By Mark G. McLaughlin
Holiday markets and crafts fairs offer the kinds of unique, usually handmade, goods that can not be found in most malls, big box stores or chain shops on main street. These fairs are were artists who make one or at most a limited edition of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, pottery and clothing go to display and sell their wares. These fairs, moreover, are not high-pressure crass consumer extravaganzas, but are festive, creative and unique in their spirit and their offerings. Here are just fie of the best holiday markets in Boston this season.
Boston Winter Holiday Market
Boston, MA 02109
Date: November 24 through December 31, 2017
Every year from the day before Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, Boston’s City Plaza is transformed into a magical winter holiday market. This annual joint effort by the City of Boston, TD Garden, Boston Winter Village and the Millennial Entertainment Group is always a big hit, with shops and shows, entertainment and food and all manner of good cheer and merrymaking. Last year there were more than 60 of the cheerfully decorated little “chalets” as the charming wooden booths are called, and each of them offered a unique shopping or holiday experience. The vendors offer a wide range of merchandise, much of it handmade, from bath and body products to clothing and toys. The outdoor market attracts an average of around 100,000 shoppers and visitors a day, but although often crowded, the crowd is there to have fun and to find unique holiday treasures.
Old South Church Christmas Craft Fair
Old South Church
645 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
Date: December 2, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Old South Church in Copley Square is one of the city’s oldest and most famous landmarks, and is worth a visit any time. On December 7, however, the Church will hold its annual Christmas Craft Fair, at which 30 of the best artists in the city will offer for sale their unique creations. There are glass blowers, knitters, candle makers, jewelers, wood workers and all manner of other creative people in the booths to buy from and talk to about their work. There will be hot mulled cider and other refreshments available, and all in an historic setting made even more welcoming by the Christmas greens and decorations.
South Boston Holiday Market
Ben Franklin Institute
Innovation and Design Building
41 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
Date: December 9, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The South Boston Holiday Market is an annual one-day affair where some of the most innovative and creative of Boston’s many artists and artisans display their latest creations. Many of these are good enough to eat, as well as to wear, play with or just look at. A college of industrial arts and technology founded on funds donated by Benjamin Franklin himself, the Benjamin Franklin Institute is the perfect environment for such a wide variety of creative people from all over New England to show off their wares. For 14 years chefs and farmers, painters and sculptors, makers of jewelry and designers of all types have come to showcase their best work at this event, and the vibe is as festive as it is indie.
Cultural Survival Bazaar
Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
Cambridge, MA 02138
Date: December 9 and 10, 2017
The Cultural Survival Bazaar is very different from any other holiday fair in Boston – or in almost any other place such fairs are held. The artists are all members of indigenous tribes and peoples from around the world, and their stories, traditions, art and crafts are unlike anything shoppers will find at any other fair. The bazaar is held in two locations on subsequent weekends. On the first weekend it is held on the grounds of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and on the second in the Prudential Center Shops in downtown Boston. Admission is free, and along with crafts to buy there will be storytellers, entertainers and even films and craft-making demonstrations.
Craft Boston Holiday Show
Hynes Convention Center
900 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02115
Date: December 15 through December 17, 2017
Although it does cost $15 to attend, the annual Craft Boston Holiday Show sponsored by Boston’s Society of Arts and Crafts is worth every dime. Imagine going to a museum where you can buy the lovely, hand-made, limited-edition creations on display (and the ticket also gives buyers a 10 percent discount on the merchandise). Art to see, sit upon, wear and use will be on display and for sale. Clothing, furniture, glass, ceramics and more are on view, each piece made by a master in their craft.