You don’t have to go far to find unique small items made by the hands of your neighbors, many of them created specifically for gift-giving this season.
Crafters, bakers, and farmers, all with unique local gifts, including wreaths, winter vegetables, farm cheeses, pastries and artisan bread, can be found Dec. 7 at the Christmas Market at Rockfish Valley Community Center. Begin with the pancake breakfast at 8:30 and stay for the. market.
Over at the Shenandoah Valley Art Center in Waynesboro, the gift shop has expanded throughout the gallery to highlight the December inventory of one-of-a-kind gifts created by Valley artists. They’ll be introduced at the Center’s Winterfaire, a five-day celebration from Dec. 4 to Dec. 8; from 10 to 4 Wednesday through Saturday and 12 to 3 Sunday.
Don’t forget to have a little fun in between shopping, wrapping and cooking this season. The varied shopkeepers at Piedmont Place are sponsoring a “Jolly Holiday” reception Dec. 7 from 10:30 to 8, the whole day filled with joyful and delicious activities. Begin the day with a story and craft at Over the Moon Bookstore (fair warning: glitter is involved), then decorate cookies at Morsel Compass until 2, but keep an eye out for Santa who arrives at 11:30, just as the cookie decorating begins.
From 12 to 8, sample Gluhweiss, a spicy mulled wine, at the Blue Ridge Bottle Shop; and from 12 to 2, make a sundae at the Crozet Creamery. Buy a scoop and get the toppings for free. Balance out any overindulgence by checking out Elemental: holistic hair, body and living. This new shop, focusing on healthy alternatives, will be offering consultations, samples and give-aways.
Dec. 7 is a big day up at Restoration as well, with Breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. and a Gingerbread Workshop at 12:30. Register in advance for either or both.
Sunday, Dec. 8, is another busy day at Piedmont Place, with Rita Mae Brown appearing at Over the Moon Bookstore along with her friend and fellow writer Robin Traewick Williams. They’ll talk about writing and riding, and sign copies of their new books: The Key in the Quarter Pole by Williams and Scarlet Fever (a Sister Jane mystery) by Brown.
Crozet’s “second Saturdays” celebration of the arts is a perfect time for leisurely Christmas shopping. At the Barn Swallow Artisan Gallery you’ll find the featured artist, Crozet jeweler, fiber artist and nutrition coach Nancy Bond’s scarves and jewelry. She’ll also demonstrate healthy holiday recipes from 3 to 5 p.m on Dec. 14.
At the Crozet Artisan Depot, you’ll want to buy as much chocolate as your stockings can hold from Mike Sever. He’ll be talking about how he brings his Wild Blue Chocolate from bean to bar at 3 p.m., also on Dec. 14. Throughout the month, find other small home-cooked, handmade, hand-stitched, homegrown and mouth-blown items for everyone on your Christmas list. (At Crozet Arts, stained glass artist Jerry O’Dell, Stained Glass artist will demonstrate the Tiffany method of stained glass from 2 to 3 p.m.)
Karen Yonovitz of the Artisans Depot noted the current inventory there of handmade Christmas-themed baby sweaters, jewelry and cards. There are one-of-a-kind ornaments made of blown glass, wood, felted wool, hand-painted ceramics and paper. Those who want to highlight their home town in gift giving can choose photos, ornaments, mugs, puzzles and T-shirts with a Crozet insignia.
You’ll find a limited supply of gift baskets of personal care products with herbs grown locally; or choose beautiful hand-dyed linens, local honey, local chocolate, stationary sets, cutting boards, and baskets. There are always hand-knit sweaters and hats, books and baby items for children, jewelry, scarves, candles, soaps, journals and purses for women, and bow ties, key chains and treasure boxes for men. Or find a spectacular gift for the family in the quality larger photos and artwork. Ask the Depot staff about artists who will work with you for the best photograph or painting of your home, family, horse or dog.
Cross the tracks to check out the work of talented local artisans at a crafters market at Piedmont Place. Find jewelry, felted clothing, stoneware, stained glass and woodwork there, beginning at 11 on Dec. 14.
Not all gifts of art are visual: treat yourself to the musical performance of Terra Voce, local musicians Elizabeth Brightbill and Andrew Gabbert playing selections for flute and cello from 1 to 3 at the Depot; or the reading of “The Gift of the Magi” by Hamner Theater’s Peter Coy at the Theater’s new home at Crozet Arts at 6:30 Dec. 14.
Through December, the exhibit “Natural Light,” at Over the Moon features oil and acrylic paintings by Crozet artist John Carr Russell. Russell’s reception will be on Dec. 7.
Christmas festivities continue Dec. 14, with a Christmas Bazaar at Mudhouse: cookie decorating, face painting, Christmas vendors and entertainment by local schoolchildren. This all begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m.
Travel on out on Jarmans Gap on Dec. 21 to Cutie Pies to hear the Pleasant Green Revival and Big Bad Lucy. Eat some pies, hear some music, starting at 2 p.m.