Families enjoy homemade crepes, meeting Santa, and a Christmas tree lighting
By Barbara Burke
Special to The Malibu Times
The Our Lady of Malibu parish hall and patio were jam-packed with purveyors offering ceramics, jewelry, spa items, clothing, purses, knitted hats, shoes, crystals, fossils, soaps, and an array of lovingly curated gift items.
“It’s a wonderful way to bring Malibu together to start the Christmas season,” said the ever-jovial Father Matt Murphy of Our Lady of Malibu Church. “It’s amazing how talented and patient the booth owners are as they create all their arts and crafts, and it’s delightful that the kids get to hang out together this afternoon and for them to also participate in the Christmas tree lighting after evening mass.”
Families and their dogs delightedly greeted one another. Soon, children scampered to and fro while parents chatted and mingled.
“The turnout is amazing and we have 35 vendors this year,” said Gina Gigliotti, organizer of the highly successful event. “We enjoyed homemade crepes this morning and kids and adults of all ages are participating in the crafts tables that we offered so that everyone could be involved, even those who don’t particularly like to shop.”
“We’re delighted to be here,” said Mikaila Fabbro, whose Beach House by Mikaila, which offers one-of-a-kind gifts inspired by Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, proved popular with customers. “We offer healing crystals, lavender, sweetgrass, pine, and numerous other sages, as well as lovely feather wands. We’re most happy to be here to support the church, school and community.”
Everywhere one looked, there were wonderful, enticing items to peruse and sample.
“Try my jams!” said Carolyn Wallace warmly, offering an array of choices from her company, Jammin’ Malibu. “I’ve been coming to this holiday boutique for 40 years and I used to be in charge of it.”
“Our Lady of Malibu is a very tight-knit community,” Gigliotti commented. “I still know everyone who I attended this school with, even those who don’t live locally anymore. This is a community that welcomes all and makes everyone feel like family.”
Eric Casano offered something new and intriguing.
“It’s the first flash-frozen line of coconuts of all time!” He exclaimed. “Before, if someone tried to freeze a coconut, it would explode. These are specially frozen, have a shelf life of two years in the freezer, 30 days in the fridge and they offer all the nutrients of a fresh coconut.”
A trio of terrific OLM students grinned as they offered a panoply of baked items lovingly prepared by parents and kids.
“We have gluten-free brownies and cupcakes and vegan baked goods and something for everyone,” seventh-grader Elena Browning explained.
Little Wolfgang Kinderknecht, 6, and his brother, James Kinderknecht, 8, both chimed in.
“It’s fun to work at the baked goods table because we get to sell all the stuff that the people enjoy.” James said. “It’s cool to handle all the money.”
For his part, Wolfgang said, “I think it’s really cool to sell treats because we get to see all the happy people and I’m the one to give them their napkins.”
Parent Sarah Hempfling oversaw the trio, noting, “The kids have been amazing volunteers who all baked last night.”
Of course, Santa was there, full of twinkling smiles and cheerfully offering a knee for attendees to sit on to take a photo and a big hug.
“I’m so happy to be here because the Christmas spirit is magical in Malibu!” Santa said. “These nice lads and laddies understand the importance of loving families and friends and of creating a loving community. Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Grinning broadly as she surveyed the gathering, Gigliotti said, “This whole event is a community builder that brings people together from the school, the church and the community; it’s wonderful how we bond together to support one another.”