It’s that time of year again, the time when humanity overruns shopping malls and ships full of Chinese merchandise are unloaded upon our shores. But we have one tip for your consideration this holiday season..... Shop independent and local. Support shopping that supports our communities.
As an example, the College of the Desert Street Fair on the COD campus in Palm Desert, hosts hundreds of independent vendors carrying everything from art to clothing, jewelry to furniture, much of it made in the desert.
When you shop at the COD Street Fair, you support the COD Alumni Association which provides more than $270,000 in student scholarships and financial aid every year, and funds other college programs and projects. The COD Alumni Association has donated $1 million to the college for the Alumni Association Academic Enrichment Fund, as well as raised more than $700,000 for the scholarship endowment fund. You shop and create a better future for the desert at the same time: www.codstreetfair.net.
Another aspect to shopping independent and local is the fact that some of the very best selections of gifts can be found at the gift shops of our museums and art galleries. Yucca Valley’s Hi-Desert Nature Museum gift shop, as well as those in the 29 Palms Art Gallery, the 29 Palms Creative Center, and the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the Maturango Museum, or the Eastern California Museum, and even the Twentynine Palms Visitors Center, all offer unique gift ideas you won’t find in the mall. Once again, you’re supporting something of value.
Even when you shop local businesses instead of multinational corporations, you’re supporting your community. Check out one of my favorites—Sagebrush Press in Yucca Valley, for hard to find desert books (there are so many books in there you can barely walk!), or Lotus Garden Center in Palm Desert with their desert art collection and everything you need to make your home and garden beautiful. Places like Artistic Beads in Yucca Valley, or the 29 Palms Creative Center, can get you making your own gifts this Christmas.
You get the idea. And of course, you can always give a memorable desert experience instead of something material, from a romantic stay at Roughley Manor, to a poolside escape at the 29 Palms Inn, a night honky-tonking at Pappy & Harriet’s to a weekend exploring Ridgecrest or Borrego Springs. All of these ideas are in this magazine, so skip the mall this year.
Finally, support the organizations that protect and enhance our desert. Adopt a horse at White Rock Horse Rescue, support one of our museums, or a park-oriented organization like the Joshua Tree National Park Association, the Amargosa Conservancy, or the Anza-Borrego Foundation.
One of our favorite places to order real desert gifts is China Ranch Date Farm.
Of course, you can send folks gift subscriptions to The Sun Runner to share the real desert with your loved ones too. We’ll send love from Joshua Tree.....