Carroll County Christmas Farmers Market, now through Dec. 19, Agriculture Center, 700 Agriculture Center Drive, Westminster, (410) 848-7748, carrollcountyfarmersmarket.com, free. This holiday craft fair includes the requisite standards (holiday crafts, fine arts, baked goods), but one-ups the other fairs with a health fair and gourmet goodies during its month-long tenure.
Winterfest, now through Dec. 30, Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, baltimoreclayworks.org, free. Get your hands on the finest clay art at the city's biggest annual fine-art pottery sale, featuring both the impractical and functional.
Sugarloaf Craft Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 20-21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 22, Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg, (301) 990-1400, sugarloafcrafts.com, $7, children under 12 free. Pick and choose holiday gifts for yourself, and others, from 350 artists. When you're all shopped, out see just how it's done from live demonstrations.
Maryland Christmas Show, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays Nov. 20-29, Frederick Fairgrounds, 797 E. Patrick St., Frederick, (301) 898-5466, marylandchristmasshow.com, $7, children under 12 $4. Skip the hours of cookie baking and mall wandering in favor of Maryland's official Christmas craft fair, featuring 500 artists and craftsmen providing baked goods, crafts, gifts, handmade artistry, and more.
St. Bartholomew Catholic Church's Winterfest, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 21, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 22, Manchester Fire Company Activities Building, York Street, Manchester, (410) 239-8881, carr.org, free. Shop a range of crafts and goods from local artists and a general store. Includes raffles, a silent auction, and a personal audience with Santa after lunch.
Holiday Magic at the Mill, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 21, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 22, Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage, (800) 788-6455, savagemill.com, free. Get a pre-Turkey Day head start at this kid-friendly shopping extravaganza, and Santa will take your kids orders while you make your own lists.
Frosty Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 27, downtown Frederick, fredericktourism.org, free. Shop 'til you drop in downtown Frederick's boutiques draped in greens and lit by trees swathed in light. Hot cocoa, carolers, and a greens celebration runs all day when you need a break from stimulating the economy. Kids get their own market too, and Santa will arrive at 7 p.m.
Bazaart Preview Party and Sale, 5:30-8 p.m. Nov. 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 28, American Visionary Arts Museum, 800 Key Hwy., (410) 244-1900, avam.org, free. Enter the nation's wackiest art museum to take advantage of arts and wares from 50 area artists. Given its venue, this is the kinda stuff you won't find anywhere else, so this is your chance to wow and shock your giftees' socks off. Includes free entry to AVAM's exhibits.
Moonlight Merriment, festivities until 10 p.m. Nov. 27, Belvedere Square, York Road and Northern Parkway, belvederesquare.com, free. Black Friday doesn't have to suck it if you stay local, drink wonderful coffee and wine, eat the freshest meats and cheese and soups and bagels, and shop at boutiques with good taste. Belvedere Square has it all, plus entertainment until after dark.
Holiday Bazaar, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 4, Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St., free. Local artists and craftspeople provide their wares and holiday gifts at this bazaar, which benefits the Grace United Methodist Preschool. You can also try your luck at winning overnight packages and ready-to-eat meals, which we love because we'd rather entertain Christmas morning than slave over another roasted bird.
Open House and Holiday Sale, 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge, Road, Ellicott City, (410) 313-2787, hocoarts.org, free. Local artists provide affordable handcrafted gifts for the holidays, plus two new exhibits.
Village Holiday Bazaar, 7-11 a.m. Dec. 5, Carroll Lutheran Village, 300 St. Luke Circle, Westminster, (443) 605-1011, carr.org. This bazaar fills all of our basic requirements (crafts, gifts, holiday-themed objects, baked goods) and includes breakfast until 10 a.m. If there's one thing we know about old people, it's that they consistently provide great pancakes.
Holiday Bazaar, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 5, College of Notre Dame, Doyle Formal Lounge, 4701 N. Charles St., (410) 532-5542, ndm.edu, free. Shop Notre Dame's selection of holiday tchotchkes, knits, unique gifts, and greens. Includes raffles for all the gamblers out there--you know who you are.
Holiday Shop-n-Stroll, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 5, downtown Silver Spring, between Georgia and Fenton avenues, handmademart.blogspot.com, free. Take your best leisurely pace through a handmade mart, craft mart, and farmer's market with local food, baked goods, and the work of 50 artists.
Holiday Heap, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 5, St. John's Church, 2640 St. Paul St., charmcitycraftmafia.com, free. Charm City Craft Mafia's annual crafts fair descends just in time to gift your relatives the hippest handmade tokens and keep your $ local.
Holiday Traditions Weekend, noon-4 p.m. Dec. 5-6, Evergreen Museum and Library, 4545 N. Charles St., (410) 516-0341, museums.jhu.edu, $1, members free. Shop JHU's museums for stocking stuffers and illustrious gifts--don't forget one for the host--under the glow of the Evergreen Museum's festive Victorian-style decorations.
Nutcracker, 8 p.m. Dec. 5, the Engineer's Club, 11 W. Mount Vernon Place, (410) 539-6914, esb.org, $15. Celebrate the season with a fashion show-turned-fashion boutique, ballet performance, and prizes. It's Project Runway meets So You Think You Can Dance without the distractions of judges, or the watching-commercials-in-your-sweatpants part.
Merry Mart, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 6, Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-1651, creativealliance.org, free. Who needs the stress of driving, parking, and navigating the mall? Not us! We'll take 35 local and regional artists showcasing their present-worthy art any day.
Book Talks and Holiday Shopping, 1-4 p.m. Dec. 6, Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, jewishmuseummd.org, free. Join the Jewish Museum of Maryland for book discussions from authors Lauren Silberman, Mark Carp, and Steve Luxenberg, plus signings and a little holiday shopping.
MICA Art Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 9-12, Maryland Institute College of Art, Brown Center, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 225-2503, mica.edu, free. MICA alumni sponsor the school's third annual art sale, which features fine art and handmade items from 250 students, alumni, and faculty. This is your chance to score high art for dirt cheap.
JHU Press Holiday Book Signing and Madeira Tasting, 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9, Homewood Museum, 3400 N. Charles St., (410) 516-5589, museums.jhu.edu, free. Join Homewood's annual book signing and hobnob with authors and faculty. Plus, taste some lovely Madeira to lube up that check card.
Moonlight Madness Shopping extravaganza, 7 p.m.-midnight Dec. 11, 42 E. Cross St., Federal Hill, (410) 727-4500, historicfederalhill.org, free. After the tree Lighting ceremony at Federal Hill Park and a holiday sing-along at the South Baltimore Recreation Center, take advantage of many discounts at area stores and free gift wrapping and treats at Federal Hill Main Street.
Jingle Bell Art Holiday Sale, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 11, noon-9 p.m. Dec. 12, 1-6 p.m. Dec. 13, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, (410) 280-5640, mdhallarts.org, free. Artists-in-residence, faculty, and staff joyfully relinquish their fine art for the low, low price of under $250, guaranteed.
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