I've started to follow local event blogs, including Metroblogging Seattle and Ballard Community, as well as inballard.com. That's how I've found out about some unusual community events, such as Ratapalooza, Nov. 12 in Ballard.
Not yet on the blog sites, but certainly on my calendar, is the Nordic Heritage Museum's annual Yulefest. It's a bit early this year -- Nov. 19-20. The crafts for sale range from Scandinavian sweaters and jewelry to the work of mid-range and high-end local artisans. I do much of my holiday shopping there on Saturday, then go back on Sunday for the the food. They have a tea room, a beer hall, and an a la carte lunch in the first-floor dining room, all with musical entertainment, plus a hallway full of baked goods. I highly recommend the lunch. Nibble on a few open-face sandwiches, but save room for the Romme Grot, a warm pudding that will remind you of crepes and sour cream.
If you miss Yulefest, you can get your holiday shopping done at the Ballard Sunday Farmers Market, 11-3 p.m. in the winter (except for Dec. 26), or the Fremont Sunday Market, 10-4 p.m. in the winter (also closed Dec. 26). Unfortunately, there will not be a weekend Holiday Gift Fair in Ballard or Fremont this year because the old Safeway building that housed it in recent years has been torn down. Waaaaaah!
Another excellent crafts fair option is the annual Phinney NeighborHood Association Winter Festival and Crafts Fair, Dec. 3-4. That's about the right time to buy seasonal greenery, and I recall their wreaths are usually a very good deal. By the way, those stunning fused-glass plates you see on the fair website (and at right) are the work of our friend Els Gangloff.