A Responsible Holiday Craft Season

It’s mid-November. Busy crafters have been gearing up for the holiday season for months now. But, will this year be different? It should be but from what I’ve noticed, I’m not sure it will be.

Some, if not most, of the summer arts and craft shows were cancelled this year. And, I believe most of the larger holiday craft shows in our area have also been cancelled. But, if I pay attention to social media, it seems that there’s still smaller shows popping up all the time. In fact, I just saw one this morning taking place in our own town on December 5th. It was calling for vendor applications. Are you game?

I know I am not. Call me chicken or a rule follower or a privileged person who has the means to not have to hawk their wares at a craft show during a pandemic, I will not participate in these events while we have a public health crisis underfoot. This decision applies to both shopping and being a vendor. It seems that although the usual holiday craft shows – at our convention center or the local micro brewery or high schools – have been cancelled, others have been created to replace them.

Right now, this is just unwise, and frankly, irresponsible. When you stand behind or next to your table at a craft fair one of the goals is to engage people in your work. This means talking to them, touching pieces that they’ve touched, taking their money or credit card, and handing them a bag with their purchases. They move a few feet down the aisle and the process repeats all over again with a different vendor. In addition, these events are usually crowded and include food vendors as well. Even in the best case scenario where everyone is masked, no one attends that feels sick, people socially distance and use hand sanitizer, there are bound to be more cases of infection following these events! After all, the same air is breathed and you are mingling with people you don’t live with on a daily basis – something we’ve been asked not to do, even when we wish celebrate our own family holidays.

I get it. Craft fairs can be fun and you are supporting the local economy when you attend and make purchases. I know we need the economic stimulus. But, in this case, as in most, it comes with some risk. In addition, craft shows are a lot of work. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes and before the event, itself. And, while being a holiday craft fair vendor can earn you some extra cash, typically I’ve found it not worth my time to sit at a booth for a whole weekend. So, some years ago, I stopped selling at holiday fairs. Instead, I increase my Etsy shop promotions, run a few online sales, hold an occasional invitation only open house (which I am sorry to say I won’t do this year either) and am content with those efforts. For holiday season 2020, I will do the same, not only because I don’t want to be bothered, but because I think it is the responsible thing to do.

Yesterday, on Poetry Friday, our round up host informed the group that many of us have Etsy shops. Shopping Etsy is a great way to support some entrepreneurs that might have gotten their start at craft fairs but, like me, are not participating in them this year – even if they are still being held.

I’ll share a few links with you here (including mine), and maybe you’ll choose to stay safe and shop from home this year. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of the virus!

Poetry Books for the K-12 classroom or any poetry fan!

Pomelo Books

Jewelry

Carol’s Jewelry Orchard

Cards, Prints, Paintings, & Gifts for Writer’s and Poets

Michelle Kogan Fine Art

Robyn Hook Black – artsyletters

Hand-dyed Yarns, Knits, & Patterns

SoulBlossomLiving

Online Galleries and Websites

The Left Bank Shop and Gallery in Mc Gregor, Iowa

Disclaimers:

Carol’s Jewelry Orchard is my etsy shop where I offer hand crafted jewelry and now, fabric face masks. Some of my jewelry is featured on the website of The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, along with many other talented artists. I have no other affiliation with any of the other shops, just that I know them to be poets who participate in Poetry Friday.

Take care and have a safe, happy, holiday shopping season!

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