If you’re having a hard time girding for holiday shopping this year, you’re not alone. The weather’s been weird and so have the politics, and it’s hard to turn your thoughts to trimming the tree and filling the space beneath it when nothing feels quite right. Here’s a secret to turn things around: Pick and choose where you shop. Think small, and choose gifts with a personal, just-for-you spirit — and give back to nonprofits and the community while you’re doing it. Support local businesses and craftspeople while you indulge in a little holiday nostalgia, too. There are plenty of places where you can shop local; here are the twenty best holiday markets this weekend.
Frost Fashion Denver Mini Market
6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 8
Fashion Denver Headquarters, Green Spaces
Admission free, $35 makeover
Frost, Fashion Denver’s twelfth holiday market, will be a cozy affair at the Green Spaces co-working facility in RiNo, focused on gift-worthy items from Colorado designers, jewelry makers, entrepreneurs and artisans. But you’ll also have the option to gift yourself a makeover — courtesy of Matthew Morris Salon & Skincare and Jaded Beauty, just in time for a weekend of holiday parties — and have a portrait taken of your gussied-up self. The package will cost you $35, but you can feel good about that, too, as 100 percent of the proceeds go to benefit Warren Village, a Denver nonprofit that helps low-income, single-parent families achieve self-sufficiency. And while you’re doing good in so many different ways, delicious eats will be available from Biju's Little Curry Shop! Win-win-win and so forth: This event is an off-the-charts good deal.
EvB Studio Holiday Sale
3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 8
Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11
Clay artist Marie EvB Gibbons celebrates the first anniversary of her Wheat Ridge studio space with an annual holiday sale showcasing her whimsical figures and lushly textured tiles, as well as a load of girly hand-sewn sleep masks, bookmarks, tote bags, clutches and wristlets from her daughter’s Brazen Threads line. Gibbons will also have a few one-of-a-kind hand-sculpted ornaments for sale, along with gift certificates good for merchandise and/or studio workshops and services, and even gift sets containing ceramic fortune cookies ready for stuffing with alternative resolutions for the new year. Shop the best selection at First Dibs Night on December 8, or drop in over the weekend.
Souvenir Shop: Andy Herod and Myah Bailey
1423 Larimer Street, #80
December 8 through January 31
Opening reception: 5 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, December 8
Got a lowbrow-art fan on your list? Sally Centigrade in Larimer Square will oblige with Souvenir Shop, a two-person show of mostly affordable smaller works incorporating printmaking, drawing and painting. Also in the gallery for gift-giving: collectible prints by lowbrow artists Eric Joyner, Camilla d’Errico, Tara McPherson and others.
Sixteenth Annual Print Sale & Party
2134 Market Street
7 p.m. to midnight Friday, December 9
Master letterpress typographer and designer Rick Griffith opens up his MATTER storefront every year for a hell of a holiday dance party — and a very good fire sale of back-catalogue prints for $50 or less, as well as new work and cheeky MATTER merch you won’t see anywhere else. Come early for a less raucous sale preview and noshing, and stay after 9 p.m. for the signature fish-tank mojitos and spins by six DJs, including Griffith himself. And the party doesn’t completely shut down at the stroke of midnight; it merely moves over to Pon Pon Bar.
Holiday Art Market: Give HeART!
Thursdays through Sundays, December 8 through 23
Hours opening weekend: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
The members of the Zip 37 co-op make the business of supporting local artists easy every year with a Holiday Art Market full of sweet surprises at affordable prices. Find pieces to add to the collection of someone dear to you — or your own — as you browse through drawings, paintings, ceramics and mixed-media finds.
Holiday Pop-Up Show
Firehouse Art Center
December 9 through 13
Opening: Noon to 9 p.m. Friday, December 10
Firehouse in Longmont opens the floor to its artist members for a second-Friday holiday pop-up, with art for sale, refreshments and a second chance to buy prints, limited-edition spray cans and stickers by Longmont street artist Gamma Acosta, whose tenth-anniversary exhibit is on view at the gallery through December 23. Yes, Virginia, there is great art in Longmont.
Holiday Fine Arts Festival
4 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 9
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Artworks, handmades and good things to eat are all in the mix provided by more than twenty vendors at Art Gym’s second annual holiday sale — many of whom create work there, making use of the facility’s studios, workshops and commercial kitchen. Have a look at the co-working complex while you’re at the Art Gym and check out the member gallery, too.
Les Petites Choses: an exhibit of miniature artworks
6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Holiday exhibits of small works and miniatures are common at galleries this time of year, but here’s one that goes even smaller: Les Petites Choses at Processus, the member-driven co-working art space at the Temple in Curtis Park, offers tiny works and objects sized 2.5 inches or smaller from a dozen Denver artists. “Most of the images we are bombarded with are very small and often only seen on a smartphone. Tiny images and objects fill our lives, but who stops long enough to look at the details?” asks the exhibit statement. Slow down and try that; magnifying glasses will be provided to help you see things closer. Additionally, Processus co-founder Viviane Le Courtois will contribute a collection of minuscule objects, and the Denver Zine Library, also housed in the Temple complex, will kick in some miniature zines. Think small.
Native Clutter Holiday Pop-Up
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Denver jewelry designer Stephanie Stout of Native Clutter will grab the spotlight at Svper Ordinary on December 10, bringing a trunkload of her handcrafted pieces. Influenced by her scientific background in engineering and archaeology, with results blending the stylishly modern with the timelessly ancient, Stout’s jewelry makes the perfect gift for a woman-on-the-go. Learn more about Native Clutter jewelry online.
Vibrant Pop-Up Shop
Base Coat Nail Salon
3244 Navajo Street, #101
10 a.m, to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Get over the tittering: Sex toys are just another part of life in the 21st century, so why not gift someone you love with something to spice up that thing you have going on? Denver-based Vibrant makes toys so modern they hardly seem raunchy; body-safe and created with everyone in mind, they’re even kinda cute. Vibrant will drop in for a day at Base Coat to answer questions and guide you through the buying process, and if you do buy — at Base Coat or online — a portion of your purchase will go to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Keep reading for ten more holiday markets.
Firefly Handmade Holiday Market
Twenty Ninth Street
1710 29th Street, Boulder
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11
Boulder’s biggest seasonal craft market is hosting 100 independent artisans and creatives in a heated tent at the college town’s Twenty Ninth Street open-air shopping center this year. You can always expect big things and lots of amenities from Firefly, from free parking and admission to live music, food trucks and only-in-Boulder photo ops in the ShutterBus photo booth inside a vintage VW bus. There’s no rule against having fun while fulfilling your holiday-shopping duties, and this show is blessedly geared toward good times.
Jackalope Indie Artisan Market
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11
Along with Firefly, Jackalope, a relative newcomer to the region, is one of the last big metro Denver craft markets in 2016, and when we call it big, we mean big. More than 150 curated Colorado makers, artisans, designers and creatives will set up in the McNichols Building for two days of prime holiday shopping, and before you arrive with list in hand, you can peruse the vendors at the Jackalope website to narrow down your choices. What else? You can also sign up for DIY workshops where you can make-and-take jewelry projects, candles, knit caps, skin and body products, prints and more, or learn to wrap gifts more artfully; fees range from free to $52, including materials. Register in advance online.
Cabalidays Art Market
Noon to 10 p.m. December 10
Cabal Gallery is changing the focus of its annual holiday show, but only a little: For starters, Krampus will still be seated on his throne for picture-taking sessions in the evening, just as he has during markets of yore. But you’ll also get to shop merchandise and art from nearly twenty off-the-wall vendors who will be clearing their stock — ergo, selling art at nice prices, yard-sale style.
Krampus Holiday Market
1110 Acoma Street
3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Now in its third year, Silver Plume’s Krampus Holiday Market will make the trip down from the hills to set up shop at Sacred Thistle, bringing the mountain town’s DRAM Apothecary along to provide handcrafted holiday spirits. About a dozen vendors will be in tow as well, all bringing goods made in Colorado, from the funny greeting cards of Mountains Vs Plains to the chemical-free beauty products of R.L. Linden. The Krampus designation is just for kicks, though: You’re still invited, whether you’ve been good or bad.
Krampus Kraft Fair
Mutiny Information Cafe
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Mutiny Information Cafe gets in line with a Krampus fair of its own, featuring handmade jewelry, leather goods, wearable art, vintage clothing and collectibles, as well as Mutiny’s regular stock of records, books and comics. Shop small and local to your heart’s content, but protect your back — because, you know, Krampus….
Beer & Cheer Holiday Market
Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, December 10 and 17
Grandma’s House lives up to its credo of mixing the crafting and craft-beer movements by presenting two Saturdays of holiday markets, right in its knickknack-strewn tasting room. Another mashup of local makers (with the added plus of beer on tap), the markets will toast soap makers (Remy & Rose, December 17 only) and pie bakers (Long I Pie Shop), among others, offering an unhurried approach to holiday shopping madness.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, December 10
Wineries have holiday markets, too: Music and wine specials will be part of Infinite Monkey Theorem’s early-evening version of the pop-up, stress-free shopping spree. Choose from ceramics, leather bags and wallets, jewelry, knits and more, and feel good about the portion of every purchase that benefits CU Cancer Research. Oh, just feel good. That’s what a nice glass of wine will do for you.
Holiday Gift Market
40 West Farmers’ Market
6759 West Colfax Avenue, Lakewood
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11
The 40 West Farmers’ Market makes a festive holiday comeback inside a heated empty building near Casa Bonita and WestFax Brewing Company in Lakewood — just in time for some foodie-friendly gift shopping. Along with edible gifts and goodies, including shelf-stable organic, non-GMO and gluten-free items, there will be a selection of artwork and handcrafts, and for bookworms, local authors will be feted in a book sale. Food trucks and live music fill out the experience — and, hey, legendary Casa Bonita is only a few steps away.
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Burner Holiday Bazaar
The Fusion Factory
Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11
Looking for something different? Have a friend who likes to dress up in costumes? The local Burning Man community comes together for a holiday Burner Bazaar featuring eclectic handmades, jewelry, clothing, art and wild costumery befitting an afternoon on the Playa or an evening of Halloween clubbing. Admission is free, and so is the spirit of the market.
Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 11 and 18
Head upstairs at the Mercury Cafe, where the Witch Collective is bringing together a dozen under-the-radar DIY vendors selling everything from witchy spells and herbal medicine to botanicals and tiny cross-stitched lockets for two Sundays in December. Along the way, there will be drawings and giveaways, and every purchase includes a donation to Black Lives Matter 5280 and Showing Up for Racial Justice. And if you’re really planning ahead, come early for brunch before you shop.