Get a jump on holiday shopping

Photo by susan Safford

With lights already strung, Christmas commercials on TV, and holiday songs in the air, it can only mean one thing: time to shop! And while those on the mainland may be lining up for sales at big box stores and fighting the crowds in shopping malls, Vineyarders can enjoy a much more laid-back holiday shopping experience. The kick off to the shopping season on Island includes lots of options for checking out flea markets, pop-up shops, and crafts fairs. While shopping for unique gifts you can also help support local businesses, nonprofits, and  Vineyard artists and artisans.

This weekend

Friday, November 21, marks the opening of the annual Holiday Gift Show at the Featherstone Center for the Arts. The preview party from 6 to 8 pm will feature sweet treats and a chance to meet many of the participants. Over 60 artists and craftspeople — a record number — have contributed items this year, including artwork, cards, calendars, ornaments, jewelry, pottery, scarves, fleece wear, and handmade chocolates. The show continues on a daily basis from 12 noon to 4 pm until December 21. Proceeds from the sale are split between the artists and Featherstone.

Every Christmas season, the United Methodist Church in the Campground hosts a Holiday Fair featuring food and shopping. On Saturday, November 22, the parish house will be transformed with vendors selling flea market finds, hand knits, homemade ornaments and other craft items, baked goods, and lots of second-hand jewelry while the cafe sells hot dogs, clam chowder, meatball subs and more. It’s a festive event that helps set the holiday mood. Vendor space is still available. Call the Church Office at 508-693-4424 for information. Fair open from 9 am to 2 pm.

The American Legion will also host their annual Thanksgiving Christmas Bazaar on Saturday. Along with lots of white elephant finds and baked goods, shoppers can purchase raffle tickets for some great mixed packages of goods, or try their luck with the country store mini-raffle items. Open from 10 am to 1 pm at the American Legion Hall, Vineyard Haven.

On Saturday afternoon, an informal group of moms and kids will be hosting a benefit for Heifer International, which aims to eradicate world hunger and poverty by donating livestock to impoverished families to provide food, income, and sustainable resources for other village families. At down-Island Cronigs, 3–6 pm, the kids will be selling their crafts while the moms will offer baked goods. Of the joint effort, organizer Emily Solarazza of Vineyard Haven says, “It’s a way for the kids to be involved. It really helps make it more understandable.”

The Vineyard Holiday Gift Shop will open its doors on Saturday, November 22, on Spring Street in Vineyard Haven. Among the items made by local artists and artisans, the store will carry ornaments, jewelry, handbags, ceramics, preserves, dog biscuits, candles, skin care products, wreaths, metalwork, and much more. Open every day through Christmas Eve from 10 am to 6 pm.

On Sunday November 23, the M.V. Hebrew Center will host their second annual Artist Holiday Sale. A number of Vineyard artists and artisans will participate, selling jewelry, ceramics, glass, soaps, leatherware, handbags, photography, art, herbal treatments and flavored oils. It’s a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at what various Vineyard artisans are offering for holiday gift giving. Open from 11 am to 3 pm at the Hebrew Center in Vineyard Haven.

Thanksgiving weekend

On Friday, November 28, the seasonal Oak Bluffs Open Market will move indoors to the roomy Dreamland space above Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company. Multiple vendors will offer everything from jewelry, wampum, pottery and other handcrafts to antiques and artwork. The summer market is a combination of flea and farmer’s market and the indoor version will also include vendors selling local honey, baked goods, and homemade chocolates. There will be a raffle, live music, and refreshments for sale. Call 508-939-1076 to find out about vendor space.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit the Vineyard Artisans Festival over the summer, this weekend (Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28 and 29) is your chance. Every year dozens of the Festival’s artists and artisans relocate from the Grange Hall to the spacious Ag Hall to offer their wares. The selection reflects the variety of artistic pursuits engaged in on the Island. Among the unique gift items to be found are jewelry, pottery, clothing, handmade soaps, Island lavender, wooden, metal and glass items, along with paintings and photography. The participants have had the time to create new works since the last summer event and many offer Christmas ornaments or other holiday items. You can easily spend an afternoon browsing and getting to know some of the Island’s talented artists. There’s a playground out back to keep the kids occupied while you shop. $2 parking fee benefits a scholarship fund for MVRHS students. Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

More from Island artists can be found at a pop-up shop featuring the work of painter Colin Ruel and jeweler Nettie Kent. They will be showing Mr. Ruel’s beautiful landscapes and abstract works along with Ms. Kent’s unique pieces made from brass, gold, leather and stones at the Harbor Craft Shop next to the Bite at 31 Basin Road, Menemsha. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm.

The Antiques Show and Sale will hold its last event of the year Thanksgiving weekend at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. Find unique gifts among the many vendors including those specializing in vintage jewelry, antique tools, maritime collectibles, linens, old books, cottage and Danish Modern furniture, Vineyard memorabilia, artwork, and much more. Friday and Saturday 9-3.