Holiday shopping is stressful in any city, but I’d venture to say that it’s more so in NOLA than in most, since our retail pool is limited, to say the least. Subsequently, I’ve found that producing a gift from New Orleans’ insular retail circuit results in one of two situations: 1) You accidentally buy something the person already owns or will be gifted the same holiday (Here, Grandma, here’s a frame, which, from its twin on your mantle, I see you will definitely like), or 2) You become so frustrated by the Big Easy’s retail, you finally throw your hands up (Snow globes for everyone it is).
The solution? Holiday market places, which will be popping up all over the city for the rest fo the month. Not only will you discover unique gifts that you won’t find staring back at you from page 8 of the Macy’s home catalog, but you’ll also support local businesses and artisans. Moreover, most of the holiday markets provide live music, which is certainly a welcome alternative to the department store soundtrack consisting of kids screaming, men snoring, and employees crying.
But you have excuses:
But I shop online; I don’t have time to shop during the day.
Every Thursday – Saturday (7 PM – 1 AM) and Sunday ( 6PM – 12 AM) – Frenchman Art Market : For night owls, Frenchman Art Market is your jam. Not only will they be open every Thursday through Sunday, but you can knock out shopping at odd hours of the night, when all department stores have long since closed. Although they haven’t announced any special holiday events happening at the market, their strands of white Christmas lights will surely put you in a festive spirit. After making your purchases — everything form homewards to art to jewelry — head over to Three Muses (about a block away) for delicious small plates and live music.
But I like SALE shopping.
Dec. 6th – Ogden’s pop-up holiday art market : The Ogden will exhibit a holiday marketplace, offering various prints, photographs, books, housewares, jewelry, and handmade wooden toys, all produced by local artists and craftsmen. The event will also feature book signings and live music by John Rankin. All Ogden embers will receive 10% off on all purchases this night; all purchases (for members and non-members, alike) are free of state tex charges. The event will be held in the museum’s atrium from 6 – 8 PM. Free and open to the public.
Holiday marketplace… hmm… This sounds like a euphemism for ‘crowded mall’.
Dec. 7 – Pitot House Le Marché de Fêtes : The Louisiana Landmarks Society will host a very Nouvelle Orleans holiday market that will be radically different from your typical holiday mall scramble. It will be held at the historic Pitot House (1440 Moss Street) in Bayou St John. As you shop, enjoy live entertainment from the Mardi Gras Indian drummers, the Louisiane Vintage Dancers, and acoustic guitarist John Ranking. Locally produced merchandise will include handmade arts and accessories, food items, books, and holiday plants, complete with complimentary book signings, craft demos, and photos with Papa Noël. $5 admission, free for LLS members; proceeds support the Pitot House and Gardens.
But I might miss the game.
Dec. 6th – 8th – Ashé Cultural Arts Holiday on the Boulevard. : Ashé kicks off their annual holiday celebration (at the Ashé CAC, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.) on Friday with an open house and luncheon from noon to 2 PM. Saturday (noon – 8 PM) and Sunday (noon – 9 PM), Ashé presents an indoor holiday showcase (in case you’re concerned about standing outside in frigid 65*weather), which will consist of an arts marketplace, as well as live music performances from composer and trumpeter Hannibal Lokumbe, Delfeayo Maralis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, and many more. And don’t worry about missing the Saints game Sunday, Ashé will be airing it amidst the holiday festivities. All events are free and open to the public.
My kids will get bored and cranky within fifteen minutes.
Dec. 11 – Harrison Avenue Marketplace : You’ll have to drive a little for this one, but if your companions are under four feet and will likely make a scene if asked to wait in a museum for several hours, this holiday market is worth the trip. Merchandise from over 75 local vendors will be available — everything from food and drinks to mosaics and jewelry to pet apparel and custom stationary. A visit form Clifford the Big Red Dog and complimentary photos with Santa, should keep the little ones entertained while you shop. From 5 – 8:30 PM in the Lake View Grocery parking lot (801 Harrison Avenue). Free and open to the public.
But I enjoy scrambling for gifts at the last second.
Dec. 21 & 22 – Palmer Park Arts Market : For all of you last-minute shoppers, you may be able to conceal your procrastination with the wide and unique spread of crafts at the Palmer Arts Market. Choose from prints, photographs, bags, furniture, glasswares, clothing, and more; food vendors will be present as well, in case you run out of shopping fuel. There will be live music and a holiday card making for children. The market will be held at Palmer Park (at the corner of S. Carrolton and S. Claiborne) from 10 AM – 4 PM. Free and open to the public.
So no excuses. Get yourself to a market.
Chelsea Lee is associate editor of NolaVie. Email comments to her at email@example.com.