Your Guide to Bull City Holiday Markets & Other Festive Events

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Holiday Patchwork Market
Holiday Patchwork Market

Compiled by Hannah Lee and Amanda MacLaren 

  Pick up your tree, wreaths, garland and other holiday accessories (like those cute, wooden reindeer!) at your local TROSA tree lot – TROSA residents will trim, bag and load your tree on your car. Most lots are open up until a few days before Christmas. (After 5 p.m. on weekends, enjoy complimentary hot chocolate while you shop at the Diamond View Park tree lot.)

  Shop for one-of-kind goods from over 75+ local makers at the Holiday Patchwork Market at the Durham Armory on Dec. 1, noon-5 p.m.

  Get yourself a fancy holiday cocktail or a local brew and peruse more homemade gifts at the Bright Spirits Holiday Market hosted by Motorco on Dec. 1, noon-6 p.m.

  Continue to check off your to-do list with thoughtful gifts from top retailers and local makers while you enjoy Champagne and eggnog at The Durham Hotel‘s third annual Night Market on Dec. 4, 6-9 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales and donations from merchants will benefit NC Field’s Baby It’s Cold Outside campaign, which provides warm clothing, heaters, food and toys for farmworker families in need.

  If you skipped Black Friday, complete your holiday checklist at the annual holiday sale party at Liberty Arts on Dec. 6 from 6-9 p.m. There will be food, a cash bar with local brews and handmade gifts from more than a dozen local artists.

  Countdown the start of the holiday season with the 15th annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at American Tobacco Campus. Come early for pre-show performances from Bulltown Strutters, Barriskill Dance Theatre School and other groups – plus, Santa! At the conclusion of the event, head out to Blackwell Street where Oxente drummers and giant puppets from Paperhand Puppet Intervention will lead you up to the CCB Plaza tree lighting, and festivities continue from 7 to 8 p.m.

  Celebrate Jonkonnu, an African American holiday event, with St. Sya Academy at Historic Stagville on Dec. 7 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Drummers and dancers will traverse the historic grounds, while a troupe of local musicians and students perform at Horton Grove to honor this celebration with roots in West Africa and the Caribbean. After the performance, take a lamplight tour of former slave dwellings and learn more about the meaning of Christmas during times of slavery.

  Gallery hop your way through Cecy’s Gallery & Studios, The Artisan Market at 305 and 5 Points Gallery for their Triple Stop Holiday Market on Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

  Head to the Hayti Heritage Center to visit Black Santa during the Christmas season. The Black Santa Village, which includes vendors and art classes for families on some of the dates, takes place Dec. 7, 14, 21, 22 and 23. 

Glass Jug Beer Growler  The Glass Jug Beer Lab staff usually assembles a few dozen extra empty boxes of their advent beer calendars and allow walk-in customers to purchase them for $15 and fill it themselves (10% case discount if filled with 24 beers). Sales usually wrap up the first week of December, so get in there quick (or, plan for next year!).
     This is also a good time of year to join the bottle shop and brewery’s Growler of the Month Club. Subscribe via the Perky Pints app, and for $100, you get one 32-ounce growler fill every month for the next 12 months. That means the cost-per-fill is less than $9, which can mean huge savings, depending on which beer you select each month.

  The Mothership hosts its sixth annual holiday market Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 p.m. This cozy night market will have warm drinks, twinkle lights and locally made and vintage goods.

  Get in the holiday spirit with big band sounds during the North Carolina Jazz Ensemble holiday concert at the Hayti Heritage Center on Dec. 8.

  Enjoy complimentary Fullsteam Brewery beer and RTP Uncorked wine as you shop your way through the fifth annual RTP Mistletoe Market at Frontier RTP on Dec. 12 from 4-7 p.m. The coworking community will host 45 local vendors, with 15% of proceeds benefiting Dress for Success Triangle NC. There will also be live hip-hop performances by American Dance Festival and Korean bites from Bulkogi food truck.

A Fool For Christmas book cover  Duke University Press, Duke University Libraries and Horse & Buggy Press and Friends gallery collaborated on the release of a special print edition of author Allan Gurganus’ holiday story “A Fool for Christmas.” Duke University Libraries acquired Allan���s archives in 2018, and Horse & Buggy Press and Duke University Press are bringing the story into print for the first time in a limited-edition release with hand-printed letterpress covers. Allan will appear at The Regulator Bookshop to read his beloved story on Dec. 12. Copies of the book will be available at local bookshops.

  Take the pups to get a professional photo with Santa at the Durham Armory on Dec. 13. Then take them through the holiday pet market, hosted by Durham Parks & Recreation, to purchase a pawsome gift.

  Shop local for your holiday gifts at the Merry & Bright Christmas Craft and Gift Festival on Dec. 14, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., at Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill’s gym, with all proceeds benefiting the programs and development of the school. There will be jewelry, knitted signs, original art, accessories, clothing, metalwork and more.

  For the fifth annual A Very Merry Durham, Fullsteam Brewery puts on a holiday show Dec. 14, 6-9 p.m. Before a performance by JoRose, listen to the carolers or take a turn at the naughty-or-nice spinning wheel, a cookie decorating station and ornament crafting. Then say hello to the “Holiday Gorilla” and Santa. Got kids? Bring ‘em! 

  The Durham Craft Market’s annual Holiday Craft Fair takes place Dec. 14, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Durham Convention Center with some 55 local makers and artists specializing in a range of mediums like pottery, painting, textile arts, photography, jewelry and more.

Durham Village Holiday Market at The Rickhouse
Pink Moon Ceramics at the Durham Village Holiday Market at The Rickhouse in 2018.

  The second annual Durham Village Holiday Market: NC Made Eats, Drinks + Gifts takes place at The Rickhouse on Dec. 15, noon-4 p.m., and Dec. 16-17, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sample independent food, beverage and craft producers while checking off items on your shopping list. Grab a drink from the bar and eats from food trucks.

•  If you’re vegetarian, vegan or anything in between (or have friends and family who are!) mark your calendar for the annual Triangle Vegfest Holiday Market at the Durham Armory on Dec. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  Durty Bull Brewing Company hosts a day of holiday cookies and craft beer. Take your pick and pair five festive cookies with five brews anytime on Dec. 23.

  Celebrate the Festival of Lights at Durty Bull on Dec. 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. during their fourth annual Hanukkah Celebration. Spin the dreidel, eat some gelt, and show off your ugly Hanukkah sweater for the chance to win a prize!

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Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is the assistant editor at Durham Magazine. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, she attended UNC-Chapel Hill and double majored in broadcast journalism and German.

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