Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Holiday Shopping Alternatives

29. November 2006 • Chuck Warpehoski
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If you avoided the mobs on Black Friday, you may still have a bit of shopping to do. Where to turn if you don’t want to go to the out-of-town chain stores?

First up is Buy-Local Week from December During 4-10. The Living Economy Network is organizing great events, a movie showing, prizes, all sorts of good stuff.

If your tastes are a bit more indy-artsy, you can check out the Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery in Ypsi on December 1 from 8-12 p.m. on December 2 from 11 am to 8 p.m.

If folk art/fair trade is your thing, the Alternative Holiday Fair at First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor on Sunday, December 3 from 4-7 has you covered. This is the place to be for peace gear and fairly-traded goods from around the world.

Local blogger Ypsidixit recommends that you Say I Love You with a Worm Bin from Growing Hope.

Personally, my favorite place to shop for the holidays is Ten Thousand Villages. They’ve got a great selection of beautiful hand-made goods from around the world. Their prices are great, and the money you spend really does get to the people who make the goods. And this Monday, December fourth 11 from 5 to 7 they’re having a benefit for Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice. Twenty percent of your purchase helps work to bring people of faith and conscience together to work for a better world (yes, that was a shameless plug for where I work).



  1. Hmm, Ten Thousand Villages is a fine store and I like their commitment, but I prefer to keep my money as local as possible. Ten Thousand Villages is a chain of “over 200 stores” and since it is staffed by unpaid volunteers and all the money goes to causes in other countries, I don’t shop there often (Monday sounds like it might be the day if you want to support the Interfaith Council).

    For other local alternatives for gifts, Orchid Lane does do quite a bit with fair trade in many of their items, as does Selo-Shevel. Peaceable Kingdom, the Ann Arbor Art Center, Red Shoes, and Heavenly Metal all sell local art among their wares. This Saturday is the big Motawi Tileworks sale (for more information see www.motawi.com) where you can even make your own tile as a present. Speaking of local pottery, the Potter’s Guild sale is also this weekend.

    If you can get there tomorrow, the 60th Annual Greens Market of the Women’s City Club is Thursday from 10:00 to 2:00 at the Women’s City Club at 1830 Washtenaw Avenue. All proceeds benefit local scholarship and grants. They have holiday greens, baked goods (get there early if you want any of these as they usually sell out by noon), and arts and crafts.

    If you really want to donate to a worthy local cause this weekend, it is also the weekend that the Galens Society hits the streets to collect money for children in Washtenaw County. They have been doing this on the first weekend of December since 1927 and 100% of the money collected goes to charities devoted to helping children in the Washtenaw County area. Last year they donated over $65,000!

    Of course, Midnight Madness is this Friday night. Most stores downtown (Main Street, State Street, Liberty, South University, and Kerrytown—including the Holiday Artisan Market) are open late and run great sales and special events. It is a fun way to support your local merchants, get a bite to eat or a drink, and get your holiday shopping done.


       —Juliew    Nov. 30 '06 - 12:41AM    #
  2. Also, the Kiwanis Christmas Sale is this weekend. Lots of toys and holiday decorations can be had very inexpensively.


       —Juliew    Nov. 30 '06 - 03:40PM    #
  3. Let’s not forget Shadow Art Fair Friday and Saturday in Ypsi.


       —Dale    Nov. 30 '06 - 05:27PM    #
  4. Speaking of the Shadow Art Fair, I hear there may even be a surprise appearance by Santa tomorrow night!


       —M    Nov. 30 '06 - 06:36PM    #
  5. Julie, I don’t like to do this, but Jill carries the works of a number of local artists and craftspeople at 16 Hands, including her own and her partner Rick Wedel’s. I think because she doesn’t advertise that way (the majority are not local) they often get overlooked by lists like the one you provided.


       —Steve Bean    Nov. 30 '06 - 08:57PM    #
  6. Oh Steve, of course you should say something! 16 Hands rocks! One of my favorite stores and it absolutely should be mentioned. Come to think of it, Downtown Home and Garden also sells local art. I think one thing that local artists and business owners often don’t do so well is promote themselves.


       —Juliew    Nov. 30 '06 - 09:37PM    #
  7. Whoops — sorry to restate the obvious. Good work, Chuck. Did I mention the Shadow Art Fair?


       —Dale    Nov. 30 '06 - 09:43PM    #
  8. Steve, thanks for plugging 16 hands—do you know if they’re doing anything for midnight madness?

    Of course, many of the local gallaries and the art center also feature local artists and craftspeople.

    Personally, I’ve mostly given up on buying people stuff for the holidays. Americans have a lot of stuff. Most of it gets dusty on shelves, in basements, or in garages.

    So instead of stuff, I try to give food. Homemade preserves or chutney from produce that comes from the Community Farm, farmers market, and People’s Food Co-op. And instead of asking for stuff, I ask for peace on earth, or donations to organizations that support peace on earth.

    Okay, I guess food is stuff, but still, you get the point. By the way, have you heard about the Shadow Art Fair ?


       —Chuck Warpehoski    Nov. 30 '06 - 11:36PM    #
  9. Chuck, Jill says you can get 20-60% off, storewide, all day. Oh, and everyone else can too. They’re open until 11pm today.


       —Steve Bean    Dec. 1 '06 - 02:33PM    #
  10. Unexpectedly (to me at least), The Ann Arbor News printed an editorial yesterday:

    Add locally owned spots to your shopping stops. Independent stores are vital to community.

    (There was also a box on the side of the printed editorial listing the three events we are promoting as part of Buy Local Week, including the much mentioned Shadow Art Fair).


       —Lisa    Dec. 1 '06 - 07:40PM    #
  11. Oh, and in case you needed more incentive to shop locally, I forgot to mention the Buy Local Week Contest we are running Monday the 4th through Sunday the 10th. It’s our way of thanking the community for supporting independent businesses this season (and encouraging people to visit businesses they haven’t visited before). We’re offering about $600 in prizes to locally-owned businesses, including a $250 grand prize to any of our businesses. You can enter at each of the participating 64 businesses December 4-10 if you’d like – a complete list of the participants is on our website (and includes 16 Hands, Selo-Shevel, Peaceable Kingdom, and Heavenly Metal).


       —Lisa    Dec. 1 '06 - 07:54PM    #
  12. And—there will be a special showing of “Independent America” at the Michigan Theater at 1:30 on 12-9.

    (See you soon, Lisa! :))


       —TeacherPatti    Dec. 2 '06 - 04:52PM    #