Gift Local: Austin Holiday Market Guide
For those who stayed home from the Black Friday blitz and those who will be home soon, remember that you don't have to do all mass produced giving this year. Living in Austin means that you are lucky enough to live in a city that is home to hundreds of local artists and crafters who can make your Christmas giving truly one of a kind.
Between the “Homespun Holidays” at the Austin farmers markets and the host of holiday art and craft markets that will be held starting Saturday and running through the holiday season, you don’t even have to look very hard to find incredible local gifts for finicky or nonconformist relatives.
Saturday, Nov. 26 & Sunday Nov. 27
Get started this weekend, with the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market, which opens at 11 a.m. and goes until 6 p.m. both days at the Palmer Events Center. You don’t have to pay anything to get in the doors, and once inside you’ll find more than 150 indie crafters, as well as food, drink and DIY stations to keep you, your friends and the kids busy. The thing I’m most excited to see? The giant creations of our Austin yarn bomber Knitta Please, who will apparently be showing off a giant yoga knit ball installation. You can check out the full list of artists online
Sunday Nov. 27 and Monday Nov. 28
Wheatsville Coop will be extending their offerings beyond the usual grocery variety for two days with their annual Wheatsville Holiday Tent Sale. Under the watchful eyes of the Wheatsville Dinosaur, you can shop for Fairtrade gifts, locally made body care and handmade crafts. The tend will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday and from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday.
Wednesday Nov. 30 - Dec. 24
While most of the holiday markets and bazaars are only open for a couple days here and there, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is blessedly open throughout the holiday season. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Christmas Ever (when they will close at 6 p.m.), you can head to the Marchesa Hall and Theater by Highland Mall, and browse the works of 130+ local crafters and artisans, grab a drink at the bar or watch a holiday movie with the kids. Since this is the 10th anniversary year for the market, so the market will be holding special events throughout the month to keep your eyes peeled for. Check out the full list of artists online.
Saturday Dec. 3
If you have a traditional German grandma, she might appreciate the gifts you can pick up at the annual Austin Wienachten, aka German Christmas Market. The one-day market will be held Dec. 3 at the German Free School on 10th Street downtown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can expect to find such traditional gifts as hand crafter wooden nutcrackers; pyramids from the Erzgebirge region of Germany; hand-painted Tole-work by a German-Texan artist from Austin; imported hand-blown glass ornaments; and of course plenty of homemade sweets and treats. There will also be German music and a visit from Saint Nikolaus.
Saturday Dec. 10 and Sunday Dec. 11
If you need gifts for the artsiest of artsy folks, check out the Cherrywood Art Fair, held at Maplewood Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second weekend in December. This art fair is selective because though it is free, it is a juried art show, and only 100 artists are chosen with only original artwork allowed. The event is put on every year by the Chula League, an East Austin non profit that benefits artists and projects on the East Side. Specifically, proceeds go toward the Little Big Artist Program,which matches elementary students with professional artists. Check oit the artists, musicians and food online that will make this year special.
Thursday Dec. 14 - Dec. 24
Once you’ve checked out the other markets that are held earlier, fill in the gaps in your Christmas shopping by visiting the big Armadillo Christmas Bazaar being held at the Palmer Events Center this year from Dec. 14 to Christmas Eve, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. I’ve already checked to make sure my favorite maker of crafts is there so I can get my Dad’s Beatles-themed present, but the full list of vendors is another one to knock you back with handmade, one of a kind goodness. And fortunately, since this is Austin, the Armadillo Bazaar is as much about the music as the gifts and crafts, so check out the lineup from perennial favorite Austin songstress Kat Edmonson to the Twangbangers.
And don’t forget, throughout the holidays, the vendors at the Austin Farmer’s Market pull out all the stops for Homespun Holidays, which are worth checking out while you stock up on local produce.
Image courtesy Armadillo Christmas Bazaart