“Keep Christmas local,” said group organizer Tamara Meggitt. (Facebook images)

“Keep Christmas local,” said group organizer Tamara Meggitt. (Facebook images)

Coronavirus or no coronavirus, the Christmas markets must go on! Just, differently

Online groups are connecting small vendors with Christmas shoppers

Picture a Christmas craft fair. It’s crowded, people are wearing sweaters and boots, winter coats slung over an arm, hot cider in hand, perusing local goods with the free hand. Handmade items are picked up, turned over, examined and put back on the table. Folks squeeze by each other and huddle around popular booths, lean in close and speak loudly to be heard over the din.

Not exactly COVID-19 safe.

Some Christmas fair hosts are trying to plan outside events or have secured venues that can support physical distancing, but many fairs have been cancelled out right leaving vendors with stacks of inventory and nowhere to sell.

For lots of people Christmas craft fairs are a beloved tradition. It’s just not Christmas without a craft fair, some aficionados might say.

Tamara Meggitt is hoping to help by creating localized groups on Facebook where these craft sellers can connect directly with would-be Christmas market shoppers. She started the North Island Christmas Market group on Facebook, and within a couple of days it had 500 members.

“It’s turned into a place to get to know your neighbours,” Meggitt said. “People have had no idea the kind of art coming out of their own backyards, so it’s been a connection place, too.”

There is an astonishing variety of items for sale. Driftwood sculptures, jewelry, soaps and skincare, fresh Christmas baking, wood work, fine art, small furniture items, lots of masks, children’s clothing, knit and crochet items, photography, preserved foods, flower arrangements decorations, scarves, and so much more.

RELATED: 12 weeks of Christmas — retailers speed up holiday plans in a daunting year

Vendors have made posts with photos of their products, introducing themselves. Shoppers are saying things like, “I was hoping you would find this. Love your stuff!” “These are so gorgeous in real life! I have two and just special ordered another one.” “I am super excited to purchase my Christmas gifts this year!”

The group is public, the verification questions required to join are simply: do you live on the North Island?, and are you a vendor or a shopper?

The group doesn’t facilitate payment, so vendors connect directly with shoppers and arrange for shipping or pick ups. Many have their own small websites to handle payment, and others will use e-transfers or similar.

The North Island Christmas Market is for Sayward and above, and a second group for the Comox Valley has caught the attention of Campbell River vendors as well as those in the valley.

“Keep Christmas local,” Meggitt encouraged.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


Christmas

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read