Getting into the Christmas spirit

  • 2007-11-28
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon

HAND CRAFTED: Two IWCR members paint colorful lightbulbs for the annual Christmas Bazaar. All profits from the event will go to help local charities.

RIGA - Stuck trying to find the perfect Christmas present? Want to do something charitable for the holiday season? Got the urge to munch on some scrumptious Christmas-time delectables?
Then there is good news: the 10th annual Christmas Bazaar, held on Dec. 1, will give people the opportunity to 's as they say in Latvian 's kill three rabbits with one shot.

The Christmas Bazaar, organized by the International Women's Club of Riga, offers a wide range of arts and crafts of both the foreign and hard-to-get local varieties. And what's better, all of the proceeds from the event will go to local charities.
"The largest, most sensational event of our club each year is the annual Christmas Bazaar," reads the IWCR Web site. 
The ephemeral marketplace promises to be chock-full of homemade goods from an ever growing list of countries, ranging from as far abroad as Italy, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Azerbaijan.

"This year's Christmas Bazaar promises to feature exciting new countries. The variety of cultures represented in Latvia continues to grow and makes us feel a deep sense of community with the rest of the world," IWCR President Veronica Blumentals said in a statement.
There will be more than just a selection of international goods 's the bazaar also draws some of the rarer local goods most people miss out on.

"Many new ideas emerged which brought in local vendors and which provided access to local crafts which weren't so available in the shops," an online article about last year's Christmas Bazaar reads.
If all this isn't enough to pique the interest of an average Christmastime gadabout, the bazaar will also host a lottery in which participants can win one of a towering list of prizes. It is impossible to list all of the prizes in such a short article, but here is a taste of what people have donated: round trip tickets to Helsinki, numerous weekend getaways around the Baltics, mobile phones, gift certificates, free dinners and antique furniture.
The IWCR started out as a group of ex-pat women who met socially in the early 90s. As the group grew in size, members decided that they should try to do something socially beneficial and good natured with their time.
When someone proposed the idea of holding a Christmas Bazaar for charity, the idea took off and it wasn't long before the members 's under the tutelage of some of the more experienced craftswomen 's started to produce dazzling small crafts for charitable causes.

The event exploded when the ladies at the IWCR teamed up with a group of moms who made small crafts to raise money for children at a local playgroup. As the amount of crafts the group could produce grew ever larger, the organization started to have a real impact on the lives of the people they set out to help.
Revenues from the Christmas Bazaar are divided between 17 different charities, most of which focus on helping deprived children, the elderly and the disabled lead richer lives. 
With more people joining the club and taking part in the Bazaar, this year's event looks to be one of the biggest and best so far 's surpassing even last year's wildly successful event.

"Christmas shopping was done in an easy, relaxed and confined area while Christmas carols played and snow fell outside creating an overall festive mood. Rumor has it that even the menfolk were keen to shop there and socialize, and indeed even help out," a description of last year's Bazaar on the International Women's Club of Riga Web site reads. 

Happy shopping.

IWCR Christmas Bazaar
Hotel de Rome
Dec. 1, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.