Holiday Guide: Handmade for the holidays
Looking for handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays? You’ve got plenty of places to look, right here on the Island. From homemade soaps to jewelry, art and more, Alameda’s arts, cultural and religious organizations are offering a wealth of opportunities to help you whittle down your holiday shopping list.
Local organizations are running a pair of fundraising boutiques this holiday season. First up is Immanuel Lutheran Church, whose Ladies Aid Society is holding its Holiday Boutique and Luncheon this Saturday, December 4. The boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and items for sale include handcrafted jewelry, handmade spa products, felt ornaments, quilted bags, knitted items and jams. Admission to the boutique is free; lunch, which will be served from noon to 1 p.m., is $15. Immanuel Lutheran is at 1910 Santa Clara Avenue.
The second boutique, of course, is part of the Alameda Holiday Home Tour on December 11. The tour’s annual holiday boutique and gourmet shop are at the Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue, and they’re open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The boutique offers everything from jewelry and hand-painted clothing to handmade dolls and children’s toys, dried floral arrangements and more, while the gourmet shop will have wrapped gourmet and fresh-baked treats, holiday recipes and specialty food items (they’ll have a Texas-style auction this year as well, featuring edibles and other items). Admission to the boutique and gourmet shop is free. The event is a fundraiser put on by the Alameda Family Services League.
If it’s an art lover you’re shopping for, local arts organizations have holiday sales going, too. Frank Bette Center for the Arts is hosting a Holiday Gift Boutique through December 23 featuring unique items across several different media. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, and they’ll host a gala opening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Friday, December 3. Frank Bette is at 1601 Paru Street.
Rhythmix Cultural Works is offering its second “Mini Masterpieces” show through December 30; the show features smaller works by nearly a dozen artists that are suitable for gift-giving. Rhythmix is at 2513 Blanding Avenue, and the K Gallery that houses the show is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, every second Friday of the month and by appointment (you can call 865-5060 to schedule one of those). This coming Friday, December 10, Rhythmix is hosting an opening reception for the show and sale.
Meanwhile, Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden is getting “Crafty” with a running exhibit and sale up through December 31. They’re offering a host of items made by local artisans for sale, including jewelry, scarves, aprons, jellies, homemade soaps and more. They’ve also got a line of wreaths on the wall that will be auctioned off through a silent auction. Julie’s is having a Saint Lucy Party starting at 8 p.m. December 10 with drinks, a DJ and more (they’re asking participants to wear white, silver, or “anything that shines”). The wreaths will be auctioned at the party.
The city’s also getting into the act: The city and the West Alameda Business Association are hosting Winter Island, a two-week holiday event that begins December 16. In addition to the musical entertainment, movies, kiddie fun and pet costume contest, they promise a wealth of local vendors who will offer their wares for your perusal. All the fun (and shopping) will take place in a special tent set up at the corner of Webster Street and Pacific Avenue.
Another fresh source of locally made items is Karousel Boutique, which is having a gala opening at 5:30 p.m. today. The boutique, which was set up by the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment at 1532 Webster Street (the old Urban Forest spot), will feature jewelry, textiles, spa gifts, clothing, teas, accessories and art produced by woman entrepreneurs. The boutique will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. (They’re also hosting a special fashion show from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. December 9.)
And one last little item – Barbara’s Jewelry and Gifts is holding a jewelry sale on December 10 at Cardinal Point, 2431 Mariner Square. It’s from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 10 percent of the proceeds get donated to Cardinal Point’s activities department.