Martinis and Mistletoe

Special to Tribune Newspapers

The Junior League of Chicago hosted its annual Martinis and Mistletoe kickoff party Nov. 16 for its 41st Gazebo Holiday Market. This festive evening at the Chicago Cultural Center offered a first look at a variety of holiday gifts, jewelry, home decor and more from vendors around the country. In addition to donating a portion of their proceeds to the Junior League, many vendors took their giving a step further. Liz Eavey offered a monthly baby gift service called "Stork Stack." For each subscription sold, she donates a stack of baby products to a family in need. Debbie Davis and Brenda Wolfe's bracelets, purses and scarves were sold to raise funds for the Bickford Land Clinic for Mothers and Children, an HIV/AIDS clinic in Vietnam. Kimberly Blanding's "Gift It Green" offered eco-chic reusable gift boxes. There was vintage jewelry from LuLu's at the Belle-Kay, as well as modern pieces from K. Amato. Colleen Graneto's "La Pucara" collection supports Ecuadorean artisans whose handcrafted designs are created from seeds found in the Amazon rain forest.

The evening included music, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from Entertaining Company, as well as a raffle. Chocolate gingerbread cookies from the Junior League's cookbook, "Peeling the Wild Onion," were offered with 100 percent of cookbook sales going to the organization

"Attending this event is very important to the community, as the League's mission is to support and empower women and children in the Chicago community," explained Jane Amelotte, co-chair of the Gazebo Holiday Market. "This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy holiday shopping with select vendors where the proceeds directly benefit a local charity," added co-chair Melissa Schumacher.

This year, during the Junior League's centennial, 1,500 members will donate more than 200,000 hours of volunteer service for Chicago area projects that focus on at-risk families.

Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers

Click here to see photos from these events.

Visit Candid Candace's website here.

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