This gift-giving season is looking kinda bleak. It doesn't seem like the economy is going to perk up anytime soon, and with everyone's retirement plans evaporating, every dollar we spend feels like giving blood. Still, if there was ever a time we needed to make merry, it's now. So this year, we decided to focus on do-it-yourself holiday ideas for our annual Holiday Guide issue. We looked at local entrepreneurs who have turned their craftiness into commerce (and one who failed to do so).
Craft Work: Martin Johnson talk to members of the Charm City Craft Mafia about how they turned their hobbies into a business and how they deal with churning out art for the holiday rush.
Love Letters: Wendy Ward discusses the not-quite-dead art of the letterpress with enthusiast and Typecast Press owner Mary Mashburn.
Oy to the World: Charles Cohen retells the story of his mother-in-law's controversial idea to decorate a Chanukah bush.
Sweet Success: Anna Ditkoff visits a local baker whose vegan sweets are so good, you'll want to serve vegan pumpkin pie to the whole family, rather than just trying to mollify your vegan cousin.
Don't forget about our annual gift guide. This year, we've broken up the list into practical and frivolous gifts to help you find the perfect item to spend your hard-to-come-by cash on this year. And as always, the Holiday Guide calendar offers a massive dose of cheer by telling you when and where to get your festive on this year.
The gift guide's stocking was stuffed by Jeffrey Anderson, Michael Byrne, Anna Ditkoff, Edward Ericson Jr., Lee Gardner, Tim Hill, Chris Landers, Bret McCabe, Van Smith, Erin Sullivan, and Wendy Ward. Thanks to Todd Evan for strapping on the Santa hat for the cover photo. Katherine Hill baked the Holiday Calendar figgy pudding and Wendy Ward dusted powdered sugar on it. Aleka Farha, Mindy Mora, Amanda Schmidt, Alex Walsh, and Chris Worthington checked the Yule-flavored facts.