Now that Halloween has passed, it is officially Christmas season, at least for buying gifts.  Many of us prefer to get our shopping over early because we become busier as the holiday approaches.  I would like to share with you what type of homemade gifts you can find at your local craft fair and hopefully give you some different ideas for gifts this year.

The craft fair I attended this past Sunday was held at a local high school and was better than expected both in quantity offered and quality.   I have more than enough Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas decorations and was determined not to buy any decorations.  So much for that thought!  I couldn’t resist the inexpensive, adorable handmade gifts and decorations.  There had to be at least 100 crafters selling their wares and they offered a wide variety of distinctive products.

I purchased a lighted glass block decorated inside with Chicago Bears plastic players, footballs, jerseys, a Bear’s flag, and goal post.  For holiday décor I bought a Thanksgiving table centerpiece, a sign painted with a cute snowman, Christmas cloth place mats and an adorable elf doll about a foot high.

For women, there was handmade oak furniture, food, jewelry, quilts, candles, purses, and clothes decorated both in holiday designs, flowers and contemporary art.

For a grab bag gift I bought a hand-painted glass popcorn bowl which I will fill with microwave popcorn and popcorn salt.  Speaking of snacks, I was able to taste many homemade dips using pretzel sticks and bought several packages to accompany the handmade pottery dip holder.  It has a small bowl at the top to fill with dip which sits atop a base you can fill with ice to keep the dip fresh.  The pottery colors were beautiful and I don’t have to worry that someone may already have the same item.

For children’s gifts you can find hand painted shirts, sweatshirts, and quilts in various children’s styles.  You can buy step stools with the child’s name painted on the top and lap boxes with a chalkboard top that slides out to reveal storage for chalk and coloring books.  Child-size aprons with miniature cooking tools in specially sown pockets, baby doll clothes, puzzles and wood cars are just a few other items to be found.

For the men in the family I purchased embroidered sweatshirts that had sarcastic sayings about your favorite sport team vs. their competitors and MLB clocks.  There were bean bag games, alphabet architectural signs, sports decorated nut or candy holders, and funny bar signs.

It appears that you can find many one-of-a-kind gifts at your local arts ‘n craft fairs this holiday season, and most will personalize while you wait.  Most fairs are small (<100 vendors) but you can get through those rather quickly and they may only charge a nominal entrance fee ($2) and offer free parking.  The larger craft fairs offer more selection, some higher quality products and more expensive selections but will generally take at least half a day to view everything.

So, if you are looking for unique, handmade gifts, consider the arts ‘n craft fairs that will be popping up in your neighborhood between now and Christmas.

If you like handmade ornaments, you may like ourhandmade clay ornaments made by a woman who creates these for us in her kitchen!

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