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Holiday Boutiques for the Mall-Weary : Shopping: Area churches, temples and clubs offer handcrafted wares and homemade foods.


Although St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge will be the site of the 11th annual Ecumenical Christmas Boutique, the event is really a collaborative effort. Four local churches--The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church of Northridge, St. Stephen's Lutheran Church of Granada Hills, The Congregational Church of Northridge and St. Nicholas--all join forces for the three-day event that will run Friday through Sunday.

"We've learned so much about each other over the years," said Charlotte McCarty, boutique chairwoman and a member of St. Nicholas church. "We're all neighbors. And by working together, it's grown from a one-day affair to three."

Each church operates its own booths, with proceeds to benefit the individual churches or their related charity functions. "Most of the ladies have been working year-round on their handcrafted items," said McCarty, adding that St. Nicholas' proceeds go toward local battered women and children's organizations.

Unlike the other churches, however, St. Nicholas doesn't make any handcrafted gifts. Instead its members spend hours in the kitchen, whipping up the food for the extravaganza--which includes lavish Greek pastries, main courses, desserts and refreshments. "We begin weeks in advance," McCarty said. "It's more than enough to concentrate on." Some of the best-selling pastries being made include baklava, karidopita, tsourike and melomakarona, she said. Other dishes to be offered will be gyros sandwiches, Greek chicken, moussaka and tiropeta.

The Ecumenical Christmas Boutique, held in the Northridge church's Community Center, 17037 Plummer St., will be open 2 to 7:30 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, call (818) 886-4040.

This is just one of a many holiday boutiques planned by individuals and organizations in the area. Others include:

* The Christmas Boutique, an annual event sponsored by Holy Cross Medical Center Guild, will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Guild Gift Shop, 15031 Rinaldi St., Mission Hills. In addition to handmade items, baked goods, desserts and deli foods, the gift shop also will sell toys, jewelry and manufactured gift items. Raffle prizes will include a set of crystal, a king-sized quilt, dinnerware and more. Raffle donations range from $1 to $10. Admission to the boutique is free. Call (818) 363-1415.

* Peace on Earth, the annual holiday boutique sponsored by the parish council of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 10828 Moorpark St., North Hollywood, will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Featured will be holiday ornaments and gift items, with a cocktail party on Friday and a buffet breakfast Sunday. Admission is free. Call (818) 766-3838.

* The annual Home for the Holidays boutique will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Woodland Hills United Methodist Church, 5650 Shoup Ave. More than 30 artisans will participate in the sale of home accessories, Christmas ornaments, jewelry and baked goods. Proceeds will benefit the church and its local mission projects. Admission is free. Call 9818) 346-6528.

* The California Native Plant Society will present its ninth annual California Native Plant Gift Sale and Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Calamigos Ranch, 327 S. Latigo Canyon Road, Agoura. More than 4,000 native plants will be sold, with plants labeled and photographed for easy identification. The society also will offer hands-on activities for children, education displays, arts and crafts, basket and rop making instructions, books, posters, food and a picnic facility. Admission is free. Call (818) 345-6749.

* St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church and Day School will sponsor its annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Parish Hall, 7136 Winnetka Ave., Canoga Park. Christmas gifts, handmade items and baked goods will be featured, with proceeds to benefit church and school projects. Admission is free. Call (818) 348-1419.

* Hanukkah Galleria will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Adat Ari El, 12020 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood. The annual event will offer 40 booths, with men's, women's and children's clothing, jewelry, toys and gifts. There is no admission charge. Dan Crow will perform a children's concert at 10:45 a.m. Sunday; admission is $6. Call (818) 766-9426.

* Sumac Elementary School at Calmfield Avenue and Eagleton Street in Agoura Hills presents its fifth annual Holiday Boutique from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. A variety of holiday vendors will be available, with gift and ornament items, a pancake breakfast and raffle. Proceeds will benefit school activities and educational projects. Admission is free. Call (818) 707-6113.

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