It's the holidays and you're rushing about buying gifts for family and loved ones.  Or, at least you're going to begin shopping any minute now, right?

If you're like me, I like to find the unusual, if possible.  Nothing makes me happier than to find the "out-of-the-ordinary" gifts for special people in my life.

Friday and Saturday will be our time to do just that.  46 artists works will be featured Friday and Saturday at the UICA’s 23rd annual celebration of artists. This is probably the UICA's most-attended event of the year.  They expect 800 or more people shopping ’til they drop for that one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.

Another bonus for the holiday shopping season on Friday, the Verve Pipe lead singer Brian Vander Ark and his wife, Lux Land, will celebrate the release of “Wonderland,” their new holiday album of six original songs and two traditional tunes, with a concert at 8 p.m. at UICA. The show will feature Randy Sly on piano and Nashville duo Channing and Quinn. (Tickets are $20, and you can buy them at

There will be more 'hand-made' art next weekend, too, at the Avenue for the Arts Urban Lights.  It's 5-10 p.m., Dec. 9 along South Division Avenue between Fulton and Williams streets. You'll find unique creations by local artists, such as purses, photos and jewelry.

Happy shopping!