Everyone has that special someone on their shopping list who says not to buy them anything. Now you can honor their wish without feeling bad about it.
The Kirkwood Presbyterian and Palma Sola Presbyterian churches are hosting the 22nd annual Christmas Market, which focuses heavily on charity and altruism. That’s what sets the market apart, said Carolyn Roskamp, Kirkwood’s outreach coordinator.
The event will be held at Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, 6101 Cortez Road W., Bradenton from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11.
Every table at the market is manned by one of the 21 nonprofit organizations. Roskamp said that each organization lets customers make a donation in someone else’s name. For example, Habitat for Humanity might allow someone to donate $100 toward a kid’s bedroom.
“It’s hard to shop for some people, but here, it’s so easy,” said Roskamp. “Who would feel bad about donating in the name of someone else?”
A “shopping list” is put on display at each table that shows exactly what the donated money would go toward. In addition to the warm, fuzzy feeling a customer gets for donating to a charitable cause, they’re also given a handcrafted gift card that they may pass along to their selfless, gift-refusing family members.
But those who purchase physical goodies are eligible to receive handcrafted gift cards, too. Available gifts vary from year to year because the Christmas Market rotates through local, national and international nonprofit participants. However, clothing items, jewelry and ornaments are typically sold at the event.
All purchases can be made with cash or credit card, Roskamp said. Those who decide to buy something at the Christmas Market are entered to win a random door prize from one of the 21 participating nonprofits.
Every penny that customers spend will return directly to the organizations that sold the items. Roskamp said that a computer system at checkout keeps track of which items each nonprofit sold so that Kirkwood can send them the money before the end of the year.
“If you buy a Christmas ornament from the Humane Society or a pet bed from the Boy Scouts, the money for that goes directly back to them,” said Roskamp.
The mix of organizations working to improve people’s lives is what Roskamp said she loves the most about the Kirkwood Christmas Market.
“The organizations next to one another have time to talk between customers,” Roskamp said. “I get chills — and this happens every year — when the organizations pull me in and say ‘we were able to serve this family in crisis or this person in need.’ It’s a networking opportunity.”
Other offerings at the market include a grill station run by the Boy Scouts Troop 181, warm cider, a Cookie Room chock-full of confections and the Manatee Sunrise Kiwanis Foundation Book Bus that gave away 75 children’s books last year.
The Christmas Market will also serve as a soft launch for two new additions to the Kirkwood Presbyterian Church. It will be the first time that visitors get to tour the new community garden and the lending library for children.