Finding that perfect gift for the one you love can be stressful. You put so much pressure on yourself to get it right.
Have no fear this year. We got you!
The market will have hand-crafted items from local artisans. The market kicks off Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. during the lighting of the Official City of Santa Monica Holiday Tree ceremony featuring live performances by the Santa Monica High School Madrigals, the Santa Monica College Emeritus Band and the award-winning Top Shelf Vocal Group.
Items on hand include sustainably-sourced olive oils and honey, elegantly designed necklaces, custom fragrances and smile-inducing art you can wear, use and share.
"We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be in Santa Monica," said Larisa Rus, who co-owns Bee Green Honey.
Rus co-founded the business with a classmate while studying architecture at SCI-Arc. Rus' family kept bees as a hobby. Shortly after graduation she was struggling to find work. Using the only commodity she had - honey - she embarked on a new career. She is currently working as an architect for theme parks, but dedicates her free time to the honey business. Her parents manage their roughly 150 bee hives, transporting them across the state, pollinating small farms that grow avocados, almonds and oranges, which help give her honey its unique taste and color.
Rus became passionate about bees after seeing documentaries on their role in the production of food and how their numbers are dwindling because of insecticides, fungicides and parasites. Many plants cannot reproduce without pollinators. Some are dependent entirely on honey bees.
"I'm very passionate about this and enjoy doing it," said Rus, who is originally from Romania and moved to the U.S. when she was 18. "The more I learn about them the more I am amazed at how much they contribute. I hope to keep this business going for as long as we can so we can help save the bees."
Artisanal LA has been producing makers markets for nearly a decade. Shawna Dawson, who curates the markets, said the mission is to reduce barriers for indie makers through education, opportunity and awareness.
"At our pop up markets and events, consumers and buyers discover a wide array of handmade and small production eats and treats from local honey to hot sauce; home goods including handcrafted décor and candles; lifestyle goods like skincare and kids' products," Dawson said. "Plus programming with hands-on DIY workshops, chef-led demos, expert panels and speakers educating guests on various topics, including the non-profit organizations changing the local food and maker scene."
Lisa Grabow owns Beyond the Olive, which specializes in California olive oils and fruit-infused balasamic vinegars. She has intimate relationships with all the farmers she sources from and has won several awards for her products. Her website includes over a dozen recipes, including her famous cherry-chocolate chicken wings marinated in her signature chocolate and cherry balsamics and the Arbequina extra virgin olive oil.
"The reason we go for California olive oils is that we have control over it," she said. "You taste olive oil made in Europe, and it's great, but the time that it takes for it to get here changes the flavor a bit."
Grabow's oils are routinely tested to make sure they are of the highest quality.
For gifts that are playful and fun check out Emii Creations from Emily Chiang, who specializes in cute and clever art pieces that are intended to make people smile. A former programmer who spent time working for a visual effects company in Downtown Santa Monica, Emily now devotes her time to building her brand of loveable cartoon characters. She plops them on greeting cards, T-shirts, stud earrings and keychains. Her three main characters are dogs, each with their own personality traits that reflect different aspects of Emily's own.
"My parents always thought I was a little odd, that I always had my head in the clouds," said Chiang, who grew up in Orange County with plenty of pets around the house, including dogs, birds, turtles and even rats and horses. "They always said they had no idea what I was thinking. In reality, I was just creating stories and characters in my head. I had my own little world."
Chiang began making miniature plush characters she carried with her to help with anxiety while traveling. She plans to make speciality plush toys at the market, along with custom drawings of people's pets. She's looking forward to being back in Downtown Santa Monica and visiting the farmers market.
"I'm so excited! I am going to tell all my old co-workers to come out and see me."
The Winterlit Makers Market will be open Dec. 5-8, 13-15, and 20-22. Fridays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Dec. 5 market will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to coincide with the tree lighting celebration.
The market will be located on the northernmost block of the Third Street Promenade near the Santa Monica Holiday Tree.