By Emily Harrington
Every year around this time I struggle with the shopping blues. This activity I usually enjoy becomes more of a chore (crazy thought, I know) than a treat. I stress about finding special, personal gifts while staying focused on the recipient’s wants/needs versus what I think they want/need.
I find myself staring blankly at the computer screen while typing my card numbers in over and over making holiday purchases. They are delivered to the door and I fall in step, wrapping and tagging them. I need to find the magic in Christmas shopping! I want each step to be a pleasure and not a chore.
I’ve decided this year to try out area markets that specialize in unique finds. These markets feature antiques, crafts, art—some new, some old, but all distinct.
There are enough markets planned that you don’t have to overbook your weekends as they all fall neatly back-to-back with little overlap!
From first to last, here are the holiday markets in our area.
1) Because no shows will be held at the State Farm Center until the fall of 2016, this year the 35th Annual Chris Cringle Arts & Crafts Show will take place at the Fluid Event Center at 601 N. Country Fair Dr. in Champaign on Friday, November 7 from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, November 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Chris Cringle is one of the Midwest’s largest craft shows, featuring more than 155 booths displaying a wide variety of handcrafted items by local and area artists, as well as artists from all over the Midwest. Tickets are $5 and will be available at the Fluid Event Center Ticket Office, opening 30 minutes before the show each day. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket information.
2) The 12th Annual Urbana’s Holiday Market picks right up when Urbana’s Market at the Square ends—Saturday, November 8. It will continue every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. until December 20. Lincoln Square Mall at 301 S. Vine St. will be decorated to ensure you get in the holiday spirit. If the spirited décor isn’t enough, the booths will be overflowing with Illinois-made produce, baked goods, crafts and perfect holiday gifts. Admission is free!
3) 3rd Sunday Market in Bloomington at Interstate Center’s 2301 W. Market St. brings around 500 vendors peddling Thanksgiving, Christmas, vintage decorations and memorabilia—all geared toward gift giving. This Sunday, November 16 market kicks off the holidays landing right before Thanksgiving. This is the last 3rd Sunday Market of the year, so don’t miss it—especially if you’ve never been before.
It’s worth the hour drive to see all the goodies that await you for a small admission fee. This market runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both indoors and outdoors.
4) Hobnob Holiday Market is “Not your Grandma’s antique show!” For the second year Danville Gardens Greenhouse at 1307 Cleary Ave. in Danville will host this year’s event. The Making Merry Party is on Friday, November 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. Early birds will have a chance to shop before the crowds, watch live music, drink and dine for a slightly higher ticket price, $10 online or $15 at the door.
Market Day is on Saturday, November 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $5 at the door. The market features holiday-inspired vintage and handmade items from more than 100 vendors.
5) The 8th Annual Thanksgiving Market at U.S. Cellular Coliseum at 101 S. Madison in downtown Bloomington provides many edible treats. Gourmet dog treats, decadent desserts, savory snacks, fresh produce, choice meats and gourmet cheeses are available. Stock up your pantry for the holidays! Visit for free on Saturday, November 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All of the admission-based events welcome children for free. Although, you may zip through the booths faster with a friend or by yourself—whatever your shopping style may be.
Bring the spark back to your holiday shopping. No longer stress and think of it as a chore, but rather something fun to look forward to. These area markets will show you the charm of the season again.
Are there any holiday-themed markets we missed? We want to go! Let us know in the comments below.
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie that left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job to be a 24/7 mom to a dreamy son. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Oh, and let’s not forget her other son, a degenerate canine named Heppenheimer.