If, like me, you’re that breed of last-minute panic shopper overwhelmed by the onslaught of tinsel, overplayed Christmas tunes and faint-inducing central heating that marks many a department store shop, then why not get savvy and swap that particular type of torture for the myriad of market alternatives, where a treasure trove of top-notch goodies awaits?
The added bonus, of course, is that while you peruse the plethora of offerings available, you can usually sample a stack of them as you indulge your senses with everything from wine and confectionary to art and beauty products.
If it’s artisan you’re after, then you’ll find it in abundance. Picture quality, handmade and locally sourced and crafted items showcased to a soundtrack of town bands surrounded by dazzling displays of Christmas lights. It doesn’t get much more magically festive than that; plus, giving something Cornish definitely shows you care.
Some top-picks for starters…
Crafts For Christmas – Bodmin
10th November-23rd December
Head to The Shire Hall Gallery (Monday-Friday 08.45-2pm) for a smorgasbord of gift ideas including jewellery, textiles and paintings, which are all locally made.
Create Christmas Craft Fair – Newquay
29th & 30th November
The Bedruthan Hotel & Spa is the setting for this arts and crafts weekend extravaganza that will present a mass of bespoke products (along with a Santa’s grotto). And those currently enjoying the make-your-own moment can indulge in a series of workshops that will teach you how to create your own cards, wrapping paper, gift bags, tree decorations and gifts.
The Castle Christmas Food Fayre – Bude
Shop in a castle for a palpable sense of Christmas time magic. Enjoy an unbeatable atmosphere along with a bevy of brilliant local businesses who will be flaunting their wares in style.
Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair – The Piazza, Truro
One of the most anticipated in the calendar, the coveted ‘Made in Cornwall’ logo is only awarded to businesses that create their products exclusively in Cornwall. Expect a whopping one hundred artisan makers plying their trade – from gourmet hampers to exquisite works of art and craft.
Open 10am-9pm Wednesday 26th, 10am-5pm Thursday 27th – Saturday 29th and 10.30am-4.30pm Sunday 30th.
Padstow Christmas Festival
4th– 7th December
This is a must-visit for Cornish foodies. With live cooking demonstrations, market stalls selling local food and produce as well as live music, fireworks, Santa’s grotto and carols, the festival presents visitors with a good-time guarantee.
Krowji’s Christmas Open Studios – Redruth
The creative consortium opens its doors to visitors for a spectacular sneak peek at its artists, ceramicists and host of designer-makers as they showcase a stunning collection of gifts.
Fowey Christmas Market
6th & 7th December
Start the seasonal celebrations in style at one of the county’s most picturesque harbour towns by joining the locals on Friday 5th December at 5pm for a riverfront barbecue, lantern procession and School Samba Band. Mingle with the makers of an eclectic range of gifts amongst marquees on the quay and Fowey Leisure Centre for a fabulous shopping spree.
Mount Edgecumbe Christmas Fayre
13th & 14th December
Feast your eyes on cooking demonstrations from top chefs in the southwest, fresh local produce and gifts galore – not to mention the spellbinding surrounds of Mount Edgecumbe’s gorgeous estate.
Heartlands Christmas Market Weekend – Camborne
13th & 14th December
Featuring festive music courtesy of local choirs and brass bands as well as a huge range of artwork, jewellery, foodie treats and crafts, Heartlands provides a superb setting for this hotly anticipated event.
Finally, there’s the Last Chance Christmas Market in Truro from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st December. See you there!