Yes, ordering holiday gifts online is efficient — but how boring is that? 

If when buying holiday presents, you go down any of North Tahoe/Truckee’s main streets or visit a maker’s studio, then wander around meeting creators and shop owners, you’ll have a personal and heart-warming experience. A great tip is to start early, early, early. This leaves time for exploring, getting to know folks, and of course finding gifts that resonate with people and share a bit of Tahoe.

There are a bunch of local gift events, holiday fairs, popups, creators’ studios, and co-ops coming soon for holiday shopping. Check out your community calendar or the Moonshine Ink TAP events calendar to see where they are.

FULL IMMERSION: Vendor booths at the Made in Tahoe festival wrapped around the Palisades Tahoe village. Photos by Ted Coakley III/Moonshine Ink

Holiday shopping started earlier than ever this year in October at the two-day Made in Tahoe event at the Village at Palisades Tahoe. It was a good place to feel the energy circulating among makers and buyers. And it was a key time for creators and shoppers to mingle.

“I met so many great artists and makers,” said Heidi Spirgi, who moved to Tahoe City when the pandemic got started two years ago. “I have cards for so many products I may pursue down the road. And it was such a great vibe.” She said she bought a silver and beaded necklace at the event that hasn’t come off since the day she purchased it. “It reminds me of what I love so much about this area,” she said.

SPUR-SPUR OF THE MOMENT: Paityn (at left) and Nora Izard with the pompoms they made at the Truckee Roundhouse booth.

Made in Tahoe started as a spring event in 2014. This fall was the second time the Village at Palisades Tahoe hosted the event in October, according to Caroline Ross, executive director of Palisades Village Neighborhood Company. 

“We gave October a try in 2021 after we had to cancel Made in Tahoe due to Covid, two years in a row, and it was very well received. This year we decided to make up for lost time and host the event biannually because there was massive interest from our vendor participants, who say this is their most successful event that they do — every single one of them. Some now only choose to do Made in Tahoe, so it creates a unique opportunity to shop local,” she said. The Made in Tahoe website is still up, and on it you can see who attended and who performed at the event.

Artist booths included Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair, Tom Carter Glass, Kahlila Accessories, Gallery Keoki, Lala Jewelry, Truckee Roundhouse, Rebecca Lynn Designs/Gallery 5830, Tahoe Boho, Tahoe Dog Gear, and many, many more. A person could hear the quality of music by local songwriters and musicians. On stages around the village, there were tunes by Jeff Jones from Incline Village, Lost Whiskey Engine from Truckee, Mescalito from South Lake Tahoe, and more. Music wasn’t the only performance style, either. There were also movement artists, including those from Truckee Dance Factory, Tahoe Flow Arts, and the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, which has a sold-out summertime outdoor festival at Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake.

MORE THAN A THING: The wares of local artisans and artists are from the heart and soul.

So that attendees wouldn’t be famished, food was available from regional chefs including Super Swirl, Slice of Switzerland, MOGROG, EATS Cooking Co., Baumann’s Swiss Chalet, and Soil to Soul food truck. Local craft brews came from Truckee Brewing Company, FiftyFifty Brewing Company, and Alibi Ale Works. 

Artisans had nothing but praise for the event.

VanRossem-St.Clair, known and beloved by many in the area, presented her deliciously painted, jewel-like eggshells along with “Contemplation Rocks” that feature intricate animal paintings following the contours of the natural rock. She says the autumn events gets you outside on the particularly lovely days of fall.

The local makerspace, Truckee Roundhouse, was there, too, not only selling metal and fabric wares made by some of their member-artisans, but also providing tools and spaces for people to make their own crafts on the spot — including how to make pompoms using yarn.

SWEET CHOPS: In addition to her own paintings, cards, jewel-like eggshells, and ‘contemplation rocks,’ Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair, at right, shared booth space with her husband, who makes handmade chopsticks. Ink publisher, Mayumi Peacock, had a years-long search fulfilled.

“It’s really nice to be able to come here to see what our community creates and what our community can make; it’s impressive,” said Roundhouse’s board member Lauren Hickey, who with executive director Karyn Stanley was managing the booth. Hickey pointed out that the event has a rigorous jury process, so the booths feature the “best of the best.” “These [wares] are made specifically by people that live here, love our community, and are making in the community.”

Artist Elisa Cutler was offering jewelry she makes using crystals she finds locally and stones from Nevada. She said Made in Tahoe supports the entire community in a “huge, huge way and always brings in a good crowd [to] buy things to support the local artists.” The music and food, she continued, helps foster a “well-rounded” event, which is “very profitable” for her.

Jacob Rittenour, who was helping at Cutler’s booth, said that selling things and having communication with people is definitely fun. “This is Palisades; this is Tahoe,” he said. “It’s great to network… We all have these connections. We feel so far away; but we’re so close. That’s always been the Tahoe vibe.

FULL CIRCLE: Truckee Roundhouse staff, left to right, executive director Karyn Stanley, textile shop lead/instructor Judi Morales, and board member Lauren Hickey encourage event attendees to become makers themselves.


  • Laura Read

    Former editor

    Laura Read is a freelance writer who has published essays, travel stories, and features in The San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic Traveler, Sierra, VIA and Adventure Sports Journal. She teaches creative nonfiction writing at Sierra Nevada College and is the social media writer for Soundslides, an audio slideshow software company based in Truckee. Once a master copyeditor for Moonshine Ink, she lives in Tahoe City with her husband, Doug, and dog, Wheeler.

    Connect with Laura

    M-Tu, Th-Fr 9:30am - 6pm
    10317 Riverside Dr
    Truckee, CA 96161

  • Ted Coakley III

    Lived: OH-TX-OK-CA-NY-CA Visited (work and/or non-work): many states all over the U.S., MX, Canada, Central & South America, Asia & Europe. High on my wish list is Ireland, all over Africa, New Zealand, Russia, Norway, China, Iran, Bhutan, Ecuador, Iceland, Bali, Baja .... well, okay, any/everywhere would be great to visit. Worked: photo, film/video, manual labor, high finance, menial, profound. Someone recently asked me, "You like to talk to people that others don't like to talk to?" I answered that I do like doing that, as much as talking to anyone else, but it's not "a thing" for me that I'm especially into. A day or two later, it struck me why I was asked that - because a lot of people are not like that ... not like me in that way. I'm glad I'm not like others in that way. ¡All for fun and fun for all!

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