I got a phone call this morning from a publicist suggesting that I tell my readers about ebates.com, a shopping site that gathers a sort of "finders fee" for shoppers who use it to connect to its 900+ retail partners, like Sephora and Nordstrom's. They then pass this on to customers through rebates ranging from 1-25% off, and what little web buzz there is about the service looks positive, though I am doubly loathe toward something that both promotes big-box shopping and requires a membership process... however free, I increasingly find the endless cycle of online registrations unbearably wearisome. I did, however, find myself at the downtown Borders (my former place of employment, um, holla) on Saturday, where after exhausting every other available option, I wound up purchasing season one of The Sopranos. This always seems to come up near the holidays, when you finally think of something to get for your dad/uncle/sister-in-law, and try as you might it leads you down a corporate path. So, it's only in the spirit of holiday-shopping desperation that I concede that link, Ebates. For emergencies.

What I'd rather do, is remind you of the coming onslaught of Portland's famous (and famously popular) craft fairs, where you can find gift ideas with much more in the personality department. Of particular interest coming up is the Secret Society sale on the 30th (10 am-6 pm, at the Secret Society Ballroom, 116 NE Russell)--mark your calendar, this holiday stuff is going to come up fast. Best to ride the event tide and space it out. The extravaganza has the key advantage of being held close to liquor, in the form of the adjacent Secret Society Lounge, which you may well want to utilize in fortifying yourself against the craft-crazed crowd. It features a spectacular selection of vendors selling everything from soap and jewelry to vegan chocolates and clocks made of recycled bike parts. How Portland is that?

The creamsicle recycled bike clock by 1.by.Liz