Christmas craft sales are as common as fruitcakes during the holiday season, and given many offer up as many direct-selling products as they do actual crafts, some are about equally as unsatisfying as those unfortunate seasonal confections.
Not so for the All Sooke Christmas Craft Show.
For 43 years Sooke’s Christmas sale has featured nothing but homemade crafts, and almost all of them have been created in Sooke.
“Everything we have for sale is handmade, we have none of the pre-packaged goods that you see at some sales,” said Gillian Kadiri, the president of the All Sooke Arts and Crafts Club.
“As you walk through our sale you’ll see every kind of craft and artistic endeavour. We have woodworking, metal arts, mosaics and portrait mosaics, knitting, soaps, homemade cosmetics, jams, jellies, baking … well just about everything.”
Another feature of the sale is that every one of the vendors lives in Sooke – a testament to the artistry and creativity of the town’s residents.
“In order to be one of the 56 vendors that are allowed in the sale (the number is limited by the space available within the sale venue) you have to be a member of the club,” Kadiri said.
“That’s also one of the factors that tends to limit the sale to true crafters.”
Outside direct sales vendors are unlikely to join a craft association, she explained.
Kadiri has headed up the sale for two years but has been involved for 19 years, during which time she has seen the children of some crafters grow to adulthood and take up the creative pursuits of their parents, bringing a new generation of creativity to the Sooke’s artisan community.
“That’s one of the greatest aspects of this sale. The skills and creativity are being passed down within our community,” she said.
The sale takes place at the Sooke Community Hall and, aside from perusing the wide array of Christmas crafts, people have the chance to have their picture taken with Santa, sample food and beverages supplied by the Sooke Lions Club, and get information on local non-profit organizations.
Admission to the sale is free and people are invited to drop in as many times as they wish.
“We sometimes have the same people coming in all three days. They’ll see something they like but leave without buying, but then come back a couple of times before they finally decide to buy it,” said Kadiri.
“Part of that may be careful shopping, and part is that people just like the social aspects of the sale. It’s a chance to meet neighbours, share the Christmas spirit and just socialize.”
The sale is equally popular with the vendors themselves.
“We sell out our tables by June, and the truth is that we could sell twice as many tables if we had space. We have so many talented people in Sooke and such a great range of imaginative products for sale.”
The All Sooke Christmas Craft Sale takes place on Friday, Nov. 16 (noon to 7 p.m.), Saturday, Nov.17, and Sunday, Nov. 18 (from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. both weekend days).