Alternative Christmas Market readies for 25th year

SOLANA BEACH — Shoppers from across San Diego have a chance to make an impact this holiday season by giving gifts that can change the lives of people worldwide.
The Alternative Christmas Market will mark its 25th year at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church on Nov. 21, featuring school books for Ethiopia, medication for moms-to-be in Burma and even an acre of rain forest in Peru. Last year, more than 800 shoppers spent an estimated $130,000 at the Market, which extends beyond Nov. 21 for several more Sundays and can be found online at
Buyers receive certificates with descriptions of their purchases that are suitable for gift-wrapping or slipping into a Christmas card. “The Alternative Christmas Market is a highlight of the Christmas season,” SBPC outreach Pastor Tom Theriault said. “These gifts don’t come packaged in plastic that will clog our landfills — they come wrapped in hope and love.”
Shoppers can buy meals for local Marine Corps families and toys and clothing for San Diego-area foster kids. As the largest market of its kind in the United States, the SBPC Alternative Christmas Market draws an increasing number of buyers who last year provided food for 4,500 low-income neighbors in San Diego, planted 27,000 trees to reforest Haiti, and funded scholarships for Hispanic students to attend an elite summer school at the UCSD. “It’s a great way to inspire others to make a difference,” Theriault said.
At this year’s market, there will be more than 70 different “gifts” ranging in price from $5 for nails to build homes in Tijuana to a $3,500 college scholarship. High quality hand-made crafts will also be sold to help struggling artisans around the globe.
Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Nov. 21 (smaller markets will be held at the same times Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12) at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church’s Debin Hall located at 120 Stevens Ave. Free parking is provided. For more information call (858) 509-2580 or visit


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