November 28-December 24 Christmas Village in Baltimore (FREE opening weekend / $5 for month long entry)
This new outdoor Holiday market and month-long spectacle on the west side of the Inner Harbor is modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany. Hot cider, costumes, lights, and handmade seasonally-appropriate crafts for sale from 50+ vendors all promise the right amount of cheerful feeling. The fact that this is a chain store sort of event (put on in multiple cities by the same promoter) seems forgivable so long as the cider is hot, the crafts are truly handmade, and the bizarre promotional imagery on the website isn’t an exaggeration.
* November 30 Bazaart (FREE; Or preview night, Nov. 29 $10-$20)
Considering the fact that the American Visionary Art Museum was already on your shortlist of places to drag your out-of-towner Thanksgiving entourage to prove Baltimore is a safe and functioning city, this quickly approaching annual craft fair will be a sure shot. This is a cozy and festive bazaar of original creations by 50 regional artists and craftspeople featuring woven scarves, sewn monsters, ceramics, jewelry, bags, ornaments, and one-of-a-kind art objects. AVAM’s museum & gift shop will be open as well.
If you care to feel fancy or slightly intoxicated when shopping, check out the Preview Party on Friday night – more space, first pick of the goods, and free drinks & snacks.
December 1, Merry Mart (FREE)
A diverse mix of indie crafters from across Bmore and beyond set up throughout the entire Creative Alliance building along with a photo booth and craft tutorials. To sweeten the deal, children are welcome to participate in our free drop-in arts workshop upstairs in the classroom. Teachers & staff will be present from 12-5pm leading children in fun art projects so you can wrap up your holiday shopping.
December 3 MakeTribe Holiday Market: Make It Merry ($42)
There’s a more substantial ticket price for this stylishly festive and tastefully twee event, but it includes admission to the market, five speed-crafting workshops & all supplies necessary to make handcrafted gifts, plus warming libations and festive treats from Artifact Coffee. Shop from a small selection of Baltimore’s more original and inspiring artisans (kombucha cocktails, locally sourced flowers, hand hewn leather goods, small batch bitters… things you didn’t even know you wanted until you saw how well they were presented).
November 30 + December 7 Bmore Flea (FREE)
Here is Baltimore’s answer to the Brooklyn Flea, and let’s make sure it stays. This new weekly event – held under the outstretched arms of Baltimore’s most beloved/despised public sculpture (The Borofsky ‘Man-Woman of Penn Station)- is a treat already in full swing. A small juried selection of handmade and vintage vendors mingle with an impressive array of local snacks, coffee, and even artisan beer. The crowd – mostly foot traffic from Mt Vernon, Station North and/or whatever train just arrived at Penn- is diverse, enthusiastic and doe-eyed for Baltimore. A promising new tradition and a perfect Saturday activity, through December 7th.
December 7 – Holiday Market Party (FREE)
A small show in its first year, this low-key Highlandtown craft show will feature 25 local artists and crafters selling handmade items with a chance to nosh on food, enjoy a firepit, and sway dreamily to and fro to some festive music.
December 8 – Out of Hand craft show (FREE)
Despite existing for over twenty years, there is an impressive lack of promotional information about the Out Of Hand show. Loyal returning shoppers will tell you that this event was promoting local and handmade craft long before it was cool. Some of its vendors (which include hand sewn kimonos, felted hats, upcycled children’s clothing, jewelry, handbags, original artwork and more) have been returning for over a decade. Tucked into the Knights of Columbus in Homewood.
December 8 – Fierce Chicks Rock Holiday Art Show (FREE)
It’s always great when an event you were already interested in has the added bonus of being charitable. This small gathering of crafters at Union Mill in Hampden is put on by a local women’s bicycling non-profit. 20% of proceeds go toward additional non-profit charity Moveable Feast, which provides nutricious meals and other services at no cost to people with life threatening illnesses.
* December 11-14 MICA Art Market (FREE)
This popular annual event features original artwork and crafts by MICA students, staff and alumni at almost criminally affordable prices. The MICA Brown Center is so chock full of craft in every corner that you don’t know where to look (except down, because that’s where your artistic ego will be) after seeing what this talented crew has to offer. Prints, ceramics, stationary, knitwear, hand dyed silk, comic books, sculptural jewelry, ornaments and more. If you can figure out the shopping system (a series of staplers, numbers, Chinese take-out-containers, panicked looking 20 year olds and paper lunch sacks) you won’t leave empty handed! Photo credit: Melika Carr Photography.
* December 14, Holiday Heap (FREE; or earlybird pass for $15)
The enthusiasm of Baltimore shoppers over handmade and local products is unmatched when it comes to Holiday Heap. What started as a humble attempt at a neighborhood fair has snowballed to an annual, holiday themed, all-ages daytime shopping rager (crowded, high energy, but well worth the chaos). Held in two rooms of the 2640 Space in Charles Village, the show features 60+ makers of artwork, ceramics, sewn sculpture, woven scarves, handmade jewelry, screen printed apparel, soaps, children’s items, aprons and more. Snacks and coffee sold by Red Emma’s Coffeehouse. Proceeds on a raffle basket full of donated handmade goods (and ticket $) goes toward a new arts based charity each year.
Can’t stand the crowds? You can also purchase a pass to get in an hour early, which includes free coffee & pastries.
December 14-15, Current Space Art Market (FREE)
Prefer a less chaotic approach to your late-in-the-game holiday shopping? Current Gallery sets up a market selling original art objects and prints by its members and juried local artists. A rare chance to buy fine art pieces from the artists that make them. All proceeds go directly to the artists, but nonetheless, it’s a chance to show a more stationary ensemble of like-minded people that you’re serious about skipping the mall this year.
Author Rachel Bone is an artist and business owner based in Baltimore. Her gouache paintings have been exhibited and collected internationally and prints are available locally at Trohv in Hampden. Her hand printed apparel company, Red Prairie Press, designs and sells its hand-printed, earth-conscious clothing at craft fairs across the country and wholesale to 45 stores worldwide. Through the holidays, Red Prairie Press has a pop-up shop at Double Dutch Boutique with its entire current line, and the BMA gift shop carries a selection as well. Come and check out Rachel’s work in person at Holiday Heap on December 14!
* Above designates Rachel’s top choices
** And yes, we know there are eleven markets listed above. ‘Top Eleven’ just didn’t have the same ring to it.