There’s a reason that the holiday season — or at least the tiresome gift-shopping piece of it — begins the day after Halloween: So that smart shoppers can avoid December’s free-for-all retail madness and the clusterfuck of Black Friday.
Thoughtful gifts from local makers, artisans and global fair-trade micro-businesses will help you along this season, as will the knowledge that you didn’t just throw your money at corporate retailers online. This year, try it our way: Have a small-scale social experience, buy well, go home and put up your feet.
Here are more than a dozen great holiday gift markets:
Stanley's First-Ever Fashion Show
Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street, Aurora
Wednesday, November 13, 6 to 7 p.m.
The folks and retailers over at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora are always ready to try something new for the holidays. This year, it’s an in-house fashion show touting togs from Stanley boutiques, including Sterre, Velvet Wolf, True, Steele Angel, Goose & the Goat and June Ruby. See what’s in-store right now, and afterward, benefit from a 20 percent discount on merchandise at any of the participating businesses. Grab a drink or bite while you’re there, and start prettying yourself up for those holiday cocktail parties. Admission is free, but if you RSVP at eventbrite.com, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card.
2019 Holiday Show and Gift Shop
Center for the Arts Evergreen, 31880 Rocky Village Road, Evergreen
Friday, November 15, through December 24
Opening reception: November 15, 4 to 7 p.m.
Once Winterfest is over, the Center for the Arts Evergreen goes upscale for a retail display of handmade gift and holiday items from more than fifty hand-picked artisans and artists. Drop in any time; it’s free, and the pickings are lovely.
Rue de Noel: A Paris Street Christmas Market
Douglas County Events Center, 500 Fairgrounds Road, Castle Rock
Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Out in the south suburbs, A Paris Street Market has finished its run of outdoor monthly markets for the year, but the whole flea-market caravan will be back for a weekend, cloaked in red and green, for Rue de Noel. The holiday-focused vintage mart will be stuffed to the gills with everything you need to get through a full season of decorating, gift-giving and partying.
Horseshoe Craft & Flea Market Shop
Edgewater Public Market, 5505 West 20th Avenue, Edgewater
November 16 (or TBA) through December 31
The Horseshoe Market’s hallowed annual weekend holiday market won’t pop up in northwest Denver until after Thanksgiving. But there is an alternative way to shop curated wares from more than thirty of the market’s best vendors: at the Horseshoe Shop retail space in the brand-new Edgewater Public Market. Like Stanley Marketplace, the market has plenty of other dining and shopping options to keep you busy for hours. The market’s mid-November grand-opening date is still tentative at this writing; watch the Facebook page for updates.
Arts and Crafts Winter Gift Show
Art at Avenue Lofts, 1000 East 18th Avenue
Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Have a posh shopping experience at the Avenue Lofts, where artisans show off their wares bi-annually in an intimate space. The holiday version gives you lots of space to snack, sip and gab with the artists, and get a sparkly new fairy-hair ’do or a Tarot reading while you’re there.
Shop the Dock 2019
Dry Dock Brewing Company, South Dock, 15120 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
Saturday, November 16, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Craft markets in breweries are no longer an anomaly — there’s just something about shopping and quaffing that takes the edge off your rising holiday stress level. Dry Dock’s version, which doubles as a charitable food drive, is in its twelfth year, bringing 25 makers, swag bags for the first 100 guests and instant entry for door-prize drawings when you bring along two or more non-perishable food items to donate.
Fair Trade Holiday Sale
First Mennonite Church of Denver, 430 West Ninth Avenue
Saturday, November 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ten Thousand Villages in Fort Collins sells fair-trade wares from all over the world throughout the year but goes big for the holiday season, touring venues throughout northern Colorado and mountain towns with a beautiful road show of baskets, jewelry, crafts and other items from international artisans. Not only do the global vendors benefit from the sale of their work, but you also benefit from fair prices and an amazing selection.
Hog Haven Farm Holiday Pop-Up Market
LFX Filmworks, 1701 31st Street
Sunday, November 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It’s a hog’s world at the Hog Haven Farm pig rescue, and that means keeping its porcine wards fat, happy and well-fed all year long. Meet a couple of those happy hogs and shop a handcrafted selection of pig-inspired goods and Hog Haven Farm apparel at the rescue’s first annual holiday pop-up. Coffee, hot drinks and pastries will be available.
Winter Gift Market
Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street
Thursday, November 21, 4 to 8 p.m.
Friday, November 22, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Another time-honored sale in Denver, this one with a botanical bent, the Winter Gift Market returns to the Denver Botanic Gardens with a new selection of in-house Garden Guild herbal vinegars and seasonings, and, of course, a glorious spread of beautiful handmade merchandise offering something for everyone on your list (not to mention yourself…). Support the DBG, and enjoy free admission to the gardens for your trouble; if you're a member, you’ll also get a 10 percent discount on your purchases.
Holiday ecoMRKT — a sustainable pop-up marketplace
Factotum Brewhouse, 3845 Lipan Street
Thursday, November 21, 5 to 9 p.m.
Factotum will make room in its tasting rooms for the Holiday ecoMRKT, a newfangled kind of gift sale with a focus on forward-thinking, package-free, sustainable products. Hosted by Newd Elements, B.Green Events and ecoshyft, the market will offer everything from biodegradable baby binkies to adventure-ready goggles and sunglasses made from plant-based materials. Chow down on food-truck eats; buy a beer and support One Tree Planted.
Denver Christkindl Market
Skyline Park, 1515 Arapahoe Street
November 22 through December 23
Open daily at 11 a.m., including Thanksgiving Day; close times vary
The Christkindl Market has brought annual holiday cheer to the heart of downtown Denver for nearly twenty years, complete with oompah bands, Glühwein, Bavarian-style biers, hot pretzels, fresh salmon right from the smoker and the not-to-miss arrivals of St. Nikolaus, Krampus and the angelic Christkind spirit. The rustic vendor booths shine with glass ornaments, nutcrackers, beer steins, cashmere scarves and German goodies. Make a day or night of it, and visit the Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park, just a stone’s throw away, in the shadow of the D&F Tower.
Hijos del Sol, 2715 West Eighth Avenue
Saturday, November 23, December 7 and December 21, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As the Latino Cultural Arts Center in Sun Valley continues to raise money for a new home, the museum's retail shop, Hijos del Sol, puts a beautiful face on the institution’s mission by offering quality, hand-selected, handcrafted textiles, jewelry, accessories and home decor created by Latino folk artists from across the Americas; sales support both LCAC and fair-trade artisans. Now Hijos del Sol, a 2019 Westword Best of Denver winner, is kicking off its Holiday Mercado with several weekend shopping days ahead of Christmas. Go find something exquisite por tu familia y amigos.
Holiday Sugar Plum Bazaar
Denver Mart Expo Hall, 451 East 58th Avenue
Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
A Denver favorite and Westword Best of Denver awardee, the Sugar Plum is back for its eighth year, bringing a tried-and-true mixture of nearly 150 friendly vendors and their vintage, handmade and cottage-industry wares to the Denver Mart. Looking for the perfect, one-of-a-kind treasure you’ll never find again anywhere? The Sugar Plum is your go-to for the perfect gift.
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Denver Women's Press Club Annual Jewelry Sale
Denver Woman’s Press Club, 1325 Logan Street
Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, November 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The DWPC’s jewelry sale supports the club’s scholarship fund for young women journalists, but it’s also a grand compendium of gorgeous estate-sale jewelry, conveniently compiled under one roof. Pore over rare bangles and brooches, necklaces and earrings, and even men’s cufflinks, from all eras, during the two-day pop-up.
2019 World Gift Market
First Plymouth Congregational Church, 3501 South Colorado Boulevard, Englewood
First Universalist Church, 4101 East Hampden Avenue
Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily
First Plymouth and First Universalist join hands across the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Hampden Avenue for this big sale of fair-trade treasures. Find colorful handcrafted baskets from Africa, hand-embroidered goods from Vietnam, rolled-paper bead earrings from Uganda and a zillion other handmade goods from around the world.
Next up in 2019: Holiday Markets for Black Friday and Small-Business Saturday at westword.com. Send information for any upcoming markets to email@example.com.