When I set my table for Thanksgiving, I brought out the marbled purple glass plate I got in Truchas on the High Road Tour and the patch-sewn butterfly placemats from the Jemez Springs Cooperative. In the center I place the delicately glazed ceramic bowl I bought at the Paa-ko Fair last year and a gourd bowl I won at the Edgewood Field of Dreams Festival in July. My table looks festive and truly unique. I bought these all at reasonable prices because I got them from the artists.

What do I love about shopping for the holidays when so many feel frustrated? I don’t go to the malls and struggle with parking and crowds. I find my gifts at an abundance of art fairs in the area. There I know I can find one-of-a-kind treasures to give to my loved ones. Most fairs include handmade and hand woven clothing, paintings, photos, unique jewelry, handcrafted soaps and candles, toys, ornaments, outdoor sculpture, metal work, solar lights, pottery, glass and food.

Besides bringing a gift that I know says you’re special, I love knowing I’m supporting artists living their dream. When I hear stories of how this piece I bought came together, I feel connected to the art. Sometimes, so connected, it never leaves my home. Happy shopping.

This Saturday, Dec. 2, the Route 66 Arts Alliance hosts its Fourth annual Winter Arts Festival. It will feature local artists, craftspersons and writers as well as live, local music all day. Food from Our Daily Bread will make it a good day to stay and shop in the old Edgewood Elementary School campus. The show features free admission and parking. Student artists will be showing their artwork in the festival, too.