In the wake of yet another bustling Black Friday, it’s officially time to stock up on presents for everyone on your holiday list. Take the stress (and oversaturated commercialism) out of shopping this season by patronizing local markets, bazaars, and fairs that specialize in the unique, artistic, and handmade.
Win at your office Secret Santa or warm a family member’s heart with a thoughtful gift made by a local artisan. These six local shopping events happening through December are certain to keep your spirit bright and your gifts authentically Austin.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar — through December 24
An Austin tradition returns to showcase unique, locally made gifts just in time for the season of giving. During this four-week shopping bonanza, guests can peruse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, homes good, and other items from nearly 200 regional artists. Live music performances are scheduled for each week of the bazaar to add a joyful note to your retail experience. Additional highlights include a snack bar and alcoholic beverages for purchase. Admission is free.
Visit Bastrop presents Lost Pines Christmas — through December 22
Take a quick trip to Bastrop to celebrate with a nighttime holiday parade featuring 100 festive floats and more activities for the entire family. The Lost Pines Christmas Celebration, which runs throughout December, will feature a river of lights, meet and greets with Santa, a snowy day, hot cocoa, holiday shopping, and more. Downtown merchants will observe extended shopping hours throughout December to ensure a (relatively) stress-free experience. Admission is free.
The Austin Flea — December 1-23
A hodgepodge of local, handmade, and vintage vendors offer up one-of-a-kind finds at various venues across the city. The traveling flea market features 10 stops at local institutions such as Jester King Brewery, Fareground, and Still Whiskey throughout the month. Each venue will showcase an array of local creatives including Whiskey Boat Goods, Koberle Ceramics, Radian Babe Vintage, and White Deer Apothecary. Gifts from Austin Flea are guaranteed to win Secret Santa every time. For a list of upcoming locations, visit the flea website. Admission is free.
Chula League presents Cherrywood Art Fair — December 8-9
Stalwart East Austin neighborhood Cherrywood has hosted its annual winter marketplace since 2002. The two-day event at Maplewood Elementary School invites shoppers to check out handmade ceramics, eclectic art, natural skincare, playful pet products, children’s merchandise, and more. Best part? Attendees give back while finding gifts. Proceeds from the Art Fair benefit Little Artist BIG ARTIST, a free after-school arts mentorship program that services six East Austin elementary schools. For a list of featured artists, visit the Chula League website.
54th Annual Austin Trail of Lights — December 10-23
Things get merry and bright in the literal sense during the 54th Annual Trail of Lights. For 14 consecutive days, Zilker Park becomes the holiday heart of the city with more than 65 light displays, 30 food trucks, two entertainment stages, and more than two million twinkling lights. Guests can walk the trail beginning December 10 and shop a variety of merchants in the new Holiday Market near the Zilker Stage. Come for the glitz and leave with a gift. The Trail of Lights is open through December 23.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar — December 13-24
This very Texas tradition continues at the Palmer Events Center. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar features artwork from more than 175 local and national artists. This year’s featured artist is Christopher Smith, graphic designer and illustrator. Other artists in attendance include comic book artist Nakatomi, Julie Dwyre and Kevin Zuckerman, sculptor Sam Spiczka, and more. Armadillo Christmas Bazaar also features performances by artists such as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shinyribs, and Marcia Ball. Stop by the bazaar to find unique artwork for your home or a shop a sculpture for a friend on your Nice List.