I’ve never been one of those people who knock out holiday shopping early. In fact, I typically roll my eyes at friends who smugly announce that not only are their gifts purchased but wrapped too before we’re barely into December. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the poor souls left racing around on Christmas Eve, but I’ve never had it together enough to be able to kick back and relax the week before Christmas.
Until this year.
I don’t know how I’ve managed to live in this region for four years without noticing the multitude of holiday craft markets on offer. All summer long I’d planned on hitting the market for produce and the occasional bouquet of fresh cut flowers, but it just didn’t happen. It looks like I can make up for my laziness all the way through the late fall. Maybe these events are on my radar now that my local garden centre has hopped on the bandwagon. It doesn’t matter. I’ve decided that local holiday markets are the answer to my shopping prayers.
I’ll enlist a girlfriend, get a sitter for my son (who likes shopping about as much as he likes getting a flu shot), and I’ll choose the perfect layered outfit. Nobody wants to carry around a bulky coat when there’s handmade soap to sniff.
The holiday market will be a feast for all of my senses. My eyes will wonder at the festive décor; boughs of evergreen, cheerful ribbon, snowflakes, icicles, glistening orbs of delicate glass. Creations by local artisans will inspire and delight; beads and baubles, ornaments for the home, accessories, and apparel. My fingers will caress fabric, paper, and wood. Fragrant candles, oils, and soaps will tickle my nostrils. Surely there will be some treats for my taste buds to enjoy – I’m dreaming of shortbread or gingerbread. Really, any bread will do. I’ll even settle for a crusty round of sourdough. Maybe there’ll be hot apple cider to wash it down. Or even better, mulled wine.
The market will help me be a better citizen. I’ll be supporting local makers and entrepreneurs. My friends and family will be thrilled with my thoughtful and creative gift-giving. Who do I know who wears a beard? I’ll bet I can find about five different beard balm flavours. Or are they fragrances? I guess they really aren’t meant to be eaten, though I’ve encountered a few that have made my mouth water.
Friends who come to visit from out of town will think I’m the perfect host as I shuttle them from wine tasting to the festive merriment of whichever market happens to be on that weekend. By this time next year, I’ll know all the best ones to visit.
My holiday market-hopping will kick off on November 16th. Mori Gardens has made their annual open house (a decade-long tradition) a festive celebration with A Very Mori Christmas Palooza. The Palooza includes Mori’s own showcase of local artisans, the Niagara on the Lake Christmas Market, open through November 18th. While I’m there, I might even pick out my Christmas décor. They have the most beautiful trees, wreaths, and planters. Come to say hi. I’ll be the lady in the festive plaid shirt with a face full of cookies and a steaming mug of cheer.