I start to feel the pressure around this time of the year when the likes of Pick n Pay and Woolies accumulate baubles, advent calendars and tinsel in their prime shelf space. My stomach literally sinks as I think of the annual crowds, and the grab-and-horde mentality that dominates any mall shopping experience over Christmas.
Which is why I’m such a fan of Christmas markets! They’ve turned the festive season around.
Now the Christmas experience is as it’s supposed to be – a gentle gifting experience, not only for one’s loved ones, but for oneself. The local markets in Cape Town are vibrant, creative and brimming with design and craft ideas that are a testimony to the inventive and imaginative talent across the country.
Cape Town has so many markets in November / December that one is spoilt for choice.
Here are the top 10 Christmas markets in Cape Town 2015 you cannot afford to miss (in order of occurrence)
KAMERS VOL GESKENKE, STELLENBOSCH
The market others markets want to be, Kamers Vol Geskenke is extremely popular, so you’ll want to get there early. Not a Christmas market specifically, it nonetheless provides a feast of high end, true craft that is timeless.
If you want something special for your loved ones for Christmas, this market – a platform for creative entrepreneurs and artisans – has it all. And worth the drive as the chosen venue (which changes annually) is usually gorgeous.
Where: Webersburg Wine Farm, Annandale Road, Stellenbosch
When: 27 October to 1 November 2015, 09h00 to 18h00
RONDEBOSCH POTTERS MARKET
There is no beating this market for sheer creative energy, vibrancy and venue (beneath the huge trees of the Rondebosch park). 120 potters from across southern Africa (and a few from England and Scotland) produce work that is versatile, elegant, graceful, imaginative and just plain amazing. If you can’t manage to find gifts for everyone, I’ll be surprised. The only problem is giving the family pottery for Christmas every year…
Where: Rondebosch Park, corner of Campground and Sandown, Rondebosch
When: 21 November 2015, 08h00 to 11h00
CAPE GIFT MARKET
Whilst I’ve not visited this market yet, it is in a prime location in the midst of Cape Town’s city bowl and has been running since 2002 (privately run since 2014). Its range of gifts is a feast of home, toy, food products and art. If their range of 2014 crafters is anything to go by, then it promises to be a creative and flourishing market. Coffee shop run by chefs from the Swartland.
Nine days of top quality art and handwork from 180 stalls of sought-after artists and craftsmen, as well as a cosy restaurant and a wide variety of excellent baked foods and confections. Take the family and expect to be delighted by the variety and high standard of craft, art, and delicious home made foods. Free entry and lots of parking.
Where: NG Church, Martinsonstraat, Uniepark, Stellenbosch
When: 25 November to 5 December 2015
CHRISTMAS SLOW MARKET
Food, wine and design under one roof, the Stellenbosch (and Woodbridge) Christmas Slow Market needs little introduction. Their Christmas markets are the highlight of the year. The Stellenbosch Oude Libertas Amphitheatre holds a vintage styled authentic market with all the Christmas trimmings (bakes, cakes, gammon, turkey, mince pies, nuts, champagne, topiaries etc.), whilst sister market, at Willowbridge Lifestyle Centre, is a platform for food, clothing and craft traders. Don’t miss.
Where: Oude Libertas Amphitheatre night/day market
When: 27, 28, 29 November 2015
Where: Willowbridge Lifestyle Centre, night market
When: 20 to 24 December 2015
MADE IN THE CAPE FESTIVE FAIR
I attended this fair last year and, to my delight, bought just about everyone for whom I needed gifts something special. Bigger than their monthly market, and spread over six days (get there early, or you’ll miss the gems) these hand-selected products, gifts, jewellery and home décor are in the mall, around the escalator circle. It’s a market not to miss!(strangely, the mall did nothing to detract from the quality of the traders).
SOMERSET WEST FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
If you want to do your Christmas shopping with a bit of aplomb, then this is your market – lights, a parade of drum majorettes, bands and floats, followed by a three-day Christmas market that promises fun for the whole family, including live local music artists every night. The Helderberg community know how to celebrate Christmas in style.
Where: Between Church and Oak Street, on Main Road in Somerset West
When: 2 to 5 December 2015, 19h00 to 22h00
SIMPLY SOUTH GIFT AND CRAFT FAIR
The Simply South market gets bigger every year and this, their fifth year, promises a fine selection of hand crafted, quality and exceptional products – over 150 stalls under one roof. You’ll have no problem filling your Christmas stockings here. Credit and debit card facilities are available.
FAB IDEAS CHRISTMAS MARKET
This was one of the markets I attended in 2014. What attracted me was their marketing and website (websites are not a strong point amongst the markets, but theirs is excellent) and their location all the way out in Kommetjie (surely I would have a gentler shopping experience with fewer crowds?).
I was right about the mellow shopping experience, and the venue was perfect. In a nutshell you can expect: over 900 fresh, funky and affordable products; 6 days of indoor event, bar coded products (merely pay at the pay point); card facilities; food and refreshment.
Where: Kommetjie Community Hall, Teubes Road, Kommetjie
When: 12 to 15 December, 09h00 to 19h00
THE WATERSHED (V&A)
A friend of mine visited The WaterShed at the V&A Waterfront recently and returned absolutely blown away by the creativity. The revamped Blue Shed and Workshop 17, now known as the Watershed, is a feast of ceramics, furniture, textiles, fashion and jewellery – a vibrant space with over 150 trendy stands.
The Good Night Market takes place here on the last Wednesday of every month and adds live music, food trucks and a drinks bar to the mix. Who needs Christmas as an excuse; you could shop here at any time of the year.
Where: V&A Waterfront, next to the Aquarium
When: daily 10h00 to 19h00