Local merchants wish you a mall-free Merry Christmas

On December 2, 2010, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

The Somerville Community Growing Center will sell hand-decorated, locally-grown wreaths at the Union Square Winter Craft Market on Saturday, December 4. - Photo Courtesy Growing Center

Holiday shopping events this week in Davis Square, Union Square and around town

By Elizabeth Sheeran

Still have names on your holiday gift list, but dread going back to the malls after barely surviving Black Friday? Somerville merchants have just the antidote: Shop locally.

“Our stores embody the individual, artistic spirit that has become Somerville’s hallmark in this region,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “You have a selection here unlike anywhere else. And when you shop local it saves you time and it keeps money pumping through your local economy.”

Studies have shown that every dollar spent locally creates up to three times the economic activity in local communities, said Joe Grafton of Somerville Local First, a non-profit which has joined with other local business networks in a regional “Shift Your Shopping” campaign, to encourage shoppers to shift their holiday gift-buying  to locally-owned independent businesses.

And Somerville retailers are pulling out all the stops this week to put shoppers in the holiday spirit.

Davis Square businesses are kicking off the local holiday shopping season with their annual Midnight Madness event on Thursday, December 2. Merchants around the square will be open until midnight for late night shopping, with plenty of special deals and incentives beginning at 6 p.m.

Several retailers will greet shoppers with appetizers and cocktails, including a special hot chocolate cocktail at The Boston Shaker. Zipcar will hand out goodies from a tent near JP Licks, with hot cider and coffee courtesy of Redbones and Johnny D’s. And many stores will offer bigger discounts as the night progresses, to encourage browsers to linger long into the night and further add to the party atmosphere.

“The unique shopping experiences you’ll have while wandering the streets of Davis Square or any square in Somerville is simply something you can’t get elsewhere,” said KyAnn Anderson of the Davis Square Area Resident-Business Initiative (DARBI), which is sponsoring Thursday’s Midnight Madness.

Then on Saturday, December 4, local merchants are sponsoring Somerville Shop-A-Palooza, a special day of holiday shopping featuring local independently-owned retailers and artisans.

The sixth annual Union Square Winter Craft Market, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, will feature locally-produced gift ideas for all those special people in your life. Vendors will set up shop around the Union Square plaza area, where Washington Street, Prospect Street and Somerville Avenue come together, and inside the nearby Precinct Bar.

This year’s market will feature an eclectic mix of originally designed, handcrafted items, including jewelry, ornaments, handbags, clothing, stationery items, linens, pottery, children’s items, coasters, gourmet foods, graphic arts, soaps, and even handmade novelty musical instruments.

“Shopping locally let’s people get much more unique gifts than they would find at a mall,” said Mimi Graney of Union Square Main Streets, the organization that sponsors the event each year. “And there are so many special things happening around the square that day at neighborhood retailers too.”

As part of Shop-A-Palooza, independently-owned stores throughout the city will be open for business this weekend with special events and promotions, including free tastings at Taza Chocolate Factory Store and wine- sipping at Grand in Union Square, free samples at Stinky’s Kittens and Doggies Too in Ball Square, cookies and coffee at La Chic Boutique in Davis Square, and discounts galore.

At the Armory on Highland Avenue, Arts at the Armory will host the Snow Mall Holiday Marketplace featuring 35 local artists and craftspeople, on both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with a $2 entrance fee for adults.

The back room of The Burren Pub in Davis Square will be host to SLAM, the Saturday Local Artists Market, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. And Mudflat Gallery at 149 Broadway will host an open studio and pottery sale event.

It all adds up to a great time to shop locally and spend your holiday dollars right here in Somerville.

For more information about Midnight Madness in Davis Square go to www.yourdavissquare.com. For information about the Union Square Winter Craft Market and a chance to preview all of the vendors, go to www.unionsquaremain.org. For more information about Shop-A-Palooza and supporting local merchants, go to www.somervillelocalfirst.org.


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