Dr. Bill Atwood

Handmade treasures

Shopper’s, start your engines. This coming Saturday the Christmas shopping season begins in our local area. From now until just before Dec. 25, the local churches will be hosting a number of sales at various locations allowing those of us with little to no talent when it comes to making handmade items to buy handmade items. Not only handmade or carved but well done handmade and hand-carved items.

I have always treasured items that are handmade. This doesn’t imply that the many mass-produced items are of poor quality, it simply means that there is a specialness in using an item that is a one-of-a-kind or just an item that a dear soul held in their hands and created with a smile on their face at the prospect of the item being used, enjoyed, treasured, and the profit from that item would benefit the local church or charity.

I am looking forward to visiting the Catholic ladies event and buying some of the goodies there. They also make it easier to get many items from the See’s Candy Company as they sell boxes of the “Happy Habit” from the “Famous Red Trailer.”

Local vendors will be at the annual tree lighting in the Bass Lake village allowing us to seek out items for our loved ones along with a chance to watch the Christmas parade, tree lighting, see our neighbors and sip hot cocoa from one of the service organization.

The ladies from Martha’s Market will be at E.C.C.O. this Saturday and Sunday with nearly 1,000 items awaiting purchase. From table runners and napkins to wooden carvings there is something for everyone. They have great tasting mustard and two varieties of Jalapeno jellies available which will enhance any holiday party table or would serve as wonderful stocking stuffers.

My wife will quickly tell anyone that I generally hate shopping. I am one of those guys who is walking into the first store asking, “Are we done yet?” Frankly Carol finds me a pain in the neck to be around when she wants to shop. On the other hand, I do enjoy going to these local venues as the stuff is different, well-made, and the vendors are fun to meet.

One added benefit is that there is usually great tasting food available to purchase and enjoy while Carol is looking. The Martha’s Market folks have arranged for a fabulous lunch for all of us to enjoy at a reasonable rate. Sheppard’s Pie is great comfort food and that can be followed by dessert items that are for sale just a few feet away.

After we get home with our treasures and begin to wrap them for those people in our lives we can also take comfort in the knowledge that our purchases have helped local charities. The groups that sell their wares to us at these events spend the proceeds in this area. Toys for Tots, the Senior Center, the Scouts, Little Leagues, scholarships, Boys and Girls Club, Manna House, local schools and many other organizations benefit from these events.

Shopping at these events is also fun because we run into people we know. We have a chance to catch up on news of family and we get to see each other’s “special find”. We buy raffle tickets from groups and bid on silent auction items and we spend a day driving around this beautiful area and that is a charming part of small town life. Summer tourist teens often comment on the lack of malls in our area. They see it as a negative; I see it as a plus.

So while I am not the shopper in my household I am a very willing tag-along-guy for these adventures. I can’t wait to see what treasures there are to buy, what tasty treat there is to sample, and what wonderful comments the vendors and other shoppers have to share.

So…I will start at Martha’s Market this Saturday and before Santa arrives I will have visited the other venues in Oakhurst, Coarsegold, North Fork, Bass Lake, and Mariposa.

The people who get the hand-made items will love them when they get them and will treasure them for years to come.

Start your engines.