fb-pixel Skip to main content

6 places to find art, craftsmanship, and holiday gifts

Looking to buy local at an art festival, fund-raiser, market, or museum? Start here.

Linda Leach, "Puffin Ornaments."Linda Leach

Sometimes the most cherished gifts are the ones you can’t find elsewhere — original artworks and handmade crafts. Here are some of the best places to find everything from textiles to toys to salad bowls to paintings, made by local, regional, and national artists.

CRAFTBOSTON HOLIDAY ONLINE The Society of Arts + Crafts’ annual blowout returns online this year. Enjoy artist demos in woodworking, glassblowing, and more from your living room, or pick up gifts such as cutting boards, bangles, mugs, and other handcrafted items by regional and national artists. This year, the event extends through January, so once the holiday frenzy has passed, you can slow down with a knitting workshop or pick up goodies for yourself. Through Jan. 30. https://societyofcrafts.org/craftboston-holiday-online-2021/


Ruchika Madan, "French Breakfast Radishes" plate.Ruchika Madan

Harvard Square Holiday Fair: One of Boston’s oldest and most popular fairs brings together a mix of craftspeople from around the region, and world-traveling importers. Get a taste for “the old Harvard Square,” at this high-energy alternative marketplace, now in its 35th season. The fair is open this weekend and next — Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 17-19, and hours vary. Admission is free. 33 Dunster St., Cambridge.

Snowport in the Seaport: Boston’s Seaport has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays, and this year it’s added a European-style open air market that will showcase over 60 artists and vendors. The third annual Snowport runs through Jan. 2, and showcases festive foods, large-scale outdoor winter games, a holiday wreath and tree market, plus the holiday tree and menorah. A canopy of 2,000-plus twinkling lights, and a 30-foot interactive “wish wall” will only add to the holiday spirit. 88 Seaport Blvd.

Boston Seaport 's 2019 Snowport experience.Boston Seaport/Courtesy of Boston Seaport

deCORDOVA MUSEUM STORE The deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum’s store has long been a trove of quirky, fun, and sumptuous gifts, often made by local artists. Among the goodies on hand this year: sustainable gifts such as hemp napkins and maple light tea holders from Cold Hill Studio, socks by MaggieSternStitches, and Hetty Friedman Design’s scarves and shawls woven from bamboo and Tencel. deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8692. https://shopthetrustees.org/collections/decordova


Hetty Friedman Designs, rayon scarfHetty Friedman Designs

ILLUMINATION This homiest of gallery settings is a Lexington house that Gillian and John Ross opened to the public in 2015 for pop-up art exhibitions several times a year. They exhibit a wide variety of works in a range of prices, and for their annual holiday show, they deck the place out with warm lights and cheery decorations. Dec. 3-Jan. 2. Gallery Twist, 1963 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, 781-698-9994. www.gallerytwist.com

Fiber work by Valerie Maser-FlanaganCourtesy Gallery Twist

Christmas in Boston at Faneuil Hall: With or without its big outdoor holiday tree, Faneuil Hall is still a place to get in the holiday spirit. With plenty of shopping and food vendors, plus ample ornaments and seasonal decor, you’ll find no shortage of reminders of this magical time of year. And Christmas in Boston, a store chock full of holiday ornaments and knickknacks, is open every day at 4 South Market Building, Fanueil Hall Marketplace.

A Christmas tree is set up in the rotunda of Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Nov. 18, 2021.

Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.