HOLIDAZE—the Annual Area Holiday Shopping Season has Begun.

Wild as it may seem, it’s the holiday season once again because time is apparently, in a word, flying. This article, however, is not an examination of theories of temporality—it’s a holiday gift-and-catering guide. Because, regardless of how strange time or the circumstances of our lives might be, we are here at the time of year allocated for appreciating friends and family with time spent, meals served—regardless of who cooked them!—and gifts given.

This guide will direct you toward local, affordable, community-supporting shops, markets and bakeries to fill your gift-giving and dinner needs. I also highly recommend, for those considering the environment and their wallets, making gifts at home this year, or sticking to home-cooked meals. You can’t go wrong with homemade ornaments, and this might be the year you wow your family and yourself with a full Thanksgiving dinner. Onward, my wayward craftsmen and chefs, to stuffing and glory!

Regardless of your choices, you have options. See a few below. 

Thanksgiving Dinner 

Turkey and stuffing, anyone? Mollie Stone Catering will save us all from kitchen fiascos

Mill Valley, Sausalito and other locations 

There are those who can cook and those who can’t. There are those who can, but prefer not to, and there are those who really shouldn’t have—but did. What is your plan for this Thanksgiving dinner? Buttery mashed potatoes, cranberry salad—my aunt does one with jello and cut-up apple that is inexplicably delicious—candied yams, gravy and maybe that elusive, exquisite breaded stuffing? And of course, the pièce de résistance: the carefully basted, cooked-for-eight-hours turkey. Hey, it’s a lot to ask of someone who may or may not be an everyday kitchen-goer. Never fear—Mollie Stone Catering, from Mollie Stone Markets, is here to take care of your dinner needs, whether you’re setting the table for 2 or 12. Haricot vert green beans, maple orange glazed yams with cranberries, rustic dinner rolls, harvest pecan and pumpkin pies … need I go on? Visit them online at catering.molliestones.com to view the ingredients list and select your options. Get the best of the best, minus the stress and mess.

Treats, please!

Victoria Bakery, Greenbrae

If you’ve got dinner covered—you turkey-basting, potato-mashing heroes, I see you—but prefer to stop short of the intensity required by dessert-making—my sister, a true alchemist, can whip up a pie crust while on a work call—look no further than Victoria Bakery. In operation since 1911, this Italian-style bakery will provide you with cakes, cannoli, biscotti, cookies, tiramisu, danish croissant and more. Everything is baked fresh daily and also to order—you can purchase this evening’s dessert and tomorrow’s breakfast in the same order. This holiday season Victoria Bakery is doing a special run of Thanksgiving pies. Choose between pecan, pumpkin, apple or cherry. Andiamo! To order visit victoriabakerymarin.com.

The Holly Jolly Holidays

No one-horse open sleighs, but lots of presents for under the tree at the Mill Valley Holiday Craft Fair

Mill Valley Recreation Center, Mill Valley

Mill Valley’s Holiday Craft Fair is an annual delight, returning this year to provide you with a bevy of unique gift options from new and returning artists and local makers. Expect options that include woodwork, knitwear, fiberarts, plants, glass work, jewelry, ceramics and more. Held at the Mill Valley Community Center, this fair is spacious and provides ample room for parking, and your attendance not only supports the local creativity and craftsmanship of the artists selling their work there, but also the Mill Valley Recreation Center itself, thus providing myriad invaluable services to the community all year long, from arts events to community activities to fitness and skill classes. Plus, this is a chance to get out and see the community again!

The Mill Valley Recreation Center is located at 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. The Holiday Craft Fair will be held Dec. 4, 10am to 3pm, and is a free event. For more information, email Program Supervisor Molly Given at [email protected].

Deck the halls with hand-made lovelies—Cedars Annual Holiday Shopping Events 

San Rafael, Marin

Cedars is a Marin-based nonprofit dedicated to the support of individuals with disabilities since 1919. Cedars advocates for and supports those with developmental disabilities, ensuring that dignity, joy, and ease are established in the life of each individual. Cedars is the oldest and largest nonprofit of its kind in Marin County, and was the first to create a network of group homes for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Cedars respects and values the individuality of each participant, celebrating their unique accomplishments. Its services include housing in nine different locations across San Rafael and Novato, and award-winning day programs in which over 200 participate. If ever there was an organization to support, this is it!

Cedars Holiday events are tree-toppers—if you will—and I say events, plural, because there are three of them! The first is the Holiday Craft Fair at Textile Arts Collaborative in San Rafael, the second is the Holiday Art & Jewelry Sale at the Fine Arts Studio in San Anselmo and the third is Artist Within – A Cedars Gallery, also in San Anselmo. These events feature feltwork, jams, jellies, jewelry—I like to keep all my “j”s together—hot sauces, soaps, a range of small- and large-framed matted and unframed canvas paintings, handmade gift boxes, mixed tiles, handmade holiday ornaments and decorative bird feeders. Not only will you have your pick of gifts, 50% of proceeds will go directly back to the Cedars artist who made your piece, supporting his, her or their lifestyle. See you there! 

The Holiday Craft Fair at Textile Arts Collaborative 

Nov. 17–18, 3–5pm 

2500 Fifth Ave., San Rafael (from Fifth Avenue, enter through the Mount Tamalpais Cemetery gates, make an immediate left and follow the road staying to the middle)

Holiday Art & Jewelry Sale at the Fine Arts Studio 

November 18–19, 3–6pm 

November 20, 10am to 6pm

2 Kensington Rd., San Anselmo

Artist Within – A Cedars Gallery

Open Year-Round

Open Mon–Sat, 10am to 5pm; Sundays 11am to 5pm 

603 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo

A very cabby Christmas to you—Vitesse 2018 Vintage Release Party

Equator Coffees, Sausalito

Equator Coffees gets me excited for multiple reasons. Those who read last year’s Best of Marin will find them featured by yours truly, because not only are they fair trade and sustainable, they’re also women-owned. And this holiday season they’re providing the gifts and the party—Saturday, Nov. 20, Equator will host a release party for Vitesse Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. Vitesse, celebrating its eighth vintage, is a singular Napa Valley Cab, created with the intention of providing an exceptional wine for a reasonable price. Come to the tasting, which includes nibbles and music, and buy a bottle—or a case—at the special Friends and Family price, available only during the release party. This is a wonderful opportunity to support local vintners and coffee purveyors, while keeping the holiday spirit saucy. Additionally, a portion of all sales will go to Trip For Kids Marin, a nonprofit dedicated to providing transformative cycling experiences for the youth of Marin County, regardless of their race, gender or socio-economic status. Their programs include Trail Rides, Earn-a-Bike and more. This is a win, win, win for everyone’s holiday needs!

The event will be held on Nov. 20 at Equator Coffees, 1201 Bridgeway A, Sausalito, from 5–7pm. An RSVP is required—register by searching “Vitesse Vineyards release” on eventbrite.com. Inviting friends is encouraged!

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