.‘Small Business Saturday’ Gift Guide

’Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry with those who matter the most.

Rather than ordering gifts online and outsourcing resources, one relatively new holiday begs local consumers to consider participating in something called Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday is a celebratory occasion that was created over a decade ago as a way to encourage consumerism on a local scale. This celebration of keeping cash within one’s own community takes place every year on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and, as one could probably guess, is a countermovement in response to the more capitalistic holiday, Black Friday.

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This year, Shop Small Saturday takes place on Nov. 25 and will be marked by many, many participating small businesses across all of Marin County. This means it’s time to break out the checkbook and check out the creative local shopping opportunities the North Bay can offer up for the holidays.

Downtown San Rafael’s Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland

For an all-encompassing celebration of local seasonal spending, there’s no place better to be than Downtown San Rafael during the Shop Small Saturday holiday marketplace between noon and 6pm on Saturday, Nov. 25.

This downtown extravaganza promises an opportunity to support the local businesses of San Rafael by shopping, eating and just generally participating in the event. Alongside shopping, there will also be entertainment, an elf hunt, food trucks, juggling, face painting, balloon animals, a photo booth, a toy drive, a window decorating contest and much, much more.

For more information about San Rafael’s upcoming Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland, visit the website at downtownsanrafael.org.

Marin Art & Garden Center’s Winter Wonderland

Another option for local shopping can be found at the Marin Art & Garden Center’s perfectly seasonal Winter Wonderland celebration. Experience a fully operational ice rink with music, lights, snacks, hot cocoa and cider. The warming hut will be set up to keep away the chill, and children can stay warm running around during the scavenger hunt. Attendees can take in a performance of It’s a Wonderful Life from the Ross Valley Players.

There are even more opportunities to shop local for the holidays at the pop-up shop, which offers locally made art, apparel, jewelry, home goods and more.

To learn more about the upcoming shopping opportunities at the Marin Art & Garden Center or to buy tickets to the Winter Wonderland experience, visit the website at maringarden.org/winterwonderland.

Local Artists and Artisans Galore

All across Marin County, there are countless points of access where one can find, buy and take home items made by local artists. In Marin’s galleries alone, there are some truly stunning pieces of artistry just waiting to adorn some lucky art-lover’s wall.

But galleries aside, there are still a million and one places across all of Marin where one can find locally-made items for all kinds of gifts and giftees. Copperfield’s Books, for example, offers up not only works written by local authors but curios such as jewelry, cross-stitch and more. From pottery to patio furniture and all the plants in between, there’s no better gift for the holidays than something that was made by hand.

And if the need for holiday gifts is not quite satisfied on Small Business Saturday or with hand-crafted items, know that the Sausalito Center for the Arts (SCA) has its first-ever annual print marketplace on Dec. 9 and 10. This timing makes for perfect last-minute holiday shopping, especially for the artistically inclined giftee.

For more information about the SCA’s print marketplace and more, visit the website at sausalitocenterforthearts.org.

The Gift of Food Goods

Is there any better gift than the gift of food that’s been sourced, made and marketed all within Marin? And with the holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to celebrate the local restaurants, caterers, winemakers and more. Whether it’s honey and mead from Heidrun Meadery in Pt. Reyes or perhaps an evening of dining and drinks on the docks of Sausalito before taking in a show, the gift of food is one that just about everyone enjoys. So, shop local for sustenance as well because the holidays are the ideal time to gift someone or even oneself an opportunity to wine and dine.

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