Holiday Bazaars and Gift Ideas Straight Out of ATX

We’ve curated the ultimate guide to unique gifts for friends and family.

By Sarah E. Ashlock

Create memories and discover one-of-a-kind treasures by making Austin’s holiday shopping events an annual tradition.

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Dec. 15–24, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Palmer Events Center, 
900 Barton Springs Road
Single-day pass: $8
Season ticket: $60
Free for kids 12 and younger

Our favorite event this year is the 40th annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This Austin institution takes nearly a year of planning to execute and is part art fair, part music festival. Peruse handmade goods made by more than 160 artists while you sip on a cocktail and enjoy live music.

The bazaar’s associate producer and general manager, Anne Johnson, has spent the last several Christmas Eves with her family at the bazaar. She describes it as the perfect shopping destination for any budget, whether you’re looking for a painting or a white-elephant gift.

“We keep it true to the old Austin roots while also making it modern,” she says.

Some noteworthy artisan wares available at the event this year include Lisa Crowder Jewelry, Latika Body Essentials, Greg Davis Photography, Espacio Handmade, Triple Z Threadz and Daryl Howard Art.

Look forward to three performances each day by musicians like John Fullbright and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Music’s prominence in this event is no surprise, considering it originated from the beloved, bygone concert venue Armadillo World Headquarters, a place Johnson calls “the catalyst for Austin being the Live Music Capital of the World, and for just being weird.” This year, in between gingerbread-house decorating and Christmas caroling, add attending the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar to your holiday itinerary.


Blue Genie Art Bazaar
Nov. 27–Dec. 24, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Marchesa Hall & Theatre,
6226 Middle Fiskville Road
Admission: free

The Blue Genie Art Bazaar features handmade gifts from more than 200 Texas artisans, ranging from home décor to mixed-media pieces. Consider attending on a Monday, when 10 percent of profits will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Texas. When visiting on a Tuesday, don’t miss the Artist Social, when shoppers can participate in a meet and greet with some of the artists.


German Christmas Market
Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
German Free School of Austin, 
507 E. 10th St.
Admission: free

This one-day event is the ultimate German-market experience. Shoppers can snag all kinds of gifts, such as ornaments and nutcrackers. An American Santa Claus and traditional German Sankt Nikolas will entertain children, and adults can indulge in a mug or two of glühwein.


Cherrywood Art Fair 
Dec. 12 and 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Maplewood Elementary School
3808 Maplewood Ave.
Admission: free

You’ll find quite the lineup of artisans at the Cherrywood Art Fair, which features sustainable gifts, paper goods, jewelry and more. There will even be presents for your pets! Enjoy the kids’ craft area, silent auction, food and live music.



Allies Against Slavery Christmas Market
Dec. 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The For the City Center,
500 E. St John’s Ave.
Admission: free

Shoppers wanting to support socially conscious merchants should add this market to their calendar. Offerings run the gamut and include clothing, coffee, skin-care products and even hammocks.


Gift Ideas

Stumped about what to give this holiday season? These gift ideas will promote you to world’s best gift giver in no time.


Gift Boxes

If you’re looking for a present that will keep on giving, consider a gift subscription or gift box. Family members will love seeing a package full of surprise goodies waiting on their doorstep.


Coterie Sampler 
Monthly subscription: $39.95 to $59.95

There’s no better way to share Austin’s love of munching on artisanal delights than with this gift subscription created by Coterie Market Founder Chelsea Staires Sun. A team researches, tests and thoughtfully selects the products. The coolest thing: They collaborate with makers and chefs to include exclusive items, like the Gardner Two-Month House-Fermented Hot Sauce & Chili Powder. Yum!


Bat Box 
Monthly subscription: $29.99

Created by two hip sisters-in-law, Amber Golightly and Christina Montante, Bat Box curates four to five Austin-specific luxuries, often including art and music. Past boxes have included High Brew Coffee, glitter hair bows from JenniferHeartsArt and powder baths from Seaweed Bath Co.


A Little Bundle 
Monthly subscription: $49

You can’t give moms and moms to be the gift of silence or sleep, but this bundle is the next best thing. Each box of adorableness contains non-toxic items perfect for the family, based on information provided through the website, including the child’s age and size. You simply purchase the gift subscription and let Mom fill in the blanks.


Batch Box 
Batches start at $29

Founded in Nashville, Tenn., in 2013, Batch Box expanded to Austin early this year. Pick from any of the batches or BYOB (build your own batch). We can’t get enough of the Keep Austin Weird Gift Batch, which features 10 items, including an I Heart TX tea towel and The Good Hippie Lip Balm. It’s perfect for transplants and born-and-raised Austinites alike.


Gifts for the Greater Good

Shoppers wanting give a present that also supports those in need should consider an out-of-the-box gift.


Nobelity Project 

It only takes a couple minutes to make a donation to this nonprofit, which focuses on educational outreach and creates films that document global issues. Donations can be made in honor or memory of a loved one.


Miracle Foundation 

This multinational nonprofit supports and empowers orphans and orphanages. Donate an honorarium or memorial gift, and the Miracle Foundation will send a personalized note to the honoree.


Austin Pets Alive! 

Donate to the largest no-kill animal shelter in the country in honor or memory of a loved one, or use the nonprofit’s list of Austin businesses where you can shop for a cause. The coolest gift idea for the pet lover in your life: Receive free shipping when you purchase a custom pet portrait from Coat and Tails using the promo code “APA,” and 10 percent of the purchase will be donated to Austin Pets Alive!


Armadillo Christmas Bazaar photos by Jennifer Ramos. Blue Genie Art Bazaar photo courtesy of Blue Genie Art Bazaar. Cherrywood Art Fair photo by Jennifer Ramos. Allies Against Slavery Christmas Market photo courtesy of Allies Against Slavery. Coterie Sampler photo by Laura Morsman. Austin Pets Alive! courtesy of Coat and Tails.


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