Whether you're committed to supporting local businesses or simply prefer handmade holiday gifts, one of the very best ways to keep your jolly factor high is shopping at Richmond's one-of-a-kind holiday markets, some of which feature food.
- Bird Cox
- Bizarre market
Bizarre Market: Located in a small room upstairs at Chop Suey Books since 2004, this juried handcraft market features the work of 60 local artists, designers and makers, which fills the room to bursting with sparkly, snuggly, fun, wow-factor gifts. For the unsure, "market elves" are on hand to assist with shopping and share information about who makes what and how cool they are. Nov. 24-Dec. 24, Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 7 p.m. Chop Suey Books, 2913 W. Cary St.
RVA Artisan Market: As part of Small Business Saturday, Scott's Addition plays host to an artisan market of 23 local makers. Merchandise includes geometrically inspired handmade metal jewelry, colorful paper goods, crafted laser-cut wood signs, stylish and functional leather handbags, and custom flags. Should your energy level start to flag as you shop, Intergalactic Tacos will be on site for munching needs. Nov. 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Studio Two Three, 3300 W. Clay St.
Open House Art Market at Main Street Station: Curated by Jennifer Kirby of Crossroads Art Center, this market features the work of Richmond artists created around the theme, Main Street Station and Trains, and done in various media such as wood, glass, metal and paintings. Participating galleries include 1708 Gallery, Artspace, Art Works, Brazier Gallery, Crossroads Art Center, For Art's Sake Gallery, Gallery Flux, Page Bond Gallery and Glave Kocen Gallery. The art show remains up through January, with all pieces for sale until it closes. Dec. 1, 4-10 p.m.; Dec. 2: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.
Shop the Shed Winter Market: Want to support American-made products? Northern Grade, founded in 2010, began as a traveling pop-up marketplace showcasing brands manufacturing their goods in the U.S. Today, it has more than 700 brands from Virginia and around the country. It will be holding a Southern Grade pop-up — a mixture of well known and established brands as well as newer brands on the rise — at the recently refurbished Main Street Station train shed. Dec. 1, 4-10 p.m.; Dec. 2: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Dec. 3: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Main Street Station, 1500 E. Main St.
Handmade Holiday: Richmond Craft Mafia — a group dedicated to "rubbin' out the mass-produced" — hosts its annual indie holiday craft show, which has become a holiday tradition for fans of do-it-yourself. This year's extravaganza features more than 80 of the best local, regional and national artists, makers and designers the Craft Mafia could find. Unlike past years, this year's market will last two days with a changing mix of vendors, so it's like shopping a different show each day. And for those who'd like to get a jump on the one-of-a-kind merchandise, an early bird pass is available for $5 — proceeds benefit TheatreLab — and gets you in from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday. Dec. 2-3, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, 2408 Ownby Lane.
Christkindlmarkt: For those who prefer brunch with their shopping, this one's for you. A craft market featuring a dozen local makers of beauty and apothecary items, wooden goods, jams and jewelry sets up shop for one afternoon, with Nate's bagels on site and plenty of Blue Bee Cider to enjoy while browsing. Dec. 3, 1-4 p.m. Blue Bee Cider, 1320 Summit Ave.
Studio Two Three's Winter Print Fair: Few kinds of art are as affordable as handcrafted prints. The work of close to 40 local artists and artisans will be on display and for sale and it's not just prints, although a large array of them will be available. Check out holiday ornaments, jewelry, clothes, housewares, handmade frames and small sculptures. And because shopping is hard work, don't miss the grilled cheese and tomato soup bar for rib-sticking sustenance to carry you through. Dec. 9-10, 11 a.m. -4 p.m., Studio Two Three, 3300 W. Clay St.