Manic crowds, jostling like gulls at a tip. Frantically pulsing lights sending a subliminal message to buy and buy fast. Perfume attendants, waiting to spritz you with the latest celebrity essence. It’s Christmas shopping time.
This year, forget the stressful routine and head to a Christmas market. Meet artisanal producers, share a glass of mulled wine and sing carols in a park like you’re alone in the shower. Markets have a lot to offer the jaded Christmas shopper. Here are some we think you’ll enjoy.
Coburg Night Market
This year’s sixth edition of the Coburg Night Market, the largest in Melbourne’s north, will run every Friday during the four-week lead-up to Christmas. The market caters to the whole family with activities for kids, international street food, local acts, live music all night and fine artisan wares. Featuring: Life of Usha, 2 & 5 inc. Anna Cat, 3rd Stone Designs, Berries Direct, Bean to Melbourne, Bianco Latte, Billy Van Creamy and Boss Man Food Jerk Hut.
Every Friday, November 27 to December 18, 5.30pm – 10pm
Bridges Reserve, Coburg
The Big Design Market
The Big Design Market, as its name suggests, is the biggest of its kind. Over three days, the Royal Exhibition Building will host makers of top-of-the-line textiles, fashion, accessories, homewares, stationery, books and kids products. Apart from Christmas shopping, there will also be an installation by guest artist Emily Green, a bike test-riding track, pamper sessions, free workshops, creative activities for kids, designer showbags and prizes to be won. Food on-site ranges from Miss Chu, Sensory Lab and All Day Donuts, to a high tea at the market’s new champagne bar.
Friday December 4, 10am–9pm; Saturday December 5, 10am–7pm; Sunday December 6, 10am–5pm
Royal Exhibition Building, Nicholson Street, Carlton
$2 entry/kids under 12 enter for free
The Dumbo Christmas Fête
Dumbo Feather is a magazine that encourages its readers to engage with other extraordinary people. This is its Christmas Fête, and an inspiring gathering place. There will be a lot to shop for and maybe even an interesting conversation to be had. Featuring: Fig & Salt, Queen B Beeswax Candles, Leonard St, clothing, Le Petit Moineau cards, Mossy Willow Farm, Minami Japanese design, Scottie Store homewares, Ruby Silver jewellery, Megan Nicolson soft toys and Shelly Panton Store pottery.
Saturday December 5, 8am–1pm
The White House, 11 Princes Street, St Kilda
French Xmas Market
Ideal for the young, old and everyone in between, this market will feature French products, food, wine and music. There will also be a range of free or gold-coin-donation activities such as face painting, animal balloon making, games, photo booths, cocktail demonstrations and free French classes.
Saturday December 5 to Sunday December 6, 10am–5pm
Alliance Français de Melbourne, 51 Grey Street, St Kilda
Market at the Patch
Find Christmas gift inspiration at Federation Square's edible gardening club. Grab a coffee or a slice of Burn City Smoker's slow-cooked hog roast, and browse crafts from MANTCI and Tatah Illustration. Thirsty? Grab a beverage from The Premises, CAPI, Impressed Juices and Granita.
Sunday, December 6, 10am–4pm.
Pop-Up Patch, Federation Square, Melbourne.
Ethical Christmas Night Market
Out in leafy Warrandyte, the Ethical Christmas Night Market promotes products that are environmentally friendly, locally sourced, social enterprise, fair trade, recycled or handcrafted. There will be food, live music and a variety of stalls selling stationery, homewares, accessories, jewellery, clothing and toys. Featuring: Knick Knack Stationery, GingerHey, Tog & Pini, Polly Collective, Little Seed Gifts, Erin. K Jewellery, Be Kind Textiles and Puri.
Tuesday, December 8, 5pm–10pm
Warrandyte Community Church, 57 Yarra Street, Warrandyte
Free or gold coin donation
Doggy Christmas Market
Your faithful hound deserves a treat this Christmas. CERES Environmental Park is hosting its Doggy Christmas Market, attracting pups from Brunswick East and beyond. Treat your dog to a massage, dress him or her up in cute festival dog costumes, or surprise them with a stylish collar or bandana. Take a walk through the CERES grounds and check out the organic market, the nursery and the cafe - there will be a mountain of doggy treats, as well as a selection of human snacks.
Saturday, December 12, 9am–4pm
CERES Environment Park, corner of Roberts Street and Stewart Street, Brunswick East
Seventh Gallery Christmas Design Market
Check out the work of Melbourne's homegrown design talent. The two day market at Seventh Gallery will showcase items from local designers, artists, makers, photographers. Browse the works of Lauren Guymer (illustrator), Rachel Bainbridge (resin art and homeware maker), Cass Jones (visual artist/painter), Daniel Belfield (Qalamkar textiles from Iran), Laura Sullivan (resin jewellery), Thomas Lentini (wood worker), Mark Tippet (photographer), Georgia Laurie (designer, jeweller, visual artist), Ruby Mackinnon & Elizabeth Milsom (illustrator, cards, prints and scarves), Jeannie Rowbotham (jewellery designer and maker) and Hugh Coombs (digital designer, photographer).
Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13, 12pm-6pm
Seventh Gallery, 155 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
A little to the west, the Kensington Market has more than 70 stalls. The market is known for its homemade treats, arts and crafts, clothing, jewellery, fresh local produce and sense of community. Food, entertainment and live music will be there to be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s nice at any time of year, but a pre-Christmas visit feels especially festive.
Sunday, December 13, 10am–3pm
Kensington Town Hall, 30–34 Bellair Street, Kensington
Maribyrnong Makers Market
Pick up a few last-minute Christmas gifts with a glass of bubbly in hand. Maribyrnong Makers Market lands in Seddon just a week before the big day, to showcase a well-curated selection of ceramics, homeware, fabrics, homemade preserves and more. There's even an on-site bar to get you in the Christmas spirit, and a wine-sampling stall to keep you well watered.
Thursday, December 17, 4.30am–8.30pm
Seddon Uniting Church, on the corner of Gamon and Mackay Streets in Seddon.
Melbourne Made Gift Market
Melbourne’s iconic Town Hall will be transformed into the Melbourne Made Gift Market, hosting more than 70 artists, designers and craftspeople. Present will be Green Candle Co., and O Design, Hoopla Designs, Fizzy Pop Designs, tianceramics, Twice Drunk, Avargadi and many others. All gifts have been independently designed, ethically produced and locally made. There is also a gift guide available to help you with your Christmas lists.
Saturday, December 19, 10.30am–4pm
Melbourne Town Hall, Main Hall, Melbourne
Little Sparrow Market
The Little Sparrow Market will feature 60 stalls by high-profile designers and makers, both local and interstate. There will also be live music and gourmet food – and to get you even further into the Christmas spirit, there will be carollers singing and a photo opportunity with “Melbourne’s Coolest Santa”.
Sunday, December 20, 10am–5pm
Federation Square Atrium, Corner Swanston & Flinders Streets, Melbourne