Holiday markets bring you artsy shopping alternatives
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Holiday markets offer artsy, local shopping alternatives

Arts and community organizations are offering up holiday shopping at its finest in Central Illinois over the coming weeks. Here’s a list of opportunities to find unique, eclectic Christmas gifts for even the most finicky person on your list, while at the same time supporting local artists!


Holiday Treasures: Visions of Sugar Plums
McClean County Arts Center
601 N East St, Bloomington, IL 61701
Nov. 5 – Dec. 31

  • Tuesday: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Wednesday through Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday: Noon – 4 pm

This annual holiday shopping event features paintings, glass, ceramics, fibers, seasonal gifts and jewelry from more from sixty local and nationally known artists. Also keep an eye out for local artisan workshops featuring live demonstrations of their process, including Temari embroidery artist Heather Evert and pastel painter Mandy Roeing. Take a look:


Holiday Gift Shoppe
Decatur Area Arts Council
125 N. Water Street, Decatur, IL 62523
Nov. 8 – Dec. 28

  • November: Monday through Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • December: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm

Yep, this is the event formerly known as Xmas ARTicles. Don’t let the name change fool you, as the Decatur Area Arts Council’s annual holiday market continues to offer a funky mix of original art and fine craft items, including jewelry, purses, paintings, postcards, photography, ceramics, woodworking and ornaments. Special shopping events include the Decatur Christmas Walk on Dec. 4 and extended hours on Christmas Eve.


A Small Wonder Gift Shop
Contemporary Art Center of Peoria
305 SW Water St, Ste 2, Peoria, IL 61602
Nov. 8 – Dec. 21

  • Tuesday through Thursday: 11 am – 5 pm
  • Friday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
  • Saturday: 11 am – 5 pm

Organizers at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria say “a small wonder” means small work from local artists, and that means work priced for holiday gift-giving! Just like at a standard gift shop, buyers take home their purchase on the same day; items such as glass, ceramics, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, prints and more are available. Check it out:


Design Ideas Holiday Store
1755 Wabash Ave, Springfield, IL 62704
Nov. 22- Dec. 15

  • Friday: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 pm

What an amazing initiative. Springfield’s very own Design Ideas studio is selling five years’ worth of unique designer samples and leftover inventory at a loss AND covering the overhead to operate the store so that all proceeds can go to four local nonprofit organizations: The Animal Protective League, Helping Hands of Springfield, Hoogland Center for the Arts and Sparc.


Mistletoe Market
Lincoln Square Mall
300 S Broadway Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
Friday, Dec. 6, 4 pm – 10 pm

Like the Champaign-Urbana Craft League Art Fair, this annual event used to be held at the defunct Urbana Civic Center but had to find a new home — in this case, the Lincoln Square Mall. Mistletoe Market will be held the first Friday of December, and is guaranteed to put you in the holiday mood featuring a wide variety of gifts by local artisans, makers, growers and creators, including clothing, prints, unique quilts and more.

Susan Barreto

Written by Susan Barreto

Susan is an award-winning journalist who has worked for a number of regional and global publications. Much of her career has been covering the global finance industry for publications published by Crains, Reuters and Euromoney/Institutional Investor. She also interned and later freelanced for Rockford Magazine as well as the Northwestern Illinois Farmer newspaper.

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