One of the places I love to visit in the Christmas run up is a Christmas market. It’s not always about the shopping because I rarely come away having bought lots of gifts. It’s about the atmosphere and often meeting up with a couple of friends for our annual Christmas get together.

So this year is unusual. With most in person Christmas markets cancelled, there’ll be no mulled cider to warm up on cold crisp days. No hot chestnuts or other sweet treats to try.

No enjoying the pretty lights and Christmas background music. Or checking out the rides.

No fighting the crowds to get to the stalls you want, to see all the interesting greetings for sale and new items brought over by the foreign stall holders for European markets. (Although I try and go early to avoid too many crowds).

what to look for at christmas markets with light bulb jar lanterns in front of Chirstmas stalls

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You might be thinking Christmas markets are cancelled, and most face to face ones are. But many have moved online, bringing together sellers from all over the world. You can also find local virtual Christmas markets popping up, enabling you to buy local.

I have bought some Christmas gifts from independents this year, and checked out quite a few more more recommendations on Instagram friends.  I also bought 2 gifts from Etsy, so I’ve tried to offset those I’ve ended up buying from Amazon. It’s so nice to see all the different ideas and homemade creations to give something different to friends or family who like those type of gifts.

What to look out for at Christmas markets

Unusual foods and drinks – with artisan and local products you can find some nice treats and gifts. You’ll often get to try samples too if face to face. Online, look for local producers and think about supporting them afterwards.

Natural style decorations – not all of us have the time or inclination to make our own decorations but there are some lovely natural wreaths and wall hanging type decorations.

Jewellery and scarves – there’s always someone on my shopping list who I can find some nice accessories for. Although I usually end up buying jewellery for myself.  

Vintage signs or quote frames – while some are easy to make yourself, if you’ve not got the time, or want a specific style of sign, these are easily found at Christmas markets.

The downside of online Christmas markets is that obviously you need to ensure purchases can be sent to people ahead of Christmas. My tip would be to get purchases sent directly to friends and family, especially if they’re larger more awkward sized gifts.

So many of the virtual Christmas markets ran in November only (or earlier), although there are some doing weekends or one off days in December coming up.  If you want to check them out, then get shopping fast so you don’t miss out. Of course if you find some websites still online but fair dates closed, why not approach the independent sellers directly, as they might still be selling in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas markets still open or upcoming

Online Christmas Fair – no dates on the website, but giveaways each Nov and Dec weekend

Odisha Premade Christmas Fair until 21st December

Crafty Fox Market – normal market that’s been moved online, final date 5th December 11am-5pm. Products found on their website and will also be showcased on Instagram once open.

Bath Christmas Market – moved online to showcase local sellers this year

Indie Roller – mini markets on Thursday nights 7-9pm, themed evenings  

The Glorious Edit – 4th to 10th December, curating beautiful products, while also supporting MeeTwo mental health charity   

Let me know if you’ve come across any others to add to the list, or let me know what you love about Christmas markets.  Fingers crossed next year they’ll be open again and we’ll be able to get back and enjoy getting in the Christmas spirit.

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