Group Hug Day

There is a season among crafters and vendors that starts somewhere in November and runs into Christmas where ideas and inventory ramp up to prepare for the joyous onslaught of paypal beeps from your cell phone. Along with that comes stressful craziness of not enough hours in the day along with woulda coulda shoulda dope slaps every time a calendar is seen. Late, late late…


I usually do a combination of holiday shows and sell in Manhattan a few sundays at a flea market on the West Side. The holiday shows are typically indoors and hosted by community or art groups and the vendors work is juried, which attracts professional and the oh so creative sort.  These are low key affairs in which attendees are there for gift buying and to see original work. The flea market, on the other hand is an open market  free for all with  some very… interesting sellers (think carnies gone retail), others are there to supplement their income, whether they are retired, working, or the starving artist type.

Last week I looked around and saw all the different colors and cultures of the other vendors, all there to get the last gasp before Christmas. There was the retired school teacher from Brooklyn selling estate jewelry, the tall guy from Senegal selling vintage clothes, from Holland a woman selling her handmade knit hats, the funny guy from Tibet selling rocks and crystals…Burma, Ecuador, Argentina, Israel all represented. It was like someone threw the fire alarm at the U.N.

Business was miserably slow and we all were watching the clock, speculating on the next rush. The rush never really came and so we all wrapped up a little early. There were a few Merry Christmas’s about but not as much as you’d think considering it was only 4 days to Christmas. Fact is, much of them didn’t celebrate and/or recognize Christmas. But what they did was give big hugs, forget the sales, it was like group hug day. There was a kinder, gentler spirit…even from the grouchy Russian blanket dude  (who might have hugged if he didn’t get a parking ticket…). A sense of Christmas had permeated the air.

Driving across town I saw all the hustle and bustle and lights and helter skelter of the city under holiday attack. The vendors had it right…like Dr. Suess’ Grinch says:  ” Maybe  Christmas doesn’t come from a store”

A very happy to you and yours.

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