Handmade Holiday: Local Craft Events Offer Perfect Presents

Photo Credit: Nice Things...Handmade

Still pouring over the just-released GRID 2011 gift guide for presents that benefit the environment and local economy? Take a moment to hit the streets for some events that not only offer unique gifts made with love from the Philadelphia community, but also provide a festive atmosphere that will brighten your holiday shopping. Mark your calendar with these great opportunities to support some inspiring local talent, find perfect presents and let your last minute shopping fears melt away.

  • If just the thought of holiday shopping stresses you out, ease your way into the task with the Waldorf School’s Whispering Wood shopping boutique. Relax in Whispering Wood’s atmosphere of essential oils and soothing instrumental music from Waldorf parent, Peter Price, while picking up some unique children’s toys hand-crafted from all natural materials. The boutique (6819 Greene St.) is open Friday, December 9 from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and December 10 and 11 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Perhaps your level of holiday-induced anxiety requires a stronger remedy. If so, hit up the Philadelphia Independent Craft Market’s 2nd Annual Holiday Show for beautifully handmade crafts, works of art and vintage items – plus, free Pabst Blue Ribbon sponsored drinks. The market boasts more than 45 vendors and live music from The Spinning Joneses and Hezekiah Leaves, Sisters 3, The Great Unknown and Levee Drivers. Take the edge off your shopping at show (2424 York St.) happening December 17 from 1:00pm to 8:00 pm.
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The Rule of Three

During our very happy, almost 15-year marriage, my wife Sheila and I have given each other every possible gift. Some, like my drum kit and handsomely battered briefcase, are revered. Others have been loved for a time or shelved and then, kindly dispatched to Goodwill. To avoid ending up on the TV show “Hoarders,” a new “rule of three” regarding presents to each other will go into effect this Christmas.
We think it’s pretty straightforward: Three presents, one of which can be expensive. Congress should be able to write such a succinct law.
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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Nester

How lucky we are to live and shop in Philadelphia. We can bypass box stores and their buffet of bland and cheaply made goods and instead, we can choose thoughtful gifts, sold to us by our neighbors. When we give our gifts, we’ll know our family and friends will recognize the thought and care taken in our selections. And the best part—the whole time we will be stirring the local economy.
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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Chic Geek

Fingerless gloves? Check. Wool socks? Check. Handcrafted hat and shirt? Chic! Don’t be Scrooge-y. That PA-manufactured folding bike isn’t going to put itself under the tree. The stylin’ urbanite in your life won’t know how to thank you. Then you can tell him where to go and how to get there with help from GRID’s good friend, Julie Lorch’s Where to Bike: Philadelphia.
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RE-claim Your Holidays with The Resource Exchange!

The Resource Exchange, the plucky upstart nonprofit (profiled in October's GRID) focused on diverting valuable materials from the waste stream and making them available to artists, designers, builders and craftspeople, is hosting a holiday open house and fundraiser December 3. Thanks to a grant from PPL Energy Plus, the organization moved from the leaky warehouse they were occupying in the Navy Yard to their new space in Port Richmond in August. (And the move came not a moment too soon--they moved in just before Hurricane Irene hit.)

The December 3 open house is a chance for people to check out their new digs and support the organization, which is still working hard on staffing their facility and acquiring a truck, two items essential for their success. The Resource Exchange (RE) was recently highlighted on NBC10, but without a staff, they're still only able to be open by appointment.

So this is your chance to check out the eclectic materials they have and maybe score a few gifts that lighten your environmental footprint this holiday season. There will be ready-made gifts designed from items found at RE, as well as plenty of salvaged materials for the holiday crafter to turn into something special. (Seriously, it's hard to oversell the sheer quantity of highly unique reclaimed stuff they have.) Other highlights will include local, seasonal beverages, holiday treats, and a silent auction with some truly unique items. All proceeds will support RE.

Stop by and RE-claim your holidays!

Saturday, December 3
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Resource Exchange
2829 Cedar St. (entrance on Cambria Street)