If you're the type who's more likely to match the gift to the person right as you pay for it, this is the weekend to consume -- first-of-December sales are conspicuous in their profusion, awaiting attack by consumer mobs like deer frozen in the headlights. All you have to do is walk out the door with a wallet in your hand. Good aim helps, too.
Here's a clue: Pots. Mugs. Vases. Platters. Hit the pottery shows and give a handmade gift. You meander. You putter. You carry around newspapers with addresses marked in red pen. So here's an introduction: The Denver Potters Association Holiday Show and Sale rises like the sun at this time each season. This year's show, which runs November 30 through December 3 at Sixth Avenue United Church, 3250 E. 6th Ave., ranges beyond the usual pots, mugs, vases and platters to include works in wood, glass, wire and fiber. Call 303-377-5535. The Colorado Clay Project Holiday Show and Sale, December 1-3 at the Roundtree Art Center, 2942 Welton St., also includes arts and crafts other than pottery, although the nonprofit artists' co-op in the heart of Five Points is predominantly dedicated to teaching community members to work with clay. Call 303-294-9985. The focus of the Mudslingers Holiday Pottery Sale, though, is squarely on works of clay, created at Mudslingers Pottery Studio in Louisville. Pottery demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the sale, November 30 through December 2 at the Louisville Recreation Center, 900 W. Via Appia, Louisville. Call 303-926-0996.
On the other hand, an incredible span of affordable works by 140 artists, both local and national, are available at the annual Arvada Center Art Market Show and Sale to discerning buyers looking for gifts that are just a little bit different. Aside from the usual selection of jewelry, pottery and hand-woven accessories, that might include anything from a side-splitting miniature drawing by social observer Bill Amundson to a playing-card grid by Phil Bender. The show opens with a reception November 30 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continues daily, December 1 through 10. The Arvada Center is at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd.; call 303-431-3939 or log on to arvadacenter.org.
Variety also reigns at the Junior League of Denver 2000 Holiday Mart, November 30 through December 3 at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, Hangar # 1, 7711 E. Academy Parkway, on the former Lowry Air Force Base. Inside, you'll find an array of gifts, including holiday edibles and decorations, clothing, toys, unusual jewelry and more; the $5 admission fee benefits league programs. Call 303-692-0270, ext. 116, or log on to jld.org.
Finally, don't forget the galleries -- lots of local salons host holiday shows this month featuring gift-worthy artworks, and these are only two: At Artists on Santa Fe, 747 Santa Fe Drive, the annual holiday show is heavy on ceramics, including jewelry, sculpture, and functional pottery and porcelain, but also offers prints and photography. Special events include an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 1 and an open houseDecember 8, in conjunction with Santa Fe Drive's Luminarias Walk; the show continues through December 30. Call 303-573-5903. And Sophia Georg Gallery, 265 Detroit St., can always be counted upon for an interesting mix of whimsical and stunning folk art. That gallery's holiday show also continues through December 30; call 303-329-3150.
You can take it from there. Now, get out and shop.