As Pinterest and Etsy grow in popularity, handcrafted gifts are on the rise — and local purveyors of handmade goods are getting in on the action. With so many holiday craft markets this year, there’s truly something for everyone. Are you a traditionalist? An art lover? The whimsical crafty type? Find the perfect holiday market for you.
Your style: Etsy devotee
Your fairs: Craft’za and No Coast Craft-O-Rama
The organizers behind Craft’za (an offshoot of the long-running St. Paul Craftstravaganza) and No Coast Craft-O-Rama are pioneers of the indie craft movement in the Twin Cities. These markets are also two of the metro area’s largest holiday craft fairs, with handcrafted goods from more than 60 local vendors at Craft’za and upward of 80 at No Coast. It’s no surprise that the fairs have a good number of vendors in common, including Fringe and Fettle Ceramics, Vandalia Street Press, Bodylish skin care and Everthine Jewelry. Highlights exclusive to No Coast include printmaking by Adam Turman, Aesthetic Apparatus and Amy Jo, while Craft’za’s lineup includes award-winning creative studio Burlesque of North America.
Craft’za: Nov. 19. Free. Grain Belt Bottling House, 71 13th Av. NE., Mpls., craftstravaganza.com
No Coast Craft-O-Rama: Dec. 2-3. Free. Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Mpls., nocoastcraft.com
Your style: Classic and traditional
Your fairs: Holidazzle Village and St. Paul European Christmas Market
The latest trend in holiday craft markets is actually a throwback to European traditions dating back to at least the mid-1500s. Now Minneapolis and St. Paul each has its own version of a classic Christkindlmarkt with the Holidazzle Village (which replaced the long-running Holidazzle parade in 2014) and the St. Paul European Christmas Market. Both open-air markets feature handcrafted goods, food, hot beverages and plenty of old-fashioned holiday cheer. Holidazzle also boasts an outdoor skating rink, appearances from Santa Claus, live music and carolers, plus movie screenings and a warming house — not to mention an exclusive Holidazzle Stout from Fulton Brewery.
Holidazzle: Nov. 25-Dec. 23. Free. Loring Park, Mpls., holidazzle.com
St. Paul European Christmas Market: Dec. 1-11. Free. Union Depot’s parking lot B on the East Plaza, St. Paul, stpaulchristmasmarket.com
Your style: Girl power
Your fair: Maiden Minnesota
Grab your girlfriends for a girls’ night out and make a dent in your holiday shopping list at the same time. Founded in 2007 by two female entrepreneurs, this annual shopping event showcases products by women-owned companies spanning fashion, lingerie, jewelry, accessories, home decor, specialty food items and skin care. Highlights include ethically crafted natural stone jewelry by mother-daughter duo Tess+Tricia, cozy mittens upcycled from Scandinavian sweaters by Steller Handcrafted Goods and natural skin care and cosmetics from StormSister Spatique. Silent auction proceeds benefit Dress for Success Twin Cities.
Nov. 4. $10-$30. Loews Minneapolis Hotel, 601 1st Av. N., Mpls., maidenminnesota.com
Your style: Heritage chic
Your fair: Northern Grade Market
This traveling marketplace of American-made goods was launched in Minneapolis in 2010 as a menswear pop-up, showcasing goods from Minnesota brands old and new. It has since expanded to other cities amid growing demand for classic, finely crafted products. This year’s edition includes returning favorites Red Wing Heritage and Leather Works Minnesota as well as furniture makers Concrete Pig and Neu Design, modern quilt line Louise Gray, beard grooming product company 2 Bits Man and women’s clothing brand Winsome Goods. Bonus: food from Chowgirls Catering, beer from local breweries and Buffalo Trace whiskey samples.
Nov. 5-6. Free. Machine Shop, 300 SE. 2nd St., Mpls., www.northerngrade.com
Your style: Modern farmers market
Your fair: Paikka Holiday Bazaar
A modern take on a farmers market, this shopping event hosted by new St. Paul event space Paikka features a mix of prepared foods, edible goods, handmade jewelry, home goods and artwork. The emphasis is on the unique, with quirky-cool ceramics by E. Smith Studio, hand-dyed shibori textiles by Indigo & Snow, fermented veggies and kimchi by Kiss My Cabbage, hand-cast sterling silver and semiprecious stone jewelry by Annika Kaplan and whimsical illustrations by Kate Worum. With a full lineup of live music all day, coffee from Misfit Coffee Cart, hot mulled cider, a tintype photo booth and food trucks, it’s more of a block party than a mere craft fair. Come to shop — stay for the party.
Nov. 5. Free. Paikka, 550 Vandalia St., #165, St. Paul, paikkamn.com
Your style: One-of-a-kind
Your fair: Bespeak Holiday Pop-up
Minneapolis clothing line Gina Marie and millinery brand Hat Make are behind Bespeak, a holiday pop-up shop featuring local artisans that emphasizes customized, made-to-measure products. Shoppers will be able to place orders for items — including women’s and men’s apparel, hats, leather goods, shoes, handbags, jewelry, paper goods and home accessories — in a variety of sizes, colors and fabrics, making these gifts truly unique. Vendors are also offering grab-and-go options for those looking for something to take home that day. Look for luxe leather handbags by Danielle Sakry, concrete jewelry by Koonyai Studio, colorfully soled footwear by Greenwich Vintage and vegan lipstick by the Elixery, plus light snacks and libations from Spoonriver.
Nov. 6. Free. A-Mill Artist Lofts, 301 SE. Main St., Mpls.
Your style: Local art lover
Your fair: SooVAC’s Local Artists’ Holiday Shop
This holiday shop is housed at the hip Uptown art gallery Soo Visual Arts Center, making it a one-stop shop for art lovers. It features handmade art specially priced for gift-giving from top Twin Cities artists including Terrence Payne, Caitlin Karolczak, Amy Rice and Jennifer Davis, plus jewelry by Rox by Robyne Robinson, Made by Liz P and Koonyai Studio.
Dec. 2-31. Free. Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 Bryant Av. S., #101, Mpls., soovac.org
Your style: Go big or go home
Your fair: Minneapolis Holiday Boutique
From the producers of the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show at the Convention Center comes this first-time event. It takes a page from the home-and-garden show playbook, with vendor booths, contests and stylized lounges. The merchandise leans toward local and artisanal — think natural skin care by Worker B, laser-cut wood wall art by Hagen and Oats and semiprecious stone and sterling silver jewelry by Vikse Designs. Highlights include a holiday-themed dress installation by “Project Runway” alum Christopher Straub, who’s also selling his wares, plus a holiday tree display and ladies-night-out events with giveaways and cocktails.
Nov. 11-13. $10-$12. U.S. Bank Stadium, Mpls., minneapolisholidayboutique.com
Jahna Peloquin is the style editor of Minnesota Monthly and a freelance writer and stylist in the Twin Cities.