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Just once, wouldn't you like to have your Christmas shopping done early so you can actually enjoy the holidays?

All would-be early birds, here's your chance. Mark your calendars for the Junior League of Salt Lake City's 9th annual Holiday Mart, "'Tis the Season" - Thursday, Nov. 2, through Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Marriott Hotel grand ballroom. Admission is free.Boutiques and craft shows abound at this time of year, but the league's Holiday Mart is truly a classy affair. Chairwoman Susan Prospero said the league purchased the cream of the crop of gifts from the Los Angeles Gift Mart.

"We've got gifts from Ekatrina, a woman from Arizona who travels to Russia and finds beautiful things," she said. Prospero said that gourmet foods (like linzer torte cake) and designer clothing and the league's own "Treasures" booth would be awaiting shoppers.

When asked why this fund-raising project continues to grow each year, Prospero said, "I think it's word of mouth and the fact that we're not just raising money for ourselves but for our programs. KUED was started as a Junior League project. And we spearheaded the beginning of Wheeler Farm. The league likes to get in on the ground floor and get things rolling."

With 300 active and 460 sustaining members, the league has become a prime mover in the Salt Lake community. In the past five years, the league donated 180,415 volunteer hours and more than $300,000 to various charitable projects.

This year, the league's resources are being channeled into the following endeavors:

- C.A.R.E Fair - a "one-stop shopping" service event for low-income families that offers health and human services from a number of agencies, including vaccinations for school-age children.

- Domestic Violence Victim Assistance - as volunteers for the Legal Aid's Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program, members conduct intake interviews, complete paperwork and provide office assistance. This assistance enabled Legal Aid to provide legal counsel to 988 victims of domestic violence in 1994.

- Kidspace - is a program of interactive art education for children and families visiting the Salt Lake Art Center. Volunteers work on hands-on art activities and help market the program to area schools.

- Mini-Projects - with the offer of financial aid and volunteers, the Junior League assists short-term or done-in-a-day projects in the community.

- Sharing Place - is a safe and caring environment where children and their families can go to grieve and heal in the aftermath of the death of a loved one.

League member Rosanne Marquardson has had a hand in purchasing gift items for the Holiday Mart. "We've got some old favorites returning that haven't been at the mart for four or five years: Ragbabies and Churchies Gourmet Food," she said.

In the league's "Treasures" booth, beautiful Christmas ornaments and hand-painted pillows are being featured. There will be a self-esteem game called "Reach for the Stars," a sterling silver merchant who makes original jewelry, a French Shoppe from Nashville, Tenn., great novelty frames for the golfer, tennis player, doctor or dentist on your shopping list. "The golfer frames are covered in Astro-turf and have a mini-golf cart and tees on them," said Marquardson. She also promises that the "real" Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be at the mart each day.

New to this year's mart will be book sales and signings by local authors. On Thursday, Nov. 2 from 1-3 p.m. "Latter-Day Daughter" authors Launi Anderson and Carol Lynch Williams; from 3-5 p.m, Pat Bagley will sign "Peek-A-Boo Magic" and "Showdown at Slickrock" and from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Carol Lynn Pearson: "A Christmas Thief." At 7 p.m. Pearson will read from "A Christmas Thief" at the Salt Lake Arts Center (tickets $5 available at A Women's Place Bookstore).

On Friday, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Stacy Bess will sign "Nobody Don't Love Nobody; 1-3 p.m. Richard Evans, "The Christmas Box." On Saturday, Nov. 4 from 12-2 p.m. Tom Till and Brooke Williams, "Utah: A Centennial Celebration" and from 1-3 p.m. Marilyn Brown: "Statehood."

The traditional tea party and fashion show from the American Girl Doll Collection will take place on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 2-3 at the Lion House, 63 E. South Temple. Reserve tickets ($20) by calling 531-0611.

And finally, "Abracadabra," a magic show with Jonathan Swift, will be held at the Salt Lake Art Center Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 3 at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Admission is $10 and reservations can be made by calling 531-0611.

Marquardson promised a beautiful setting for the mart created by LaMar Lisman of Richardson Interior Design Group. "We've got local inventor Brad Ferrin coming with his all-weather outdoor stadium blanket, and I promise you can bring your shopping list and find something for everyone," she said.