Here and abroad, you can find artisanal gifts—from a German-inspired Christmas market in Chicago to a hip London-based craft fair.

By Caroline Biggs
November 06, 2020
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Germany, Bremen, view to Schuetting with Christmas market stands in the foreground
Credit: Westend61 / Getty Images

'Tis the season for gift shopping! However, during a global pandemic, browsing your favorite holiday markets in-person might not be a possibility. Fortunately, some of them are launching virtual marketplaces this season, so you can safely shop their vendors from the comfort (and security) of your own home. "Along with reducing your chances of exposure to others, shopping holiday markets online allows you to shop for unique gifts without running from store to store," says online shopping expert Michelle Madhok. "It's also a huge timesaver to be able to send your gifts directly from the seller."

And as the coronavirus continues to spread internationally, some popular holiday markets from overseas are going virtual this season, too. "Just remember to pay attention to the shipping details when ordering from a market in another country, because your gift may be delayed until after the holidays," Madhok explains. Hoping to shop a few virtual holiday markets this year? From a German-inspired Christmas market in Chicago, to a hip London-based craft fair, here are six holiday markets that you can shop online.

Jackalope Virtual Holiday Market

If you haven't had the opportunity to shop the Jackalope: Indie Artisan Fair for the holidays before, this year is your chance. Despite hosting semi-annual events in Pasadena and Burbank, California and Denver, Colorado, founders Sara Diederich and Melissa Kohout have decided to take their artisanal art fair—which showcases over 150 local makers who focus on handmade artistryonline for the holidays. "With the onset of COVID-19, we found it safest this year to focus on a virtual holiday marketplace," Diederich explains. "This has not only given us a chance to continue to support our handmade community, but also expand to a broader audience of both new makers and shoppers who live outside of the cities where we typically host events."

High Hopes Virtual Holiday Market

Do-gooders rejoice: One of the most popular holiday markets on the east coast is going virtual this year—and all of your purchases will help give back to the community. The High Hopes Holiday Market in Connecticut, which brings dozens of local artisans and small businesses together to sell goods while raising awareness about people with disabilities, will launch their first-ever virtual market on November 18. "We recognized it has never been more important to support our local economy and to nurture a sense of connection and community," says Kitty Stalsburg, Executive Director of High Hopes Therapeutic Riding. "The virtual holiday market allows us to continue to serve our diverse population of participants with varying degrees of cognitive, physical, behavioral, psychological or sensory disabilities that achieve great benefit from our programs."

Christkindlmarket

If you aren't one of the 1.3 million shoppers that visits the Christkindlmarket in Chicago every year, now's your opportunity to see what all the hype is about. The traditional German-style holiday market, which hosts local artisans and small businesses from around the Midwest, is launching a virtual shopping experience this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. "Through our online shop, visitors are still able to find the products they love from the vendors they love, while also participating in cooking classes and trivia events," says Kate Bleeker, director of expansion and market development for German American Events, the organization behind Christkindlmarket. "For our vendors, who have been especially hard hit by the closure of events this year, the virtual market gives them a chance to sell their handmade goods while reaching an even larger audience than before."

Markets for Makers

If you love to shop small-batch, artisanal gifts for the holidays, then head over to Markets for Makers virtual market. Though it was previously held in multiple cities across the United States, including Miami, Chicago, and Nashville, the holiday market's founder Natalie Nagengast opted to take it online this year with over 70 vendors specializing in home décor, jewelry, art, fashion, food, and more. And unlike other virtual marketplaces that are waiting until closer to the holidays to launch their online shops, Markets for Makers has already opened, so you can shop everything from handmade body lotion to baby clothes.

Craftadian Virtual Holiday Market

Can't make it to Ontario, Canada to shop the Craftadian holiday market this year? No worries—it's moved online. Due to concerns with COVID-19, the beloved craft fair will be offering an online holiday shopping experience, complete with a curated selection of over 50 makers and artisans, starting on November 14. Come for the handpicked assortment of quality artisanal goods, including handmade jewelry, art, and stationery, but stay for the DIY demo videos provided by some of the makers.

SoLo Craft Fair: 12 Virtual Nights of Christmas

In an effort to encourage people to shop small businesses for the holidays, the South London based SoLo Craft Fair is launching 12 virtual holiday market events this year that visitors can shop from Instagram. Every Monday, from now until December 21, you can watch SoLo Craft Fair's Instagram stories to view handmade items from indie artisans, makers, and traders. If you see something you like, just click through to the specific makers' profile and shop from there. Just remember to check in frequently on Instagram, because once the stories post, the goods will go fast.

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