Hard to resist gifts at Vancouver Christmas market

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Felt animal busts peer out from the Felt Factory display at the Circle Craft Christmas market.

From handbags to hummus, the Circle Craft Christmas market gave Vancouverites a chance to source one-of-a-kind gifts before the festive shopping rush.     

Hundreds of market booths selling everything from Christmas stockings to salmon pate at the Vancouver Convention Centre from November 7 to 11 shared one thing in common; their products were all hand-crafted or made in small batches.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Circle Craft Christmas market, an annual event run by the Vancouver-based craft cooperative of the same name.

Animal busts made from felt (Felt Factory), salt and pepper grinders crafted from logs (Peppermills.ca) and B.C.-made cranberry puddings (Cranberry Creek) were just some of the miscellany of items available at the market.

In addition to helping shoppers find one-of-a-kind gifts, the annual display was also an opportunity to source some unique cuisine for their Christmas dinner table. The busiest corner of the market was Gourmet Alley, where most of the sellers were offering tastings. Some of the treats being sampled include curry currant hummus from Bean Boy Creations (West Kelowna, B.C.), salmon pate from The Fishery (Salt Spring Island, B.C.) and beer jelly from Lone Willow Enterprises (Ladner, B.C.).

Curry currant hummus was just one of the tasting samples on offer from Bean Boy Creations, from West Kelowna, B.C.

Curry currant hummus was just one of the tasting samples on offer from Bean Boy Creations, from West Kelowna, B.C.

Lone Willow partners with wineries and craft breweries to produce its jellies so the Circle Craft market presented a rare opportunity to sample its products in Vancouver.

Lone Willow partners with wineries and craft breweries to produce its jellies so the Circle Craft market is a rare opportunity to sample its products in Vancouver.

Other market highlights included beautiful wooden vases from Atelier L’Eclisse (Grondines, QC), traditional wooden board games from Michaud Toys (Jarvis, ON), quirky plush pillows from Velvet Moustache (Montreal, QC) and stylish leather handbags from Divina Denuevo (Vancouver, B.C.).

Montreal-based company Velvet Moustache makes adorable animal pillows, soft toys and hats.

Montreal-based company Velvet Moustache makes adorable animal pillows, soft toys and hats.

Michaud Toys, from Jarvis, Ontario, uses eco-friendly Canadian hardwoods to make its board games.

Michaud Toys, from Jarvis, Ontario, uses eco-friendly Canadian hardwoods to make its board games.

While most of the booths were dedicated to finished items for sale, there were also opportunities to purchase tools and kits for making your own crafts.  Needleboxes Etc. (Whitehorse, YT) had kits for making elaborate needle boxes and Local King Rubber Stamp (N. Vancouver, B.C.) sold intricate stamp designs and coloured inks.

Fashion shows featuring clothing by market designers were also held daily.

This model in the Circle Craft Christmas market fashion show wears a Rosehip Studio hat, dress by Annie 50 and bag from Lina Cutnam.

This model in the Circle Craft Christmas market fashion show wears a Rosehip Studio hat, dress by Annie 50 and bag from Lina Cutnam.

These felt decorations were made in Vancouver as part of the Craftworks Society's craft-therapy program for adults with disabilities.

These felt decorations were made in Vancouver as part of the Craftworks Society’s craft-therapy program for adults with disabilities.

Connect with Alicia Bridges on Twitter @aliciaebridges

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Alicia Bridges is an Australian reporter and features writer starting a new chapter in Vancouver. Exploring the city's cultural side and its current affairs.
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