Buy eco-friendly, locally-made gifts at Happy Holidays Gifts Galore

By Yassmin Eldouh

The time of holiday gift shopping has begun. One unique option is Happy Holidays Gifts Galore, a gift store and demonstration of handcrafted and vintage finds located at the Arlington Museum of Art. There you can find jewelry, pottery, fused glass, crochet, photography, mixed media, candles, lotion, masks and more.

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When you walk into the room filled with the merchandise, the sweet smell of vanilla and peppermint spice fills the air. Christmas trees and gift boxes decorate the room, and the merchandise is showcased in a way that looks like it’s from a postcard.

The goods are eco-friendly and locally created. Fifteen local artisans got together to showcase their talents and hobbies. They carefully create every one of their items with love and care.

“My merchandise is clean and green,” Melinda Sweny, a local artisan, said. “I use soy bought locally for my candles. Everything is 100 percent U.S.-grown.”

Sweny said she takes care to support local businesses. She also does several shows throughout the year. She specializes in scents such as candles and lotions.

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Susan Reich, another artisan, crochets and creates jewelry, photography and web design.

“My grandma taught me to crochet, and I love to make things,” she said. “I especially like custom orders. I can crochet just about anything you can think of.”

She joined the group because Cathy Stein, the creator of the shop, had found her at Ecofest.

Prices range from a few dollars to over a hundred. A typical crochet scarf is around $7.

This is the first time this event was held at the museum. Similar events had been held in other places and at different times of the year.

Happy Holidays Gifts Galore is open from Nov. 1 to Dec. 29 during the regular museum hours, coinciding with the Museum’s Festival of Trees. Every Saturday (except Dec. 7), visitors will be able to see different artists creating their merchandise. See the schedule here.

On Dec. 7-8, the Museum will host an enlarged Happy Holidays Gift Market, with wares for sale at booths throughout the museum.

Where will you be buying your holiday gifts this year?

About the blogger: Yassmin Eldouh is a journalism and psychology senior at the University of Texas at Arlington. She also writes for a creative bog called CoveredGirl.