Company holiday party woes? Find your Secret Santa gift at the bazaar

By by carolina astrain/
Dec. 12, 2012 at 6:12 a.m.

Gifts define relationships. This holiday season, escaping the tradition of present exchanges is almost impossible.

Whether it's a Secret Santa or the white elephant game - the gift-giving of useless, excessive possessions you already own - you're bound to end up at the Dollar General for gift wrapping and tasseling bows.

It's an infectious time for expressing how much someone may mean to you, through the medium of a quirky, thoughtful good.

In our most recent newsroom Secret Santa drawing, my boss' name was printed on the white slip of paper from the jar.

The shock consumed me.

The stakes suddenly became much higher than they would have been for another co-worker.

What do you get your boss for Christmas? Robbi Patterson, our archivist and genius party planner, suggested alcohol.

"He likes that," she whispered through a smile.

The insider tip immediately quelled any notion of panic.

But now, almost a week later, I'm starting to have my doubts.

Alcohol for Christmas?

I can do better.

My tabbing began, and through Kate Spade-themed browser windows appeared: fake mustaches, customizable pillows and water-powered clocks filled my screen.

But what about the area shops? Surely Days Gone Bye or the Laurent Street Antique Mall would have some cute knickknacks for less than $20.

A few searches later, the Victoria Art League president, Bill Bauer was on the line.

"Sorry, I can't hear you very well. I'm at a birthday party," Bauer said. "Could you say that again?"

The league's Christmas Bazaar starts Thursday, and I wanted to get an expert's insight.

I asked the league president what sort of crafts he's purchased at the member-driven market before.

"One year, we purchased a nativity scene done by some of our the woodcarvers," Bauer said. "There were about 15 pieces."

Admittedly a non-Catholic, Bauer said the immortalized scene of wise men approaching the birthplace of the Messiah carries emotional weight for him and his wife, who collects the sets.

"We're definitely Christians," Bauer said. "And the nativity means a lot to us."

Among his list of notable purchases was a large painting of Poinsettias, created by the deceased regional artist Elli Corrier.

This year the league has more than 130 members who will have their photography, pottery and fine artwork for sale at the bazaar through Dec. 21.

"There's going to be lots of ornaments and trees decorations," Bauer said. "This will be probably our biggest bazaar we've ever had."

Between this art bazaar and the Internet, who needs a booze-induced gift cop-out?



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