Holiday shopping ain’t what it used to be. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some folks just aren’t masked and ready to go out into the world, others are out of work and pinching pennies — and there’s the Internet, right?
Yes, there is, and some traditional holiday markets are now putting their local, handmade goods online as a way to continue supporting their artisan microbusiness partners. Others are offering both options, choosing to go live with outdoor markets, where the air is fresher, and backing that up virtually. Still other markets are diversifying by getting smaller in more in-person locations. And some organizers are even making up for lost time after canceling markets earlier in the year.
With all the hoopla over politics and the pandemic, you don't want to dally. Here are some alternative ways to check names off your list right now:
Horseshoe Market Online Shopping Directory
Accessible 24 hours a day
The Horseshoe Market was ready to launch a smaller open-air holiday venue at the Denver Performing Arts Center for Small Business Saturday, but COVID came along and made mincemeat of that plan. But the premier craft and flea market isn’t backing down; it’s just changing course. The Horseshoe’s beefed-up ShopLocalColorado.co virtual marketplace is a diverse vendor directory that mines small-batch businesses you’d usually see in person at the flea; the machine behind the Horseshoe will also be formulating a Holiday Gift Guide and running vendor previews on Facebook and Instagram. Open your laptop. Take off your mask. Are you ready?
2020 Virtual ASLD Artists Showcase
Art Students League of Denver, 200 Grant Street
Through December 20
The Art Students League of Denver skipped its traditional Summer Art Market in 2020, but this neatly laid-out online fundraiser for the community art school gives potential buyers a second chance before the year is over. All work for the sale has been donated by students, faculty and supporting artists, and supports ASLD’s year-round classes and art-making facilities. At this time, the Summer Art Market is rescheduled for June 2021; meanwhile, get a virtual taste of what’s to come.
Colorado Chocolate Festivals: Online for the Holidays
Through December 24
Colorado Chocolate Festivals also went MIA in 2020, wisely nixing an entire year’s worth of chocoholic frenzy. If you’ve been missing all those gorgeous truffles, melt-in-your-mouth fudge and artisan chocolate bars, now you can find some of Colorado Chocolate Festivals’ best vendors online. While digital chocolates can’t be sampled, they can be rushed to your home in full glory. Event promoter Dana Cain says the online store might pop back up in January for Valentine’s Day shopping.
Cherry Creek Gift Festival
Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 3000 East First Avenue
Through December 24
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekend dates through December 13
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, December 18 through 24
This is a tough year to work up a merry mood for shopping, but the holiday markets, both live and virtual, are starting to line up on the calendar, right up to Christmas Eve. The Cherry Creek Gift Festival, one of the first, is a new indoor market with 75 vendors that pops up on weekends (and daily for the week before Christmas) in a sizable vacant first-floor space at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. RSVP for the free fest in advance at Eventbrite.
Boulder Potters' Guild 2020 Virtual Fall Show and Sale
Through December 13
Handmade pottery by members of the Boulder Potters’ Guild is available for online shopping as we speak in a win-win for the annual show, which usually sets up in person for a long weekend every fall. This sale extends for a full month in its 24/7 on-screen form this year, with plenty of affordable ceramic gifts for everyone.
Junior League Virtual Mile High Holiday Mart
Through December 31
There’s no way the Junior League of Denver is going to let COVID spoil its 41st annual holiday market, which was originally meant to go partly virtual with a limited in-person component. Instead, as fall pandemic numbers looked bleak, the JLD took a tight turn to expand and go completely virtual, with around-the-clock shopping available through the end of the year. That means you can still grab all your favorite handmades and foodstuffs from the safety of your home base.
BETC’s Virtual Holiday Market Auction
Through 8 p.m. November 30
Register in advance to bid and preview items
The Boulder Ensemble Theater Company’s holiday market is a fundraiser for the future. Like most theater companies struggling to survive after canceling whole seasons, BETC is hoping to resume doing what it does best when the pandemic “all clear” sounds. It could be a while, but in the meantime, this online site gives you a safe way to shop for silent-auction packages and gifts while benefiting BETC.
Share the Love Online Holiday Marketplace
Through noon December 23
Those who are spending this holiday season closer to home could use a quick trip to Leadville and Twin Lakes...even if they just travel by Internet. The two mountain towns have put their local holiday marketplace online, where it will continue through noon on Wednesday, December 23. Share the Love will serve as a benefit for small-town businesses, offering original art, trinkets, gift certificates and more.
Fetch Cherry Creek Holiday Market
Fillmore Plaza, 105 Fillmore Street
Through December 23
Sundays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free; RSVP for timed-entry tickets at Eventbrite
Fetch Market is taking over Fillmore Plaza in Cherry Creek North for a daily open-air festival full of goods from thirty local vendors and lots of holiday cheer. What makes this market special, besides the vendors, hot chocolate and live music and holiday cocktails? The decor! Fetch hired out-of-work set-builders from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts to build cozy European chalet-style vendor booths out of shipping containers in a case of using a little ingenuity to make the season a little happier in spite of the pandemic. For your safety, follow the arrows on a counterclockwise pathway through the market.
Winter Art Market
Next Gallery, Art Hub, 6851 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
Through January 3
Fridays, 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day
This is the time of year when artist co-op members band together for group art sales usually focused on small and affordable works. Next Gallery follows suit, for in-person visits, with an option to buy work remotely.
Denver Christkindl Market
Civic Center Park, 101 West 14th Avenue
Through December 23
Sundays through Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Thanksgiving Day, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Denver Christkindl Market is hauling its European charm — twinkling lights, giant warm pretzels, Bavarian-style biers, Glühwein and all — from the 16th Street Mall to Civic Center Park for its twentieth-anniversary run in 2020, replete with the usual live music and booths with artisan goods. Bring the family, and check the calendar for special events with Old World St. Nikolaus and Krampus, as well as a new Canine Christmas offering photo ops with the jolly guy. And there’s a pandemic-friendly Shop From Home option for folks who would rather nest in place.
46th Holiday Art Market
Foothills Art Center, 809 15th Street, Golden
Through December 29
Free admission by timed-entry reservation
Also back for in-person shopping is the Foothills Art Center’s Holiday Art Market, a tradition in Golden for nearly fifty years. Foothills will roll out a whole new COVID-control protocol along with the diverse selection of art and handmade goods, including timed-entry reservations, one-way traffic, sanitizing stations and the whole megillah. The market is experimenting with shopping via Zoom for those who prefer to stay at home.
CherryArts Holiday Artist Market and Auction
Through December 1
CherryArts gives juried artists from this year’s canceled Cherry Creek Arts Festival a boost to make up for lost sales while offering the rest of us a wonderful opportunity to see what we missed through this virtual showcase and sale that comes without the hot sun beating down or the sudden gully-washer rainstorms encountered at the outdoor summer event. The online sale features nearly 230 varied works from seventy artists, who receive 90 percent of the proceeds from sales.
Do you have an event you want to be included in this list? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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