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HOLIDAY GUIDE: Fill your season with the best bets for cupcake-making, candle-lighting, solstice reflection, and local retail

The Union Square tree lighting is a highlight -- but there are plenty of alternatives for lowkey holiday celebrants this year.

La Cocina Gift Bazaar Crocker Galleria, 50 Post, SF. Dec. 7, 1-7pm, free. You're not going to have problems finding foodie-friendly presents at this fair — but getting them safely to their intended destination sans bite marks might be a problem. La Cocina business incubator program graduates Clairesquares, Onigilly, Love & Hummus Co., Chiefo's Kitchen, and more will all have their wares for sale.

East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest Berkeley City College, 2050 Center, Berk. Dec. 8, 10am-5pm, donations suggested. For the indie comic nerds on your list, you'll want to check out this expo of all things zine. Talks by New Yorker illustrator Erik Drooker and Go the Fuck to Sleep author Adam Mansbach spice up the fair's schedule and there's rumor of a dance party to take place at day's end.

KPFA Crafts Fair Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. Dec. 8-9, 10am-6pm, $10. Our public radio station hosts 220 artists and their wares for this no-brainer shopping weekend. Pick up unique wrapables from leather fashion to gourmet snacks to lotions and creams to pamper your loved ones.

Mercado de Cambio/The Po' Sto' market and knowledge exchange 2940 16th St., SF. Dec. 15, 3-7pm, donations suggested. We can pretty much guarantee you that there is no other gift fair that will have better hip-hop music. The Mercado de Cambio organized by POOR Magazine aims to counterbalance the corporatization of our holiday season. Go here for aforementioned live beats, indigenous crafts, Occupy gear, and POOR-published literature.

Renegade Craft Fair holiday market Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. Dec. 15-16, 11am-6pm, free. A DIY gift wrap station is one of the attractions at this one stop for cute gift shopping, which makes one of its two yearly appearances in the Bay Area for the holiday season. The Oakland Museum of California will truck out its mobile "we/customize" exhibit, and of course, there will be crafters: over 250 will have booths hawking clothes, accessories, home stuff, kid stuff — most handmade, and most awesome.


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