Vancouver’s Best Holiday Markets

Like most people, I find it next to impossible to go to just one place and find everything on my Christmas list. My friends and family are all so different from one another that it can be super stressful to shop for them in a time-saving way. I’m also allergic to big box stores and shopping malls, which certainly doesn’t make the process easier.

Or at least, that’s what I thought, until a friend dragged me to a Christmas Craft Fair. I admit that I was totally biased and unschooled, because in my mind I was picturing weird fluorescent lighting, crappy coffee served in Styrofoam cups, and dozens of grannies selling handmade tea cozies and those crocheted weird dolls that hold toilet paper…you know the ones.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that (toilet paper dolls are people too…or something) but I wasn’t about to buy my then 21-year-old sister a hand-knitted sweater vest with pom-poms on it, if you catch my drift.

Anyway, I was totally wrong (I’m sorry, crafters everywhere) because the Christmas Craft Fair was A-MAZING. There was everything from handmade jam to amazing recycled jewelry to beautiful party dresses and aromatherapy bubble bath. It was crazy great. And since it was all local, handmade, and sustainable, I felt good about my purchases.

I have been schooled. I bow to you, craft fairs. And thus, here are my favourite Vancouver Christmas Craft Fairs. Happy buying!

1) Vancouver Christmas Market, Nov. 24 – Dec. 24

The big kahuna of craft markets, this one takes over the plaza outside Queen Elizabeth Theatre for an entire month. Based on the German Christmas market model, it’s chock-a-block with treats and creations for all ages. $5 gets you in, and there’s even a carousel and pictures with Santa. The best! www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com

2) One of a Kind, Dec. 8 – 11

This is the one that got me into holiday craft fairs in the first place, and it’s back at the Vancouver Convention Centre this year. This one’s the cool one, with indie artisans from across the city and beyond converging under one roof. I’ll be there. $10. www.oneofakindvancouver.com

3) Winter Farmer’s Market, Saturday mornings through April 28

Okay, this is sort of cheating but the winter farmer’s market is amazing. Name a root veggie, any root veggie, and they’ve got it. And if you’re feeling inspired by all that homemade action at the craft fairs, this is where you can get supplies for your own jams, dips and squares. Send one this way, won’t you please? Free entry! www.eatlocal.org

Got a hot tip on a craft fair this holiday season? Leave it in the comments below.

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