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Whether you like it or not, all hell seems to break loose the minute Thanksgiving is over, and unless you live in Bedford Falls, circa 1946, it’s almost impossible to avoid. The holidays come with expectations: The kids all have visions of Nintendo games dancing in their heads, and here in the 21st century, even the most austere relative probably wouldn’t mind loading up with an iTunes gift card. But if the reality and commercialism of holiday shopping has got you down, at least try to have fun with it. And be responsible: Shop local, shop fair, shop where the community spirit is strong. Here are a few places to do all three this weekend.

So, you’re seeking a good place to start shopping with a fresher outlook? Handcrafted gift items created by local craftswomen and the concept of giving back to the community share the focus at tonight’s annual iTHRiVE Holiday Marketplace at Gallery 1261, 1261 Delaware Street. Featuring wearable art, jewelry, delectable chocolate sauces, stationery, handbags and more, the free shopping event benefits Clothes to Kids, a non-profit Lakewood store where low-income kids can shop for donated clothing. Shop from 5 to 9 p.m.; for details, go to

A more upscale ambience can be had tonight when merchants in Cherry Creek North kick off their Candlelight Shopping Evenings, with extended store hours, candlelit sidewalks, holiday music and more, on Thursday evenings through December 18. A free sing-along hayride through the city streets will add to the festivities tonight only, but during this and subsequent strolls, patrons will be dazzled by lighting displays and a district-wide series of gingerbread houses while they shop; the latter double as donation collection receptacles to raise funds for Denver’s Road Home. Visit

Old-fashioned gifts and decor will rule at Sweet William Market at the Park, a holiday version of the summertime market at Stapleton, featuring twenty vendors of everything from adorable knitted goods for children and vintage-inspired jewelry to fresh holiday greens and festive potted topiaries and herbs. The market begins tomorrow, Saturday December 5, from noon to 7 p.m. at Four Mile Historic Park, 715 South Forest Street; on Sunday, Sweet William joins forces with Four Mile for the facility’s annual Colorado Christmas event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., which includes carriage rides, Victorian games, carolers and Father Christmas, in addition to the shopping. Park admission is $3 on Saturday and $4 to $7 on Sunday (children under twelve admitted free); proceeds benefit Four Mile programs. Log on to or call 720-865-0800.

From Old South Pearl’s Winterfest, it’s only a hop, skip and jump to South Gaylord Street, where the sweetest hole-in-the-wall shop on the block, Pome, will host a Holiday Open House on Saturday. Pome is at 1018 South Gaylord Street; call 303-722-2900.

KGNU Community Radio invites one and all to shop the KGNU Holiday Book and Record Sale, featuring books, LPs and CDs, audio equipment and posters, at the station’s fundraising outlet store, Trust the Dust, Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food donation for the Metro Food Bank and you’ll be entitled to a discount on any purchase worth $20 or more, which is a real deal at a place that already offers bargain prices. Find the shop at the Blue Sky Books and Media Building, 9635 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood; while you’re there, check out the other non-profit shops located under the same roof, including the Free Boutique, the Blue Sky Foundation store and Angels With Paws Thrift Store. Call 303-777-2745.

And on Saturday evening, from 5 to 9 p.m., strolling will be in order in downtown Littleton, during the Old Town Holiday Shopping Evening, for which participating merchants will offer special discounts and other services. Find the fun on Main Street, another street that really sparkles for the holidays, along the stretch from Santa Fe Drive to Bemis Street; go to for more information.
Thu., Dec. 4, 5-9 p.m., 2008


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