The Dracula costumes are no sooner shed by the trick-or-treaters when the retail push towards the holiday season begins.
The march to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, followed by four weeks of insanity is conducted to the slow and steady beat to buy, buy, buy. It all makes even the most enthusiastic person want to escape to some distant planet until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
This year, after being bombarded with ads, jingles, catalogs and junk mail, I decided to look for an alternative. The retail gods must have heard my plea, because around the middle of November, I found a perfect option in the College of Professional Studies and Fine Art’s jewelry co-op sale, and SDSU NewsCenter’s story about the staff gift bazaar.
In this time of mass-produced, imported goods and impersonal electronic gadgets, the idea of something made by hand appealed to me. Of course, the memory of the clutch purse I made for my mother many years ago using one of those square hook and loom contraptions, which also produced loopy potholders, caused me to pause and reflect upon my decision.
First, I went to the jewelry co-op show held in the Art II North building. In addition to the jewelry, there was exquisite pottery shaped into everything from plates to planters. The prices were reasonable, and the work was far more professional than my potholder purse. There were so many beautiful pieces of jewelry from which to choose that it was almost impossible to narrow down my choices. I eventually settled on a necklace made of steel (it was lightweight) glazed with a rubber compound. It had an abalone shell in the center, and was one of the most beautiful pieces I had ever seen—chic and unique—perfect for my young friend who lives in Mexico.
The staff bazaar, which takes place in the faculty/staff club at the north end of campus, was a real treat. As I moseyed from table to table and looked at everything from hand-knitted pieces to jewelry, I found myself wanting everything there. Again, it was hard to make a choice; but, I came away with a lovely hand-knit scarf and a necklace and earring set.
Unlike the annual craft fairs that now are peppered with chiropractors, people selling tires, and mass-produced trinkets, the small venues on campus sell only handcrafted items. They are easy to find, have lots to offer, and don’t contain the words, “Made in China.”
Next year, I’ll be buying all my gifts right here on campus.
Pat Alfano is an administrative coordinator in SDSU’s Marketing and Communications department