We’re barely through October and already there’s someone in your office, or circle of friends, bragging about how much of their Christmas shopping they’ve already done.
I know, I hear you.
You want to choke them.
Christmas. That time of year when it’s peace and goodwill to all men.
Except when you’re battling the crowds on the high street feeling under pressure to come up with a really unique Christmas gift. A present that's well thought out and just a little bit different.
Then the peace and goodwill disappears faster than the third box of quality street you swore you weren’t going to open.
How about doing things differently this year?
Why not find a new source to inspire all those great gift ideas for friends. Somewhere different for all those family Christmas presents. You need a different place to shop. Where can you find some really unusual, cool gifts this year?
One of the best places to do this is at an Autumn or Christmas Fair.
I love a Christmas Fair and The Seasonal Touch will be taking part in many Christmas Fairs and Christmas markets this year. Lots of customers have been sharing what they love about Christmas Fairs on our Facebook page too!
So what can you expect? Why should you really visit a Christmas Fair this year?
1. Kick start your Christmas shopping.
Most Christmas fairs and Christmas markets start in late October/early November. Put a couple on your calendar and you’ll ensure you’re not leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute.
2. Shop from small businesses and independent retailers.
You’ll be able to shop from a range of small, independent retailers, whose products you may not find anywhere else. Some may be hand crafted, some may be sourced from near and far, but collectively they’ll bring a unique range of options for you to choose from in the search for those really different Christmas presents.
You'll also be able to give valuable, on the spot feedback. You can suggest things to the stall holders you’d like to see in the future, ultimately helping to create a business you’ll want to shop from again and again. How great is it when you find a business that serves your needs exactly?
3. Start a Christmas tradition and create memories.
Many customers in our Facebook community said that a visit to a Christmas Fair triggered strong, cherished memories of loved ones and just offered the opportunity for a great day out. Who doesn't love a day out with your nearest and dearest?
4. Shop in a unique venue.
Many of these fairs are held in stately homes, National Trust properties or just somewhere you may never have visited before. Now’s your chance! It’s always good to be able to visit a wide range of retailers all in one place and generally parking is also available at the venue - great for getting all your purchases home!
5. Charity Christmas Fairs.
Many Christmas Fairs will be a fundraiser. It might be a local charity, a national charity or it may be the local school PTA. Whoever the recipient, it’s good to know that someone, other than the retailer, is benefitting from your Christmas spending.
6. Try before you buy.
Sample heaven! Many food sellers at these type of events will have plenty of samples available, allowing you to try before you buy. For non food items you’ll be able to see the quality of goods on offer for yourself. If you can see the quality for yourself, you'll be confident making future online purchases from that business.
7. Meet the person behind the online store.
Although many smaller, independently owned retail businesses will have a website, it's good to find out who is behind the business before you decide to shop with them. It's always nice to feel like you're buying from a person rather than from a faceless enterprise.
8. Ask expert advice.
The people behind the businesses who sell at these types of events are likely to be experts in their own fields. Pick their brains and ask for advice. Ask the scarf lady for ideas on the best way to wear it or ask the faux flowers seller about ideas on how to put a display together.
Sellers at these events will sometimes offer ‘show discounts’. Offers only available when you buy on the day.
10. Helps get you into the Christmas spirit.
This was something our Facebook users talked about as being a great reason to go along to a Christmas Fair too. Maybe the way to compete with all those super-organised friends and colleagues is just to jump right in and immerse yourself. Often there’ll be festive music and drinks on offer to help get you get into the Christmas spirit. You’ll be ‘ho ho ho-ing’ all the way home!
A couple of words of advice on how to make the most of your visit.
- Take cash as well as debit/credit cards.
- Go armed with fold away shopping bags. Better still a pull-along bag on wheels!
- Check in advance if there’s somewhere to check in your coat and decide on your outerwear strategy accordingly.
- Have sizes to hand such as your dining table or fireplace length (for buying gorgeous Christmas table linens or decorations).
- If you see something you love, buy it! Many stall holders will have limited stock and may run out fast.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
Check out these Christmas Fairs in Scotland and the North East, where I'll be exhibiting this year.
I hope to see you there!
Why not add your local event into the comments and share!