..."
2pm to 3pm: Dave Alpert
3pm to 4pm: La Tuza
4pm to 5pm: Chris Wilhelm
5pm to 6pm: Olde Men on Acid
6pm to 7pm: Laura Regan
7pm to 8pm: Dan Blakeslee
There were exclamation points, so I think they want you to feel comfortable having some complimentary wine and coffee.

This is in the building next to Market Basket, behind the graveyard. (Dang, I almost took a picture of this building last week!)

SUN 12/14

Noon to 6pm
Mass Market #3
at Pozen Center, 621 Huntington Ave, Boston (MassArt, enter on Evans Way)

Hey, your dollar admission will benefit the Aids Action Committee.

This is basically the successor to the Punk Rock Flea Market. It's at the same place and has the same format. This is a good thing if you're looking for some cool DIY arts & crafts (clothes, books, paintings, pins, stickers, etc), plenty of used music, and other peculiar stuff. The last time I went to this event, I bought myself the coolest Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced?" clock (made out of an old LP)!

Support your local, independent vendors... Listen to DJ's while shopping... Buy a vegan snack... (It would be a good idea to bring small bills.)

There will be DJ's and performances by Bonezone and Zoig-Ma-Noig

MassArt campus map [PDF]

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