Ah, the holiday shopping season. It usually goes something like this: battle traffic; wade through the mall; buy overpriced, useless, generic crap; fight with significant other; go home and worry about the credit card bill. This year promise yourself that you will give and receive -- some genuine holiday cheer. Begin by boycotting the mall. Buy your gifts at the annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival in Islamorada. Thats right: Celebrate Christmas in the Keys, Americas tropical paradise. Nothing commercial here festival rules require artists to offer only original pieces -- just unique handmade gifts such as paintings, sculptures, and fabric art. A bonus is that since its the Keys, youre probably not far from a tiki bar. Now thats a holiday tradition in the making. The festival runs from November 24 through 26; booths are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Call 305-664-2321, ext. 622. If you want to stay overnight or make it a weekend in the Keys, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305-664-4503 or 800-322-5397 for tips on accommodations. Visit www.fla-keys.com.
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