With Halloween behind us, the holiday season is officially in full swing. And with supply-chain and shipping issues wreaking havoc on typical shopping patterns, how will you prepare for the big day? Sure, you could spend your limited Saturday mornings surrounded by empty shelves and awash in fluorescent lighting, but why waste your favorite flannel on such a mundane experience? A better option IS available. Embrace the buy local movement and actually enjoy Christmas shopping again with holiday markets and pop-up stores.
If you’re interested in bringing back the fun and supporting local artisans in the process, here are some events in our area this season:
November 6 – St. Joseph Lions Annual Arts and Crafts Show – St. Joseph High School Fieldhouse, 9am-4pm. ($1 admission)
This annual event is back for its 16th year and boasts of over 100 artists and crafters. According to Vern Breuker, a St. Joseph Lion and event chairman, “This Arts and Crafts Show is unique because of its size and the fact that it includes the comfort of being totally indoors.” Another dedicated Lion, Thomas Gazella, reflects that “The funds raised from this show will go toward funding Camp Leo, World Vision Outreach, area lighthouse restoration, and the scholarships our club provides.”
November 6 – Craft Show @ The Elks – Benton Harbor, 10am-3pm. Many local entrepreneurs will be in attendance at this show with a variety of unique gifts, seasonal decorations, and tasty treats available for holiday shoppers. You won’t even have to wait on shipping or risk post-Christmas delivery dates if you purchase from these local vendors!
November 13 – ‘Tis the Season Craft Show – Barbott Farms and Greenhouse, 9am-3pm. It might be time to move the plants indoors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Saturday at the greenhouse. Peruse handmade items from 35-40 vendors and help Santa check a few items off the list!
November 20 and 21 – Autumn Artisan Market – Journeyman Distillery, 10:30am-7pm Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday. Touted as a “One-of-a-Kind” show, this weekend-long market will feature vendors across many categories including art and photography, home goods, clothing, health and beauty, and pet products. This beautiful location will help you get into the holiday spirit as you converse with the local artists and sip while you shop. And don’t forget to stop by the Journeyman holiday shop to pick up cocktail kits, hats, shirts, flags, and flasks for the more “spirited” friends on your list.
November 27 – Makers Market at the Box – Box Factory for the Arts, 10am-6pm. ($5 suggested donation) If you’re looking for a modern twist on the traditional craft show, look no further than this local favorite. According to the event page, the Makers Market will feature a unique and authentic collection of carefully curated artists and makers from local studios and workshops throughout the region. When asked why shoppers should consider attending, Betsy Gill of the Box Factory replied that the event is “An amazing opportunity to not only shop local with 45 artisans all under one roof but also to stroll through the gallery exhibits and meet artists in their studios. There will be a cash bar, food, and entertainment too!”
November 27 – Small Town BIG Christmas Holiday Market – Buchanan Farmer’s Market, 1pm-5pm. The Farmer’s Market on the Buchanan Common is a bustling place from May to October, but it typically shuts down once the colder months arrive. However, for Small Business Saturday it will open once again (if only for the day) as local vendors turn it into an outdoor holiday market. Artisans will also be found inside the historic Pears Mill, located just a few steps away from the market. And, while you’re there, enjoy the special deals at downtown merchants and hang around for the Christmas Parade at 5:30pm and holiday lighting ceremony at 6pm with special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus!
December 4 – Christmas Pop-Up Shop – Big White Barn in Baroda, 10am-4pm. Sponsored by Bub and Jo boutique store, this event will feature vintage Christmas items, furniture, handmade prints, Christmas cards, fresh and artificial greens and florals, wreaths, hand-poured candles, and frozen baked goods. According to Kate Ott, owner of Bub and Jo, “From the moment the Big White Barn comes into view, the Christmas spirit is contagious. Come for the curated collection of gifts from over ten local makers, creators and artisans, stay for the delight of shopping local with friends and neighbors.”
December 11 – Holiday Village Pop-Up Market – Downtown Bridgman, 3pm-6pm. If you’re looking to make a day of it, then the Holiday Village is your one-stop shop for holiday fun. Start by enjoying the pet parade at 3pm then take a walk on Lake Street and shop the downtown stores and local vendors at the pop-up market. Stay for the lighting ceremony at 6pm followed by live music in…wait for it….a giant inflatable igloo!
With so many fun holiday markets and festive pop-up stores available in Southwest Michigan, you can skip the lines, avoid the shortages, and shop local any weekend from now until Christmas. And when you spend local, it stays local – helping small businesses grow…one present at a time.
About the Writer: Stacey Martin is a local author and freelance writer with a passion for promoting Southwest Michigan. She is the creator and host of “The Folks Back Home” podcast, a former marketing executive, and current Domestic Director of a house full of kids.
Buy Local Berrien’s Holiday Shopping Series is brought to you by Forever Clean Soap Works on Cleveland Ave in St. Joseph. Shop handcrafted soaps, bath bombs, candles, lip balm and more in a festive, fun, and delicious-smelling setting!