THERE ARE two things people can always lord over their animal kingdom neighbors: the opposable thumb and the ability to shop.
Keep that in mind as you seek the perfect holiday gift. It’s crafts fair time, your chance to find one-of-a-kind items made by human hands (with the help of a kiln or jigsaw). And while you’re at it, don’t forget to buy a gift for your pooch, Rover, or the kitty, Fifi; they’ll feel appreciated, and it’s a way of putting them in their place.
* Today-Dec. 19. Unique Boutique 10th annual Holiday Craft Boutique. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 2055 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill. Handcrafted gifts, homemade treats, stocking stuffers, kids stuff and free gift-wrapping.
* Today-Dec. 20. Hooven & Hooven Porcelain. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in November; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays-Sundays in December. Studio 212, 1250 Addison St., Berkeley. “Seconds sale” of porcelain ornaments.
* Nov. 21-Jan. 3. American Indian Contemporary Arts 14th annual Holiday Exhibition. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. 23 Grant Ave., Sixth Floor, San Francisco. “From the Earth XIV” exhibit features native artists from tribes across the United States and their handwork, including paintings, prints, jewelry, ceramics and sculpture.
* Nov. 21-Dec. 20. El Sobrante Art Guild 1998 Christmas/Holiday Shop. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. El Cerrito Plaza, San Pablo Avenue and Fairmount Street, El Cerrito. Handmade arts and crafts, Christmas items, children’s and baby things. Part of the proceeds go to support West Contra Costa school district students involved in art programs.
* Nov. 21-Dec. 24. Little Town Boutique. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Club House, Towne and Country Mobile Home Park, 1060 San Miguel Road, Concord. Craft items.
* Nov. 21-Dec. 24. Santa’s Workshop Holiday Boutique. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Santa House, Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek. The Rowan Branch of Children’s Hospital features Christmas merchandise, hostess gifts, children’s apparel, toys, jewelry and crafts from local crafters, hospital employees and branch members. Items cost $1-$100.
* Nov. 27-Dec. 13. Shadelands 1998 Holiday Faire. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. Holiday decorations, handmade items. Victorian teas, 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 13. $18 per person, reservations required; call 925-935-7871. Free museum admission. Proceeds benefit the Walnut Creek Historical Society.
* Nov. 18-Dec. 24, closed Tuesdays. First Holly Berry Christmas Boutique. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Oakley Antique and Craft Mall, 3569 Main St., Oakley. A mixture of new handmade Christmas crafts and old Christmas ornaments, toys and decorations in a special room for local artisans and crafters.
* Annual Boutique. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. 1403 Main St., Oakley. Handmade gifts. Home-baked items; serving lunch and breakfast.
* Holiday Seasons 15th annual Seasons Boutique. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1971 Mohawk Drive, Pleasant Hill. Enjoy cookies and cider while shopping for crafts and food items.
* St. Callistus Senior Center Holiday Bazaar. 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 3580 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante. Gifts, cards, crafts, white elephants, bake sale, needlecraft, raffle and low-cost lunch. Proceeds go to the center to pay rent and to Richmond area charities.
Tuesday through Nov. 15
* Kreative Keepsakes Holiday Boutique. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 2239 Foxhill Drive, Martinez.
* Holiday Affair, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Nov. 15; same hours Nov. 19-22. 2824 E. Gate Ave., Concord. Wreaths, centerpieces, doll blankets, baby quilts, glue gun holders, ceramics, holiday odds and ends. Complimentary coffee and cookies.
* ValleyCare Auxiliary Holiday Boutique. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday. Hospital Lobby, Valley Medical Center, Las Positas at Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton. Handmade crafts, baked goodies and gift items.
* Holy Cross Lutheran Church annual Holiday Bazaar. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1020 Mocho St., Livermore. Ladies of the church present handmade gifts and decorations, baked goods and jellies.
* Holiday Ceramics Sale-Open Studio. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Nov. 15. 300 La Tierra Buena, Danville. Six local ceramic artists showcase plates, dishes, bowls, sculptures and more.
* East Bay Council Auxiliaries for Children’s Home Society of California 38th annual Holiday Boutique. 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday. Alamo Women’s Club, 1401 Danville Blvd., Alamo. Holiday gifts, decorations, folk art, quilting, teddy bear tree, rubber stamps and accessories, toys, birdhouses and feeders, wreaths, food and refreshments and craft demonstrations.
* 1998 FAHA Ladies Christmas Fair. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 15. Heritage Center building, 197 W. Verano Ave., Sonoma. Wood furniture, baskets, holiday crafts, clothes and jewelry.
* Walnut Acres fifth annual Craft Boutique. 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 6-8:30 p.m. Nov. 19. Multi-use room, Walnut Acres Elementary School, 180 Cerezo Drive, Walnut Creek. Assortment of handmade jewelry and decorative pins, holiday garlands, stuffed animals, American Girl doll clothes, furniture, dolls, baby blankets and booties, ceramic fountains, paintings, holiday sweaters, food, gift baskets, children’s books, Christmas and Hanukkah cards.
* Country Elf Boutique. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 21. First Christian Church, 2725 Minta Lane, Antioch. Handmade items, woodcrafts, ceramics, floral arrangements and rubber stamps. Soup lunch available. Bake sale.
* Country Folk Art Show. 5-9 p.m. Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 22. Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton. Wood furniture, bird feeders, quilts, baskets and toys. Admission fee $5.
* St. Agnes Women’s Guild Small Town Boutique/Cafe. 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 21. St. Agnes Church Hall, 3966 Chestnut Ave., Concord. Small-town feel with “streets” offering crafts and gourmet items, a park and fishing pond for young children, and a cafe serving soup, pies, coffees and teas.
* Shepherd’s Gate Holiday Boutique. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 21. Celebration Christian Center, 1135 Bluebell Drive, Livermore. Homemade crafts, clothing, toys, books, baskets, gift items, bake sale and raffle.
* Shop ‘Til You Drop. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 21. Greenbrook Clubhouse, 300 Greenbrook Drive, Danville. Jewelry, children’s keepsakes, books, kitchen accessories and supplies, felt storyboards, toys, candles, handmade quilts, birdhouses, clothes, personal portraits and Beanie Babies. Raffle proceeds go to the Okizu Foundation’s Oncology Camp for children. Santa Claus visit 2-4 p.m. Presented by the Women Entrepreneurs in Business.
* Holiday Gift Boutique. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 21, noon-2 p.m. Nov. 22. Youth Building, Parkhaven Baptist Church, 1187 Meadow Lane, Concord. Handmade gift items, holiday decorations and edibles.
* Paint Buddies Elf Boutique. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 27-28. 3628 Lone Tree Way, Antioch. Holiday decorations, dolls, dried flowers, folk art and outdoor decor.
* Fourth annual East Bay Bazaar. 2-8 p.m. Nov. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 28-29. Jack London Square, Oakland. Multicultural holiday crafts fair features 45 artists displaying handmade jewelry, candles, photography, ceramics, clothing, teddy bears, ornaments, gourds and more. Special items include Ecuadorian sweaters, Hmong clothing and cloth animals, American-Indian beadwork and dreamcatchers and African-style adult and children’s clothing. Wheelchair accessible.
* Annual Boutique. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 28-29. 1403 Main St., Oakley. Handmade and home-baked items served as lunch and breakfast.
* Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 28-29, Dec. 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20. More than 100 artists and craftspeople showcase ceramics, ornaments, lamps, blown glass, photography, sculpture, dolls, indoor gardens, fountains, custom furniture, wood carvings, decorated eggs, quilts, Judaica, floorcloths, clothing and accessories, textiles, paintings, prints, books and cards. For an artisan map, visit or send a self-addressed envelope to: Berkeley Artisans Map, 1250 Addison St., #214, Berkeley, CA 94802.
* Dickens Fair. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 5. Valhalla Elementary School, Thor Hall, 530 Kiki Drive, Pleasant Hill. Eclectic array of items including wood animals, fused glass jewelry, textile crafts, Christmas decorative pieces, toys, games, books, computer software and posters. Proceeds go to the Valhalla Parent Faculty Association.
* Changing Seasons Christmas in the Wine Country. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 3-5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6. Eagles Hall, 527 N. Livermore Ave., Livermore. Thousands of one-of-a-kind gifts from wine country artisans: heirloom eggs, woodwork, quilted wall hangings, photo albums, doll furniture, floral shell art, holiday centerpieces, coat racks, clothing, aprons, jewelry, mice and dolls. Refreshments available.
* Winter Holiday Studio Arts Sale. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Walnut Creek Clay Arts Guild, Studios D and E, Civic Park, Walnut Creek. More than 200 artists sell pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, paintings, prints and photographs.
* Fourth annual Boutique Buddies Holiday Boutique. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4-5. 4524 Knollpark Circle, Antioch. Handmade items. Register for gift basket. Hot cider provided.
* The Learner Centered Charter School and St. George’s Episcopal Church Holiday Boutique. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 5. St. George’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. 13th, Antioch. Gifts, baked goods, coffee and tea sold.
* Mt. Diablo Adult Education Open House and Crafts Sale. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Pleasant Hill Education Center, 3100 Oak Park Blvd., Pleasant Hill. Visit classes, meet instructors, watch students work and purchase woodcarvings, quilted items, jewelry, ceramics and china paintings. Raffle, home-cooked lunch items, art gallery and quilt show will also be featured. Raffle proceeds benefit classrooms.
* Randall Museum’s third annual Holiday Crafts Fair. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 5. 199 Museum Way, San Francisco. Crafts, hands-on craft workshops, two musical shows at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., live animals, working miniature railroad. Workshops for kids, which require $1-$3 supply fee, teach how to make gift cards and envelopes, mistletoe bouquets, rolled beeswax candles and edible crafts.
* Teddy Bear Tea and Boutique. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 5-6. The Gardens at Heather Farm, 1540 Marchbanks Drive, Walnut Creek. High tea, entertainment and boutique. Tickets for tea times (11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) are $12.50 adults, $7.50 children. For reservations, call 925-947-1678.
* Pinole Senior Center Holiday Craft Fair. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 5-6. 2500 Charles St., Pinole. Seasonal handcrafted gifts, bake sale, raffle prizes, entertainment, snacks, sandwiches, coffee and drinks.
* Third annual Open House Boutique. Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 5-6. 801 Caliente Ave., Livermore. Refreshments and Christmas crafts.
* Christmas in the Vineyards. Noon-5 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Livermore. Seasonal music, fine art, festive decorations, food demonstrations, Christmas recipe cards, hand-crafted gifts and hot mulled wines at Livermore’s 14 wineries. Call 925-447-9463 for details.
* 1998 Celebration of Craftswomen. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 5-6. Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard, San Francisco. The 20th anniversary fair showcases 280 international craftswomen and their ceramics, jewelry, furniture, photography, wearable art, gift baskets, specialty foods and gourmet treats. The largest juried women’s craft fair in the United States benefits the San Francisco Women’s Building. Admission is $6 adults, $10 for a two-day pass, free for children under 12.
* Healdsburg’s Antique Dealers Holiday Open House. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12. Shoppers can browse downtown Healdsburg for refreshments, antique gift items and more. For open house information, call 707-433-4315. For a complete holiday events brochure, call the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau at 800-648-9922.
This article originally appeared in the Contra Costa Times Sunday Features