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It’s coming up for silly season again, and though I don’t really go big over Christmas anymore, I do enjoy the festivity of it all.  And these days one doesn’t even have to go near a mall to find gifts for friends and family – there are so many special markets where you can find awesome, handmade items that are so much more interesting than store-bought presents.

And, an added bonus:  you get to avoid overhyped tacky mall decorations and piped Christmas carols as well.  Hallelujah.
Anyway, so every year I find as many of these Christmas Markets as I can, and compile a list that I hope will be useful to all.  I’m a bit late this year, so a few have already raced past, but there are still plenty to come!

The list is in order of upcoming date, with a few exceptions where there are multiple markets.  There may well be markets I have missed, so I’ll be adding those as I discover them – and I’ll also put together a list of general markets on over the next month.

A Gift Affair

25-27 November 2010.

I loved this last year.  They had just the right balance, I thought – good quality items, obviously chosen with care, a fantastic atmosphere (great music) and outside a lovely tea area where you could have something to eat and drink (some of THE most beautiful cakes I’ve ever seen).

“Enjoy sublime lunches, light suppers and refreshments in exquisite surroundings with wine, cheese and olive tasting along with live music. Find fabulous and unique handcrafted gifts, fashion items, superb garden and home accessories and scrumptious deli delights.”

A Gift Affair will take place at Welgemeend Manor, Kloof Street, Gardens on the 25 & 26 November 10am-8pm and 27 November 9am-5pm. (more info)

Hathersage Farm Festive Fair

25-28 November 2010.

The Hathersage Market is in a lovely location in Somerset West, alongside a flowing river, and surrounded by trees.  This year, they’re holding a special weekend-long Gift Fair in time for Christmas.  Over 100 exhibitors will showcase their work, and there will be plenty to eat too.

The Festive Fair runs from 25 – 28 November on Hathersage Farm, Gordon Rd, Somerset West. www.tomarketwithlove.co.za (Facebook page)

Waldorf Night Market

Friday 26 November 2010.  5pm-9pm.

Love this market!  Monthly summer night market at the Constantia Waldorf School, in Spaanschematriver Road (next to Peddlars).  It’s a feast of wholesome food and gourmet delights, hand-crafted products and has a wonderfully festive atmosphere.  A great way to spend a Friday evening, especially if you’re looking for a laid-back option.

Event info: Constantia Waldorf School, Spaanschematriver Road, Constantia.  5pm to 9pm (on every last Friday of the month, in summer).  Free entry.  For more info, contact John on 0826310421.

Nitida Christmas Night Market

Nitida Christmas MarketFriday 26 November 2010 (5pm-9.30pm)

Every year, Nitida in Durbanville hosts a special Christmas Night Market.  Always a lovely venue, though I’ve not yet been to the night market.  This year’s event takes place on Friday the 26th of November 2010 – from 5pm to 9.30pm. There will be around 50 stalls selling all kinds of Christmas and foodie goodies, and some Christmas carols to get you in the festive spirit (carols start at 6.30pm).

Nitida Estate is located on Tygerbergvalley Road, Durbanville.  (Directions to Nitida.) (more info)

Alliance Francaise Christmas Market

Wednesday 1 December 2010. (9am-3pm)

Never been to this one, so I’m not sure what to expect, but here’s what organisers have to say: “Come and enjoy the Christmas Market at Alliance Française with a large range of craft items, food and sweets, books, jewelry and loads more. The ideal place to find the perfect Christmas gift for your loved ones! The French Market will also have a stall and sell genuine imported French cheeses, traditional breads, foie gras, rillettes, terrines and pâtés, chestnuts, vinegars and other condiments.

The market will be held at Alliance Francaise, 155 Loop St, Cape Town. (more info)

Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market – Christmas Candlelight Market

Friday 3 December 2010.  5pm-10pm  (continues on following day)

Stellenbosch in summer, at night, with candles… sounds just about right to me!  This is one of my favourite markets for ambiance and good food – and it sounds like they’re going all out to make this a really special evening.

“A big christmas tree, German Bratwurst, Turkey Stuffing, Brandy Butter, Gingerbread Cookies, Mince Pies, Gammon, Roasted Nuts, Pudding, Festive Decorations, Design, Gifts for Family & Friends, sunset & vineyard tables on the piazza…”

Location:  Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch.  Date: Friday 3 December 2010 5pm-10pm (market continues on Saturday 4 December, 9am-2pm).  Website: www.slowmarket.co.za

Wynberg Village Market

Saturday 4 December 2010.  Wynberg Village.

Small market at Wynberg Village that’s happening on Saturday 4 December 2010 (only 17 tables).  There will be stalls selling olives/olive oil, biscuits, baked goodies, fabric, antiques, jewellery, and organic veggies/seedlings.

Kirstenbosch Craft Market

Sunday 28 November; Sunday 12 & 19 December (9am-3pm)

The Kirstenbosch Craft Market is on every last Sunday of the month during the summer season, but has two markets in December. It’s a lovely venue (weather-permitting) and you’ll find a wide variety of quality hand-crafted goods for sale from over 100 crafters. Depending on who is there, the refreshments can also be quite good. And if you have kids who like pony rides – you’re sorted.

Location: Stone Cottages, corner Kirstenbosch/Rhodes Drives , Kirstenbosch NBG. Dates: 28 November, 12 & 19 December 2010. Time: 9am-3pm
Contact: Tessa van Rooyen (Convener – Kirstenbosch Craft Market) Tel. 021-697 2853 email: tessnic@iburst.co.za

Edgemead Christmas Market

10 December – 23 December 2010.

Every year I hear about this market, which sounds like it is rather popular!  I haven’t been yet, but I hope to make it this time around.  The market takes place annually at the Community Hall in Edgemead Drive, off Bosmansdam Road, Edgemead.  I don’t have contact details, but will update this info if I find some!

When: 10-23 December 2010.
Where: Community Hall in Edgemead Drive, off Bosmansdam Road, Edgemead
Cost of entry: free (to be confirmed)

FanWalk Designer-Maker Festive Market

Wednesday 15 December 2010.

I love the sound of this market, and I think it will give the Neighbourgoods Christmas Market a bit of a run for its money… It’s a Cape Town designer/artisan market held on the Cape Town Fan Walk, followed by Carols by Candlelight.

Designer exhibitors, which include Heartworks, Helon Melon, Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Textures, Design Africa and Clementina van der Walt were all hand-picked by Lauren Shantall, Head of the Freeworld Design Centre, and formerly curator and manager of the Design Indaba Expo.  Market guests are invited to bring along a kiddies’ Christmas gift to be donated to the church orphanage.

In addition to the exquisite handmade goodies on offer, there will be traditional German Christmas fare courtesy of Birds, and food from Jacques Erasmus’ new Hemelhuijs cafe. Kicking off at 15h30 the market culminates with the carols at 20h00. The carols last for approximately 90minutes. This event forms part of WalkCapeTown, a post-World Cup initiative, which aims to re-energise the Fan Walk through public events and ultimately enhance the cultural life of the city.

When: 15 December 2010 – Market from 3.30pm, Carols by Candlelight at 8pm
Where: The courtyard at the Cape Waters Building, 71 Waterkant Street
Cost of entry: free

Neighbourgoods Christmas Market

Wednesday 15 December 2010.  5.30pm – midnight.

A more craft- and design-focused market for this special Christmas edition of the popular Neighbourgoods Market.  Details are still to be confirmed, but I’ll add those in as soon as I hear more!  I really enjoyed the last one I went to – such beautiful ribbons on display!

Location:  Biscuit Mill Complex, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock.  www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za

Earth Fair Market – Christmas Market

Thursday 16 December 2010 (public holiday).  4-9pm.

Earth Fair ’s Christmas Market will host a carefully selected range of upmarket handmade items including fabrics and textiles, jewellery, skin care products and other beautiful gifting options. There will be delicious locally brewed beers and organic wines and a range of yummy supper options including crepes, sushi and prego rolls. There will be activities for kids such as card making and other crafting. Shop in style and soak up the brilliant Earth Fair vibe!

Location:  South Palms Centre, Main Road Tokai (near Builders Warehouse). Website: www.earthfairmarket.co.za

Kloovenburg Christmas Market Day

Saturday 18 December 2010.  (8.30am-3pm)

I’ve not yet been to this one, but it’s so beautiful out in Riebeeck West, and the view from Kloovenburg so lovely that I’m sure a day trip out there is worth it, no matter what the market itself turns out to be like!

Event info:The Kloovenburg Christmas Market takes place on Saturday the 18th of December 2010, from 8.30am to 3pm.  Kloovenburg is located in Riebeeck Kasteel, on the left as you arrive over the Bothmanskloof Pass (R46) from the Malmesbury side of things. www.kloovenburg.com

Obs Holistic Market – Christmas Market

Sunday 19 December 2010. 10am-4pm.  OBSERVATORY

Holistic therapists and life readers; vegetarian and organic food; ‘green’ products, plants and herbs; esoteric books and world music; unusual handcrafted goods; funky clothing, body art and jewellery; décor, unusual art and crafts: you’ll find all this and more at this popular bohemian lifestyle market in Obs this Sunday, and again just before Christmas (19 December 2010 – Christmas market).

Entry R10 (u/16s free). Observatory Recreation Centre, corner of Station, Lower Main and Drake streets.

Olympia Cafe Christmas Market – Kalk Bay

Tuesday 21 December 2010. 5pm-10pm. KALK BAY.

The very popular and eclectic Olympia Cafe and Bakery in Kalk Bay will be hosting an exciting Christmas Market on Tuesday 21 December from 5p.m. to 10p.m Situated within the bakery which has hosted many wonderful events, this promises to be something unique for locals and holiday makers alike. Expect a festive atmosphere with quality food and gift traders.  Olympia Cafe, Main Road, Kalk Bay.  Enquiries to olympiamarket@gmail.com

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