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Avoid the rush for the mall

While halloween is done for another year, there’s no reason to think the festivities are over quite yet. While Americans wait until Black Friday to start their shopping, theres no reason you can’t start a little earlier here in Canada. Below is a list of helpful pointers to keep your holiday shopping local and fun to boot!

Tips for shopping local 

this holiday season

Make a list (and check it twice) of people to shop for. Make it fun and include details like favourite colour, interests and clothing sizes. A thoughtful gift is the best kind to give and receive.

Determine your budget. Think about how much you want  to spend overall, and then distribute that among the people you're buying for. Put these numbers on your list too

Clear out storage space ahead of time. (or find a good hiding place)  Carve out a dedicated corner, drawer or shelf to store your unwrapped gifts. 

Make a shopping plan. Figure out what craft shows and markets you want to attend (you can find a list of Vancouver area shows at put them in your calendar. Give yourself lots of time so you can chat with each vendor and get the story and personality behind their craft. 

Decide if there's any money left over for yourself - and then stick to whatever amount you can afford. There's nothing worse than running out of money (or racking up credit cards you're paying well into spring) an not being able to afford those extra special gift for friends and family.

Eat before you go. Make sure you're well rested and well fed before attending some of the larger craft markets. Shows like CircleCraft can have you lost for hours in endless aisles of booths full of exciting treasures to discover. Luckily some markets have food (and some like MakeIt also serve alcohol) to sustain you through the marathon shopping. If all else fails, there's generally some vendors selling chocolate or baked goods to keep your sugar levels high.

Know what to expect. Many shows post a list of their vendors on their website for you to pursue before the show. If you have some specifics in mind, or a limited amount of time and shows you can attend, pre filter which ones are best suited for your needs. Alternatively if you're a veteran of shopping the craft market circuit, check out individual artist and designer's websites. Many post upcoming shows and stores they'll be in in over the holiday season.

Be kind to the environment. Bring a couple of reuseable bags (Mulierose is debuting new reuseable bags at MakeIt) to the shows to fil up with goodies, and leave the plastic out of the landfill.

Go Shopping! Remember quality over quantity is best, and take your time when looking. Many designers and artists create small batches of their products, and some like Mulierose only sell one of a kind pieces. Once those pieces are sold, they're gone forever. If you're running out of time or you're not quite sure, talk to the vendor and see how many of that particular item they have in stock. Don't assume you can buy it online or in a store after the show. 

Collect business cards and sign up for newsletters. Some vendors offer incentives to sign up on their list. Even if they don't, it's still well worth the effort to get timely reminders of upcoming sales, discount coupons to shows, and a preview of next season's lineup.

Celebrate! Hopefully you had a little extra money in the budget for some local artisan treats. Curl up in the warmth of your home with a cup of hot tea, a snack, and relish in the fact that you finished your shopping early without ever having to hit the mall.

Mulierose will be at four holiday shows this year. Check out the links below for all the details on some of the season's best shows.
Nov 8 - 11
Croatian Cultural Centre, Vancouver

Print out this coupon for $1 off admission

Nov 24 & 25
Creekside Community Centre, Vancouver

Print out this coupon for 2 for 1 admission
Dec 1 & 2
Elgin Hall in South Surrey

Check out their website for a chance to win a gift certificate to use at the market

Dec 15 & 16
Heritage Hall, Vancouver

Shop Mulierose year round online

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