The great news is that there are more ways than ever to shop online and have a portion of your purchase go to the charity of your choice. Amazon’s Smile program and local start-up Give As You Get come to mind.
But if you’re more of a tactile shopper or you’d rather buy unique or locally made gifts, your options are more limited. Well, this year, a number of Austin’s favorite holiday shopping events have incorporated a charitable donation into their sales — great news for you and for local charities!
That “shop for good” concept isn’t new in Austin — The Junior League of Austin has been raising money for its local charitable projects for 38 years — the fact that some of our other stand-bys are giving back a portion of their sales is a sign of a great new trend. Please support them this year and let’s encourage more local retailers to give back.
NOV 17-23: Junior League of Austin’s A Christmas Affair benefiting Junior League projects and programs
Seven days of shopping, about a dozen separate events… I’m not going to lie: This is a lady’s paradise. From pie to jewelry to handmade crafts, toys, bags, books… about 150 merchants in all, in a gorgeously decorated Christmas setting at the Palmer Events Center. “Intense” is how some might describe it, but some of prefer the terms “incredible”, “can’t-miss” and “tradition.”
Don’t be fooled: this is not a bunch of “ladies who lunch.” On the contrary, the Austin Junior League is mostly full-time working women and moms. All 2,400 members are full-time or part-time volunteers who support initiatives to enhance education, health and well-being, safety and crisis intervention, the arts, and the environment. Each dollar raised by The Junior League of Austin is tripled in value by our volunteers’ time. In fact, this year alone it will invest more than $780,000 and 100,000 volunteer hours in Central Texas.
Tickets for events vary, but a ticket for “Market Days” is $15. MORE INFO HERE
NOV 28 – DEC 24: Blue Genie Art Bazaar benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation
Here’s where you can pick up works from about 200 local craftsmen and artists, including paintings, photography, prints, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, accessories, glassworks, ceramics, and more. Long-time Austinites may remember the Blue Genie Art Bazaar taking place at the Austin Music Hall for many years, but this year’s location at Marchesa Hall by Highland Mall promises ample parking and lots of great space. This is a free event open from 10 am to 10 pm, so there’s no excuse for not shopping.
While we encourage you to shop on any and every day the Bazaar takes place, take special note of the four “Make-A-Wish Mondays” when 10% of the profits will be donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South TX. Their goal is to raise at least $5,000 to fulfill the wish of a local child.
Free! MORE INFO HERE
DEC 6-7: Art from the Streets, benefiting homeless people/artists
For the past 22 years, homeless or formerly homeless individuals from around Austin have found their way to free, twice-weekly open studio sessions hosted by Art From the Streets. In addition to providing a safe and supportive environment for creativity, Art From the Streets gives these artists the opportunity to sell their work.
This year the annual exhibition will feature more than 2,000 new pieces for sale, including paintings and drawings, photography, jewelry, and pottery. Prices start at $35, with a $5 suggested donation at the door to help fund the program year-round.
Tickets for a suggested donation of $5. MORE INFO HERE
DEC 7: Holiday Bazaar benefiting Without Regrets Foundation
Here’s where you’ll find gifts for teachers, co-workers, friends and family. Vendors like Pampered Chef and 31 Bags will sell kitchen items, jewelry, and more. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Without Regrets, which provides gravely ill parents and their minor children with memorable family experiences.
MORE INFO HERE
DEC 13-14:Cherrywood Art Fair, benefiting Chula League
Don’t miss this one-stop holiday shopping experience boasting some of the best art and hand-made gifts Austin has to offer in a fun, a family-friendly atmosphere with live music and good food. It is also a great opportunity to support student artists through the Little Artist BIG ARTIST mentoring program.
A portion of the proceeds from the Cherrywod Art Fair benefits Maplewood Elementary and Chula League’s Little Artist BIG ARTIST program which provides an opportunity for East Austin elementary school students to celebrate creativity, develop personal expression, and strengthen social skills through professional artist mentorship.
Free! MORE INFO HERE