A Very Fringey Holiday

A Corporate Free Gift Giving Guide

Graphic Alex Manley

Hopefully we have reached a time in human consciousness where we understand that Christmas, as it exists in most households, is a big, corporate scam.

I’m surprised that the illusion of Christmas didn’t die when we found out that Santa Claus didn’t exist. I remember catching my dad hauling up presents from down stairs as I snuck down to hopefully catch a glimpse of Santa chowing down on some cookies and some 2% milk.

I ran upstairs and had the strangest experience. My childhood was over; my naïve, imaginative youth was destroyed.

I feel a similar way towards the holidays this year, but in a different sense—in a sort of “why do I give into Christmas every year?” or “I can’t afford to do this anymore” type of way.

I come from a family where gift-giving is a, well, given every year. Not that I don’t like giving—don’t get me wrong—but perhaps it’s more the concept of giving into the corporate nightmare of buying gifts and adding to the preposterous economy of places like Wal-Mart, Home Outfitters, Future Shop, Toys ‘R’ Us or Zellers.

I’m not advocating a boycott of holiday spirit; however, if you’re going to do it, do it right.

Here is a handy little list where you can participate in gift-giving, support local artists and give the person you love the unique, hand-made gift they deserve.

1 CEASE Holiday Flea Market
CEASE pledges to put together this affordable and local arts and crafts event. With 18 Montreal-based artists with their prints, illustrations, photographs, winter accessories, jewelry, notebooks, and even baby clothes.
Dec. 4 and 5

The Dep[art]ment (48 Notre Dame St. W. #101)

2 Boutique Punkt
Find that unique item that will make a great gift in this truly punkt market—be it a strange teddy bear, jewelry or a second-hand book.

Nov. 26 to Dec. 26, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Nov. 26, 5:00 p.m.

Boutique Punkt (5333 Casgrain Ave. 205 A)

3 Smart Design Mart
Taking place in a 20,000 sq. ft. space, this art fair will be the place to take a break from the hectic environment that can be holiday shopping malls and downtown crowd anxiety. You’ll find things you can’t even imagine.

Dec. 3 to Dec. 5

(160 St-Viateur St. E., 2nd floor)

4 Tibetan Bazaar
If you are looking for something more exotic than the vintage/hipster norm, try out the Annual Tibetan Bazaar and dive into colorful clothing, jewelry, Buddhist literature, and traditional arts and craft. The bazaar will also count on performances and Himalayan cuisine samples.

Nov. 26 and 27

Santa Cruz Church Hall (60 Rachel St. W.)

5 (Silver) Photography Print Sale
Photo400 students have gathered a toppling pile of disjointed, limited-edition photo-based prints.

The group of student photographers will fill the walls of L’Envers with a wide array of sizes and styles of photographs.
This is a great opportunity to get inexpensive original prints. They’ll even gift-wrap your purchases for you.

Dec. 4, 8:00 p.m. to

12:00 a.m.

L’Envers (185 Van Horne Ave.)

Proceeds from the event go towards (SILVER) publication, set to be launched at the end of the school year.

6 Old Skool Crafts Holiday Bazaars
Support local artisans at this bazaar, which will have items ranging from cupcakes to soap, from vintage clothing to hand-made toys. Over 40 artists and crafters from Montreal and Quebec will be offering their work for your buying pleasure.

Nov. 27 and 28, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

St.Michael’s Church (105 St.Viateur St.)

Donations will be accepted for “A Meal in a Can,” a project by Dans la rue.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 16, published November 30, 2010.