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Slow shopping isn’t just organic, it’s good for you.

It’s a lot better than heading to the mall, anyway. Holiday highway traffic and box store crowds are hard on your health. Take a look at Black Friday, with its long tradition of Cabbage Patch Kid stampedes and Tickle Me Elmo crazes. This year shoppers didn’t hit stores in their usual rabid fashion, though. Black Friday sales rose only 0.5 percent higher in 2009, even as Americans spent $10.66 billion the day after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday brought up online purchases by 14% from 2008, indicating people stayed indoors after turkey day, pointing-and-clicking.

Let Oakland suggest a more festive alternative. Whether you wore black or plaid last Friday, this week bring out the green; find holiday gifts made and sold in Oakland. You’ll get out, stretch your legs (earning you an egg nogg) and see the streets decked out in holiday decor. Crisp air and sparkling lights beckon more brightly than the glow of a computer screen.

In a time of year when instances of road ragers and QVC sales increase, shopping locally will lead you to the perfect gift in little time. And it will help keep your neighbors in business. Here are some spots to check out…

December 5–6:

Holidayland Reception
Blank Space and Compound galleries continue their Paul Bunyan-themed artist sale, featuring the artwork of over 100 local artists, designers and craftspeople. In case you missed the sale launch last week, stop by for Oakland Art Murmur this Friday and take your picture with Paul’s ox Babe; your $5 mug shot goes to support Oakland high schools. Also in store for First Friday are tamales by Tina Tamale of La Borinquena. Sip on Mexican Hot Chocolate, munch on a green bean tamale and peruse the fine art for sale. Emily Sevier creates ornaments to wear on site.
Reception: Fri., Dec. 4, 6 p.m.–10 p.m., Sale through Dec. 20, Blankspace Gallery, 6608 San Pablo Ave., 510-547-6608, blankspacegallery.org.

CCA Holiday Fair
Students and alumni of the California College of the Arts, will turn the campus into an arts bazaar Saturday morning. Have your pick of original paintings, jewelry, textiles, paper media and more. As you browse, enjoy complimentary jazz and treats.
Sat., Dec. 5, 11 a.m.–2:40 p.m., California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, glee@cca.edu, cca.edu.

Piedmont Avenue Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Stroll
Merchants along one of the city’s oldest business districts show some holiday flair for the shopping season. L’Amyx sells its quality teas (and accoutrements) at a 10–25 percent discount, and feature musician Michael Grandi plays jazz guitar and Cascada de Flores some Cuban folk tunes from 6 p.m.–10 p.m. The tree lighting ceremony (one of three scheduled in Oakland this week) begins the festivities, near the clock tower towering over the Mexican-American diner, J’s Hamburger & Such.
Sat., Dec. 5, 5 p.m. to closing, 41st St. and Piedmont Avenue, piedmontavenuemerchants.org.

Annual Pottery and Craft Sale
Studio One Art Center offers the best of both worlds during the giving season: gifts and a good cause. Purchase any art piece and all the proceeds go to fund Oakland’s youth programming.
Sun., Dec. 6, 12 p.m.–4 p.m., 365 45th St., 510-597-5027, oaklandnet.com/parks.

Fourth Annual Holiday Reception & ArtWalk
Back in the days when corporate plants dominated the landscape, the factory workers used to jangle their pay in-pocket, earning the neighborhood the name “Jingletown.” These days the arts drive the industry here instead of Ford Motor Company, and the products are more climate-friendly. Don’t miss photographer Jan Watten‘s portraits, Sarah Swell‘s metal-wrought jewelry or the Institute of Mosaic Art, whose gorgeous tile murals tag the warehouses on Chapman Street. Download an ArtWalk map here.
Reception: Fri., Dec. 4, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.; Gallery 4:20, 420 Peterson St.; ArtWalk: Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., when you’ve reached the intersection of Peterson and Ford streets, you’re in the epicenter of ArtWalk, jingletown.org.

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December 12–13:

Holiday Buy Night
Pro-local Oakland Unwrapped and Oakland Grown are just two of the merchant organizations sponsoring this “Mall-ternative” to box store shopping. Products at this evening fair have more variety than a box of See’s candy, with everything from candles to kayaks for sale. Linden Street Brewery keeps customers warm with the launch of its Bleeding Heart Lager, a name that characterizes the most die-hard of Oaklanders.
Dec. 10–11, 5 p.m.–10 p.m., Jack London Market, 55 Harrison St., oaklandunwrapped.org.

Holiday Gifty Art Sale
The Crucible, largely responsible for the upsurge in the Oakland’s art scene, hosts more than 70 Bay Area artisans for this annual gift fair. Each booth standing on their 56,000 square foot space holds new surprises without the high retail prices. Also, sale-goers see demonstrations of what makes the Crucible tick year-round; glass blowing, metal casting and blacksmithing demonstrations wow crowds (11 a.m.–3 p.m.), between live performances and Santa’s appearance (1 p.m.).
Dec. 12–13, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., 1260 7th St., thecrucible.org.

Winter Arts Fair
Join Mercury 20 gallery to select artfully rendered pottery, mixed media, tote bags, jewelry and more. One of the several artists to participate is Chela Fielding, who brings her mixed media to the sale. One of her installation pieces, the charming and stark “Memory Drawers,” was pictured in a book called “Memory Boxes” by Anna Corbin. The hidden objects give the work a nostalgic feel, like a well-loved advent calendar. No chocolate Santa Clauses here, though. Cheer and refreshments however will be served.
11 a.m.–5 p.m., 25 Grand Ave., 510-701-4620, mercurytwenty.com.

Second Annual Temescal Holiday Skate & Stroll
The outdoor ice skating rink takes center stage at this neighborhood fair, with sales proceeds benefiting Good Cents for Oakland and the Emerson School. Once you’ve reprised “The Nutcracker” on ice, peek into the charming stores in the Temescal. All weekend long, hear carolers and dunk candy canes in hot chocolate. On Sunday, artist Mark Brest van Kempen unveils his city-sponsored art series—“Views of the Greenbelt”—sculptures that reflect the flora and fauna of the Rockridge-Temescal neighborhoods.
Dec. 12–13, 12:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m., Telegraph Avenue and 49th Street, temescaldistrict.org.

Local Love
Manifesto Bicycles is just one of the retailers spicing up 40th Street for holiday consumption. On Saturday it fetes 40th Street with the Local Love collective, a band of block merchants, including the Rowan Morrison Gallery, 1-2-3-4 Go! Records and the city’s premier mag shop: Issues.
Dec. 12, 6 p.m.–9 p.m., 40th Street and Broadway, 510-595-1155, wearemanifesto.com.

Fourth Annual Holiday Reception & ArtWalk
Back in the days when corporate plants dominated the landscape, the factory workers used to jangle their pay in-pocket, earning the neighborhood the name “Jingletown.” These days the arts drive the industry here instead of Ford Motor Company, and the products are more climate-friendly. Don’t miss photographer Jan Watten‘s portraits, Sarah Swell‘s metal-wrought jewelry or the Institute of Mosaic Art, whose gorgeous tile murals tag the warehouses on Chapman Street. Download an ArtWalk map here.
ArtWalk: Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., when you’ve reached the intersection of Peterson and Ford streets, you’re in the epicenter of ArtWalk, jingletown.org.

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Out-of-town & Ongoing:

Renegade Craft Fair
Oaklandish represents The O in SF with its line of pop-historical wear. This homegrown outfit makes the best threads for those tapped into Oakland’s cultural underbelly. And Oaklandish is just one of hundreds more Bay Area vendors setting up shop at Fort Mason, which hosted the wildly successful Slow Food Festival two summers ago. Renegade’s combination of small businesses and big markets provide ample tasting of the region’s indie art.
Dec. 19–20, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Fort Mason Center, Herbst Pavilion, San Francisco renegadecraft.com.

Berkeley Holiday Artisans Open Studios
This recurring gallery crawl has an Oakland Art Murmur feel, and this winter it comes in holiday dressing. A self-guided tour leads you through every type studio shop and material imaginable, from leather to glass to semi-precious stones.
Dec. 5–6, 12–13, 19–20, Berkeley, 510-845-2612, berkeleyartisans.com.

Holiday Warehouse Sale
Fair trade goods are in abundance at this warehouse sale. It’s hosted by the World of Good, an organization and think-tank that works to improve living conditions for women living on less than $2 a day. World of Good helps millions of women and adolescent girls in the developing world. You can help by purchasing a gift at the sale; items are as little as $5 and discounts as great at 90%.
Dec. 5–6, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., 6315 Doyle St., Emeryville, worldofgood.org.

Oakland Artisan Marketplace
For those who miss this year’s slow shopping events, swing by this marketplace year-round. Each weekend Oakland artisans open up their folding tables and display their wares. More often than not, you’ll find Paula Chan among the vendors; her line includes handcrafted jewelry and frame-worthy cards and she’s always working on something new.
Fri., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza; Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at Jack London Square; Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at Jack London Square, oaklandculturalarts.org.

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Looks like Oakland can expect some more rain this weekend. Or at least some grey cloud-cover. But I’m not complaining; a recent report of the Bay’s lack of precipitation has me looking for conservation tips even amidst the latest storm. While the reservoirs are filling—and my Christmas tree stand outside filling about an inch deep with rainwater—I’m enjoying the sound of drops on the rooftop. Things also slow down a bit in rainy weather. Cars along Park Blvd. aren’t racing like it’s the Indy-500, as alluded to in a recent Oak’logger post.

It’s also a great time to check out some indoor activities. Check out some of these events I wrote up for Oakland Magazine:

Betrayed (Jan. 23–Mar. 1) This West Coast premiere by George Packer started out as an article in The New Yorker. Since the story “The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq” ran, its content has been adapted for theater-goers. The cast of characters includes Sunni and Shi’a Muslims who form a rare friendship and a woman who refuses to bow to Islamic law. Directed by Robin Stanton. 8 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sun., $28–$50, Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org.

The Aurora is a great place to see theater. The space is intimate, so no seat is a bad seat. Nice intermission treats, too. Since it’s the opening weekend, I’d give a call before dropping by.

Smokey Robinson (Jan. 24) Known for such hits with the Miracles as “Shop Around,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “Tracks of My Tears” and “Tears of a Clown,” William “Smokey Joe” Robinson became the godfather of “Quiet Storm” after his mid-1970s solo hit. At 67 he can still make a crowd swoon with his soulful crooning. 8 p.m., $39.50–$85, Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, (510) 465-6400, www.paramounttheatre.com.

I’m not sure if the tix are sold out. But it’s great to see a show at the Paramount. I tried to get Bjork tix there once and didn’t get so lucky. The last show I saw, in fact, was En Vogue, with Arrested Development as the opening act. Whoa. It’s been a while.

White Elephant Preview Sale (Jan. 25) Rummage for treasure at the Oakland Museum’s White Elephant Preview Sale, where choice vintage pieces raise more than $1 million for programming and collections every year. This preview sale is your chance to get first dibs before the official sale in March. Tickets are available in advance at the museum or at the door; seasoned bargain hunters bring folding chairs and coffee for the line that inevitably wraps around the warehouse. 10 a.m.–4 p.m., $12.50 in advance, $15 at the door, children under 12 free (no strollers), WES warehouse, 333 Lancaster St. (at Glascock), (510) 238-2200, www.museumca.org, www.whiteelephantsale.org.

Note: line up early! This Jingletown sale ROCKS. I found a vintage, two-piece skirt-suit that I adore. It’s wool, with a rust-colored, herringbone pattern. I can tell by the seam work that it was hand-sewn. There’s also tons of awesome furniture, books and art on sale for cheap. My mom, who’s a docent for the Oakland Museum, works in the sale’s toy department. She always sets aside some cute items for my nieces. One find was an old plastic doll I call “Girl, Interrupted” because of her half-mast eye condition and mussed hair. Anyway, my nieces love it as much as their American Dolls.

East Bay Games Day (Jan. 26, Feb. 23) Drop by Endgame every last Saturday for board game marathon action. Bring your own game or try on a strategy game for size; you don’t have to know the rules for Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan, because someone will be on site to teach you. Limited snacks available for sale. 10 a.m.–7 p.m., free, 921 Washington St., (510) 465-3637, endgameoakland.com.

Dungeons and Dragons, anyone? You could always get an Orca’s Stout across the street at the Pacific Coast Brewing Co.

Tonight, I’m going to see what all the hype’s about with “Slumdog Millionaire.” My roomie and I are going to see it in the historic Alameda Theatre. It’s been restored it to its original glory, with replica carpet and the original light fixtures. The phone booths don’t work anymore and the attached cineplex boxes are just as cramped. But for this film—screened in the same theater sailors used to frequent in WW II—we’ll have 185 seats from which to choose. It was also built by Art Deco genius Timothy Pflueger, who designed the Paramount. Wish the refreshments were still at 20th century prices, though. I’ll have to smuggle in my own chocolate.