Stuff-y ideas: Crafts and art by the armload

My sister just announced that our extended family is having a homemade Christmas this year. “We’ve decided the kids have enough stuff,” she said. So instead of buying toys for all 13 nieces and nephews, all we have to do is create one gift for each family.
I like the idea– my kids definitely have enough stuff. But when am I going to find the time to make something for each of five families?
Fortunately, this is the weekend when all the great crafts fairs happen. I’ll hit them all. I know I’ll find just the right thing for each of my siblings and my parents, and I’ll have a great time while I’m at it.
The “Holiday Bazaar” at the Charlottesville Waldorf School (formerly Crossroads Waldorf School) on December 7 from 10am-4pm is my perennial favorite. Set up in the school’s auditorium in Crozet, this fair has the largest number of unique and inspired crafts, including hand-sculpted dolls made of natural fibers, holiday decorations from nature, carved wooden toys, hand-painted silk, and much more. Shoppers can (and should) bring their kids, too. There are puppet play performances, lots of age-appropriate crafts to make, and yummy home-cooked food.
Free Union Country School hosts “Christmas in Free Union: A Craft Boutique” on December 7 and 8 from 10am-4pm. This fair highlights the work of eight local artists whose work includes pottery, jewelry, hand-tooled leatherwork, wooden toys and cutting boards, exotic wood bowls, oil painting, and ironwork for hearth and home. Gourmet baked goods are also available. 
Newcomb Hall ballroom will be transformed into a bustling marketplace for their annual “Artisans Bazaar” December 6-8. More than 25 artists and crafters from around the area will be set up and ready to sell pottery and puppets, jewelry and perfume, holiday decorations and home accents, clothing and accessories, stained glass, toys, baskets, and more. Throughout the event, university musicians will serenade shoppers, and student volunteers will offer diversions for little ones.
With so much variety, I’m hoping I can finish off my whole Christmas list in one weekend shopping binge. My sisters will never know just how crafty I really am.

There is no admission charge for any of these events. Charlottesville Waldorf School is at 1408 Crozet Avenue. 823-6800. Free Union Country School is on Rt. 601 in the heart of Free Union. 973-6846. Newcomb Hall is on the UVA campus next to the Emmet Street parking garage. Hours are 11am-7pm on Friday, 10am-6pm on Saturday, and noon-5pm on Sunday. 924-8803.