SoWa Holiday Market
Ben Franklin Institute
41 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
The SoWa Holiday Market is everything you love about the popular summer shopping market but rolled into one wild weekend for the holidays. The market features crafters and artisan food goods from people all over New England. The holiday market is a longstanding Boston tradition for everyone who loves handmade and unique goods from local designers. This year, the market will take place on December 14th and 15th at the Benjamin Franklin Institute. This year promises to be the biggest, and busiest year yet for the SoWa Holiday Market so come early and be prepared to spend the entire day looking over all of the great goods for sale.
416 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02144
Magpie is one part art gallery and one part gift shop. It has a variety of goods ranging from quirky to handmade. Whether it’s fashion-forward jewelry, funky t-shirts or handmade do-dads that you never knew existed but just have to have once you see them, they can be found at Magpie. While some of the items you find come at a premium price (hey, it’s handmade!), you’ll find plenty of affordable items as well. As far as selection and price range go, Magpie is a winner.
Western Avenue Studios
122 Western Ave.
Lowell, MA 01851
Western Avenue Studios in Lowell is a former mill building chock full of everything creative and handmade. The building features over 200 artists and crafters in a variety of mediums and styles. You’ll find that several of CBS Boston’s best artists to buy from have studios in this building, along with fine artists, fiber artists, soap makers, photographers, jewelry makers and glass blowers. Western Ave Studios is truly the one place where you can find something for absolutely everyone on your list. And just in time for the holidays Western Avenue Studios has a series of shopping events planned. On the first two weekends of December (the 7th and 8th, and the 14th and 15th), the building is open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. And if weekends don’t work with your schedule, there’s also a Holiday Gift Night on December 19th from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The building is also home to The Loading Dock Gallery, open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., which features works from many of the Western Avenue artists.
54 Church St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Jewelry is usually on most lists. But who wants whatever the mall stores are pushing this season? Rather than ending up with another pendant that everyone else has, head on over to Tis Tik. This amazing little shop features handmade artisan jewelry that ranges from fun to funky to classic to trendy. Also wide ranging is the prices. You’ll be amazed at some of the deals.
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101 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
It’s hard to say just what you might find in Black Ink because the store carries, it seems, a little bit of everything. If it’s fun, knick-knacky, gifty and unique, it’s probably here. While not every item in the store is handmade, you’ll find a fine selection of goods from local and national makers. The handmade items the shop carries are great quality and can’t found elsewhere in Boston. Overall, this is a great place for stocking stuffers and lovely little gems that will have your recipient exclaiming, “Where on Earth did you find this?!”
Renee Mallett is the author of several books about art, culture, and New England. She was the owner and director of an art gallery and has written about arts and entertainment on a national level for several print and online journals. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.