Text: R. Collins
Even if the holidays look different this year, West Michigan’s community of small businesses and artisans are still uniting to bring holiday shoppers a manifold of holiday markets. The past month has held a variety of holiday markets both online and outdoors that allow visitors to support local commerce while purchasing thoughtfully made gifts for family and friends. As a perk of this year’s virtual additions, patrons can participate in online markets for longer and can reroute directly to a maker’s website for re-visiting even after their market participation ends. Below, SOLACE Magazine gathered a few of this year’s West Michigan holiday markets for conscious shoppers to take part in or come back to browse this gift-giving season.
Kerstmarkt | November 21st – December 12th
8th Street Market Place in front of the Civic Center
Directly translating to “Christmas market,” Holland’s Kerstmarkt is a rendition of winter pop-up markets in the Netherlands, where specialty shops and local artisans sell their craft amongst visitors, entertainment, and local foods and drinks. The Kerstmarkt event has grown to host 18 booths throughout its duration, which also shares space and time with the local farmer’s market. This year, visitors can purchase items like handcrafted Christmas decorations, black-smithed and woven goods, sweets and pastries, wall art, and more, from vendors including Flagel’s Sugar House and the West Michigan favorite, St. Steve’s Cordials & Sodas.
Though the last winter Made Market hosted in the Grand Rapids’ Goei Center was an active epicenter of in-person holiday shopping, the market continues its tradition of connecting a large audience with local small businesses through its virtual marketplace, which precedes a summer market planned at the Goei Center in 2021.
Shop holiday picks from artisans in Grand Rapids and Louisville, Kentucky—both places that founders Al and Mike Barber have called home—as well as shops across the United States. Some popular Grand Rapids makers, who regularly feature work at regional markets, include Solstice Handmade with its hand-dyed apparel designs inspired by natural science, and the sustainably driven, small batch jewelry designs of Third & Co.
Mistletoe Market Virtual Artists & Artisan Galleries
Another market which traditionally takes place in-person, the 34th annual South Haven’s Mistletoe Market has gone virtual this year, with a full roster of approximately 20 makers in the mixed media, ceramic, metal, and fine arts.
At any time this holiday season, visitors can peruse inspiring and enjoyable works by makers like Martens Printworks, which creates Great Lakes-inspired print posters evoking travel advertisements from Art Deco era, or scratch board artist Chandra Jennings, who uses the medium to create unique, highly detailed portraits of animals and the natural world, which can also be commissioned. Visitors can visit the compilation of virtual vendors through the Mistletoe Market’s page on the South Haven Center for the Arts’ website and can click on a vendor to be redirected to their shop.
Sustainable Products Small Business Saturday Market
Online, postponed in-person until December 19th
Take advantage of online and in-person programming for this Sustainable Products Market, hosted by figures in Grand Rapids’ sustainable goods sphere, Koki, Papillon Press, and ReVigor Marketplace. Upon joining the marketplace’s virtual group, patrons can browse listings from the hosts and sustainable makers like EmmyK Apparel, a zero-waste clothing company that utilizes discarded textiles from New York City design houses to create comfortable apparel designs. Other makers like children’s clothing company DotDotSmile will bring long-lasting garments for young ones, while Koki delivers natural skin and hair care through clean, nourishing ingredients that are worked by founder, owner, and crafter Ivana Rivera.
Saugatuck Center for the Arts Outdoor Holiday Market | December 5, 2020 (this event has passed)
400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, MI
During the Saugatuck Center for the Arts’ Outdoor Holiday Market, patrons bundled up and explored nearly 40 art and fine-craft vendors on-site, which bring everything from greenery and home décor to paper and artisan baked good, wearable items, and more to the downtown Saugatuck location.
The wide variety and number of vendors meant ample gift-giving opportunities for patrons, friends, family, and even pets. Pups Barkery offers natural treats for canine companions, while the Kalamazoo-based Kahoona’s Kitchen provide healthy snacks for human ones. The Hamilton, Michigan-based Leché & Lavender Farm also served up mix-and-match soap bars handmade with natural ingredients sourced right from the farm.