It’s true the holiday season only comes but once a year. But when you’re living in a pandemic, it might be simpler to embrace a “Bah! Humbug!” attitude rather than to deck the halls with a merry frame of mind. There’s no need to get your tinsel in a tangle, Austin, as several longstanding holiday markets, shops, and local brands are providing unique — and safe — shopping options this year to help keep holiday spirits dazzling.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
This 10-day art, live music, and shopping extravaganza is canceled because of the pandemic, but Austinites can still support local artists through the Armadillo Art Concierge, a virtual shopping experience highlighting a variety of local artisans’ wares. Though shoppers won’t be able to dance in the aisles to live music while shopping this year, Armadillo Art Concierge artists are offering up plenty of 2020-inspired gifts, like face masks and Ruth Bader Ginsburg art.
Austin Studio Tour
The East and West Austin studios are combining this year — and approaching things a little differently. Instead of artists opening their studios to local art lovers, the 2020 event is virtual and outdoor-focused, with prerecorded and live-streamed programming leading the way. Artist profiles and artwork available for purchase are available online. Info on self-guided tours of outdoor installations and murals throughout Austin is also offered. The event is free, though some virtual events require registration.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
A staple of Austin holiday shopping for 20 years, Blue Genie is adapting to the challenges of COVID-19 by offering a variety of ways to browse and buy artisan gifts. The bazaar is running two additional weeks this year, expanding its dates from November 13 through December 24. Additionally, the organization has added an online store to its website and introduced a personal shopper program, giving patrons access to the work of a rotating stable of local artists. In-person shoppers can also reserve timed-entry tickets online so there is no waiting in line. The bazaar’s storefront is located at 6100 Airport Blvd., and is open from 10 am to 10 pm now through December 23, and from 10 am to 6 pm Christmas Eve. Admission is free.
A Christmas Affair
The Junior League of Austin’s annual holiday market, will take place entirely virtually this year, November 18 through 22, and will showcase an array of small businesses from throughout the region and country. The virtual marketplace runs from 10 am November 18 through 6 pm November 22. Admission to the online shopping event is $15, with proceeds benefiting the Food in Tummies program.
Hearth & Soul
This Tarrytown housewares shop isn’t letting the pandemic dull holiday cheer. This year, the Hearth & Soul is hosting a Better Black Friday event November 27, featuring complimentary mimosas and pancakes. The first 25 guests receive a $25 gift certificate and a 20 percent discount on all store items. Also available is a personal shopping experience, during which patrons can have the whole store to themselves, along with a personal shopper, an hour before opening. Curbside pickup and home delivery are available. Hearth & Soul is also getting into the holiday spirit with its window display, a life-sized Advent calendar featuring icebergs and penguins and 25 days of giveaways starting December 1.
Hill Country Galleria’s Lone Star Holiday Market
Located at the west end of the Hill Country Galleria property, this holiday market will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 2 to 8 pm November 27 through December 20. The market will include work from local artists and vendors, libations from local breweries and wineries, live music, and a donation-based gift-wrapping station for area nonprofits. Admission is free.
Tiff's Treats and Kendra Scott
Cookie-delivery service Tiff’s Treats and jewelry designer Kendra Scott are partnering up for the holidays this year by offering statement earrings designed exclusively for Tiff’s Treats and available only through the cookie company until January 30, 2021. The earrings, which highlight a navy abalone stone, are a nod to Tiff’s Treats’ signature blue ribbon, and can be paired with Tiff’s Treats cookie packages or sold alone. The package is available for delivery in Tiff’s Treats delivery zones or for in-store pickup.