We princesses try to stay locally involved — whether its our food source, politics, or our Pagan practice. We also try to contribute to our local economy by buying local for our holiday gifts. The princesses are lucky to live in a town with lots of local gift options. And we like to do our part to keep Austin weird. Here are some of my favorites holiday gift events.

Artist Joan Griffith

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

To me, buying local doesn’t always mean buying from a local vendor. It also means supporting a local event that includes vendors from far and wide. The 37th annual Armadillo Bazaar is the perfect blend of Austin art, visiting vendors, beautiful things, and bizarre gifts. There’s also live music everyday of the event. There are 150 vendors and 60 bands for the duration of the bazaar (December 12th through 24th). There is an entrance fee: $5 weekdays, $8 nights and weekends. I’ve been several times in the last few years and plan to continue going! I always find at least one thing to drool over and (eventually) purchase.

Artist Monique Capanelli

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

Another long-standing and diverse event in Austin is the Blue Genie Art Bazaar. This art show is perhaps for those with more whimsical and modern taste. This event is free and hosts 142 vendors this year. I came across several lovelies last year. And while I didn’t buy anything right away, I discovered a local vendor there and purchased one of her creations for Mr. Awesome’s birthday this year.

Austin Trail of Lights

Last month, I mentioned in a footnote that I don’t really buy gifts anymore. That is partly because I have a large family and I can’t afford to buy everyone something they’ll want to keep. I don’t want to give crappy gifts just to have something to give. Instead, when circumstances allow it, I like to do things with family that let us spend time together. A wonderful opportunity to do this in Austin is the Trail of Lights. It was on hiatus the last two years because of city budget cuts, but is back again thanks to private sponsorship. [Thank you, sponsors!!] I am meeting friends there next Tuesday night and am looking forward to feeling like a kid surrounded by sparklies and pretties. 🙂

Trail of Lights

There are also some smaller scale arts and crafts events coming up. Tejas Web is hosting a Yule bazaar after their ritual. Bouldin Creek Café is hosting a Christmas Bizarre, too. There are several other art shows that I apparently missed this year. I’ll have to do better to remember these for next year. There are also a number of art galleries in town that I haven’t visited. I need to amend that, too. But since I’m recommending local art events, I’d like to also recommend a few local artists. This is straight up friend-promotion since I know all of these folks personally or casually.

  • A good friend of mine, Jamie Kimmel Shelton, is a trained artist and sells her creations at ArcheoModern Designs. She’s also a bellydancer and an accomplished costume designer.
  • Stephanie Canada is a local Pagan artist and spiritual leader. Her paintings can be found at Split Rock Studio on Etsy.
  • If you have been to any Ren Faires in Central Texas, you have probably seen Cat Dancing’s work. Cat also reads Tarot locally and can often be found at Ancient Mysteries.
  • Michelle Alany is a talented violinist. You can listen to some of her songs with the band Nefesh on ReverbNation. But it looks like her site (which is a little out of date) also offers her CD.

    Artist Jamie Kimmel Shelton

  • Lorraine Rae Bier is another friend from bellydance. She hand cuts, sews, and paints scarves and can make them to order. You can find her work on Painted Silk on Etsy.
  • Last year Jax wrote a post about EAST Austin and talked about how she selected a piece from local artist Julie Stansberry, whose work is at Julie Stansberry Art.
  • Greta Olivas is someone I met through bellydance, though she is not a dancer. She is an artist, though, a painter and a photographer. Examples of her art are on Greta Olivas Art & Photography.
  • Jeana Marino is an artist I met a few months ago. Her art is varied in style and color. You can see her work at Jeana Art.

What do you recommend, Realm? Are there local art or craft shows you frequent near the holidays? If there are, I hope you can share those events — along with any local artists you know — to others in your local Pagan community.

+ Featured image, Christmas Tree on Table from Wikimedia Commons by Harry Walker.