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There’s nothing about the holidays I dislike more than scrambling at the last minute to find a gift for someone, running out of time and settling for something I know he or she probably won’t even use.

That’s why I started my Christmas shopping on Saturday.

I know. It’s early. Halloween is barely over and Thanksgiving is still around the corner. But don’t worry; the Christmas decorations won’t come out until Black Friday.

It’s just that there are so many hard-to-shop-for people on my list, if I don’t get a head start I may not find something for everyone in time. So when I do find an item that I think one of those hard-to-shop-for friends or family members will like, if the price is right, I buy it - even if it’s still summer or early fall. Or even spring.

In recent years, my go-to for a lot of people on my list (not just those who are hard to shop for) has been handmade gifts. I make some myself and purchase others from local artisans. Craft and vendor fairs are great places to find unique, high-quality and even personalized gifts.

I must admit, however, I am biased. I am an occasional craft fair vendor myself and that’s where I was Saturday. I took a mini road trip to upstate New York to visit family and set up shop with my cousin, Mary Wheeler, at a craft fair fundraiser for her son’s school. So while Mary kept an eye on my booth, I started my Christmas shopping.

Like most craft fair vendors, I usually end up spending a good portion of my profits at the booths of other vendors.

Sure, I still do some of my Christmas shopping at Walmart, department stores and Amazon, but I think people who only shop at those places miss out. Local artists and mom-and-pop shops have so much to offer that major retailers do not. Originality, creativity and thoughtfulness abound when shopping local.

Here are some craft fairs and vendor events coming up in the Abington-area.

Dorothy Boccella Holiday Marketplace: Saturday, Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit.

Factoryville Public Library Annual Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair: Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center, 179 College Ave., Factoryville.

35th Annual Artisan’s Marketplace: Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Waverly Community House, 1115 N. Abington Rd, Waverly Township.

Dalton Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary Craft Show, Saturday: Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dalton Fire Company - Station 5, 109 S. Turnpike Road, Dalton.

Shop Local Holiday Gift Market: Saturday, Nov. 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place, 304 S. State Street, Clarks Summit.

Abington Heights Education Association Craft Fair: Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Abington Heights Middle School, 1555 Newton Ransom Blvd., Clarks Summit.

Abington Heights High School Music Department Vendor Sale: Thursday, Dec. 13 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the high school, 222 Noble Road, South Abington Township.

So don’t resort to fruitcake or start browsing ties just yet. Give shopping local a try first.