It’s not hard to keep your holiday shopping local when there’s such a bounty of possibilities within walking or short driving distance in Berkeley.

To help boost the coffers of your community’s hardworking merchants and crafts-people this year, rather than those of some out-of-town corporate behemoth, we’ve created an inaugural Berkeleyside Holiday Shopping Guide. Feel free to tell us about stores, events and sales we’ve missed in the comments section and we’ll update the guide.

Craft and artisan sales

Berkeley Open Studios One hundred local artists and craftspeople open their workshops and studios to the public. Weekends of December 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 11 am to 6 pm.

Knit-One-One Craft Holiday Sales: Each of three sales sees a new set of twelve local crafters bringing their Hot Stuff to Knit-One-One’s Berkeley studio. Dec. 4 and Dec 11, 10 am to 4 pm; Dec. 15, 5 pm to 9 pm. 3360 Adeline St.

Palestinian Bazaar — Find traditional handicrafts from the Middle East and nosh on Arab food. Sunday Dec. 5  10 am to 4 pm, Live Oak Park Community Center, 1301 Shattuck Ave.

The Potters’ Studio Annual Holiday Fair — Browse through the creations of a dozen ceramicists everyday from 10 am to 6 pm starting Dec. 11. 637 Cedar St.

Fourth & Clay will be hosting an invitational show featuring cups created by 27 Bay Area artists. Many of the cups, as well as other unusual items, will be for sale. Holiday party, Dec. 9 from 7 to 11 pm. Open Thursday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm through Dec. 19. 2370 Fourth St.

Art dealers Dick and Beany Wezelman have been selling exotic products out of their house for years. Find bowls, baskets, clothes, jewelry and more from the Himalayas, Nepal, Thailand, and Africa. Open House Dec, 3, 4, and 5 from 10 am to 5 pm and Dec. 11 and 12 from 10 am to 5 pm. 1026 Shattuck Avenue. (Between Walnut and Los Angeles)

Kala Institute Holiday Open Studios on Saturday December 11 and Sunday December 12, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm with twenty Kala artists presenting a wide variety of works for sale. The Open House is a great opportunity to see more work by Kala’s artists and pick up original art and holiday gifts.

Toy Making Workshop at Aquatic Park on Sunday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 5 pm. An afternoon of hands-on activities, live music, raffle, food and fun for all ages. Kids can make their own wooden toys from scratch. $5 entrance fee. 84 Bolivar Dr. in Aquatic Park.

Fourth Street

Since November 27, shops on Fourth Street have been open until 7pm, Thursday through Saturday. (Participating shops may vary). Enjoy the spectacular Holiday Tree Lights (pictured at top and below) which come on at dusk.

Free to the public events every Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving — all take place outside near Peet’s (weather permitting):

  • Nov 27 & 28 — Caterpillar Puppet Show, 1 to 4 pm
  • Dec 4 & 5 — Create Fused Glass Holiday Ornaments & Jewelry, 1 to 4 pm
  • Dec 11 & 12  — Professional Photos with Santa in his Sleigh, 12 to 5 pm
  • Dec 18 & 19 — SF City Choir Concert, 1to 4 pm

Free hot cocoa and cider at Chocolatier Blue Patisserie, 1809A Fourth Street Free cups of hot cider and cocoa every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, 4:30 to 7 pm.

The Elmwood

Elmwood merchants’ Holiday Benefit for People’s Grocery. On Thursday Dec 2, from 7 to 10 pm, Vintage Berkeley joins with Summer Kitchen Bake Shop , Lola and Mrs Dalloway’s, as well as several other participating merchants, for a shopping, eating and drinking party. It takes place at Vintage Berkeley at 2949 College Avenue.

Solano Avenue

Holidays on Solano: Solano Avenue’s small town charm and collection of independently owned “mom and pop” enterprises come into their own for the Holidays.

As it does every year, there will be a “Santa on Solano” program, a free photo opportunity with an authentic Santa Claus: Solano Kids: 1820 Solano  at Colusa: November 27th and 28th and December 4th and 5th from noon until 4 pm; Albany Chamber of Commerce – 1108 Solano Avenue at San Pablo; December 11th and 12th; also the 18th and 19th from noon until 4 pm.

In conjunction with the Albany Chamber of Commerce, special promotions on the street include snacks and liquid refreshments from Solano Avenue restaurants and live entertainment on weekends.

Gourmet Ghetto

Holiday Entertainers & Music Throughout the neighborhood every Saturday and Sunday in December from 12 to 4 pm. Sponsored by the North Shattuck Association.

Take a Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto. OnSunday, Dec. 5, from 10 am to 3 pm, it will be “snowing” in the Andronico’s parking lot. Children can play in the snow, make holiday crafts, and visit with the Snow Queen. Andronico’s will provide hot cocoa and cookies. 1550 Shattuck Ave.

Saul’s Annual Latke Party Celebrate Hanukkah with latkes, micro-brews and music on Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5 from 11 am to 6 pm at Saul’s, 1475 Shattuck Ave.

The Jewish Community Center of the East Bay will host a Community Festival of Lights Sunday Dec. 5 from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be Hanukkah-themed arts and crafts, puppets, stories and latkes. 1414 Walnut St.

Sala Berkeley Boutique Holiday Hours and Champagne Shopping Sala will be open on Sundays during the holiday season and offer champagne shopping from 5 to 7 pm on Dec. 20 through 23rd. On Sunday, Dec. 12, from 3 to 5 pm, there will be Reading-Musical Salon at Sala with Summer Brenner, author of “My Life in Clothes,” and cellist Gael Alcock. 1746 Shattuck Avenue.

ACCI Gallery Holiday Arts Showcase Friday, Dec. 10, 4 to 8 pm. Refreshments, live music, locally handmade gifts. 1652 Shattuck Ave.

M.Lowe & Co. will be hosting a trunk show with jeweler Ehud Barvlev of Julieli, Dec. 15, 6 to 8:30 pm. Wine and nibbles will be served. 1519 Shattuck Ave.

Kitchen on Fire Cooking School New Year’s Party, Wednesday, December 29th 6:30 pm. Learn to cook a great meal that you can make later for friends and family. Epicurious Garden, 1511 Shattuck Ave.


Beyt Tikkun Synagogue and Tikkun Magazine Chanukah Party Friday, Dec. 3, 7 pm, Music and dancing by Achi Ben Shalom and the Adama band. Adult Chanukah story told by Rabbi Michael Lerner and children’s version told by Robin Mendelson. Potato latkes will be served. Admission: $25-$15 sliding scale. First Congregational Church of Berkeley, Dana at Channing.

The Berkeley Farmers’ Market 19th annual Holiday Crafts Fair (An Ecology Center Benefit) Saturdays, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, 10 am to 4 pm. In addition to organic produce, local craftspeople and artisans will be selling handcrafted gifts. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, Center St.

The Jazzschool’s Annual Holiday Concert Sunday, Dec. 19, 4:30 pm. The Trumpet Supergroup, five of Northern California’s most accomplished trumpet players team up to celebrate the holidays. Featuring Dave Scott, Mark Inouye, Mario Guarneri, Mike Olmos and Erik Jekabson. $15. 2087 Addison St.

Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse A Christmas Carol. Read by Martin Harris as Charles Dickens, Dec. 21, 8 pm. December 22-23, The Coverlettes. A Christmas cabaret show in the tradition of 1960’s girl groups. 8 pm. And Christmas Jug Band at the Freight on December 14th at 8pm — 2020 Addison St.

Telegraph Avenue

More than 200 artists and vendors will offer handmade crafts, pottery, t-shirts, and other goods at the 27th annual Telegraph Avenue Holiday Street Fair, which runs from 11 am to 6 pm on Dec. 11 and 12, 18 and 19, and 23 and 24.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...