Eight local holiday markets for gifts you can feel good about giving


Photo: FAD Market

‘Tis the season for an anxiety-inducing amount of Black Friday Deal emails piling up in your inbox, snow-covered luxury car commercials interrupting your favorite TV shows, and influencer shopping guides clogging up your newsfeed. These holiday season gimmicks can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to shop more thoughtfully and eco-consciously.

“If there is a local shop you love, go there and buy gifts instead of doing all of your holiday shopping on Amazon,” says Julia Moak, owner and publisher of Greenpointers, which is hosting a holiday market—my favorite form of in-person shopping—on Sunday, December 8th. “A lot of things get lost in translation when strangers communicate and interact online…that ability to meet someone face-to-face, buy something that they made and support them, counters a lot of miscommunication and distrust that comes from online transactions.” Mom-and-pop or makers market shopping also puts money back into the local economy, without the perils of fatal accidents or climate change that come from an online behemoth with one-day shipping.

Over the past few years, I’ve adjusted my sometimes pessimistic view of the holiday season to one of opportunity: a chance to discover new local artists and craftspeople who I can support with my dollars and tell my friends and family about. 

I asked Moak to share her thoughts on why it’s so important in 2019 to shop local, especially at the pop-up markets we see around the holidays. “The markets have been a way that local makers can sell products and test out ideas, without the overhead risks with running a storefront when they start out. As consumers, I think this offers higher quality and more sustainable shopping options. As curators, it gives the hard work of putting events together greater meaning when you see your vendors move on to opening stores like The Heatonist and Walk the West or selling to places as big as Whole Foods like The Brooklyn Delhi.”

I think we can all agree that gifting is more meaningful when there’s a story behind the product, and by attending one of these eight Brooklyn-based holiday markets, I’m sure you’ll walk away with a new story, friend, or local maker crush, all while investing in the Brooklyn economy. Pencil in the dates below for your holiday market outings; the first one is this Sunday, right after Small Business Saturday. 

Sunday, December 1, 8 & 15 

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar will be up for three Sundays in December. Photo: Cut and Crafted Co.

The Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar Sunday Series is where you can go when you’re spending any of the next three Sundays in or around Gowanus. This makers fair is free to attend, with plenty of food, drinks, and unique gifts for purchase. I’m a big fan of the Female Entrepreneurs We Love series they’re highlighting on Instagram, getting me excited to meet these women in person. 1pm-5pm Sundays December 1st, 8th and 15th at 501 Union in Gowanus, Brooklyn. 

Saturday, December 7

Stuff You Should Buy at PS321. Photo: PS321

Stuff You Should Buy PS321 Holiday Shop will have all sorts of local goods, from jewelry to textiles to homegoods with profits going to support PS321, a public school in Park Slope. This will be a very family-friendly event, free to attend, with activities to keep kids busy while you get your holiday shopping done. 10am-5pm Saturday, December 7th at 180 7th Avenue between 1st and 2nd Streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Sunday, December 8

Greenpointers Annual Holiday Market at the Greenpoint Loft. Photo: Greenpointers.

Greenpointers Annual Holiday Market will have over sixty local vendors, free events for all ages (from tarot readings to face painting), and several local food vendors and cozy drink specials on tap including spiced mulled wine. This year’s theme is The Nutcracker, so make sure you dress with some holiday cheer to grab a picture in their photo booth. This market is free to attend and hosts some truly original small makers from Brooklyn. 1pm-7pm Sunday, December 8th, Greenpoint Loft at 67 West Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

December 7 & 8 

A new two-day market focused on sustainability. Photo: Dusty Rose Vintage.

Gold Dust will be the inaugural celebration of sustainability though second-hand clothing and goods hosted by Dusty Rose Vintage, one of the most well-known vintage wears sellers in Brooklyn. This weekend-long pop-up will include panel discussions and a few workshops like an introduction into sashiko, an embroidery technique from Japan. The event focuses on individual makers and brands creating ethical and repurposed fashion. There’s a variety of ticket prices (starting at $15) depending on if you want to go for both days or one, and if you’d like to take any workshops. The best part is that each ticket comes with two complimentary drinks from VINNY Wines. I think this is an affordable way to get to know the eco-conscious clothing community in Brooklyn and learn something new and work toward the goal of buying fewer new clothes in the new year, a must if we want to fight climate change. 12pm-7pm Saturday, December 7th + Sunday, December 8th at The William Vale, 111 N 12th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Bust Craftacular has added 60 classes, all by women to their market this year. Photo: Bust Craftacular.

Bust Craftacular started all the way back in 2005 by the indie women’s magazine BUST. For over a decade, it’s been slowly growing and now includes a huge class component. There are over sixty options, all women-led! Attending the fair is free, and classes are affordable with bundle options. Regardless of whether you decide to join in on a class or not, this is a wonderful market to stop by to support women-led small businesses. 11am-7pm Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December 8th at Industry City Factory Floor, 268 36th St. in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

December 7 & 8 and December 14 & 15 

FAD: Fashion, art and design fair is a roving local makers market in two locations in Brooklyn this December. Photo: FAD Market.

FAD Market is a roving fair for fashion, art, and design all with a rotating roster of Brooklyn-based creators. This year it will be popping up in two locations on two different weekends, so you get double the chance of finding time to stop in. Free to attend, FAD is a pretty new market that’s already garnering big attention, like being listed by The New York Times as a “Design Destination Not To Be Missed.” 11am-7pm Saturday, December 7th + Sunday, December 8th and Saturday, December 14th + Sunday, 15th at City Point BKLYN, 445 Albee Square West in Downtown Brooklyn AND 11am-6pm Saturday, December 7th + Sunday, December 8th and Saturday, December 14th + Sunday, 15th at The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. 

December 7 & 8 and December 9-15

The Handmade Cavalcade will be in Chelsea Market for a week, so Manhattan shoppers get an easy chance to peruse handmade goods too. Photo: New York Handmade Collective.

New York Handmade Collective’s Handmade Cavalcade in partnership with Etsy is the perfect fair to pop into if you’re the type of shopper who wants to squeeze in all the action on a weeknight after work in Manhattan. They’ll be posted up in Chelsea for the entire week of December 9th, as well as at the Brooklyn Historical Society the prior weekend. The market is unique in that it’s run entirely by a non-profit collective of makers who have been selling together for years, so you’ll be supporting a community of longtime artisans. Saturday, December 7th + Sunday, 8th at Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St. in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn AND Monday, December 9th – Sunday, December 15th at Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave in Chelsea, Manhattan. 

December 21 & 22 

Renegade Craft Fair pops up in twelve cities across the US and UK. Photo: Renegade Craft Fair.

The Renegade Craft Fair is where you can get your truly last-minute gifts. And I write that without a hint of judgment. Its roots date back to 2003, when two local makers in Chicago began to build a community of emerging artists and makers looking for a space to sell their work. Renegade is now in twelve cities, from London to Austin, yet still has a very grassroots feel at each of its events. 11am-5pm Saturday, December 21st + Sunday, December 22nd at Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 

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