You don’t have to be crafty McCrafterson to appreciate a handmade gift. I still get misty eyed when I pull out the aging ornaments my kids glittered together in first grade. Whilst I love a good rummage around Target and TJMax, and have purchased more than my fair share of goods from such stores, I love giving and receiving something that has meaning and is made with some care. Vintage fairs, craft fairs, pottery, and art make my eyes widen with want when I peruse the booths, so in the run-up to Christmas frenzy where are the best places to get your mitts on such goodies in Austin and Dripping Springs?
Alternatives to Shopping at the Mall for Gifts
I live in south Austin and I am quite the lazy shopper so I usually like to stick to easy hit and run locations, by that I mean I can park, get in and get out without a big production. Craft Fairs give you a bunch of vendors all in one go, look out for church and community events in your local community newsletters. They can be varied but you will usually find something to suit your tastes. This weekend 8th December, for instance, Bowie High School has Winterfest ran by the FFA, you will not only get to see some of the animals the kids are raising (Yes the High School has a farm, it always makes me chuckle when I see city slicker students walking pigs around before school) they will also have vendor booths with some crafts for sale. You get the idea, it is December and if you are near a community hall of some sort, have a look and see how you can support your community of artists with some local gift buying, you might find something amazing or the holy grail which for me and my friends is Prickly Pear Jelly made by lovely senior ladies… I will explain later.
Upcoming Handmade Gift Shopping Opportunities
Coming up soon and it is a biggie……. 7th -9th December – Vintage Market Days in Dripping Springs. Give your self some time with this, fair warning it can be very busy, I like to pick quieter times and avoid peak shopping. Not just vintaged, a variety of vendors are present, lovely stuff but not all handmade, it is indoor. Entry fee is $5 per day. http://vintagemarketdays.com/market/greater-austin/event.php?EventId=440
Saturday 15th December will see Austin Craft Lounge at 12919 Nutty Brown Road hosting a Holiday Market and Craft Fair, a variety of vendors selling primarily handmade items. This indoor and outdoor fair offers drinks and food for sale, and will have free mulled wine while supplies last. Entry is free and you might even get to peak at a couple of vintage cars and enjoy the hill country setting. Starts at 10 am and runs until 5 pm. You will find something original, arty and LOCAL. Including ……….La Luna Glass Sun Catchers https://www.lalunaglass.com, Ekiss Pottery, Kuki Bastos Photography, Sue Maastricht Ceramics, Noon Day https://www.noondaycollection.com, Traveling Bistro Food http://www.travelingbistroaustin.com, Country StarrArt http://www.countrystarr.com, Peridot Park Jewelry, Hill Country Hoopla, Bag in the Day, Sea to Sea Stamping, Bare Eyes Photography https://www.bareeyesphotography.com…….Sue’s Garden Angel, Buena Vida Glassworks and more…. phew …………………..You will be guaranteed to find something among this fabulous lot.
If you have not been along Mercer Street recently, give it a re-run as it has a number of cute boutique type shops and some interesting and cool items for sale. Not all handmade but the collections have been curated by owners who really know what they are doing. My particular favorite includes The Rural Home 104 Mercer Street, http://theruralhome.com which houses a combination of vintage and new. The food items sold by The Rural Table include yummy chocolates, specialty bottles of vinegar and margarita mixes.
You can always combine a shopping trip to Dripping Springs with some of the new and many distilleries and wineries that have opened in the area, that might keep your non- shopping partner in a happier mood, including Driftwood Estate Winery, Crowded Barrel Whiskey Co, Frog Pond Distillery, Tweaked Distilling, Revolution Spirits Distilling Co, Kooper Family Whiskey Co, San Louis Spirits, Jester Kings and Deep Eddy Vodka to name but a few.
Just outside Dripping Springs at the Dr. Brown Historical Farmstead and for a little something different try the upcoming Pioneer Christmas on Saturday 8th December. Along with food and music, local vendors will be selling and demonstrating. Get in the holiday spirit with a photo with Santa and visit the pioneer house that is decked out for the holidays. Tickets are $5 kids 4 and under are free. 9am till 3pm. http://www.drpoundhistoricalfarmstead.org/pioneer-christmas.html
So have some fun… why not spend they day shopping, lunching and maybe a few glasses of wine or beer, it’s got to be better than navigating a busy Mall. Two years ago myself and my friends visit Fredericksburg for a girls weekend, we managed to squeeze some shopping in between the lovely wineries out there and stumbled upon a church craft fair. It was full of locally made goods, cute ornaments, cushions and the best Prickly Pear jelly any of us had ever tasted. Those church ladies could cook! We have spent the last two years searching for that jelly…… to no avail. So moral of the story if you find something fabulous buy it and get more than one.
Cheers and all the best for the Holidays!
Alison Cairns co-owner of Austin Craft Lounge