Newsflash: Christmas Day is just over a month away.
If you're still looking to cross a few items off your holiday gift-buying list, make sure to mark down this weekend's Arts Whistler Holiday Market on your calendar.
The market formerly known as Bizarre Bazaar is returning to the Whistler Conference Centre on Saturday, Nov. 25 and Sunday, Nov. 26, bringing with it a wide variety of local artisans and their handmade goods. The event has been a holiday staple in the resort for nearly three decades.
This year's event will feature approximately 120 vendors — slightly up from the 100 onhand at last year's market.
Among the list of offerings is one-of-a-kind decor, textiles, jewelry, pet products, kids toys, art, and food. Bratz Biz will also be making its return to the Holiday Market this year, featuring homemade treats and handmade goods crafted by young local entrepreneurs.
"It really is a one-stop shop for Christmas," explained Imogen Osborne, Arts Whistler's Holiday Market event programmer.
While many returning vendors have attended the market since its early days, "this year we actually have 30 per cent of the vendors who are new to the market," Osborne said.
One of those new faces is Catherine Karpman. She'll be appearing at her first Whistler Holiday Market after launching her business, From the Garden Shed, earlier this year.
"What you'll see at the market is the decor elements that I've created as a result of using lavender," she said. With plans to plant a lavender farm on her Pemberton property next year, she currently sources her lavender from a farm on Salt Spring Island. Consumers can find wreaths, sachets, and bouquets, as well as packs of lavender kindling, produced from the plants' stems left over after cleaning.
Karpman also collaborated with local makers of bath and body and culinary products to create a range of unique, lavender-infused goods, which she'll sell alongside her handmade winter container gardens and botanical Christmas ornaments. "Everything's either plant-based or lavender," she explained.
Returning to the market for the fourth year is Kathleen Tennock and her clay ceramics. Her decorative, non-functional pieces are the result of more primitive, glaze-free firing methods, including naked raku. She also makes miniature spirit bears. "I get my inspiration from stones and pebbles, so most of my pieces... have a stone-like quality (to them)," explained the artist.
Whistler fosters a "perfect storm" for a market like this, Tennock added. "We have a community who really appreciates art and anything that's not commercially produced... and then we have an ever-changing audience. There's always someone who will come upon it for the very first time and we get that exciting interaction as well."
The market is a crucial opportunity for local artisans to showcase their creations to the community, Osborne explained, adding that revenue from the market comprises 50 per cent of many vendors' yearly incomes.
Added Karpman, "It's such a lovely time of year — people are in the mood, they're looking for one-of-a-kind and unique gifts to give, so this is a perfect venue."
In addition to shopping, those in attendance can also enjoy performances from the LB Productions theatre program, as well as Whistler Singers and the Whistler Children's Chorus, and a few local musicians. "They're all doing Christmas themes throughout their sets, but there'll be some non-holiday music as well," Osborne said.
One very special guest will also make an appearance: Santa will be available for photos at various times throughout both days of the market.
The Arts Whistler Holiday Market is set to run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Entry is by donation.