With Thanksgiving behind us, the gift-giving season is officially here. Not only are small local businesses encouraging customers to shop local, but local artisans are coming together as well and assembling seasonal holiday markets. Charlottesville and the surrounding counties support such a vast and vibrant arts community that there are several seasonal markets to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a specific handmade gift or want to soak up the ambiance and get in the holiday spirit, there is something for everyone.
Charlottesville Holiday Market | 100 Water Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Saturdays, November 26 – December 17, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Every year Charlottesville’s iconic decorative snowflakes suddenly appear on the sides of downtown buildings, signaling the start of the holiday season. And just off the downtown mall, the weekly Charlottesville City Market evolves into the Charlottesville Holiday Market for the four Saturdays before Christmas Eve. Over 100 local vendors, farmers and artisans alike, sell handcrafted items, baked goods, and seasonal decorative displays. There’s bound to be some hot cocoa, too, in place of the summertime lemonade and popsicle stands.
Gift Forest | The Bridge PAI | 209 Monticello Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Wednesday, November 30 – Saturday, December 24 | Monday-Friday, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; December 24, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Throughout the year in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative hosts art shows and open mics with the mission of bringing together different people from different communities for a shared experience. This holiday season they will host over 50 “artists, makers and collectors” as they convert their space into a pop-up market. A First Friday reception on December 2 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm will include complementary tasty treats.
McGuffey Art Center Holiday Member Show and Holiday Market | 201 Second Street SW, Charlottesville, VA 22902
December 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
For over 40 years, McGuffey Art Center has provided space for artists in Charlottesville to work, teach, and display their art. The First Friday in December is a special one as it features artwork by its members for gift-giving in the holiday season. Following the First Friday reception, their Holiday Market will remain set up all month long in the gift shop, offering handmade gifts such as jewelry, pottery, prints, and fabrics that are gentler on the wallet of the holiday shopper.
Christmas Bazaar | Scottsville Community Senior Center | 250 Page Street, Scottsville, VA 24590
Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
A tradition for the last 15 years, this year’s Scottsville Christmas Bazaar features new participating vendors, a visit from Santa from 10:00 am – 1:30 pm, a bouncy house, silent auction, and fresh kettle corn and other food vendors. The proceeds will benefit the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department.
Holiday Bazaar | Charlottesville Waldorf School | 120 Waldorf School Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901
Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
For over 30 years, the Charlottesville Waldorf School has opened its doors to the public every December for their Holiday Bazaar. Child-friendly activities include cookie decorating, jump rope making, and a special shop called The Secret Garden where young shoppers can purchase items for $2 each. The Bazaar features handcrafted gifts such as knitwear and woodwork. Refreshments will be available at Rudolph’s Diner and the Snack Shop. There will be a Preview Night on December 2, 6:00 – 9:00 pm (adults only).
Enchanted Extravaganza | The Market at Grelen | 15901 Yager Road, Somerset, VA 22972
Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Enchanted Extravaganza takes place at The Market at Grelen, a farm and nursery founded on the principles of sustainable agriculture and the farm-to-table movement, and is co-sponsored by Shabby Love, a company that upcycles old and mistreated furniture. Twenty-two local artisans will sell their goods under a tent, while fresh Christmas trees and garlands will be for sale nearby. The charge for admission is $5 per car. There is also a wreath workshop that costs $50 per person, including supplies. Buy yourself a cup of hot chocolate and warm yourself in front of the fire pit while you await Santa’s arrival. The master toymaker himself will be available from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. There will also be a Chili Bar open for business.
Craftacular Holiday Market | IX Art Park | 2nd Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
For the last ten years, Craftacular has brought together local artists to share their wares with the public for the holiday season. While the market has set up shop in different locations over the years, this year it will be housed at the IX Art Park, a community arts space that hosts events throughout the year as varied as open-air yoga, performance art, and opera. Craftacular’s vendor count continues to grow as this year it reaches over 40, supplying an ample array of styles to choose from when selecting your gift. Vendors this year include Root and Radish (colorful printed fabrics and cards), Purcell Toys (a wood toymaker), the Freckled Farm Soap Company, Stronge Designs (quirky, pop culture-inspired prints), and Pan & Tea jewelry-makers.
Weihnachtsmarkt | Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia | 1290 Richmond Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
Saturday, December 3, 1:00 – 7:00 pm | Saturday, December 10, 1:00 – 7:00 pm
Named after the traditional German Christmas market that has endured since the late middle ages, this Weihnachtsmarkt will feature the handcrafted and historic-inspired work of regional artisans in open-air booths. One such participating vendor is Medieval Fantasies Company, based out of Churchville, Virginia. They sell handmade historic toys, bows and arrows, earth tone pottery, and handmade soaps. Another participating vendor is New River Nature, which sells photographic prints and handcrafted wooden frames. There will also be German and American fare to satisfy those shopping spree appetites.
Mistletoe Market | John Paul Jones Arena | 295 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Sunday, December 4, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Throughout the year, the Junior League of Charlottesville plans multiple community events to benefit the residents of Charlottesville, such as the Girls of Summer reading program and the Kids in the Kitchen nutrition education program. This December they will host their 13th annual Mistletoe Market at John Paul Jones Arena. The market will feature handcrafted goods, photographic prints, handmade jewelry, baked goods, and seasonal decorations. There is an admission fee of $5 in advance (which you can purchase here) or $8 at the door, which helps fund the operation of the Junior League.
Local Author Book Fair | WriterHouse | 508 Dale Avenue, Charlottesville, VA, 22902
Sunday, December 4, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Twelve local authors will be selling and signing their books at WriterHouse next Sunday and will be happy to personalize them as gifts. There will be a designated children’s room with two picture book authors and the author of a preschool primer for parents where young readers can hang out. The books for sale range from travel memoir to the craft of writing, from eco-fiction to mystery, and from children’s picture books to a lovely coffee table book about Wintergreen. Participating authors are: Marc Boston, AM Carley, Michelle Damiani, Phyllis A. Duncan, R. F. Dunham, William Espinosa, Pamela Evans, Nell Goddin, Mary Buford Hitz, S. A. Hunter, Amy Lee-Tai, and Carolyn O’Neal.