stock image of pink gifts and ornaments
Credit: Stock image

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. I hope you are enjoying the day. I don’t know how many of you actually went “over the river and through the woods” to get to grandmother’s house, but I can tell you that around here it’s usually over the dogs and through the kitchen to get to the food on the dining room table. Beyond that, we didn’t have any travel plans this year.

John Akal

Since most of you were pretty busy on Thursday, you probably aren’t actually reading this until Friday or later. This Friday is Black Friday which means…Well, it doesn’t really mean much of anything anymore, does it? Every store you usually shop at started their big Black Friday sales back in October. The Nostradamus in me is predicting that in ten years they’ll just be calling every Friday “Black Friday.”

But I think that’s actually a good thing. It puts the focus back on Thanksgiving as a holiday instead of worrying about camping out overnight in a parking lot to get a deal on some high-ticket item you wanted. Now you can just sit back and relax while the rest of the family starts arguing about politics or something, like back in the good old days.

Now, although I’m fast approaching the time when I’ll be totally consumed by dealing with my Social Security benefits and Medicaid, I’m still a pretty progressive kind of guy. I am proud to say that I have totally embraced this entire concept of shopping online. It always makes me feel like George Jetson or something. Order something while sitting in the kitchen in your underwear and “poof,” it shows up at your door. I know, there are downsides to this, but free shipping is saving me a bundle during the holidays when most of my family is spread out from Florida to an island off the coast of Alaska.

We have to plan pretty far ahead for the last one if we want them to get anything by Christmas. First off, you have to pick something they can use there because they live kind of off the grid. Then we have to ship it all the way to a mail center in the town of Ketchikan. Next we have to let them know it’s there, usually by getting them a message via short wave radio from the mail center. Then they have to take a boat to the mainland, which they only do about once a month to get mail and supplies, and hopefully we get the package there in time for their December crossing of the Tongass Narrows. And you thought getting presents to Chicago was a hassle…

So, yes. Free shipping and a delivery email does kind of make you feel good about utilizing whatever modern convenience makes that happen.

But that being said, I also enjoy a lot of the more traditional kinds of experiences that go with the Holiday Season and one that has become my absolute favorite is just about to begin. There are certain places that make the shopping experience a fun event in itself and have a way of filling your heart with the joy and cheer that make the whole thing really special every year.

For me, that place is the Foothills Art Center and its annual Holiday Art Market. This is the market’s 48th year, and I can say that I have shopped there since it started to find special gifts for those closest to me who I know will appreciate something unique and artistic.

This year’s event runs from Dec. 1 through 29 in pretty much the entire Center. If you haven’t ever been to this one, it’s filled with marvelous creations from some of the area’s top artists featuring pottery, jewelry, glass, fiber, leather, metal, wood, food items, ornaments and handmade greeting cards, which could ostensibly take care of everyone on your list. There will be over 3,000 items to choose from, and it’s also one of the few markets that stay open for a few days after Christmas so you can shop for yourself if you want to.

The Holiday Art Market is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The market will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25. Admission is free.

The Foothills Art Center is located at 809 15th St. on the corner of Washington Avenue here in Golden. For more information, visit

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multimedia production. He can be reached at

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