Courtesy of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
Big corporations are already desperately vying for consumers’ holiday dollars, but each year it’s less and less appealing to keep lining billionaires’ pockets. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find meaningful, locally and ethically produced gifts, so you can feel good while you spend your hard-earned holiday cash. A bevy of local markets highlight the Alamo City’s unique cultural offerings, giving locals and tourists alike the chance to support independent artisans and makers. To that end, we’ve rounded up six ways to shop that are certain to yield one-of-a-kind and guilt-free gifts.
Zonarte Holiday Mercado de Aztlan
Centro Cultural Aztlan’s Zonarte Market draws together artisans from San Antonio, Texas and Mexico for its annual holiday mercado. Offerings include folk art, sculptures, paintings, jewelry and even furniture, so you may need to bring a vehicle big enough to haul home a gigantic purchase. This year’s artists and vendors include Gricelda Nill, Martin Emmanuel Rangel, Lupe “Spike” Muñoz, Pam Pons, Rogelio Vega and many more. Friday’s opening day will be accompanied by “Música y Sangría,” and on Sunday shoppers can sip authentic Noche Buena as they browse. Free, 6-9 p.m. Friday, November 22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24, Centro Cultural Aztlan, 1800 Fredericksburg Road #103, (210) 432-1896, centroaztlan.org.
Yanaguana Indian Arts Market and Community Days
The Briscoe Western Art Museum celebrates San Antonio’s indigenous artists with its sixth annual Yanaguana Indian Arts Market, a two-day festival featuring more than 40 Native American artists and performers. This market isn’t just for browsing — both days are filled to the brim with programming, including museum tours, art workshops, storytelling and performances by Eagle Point Drumming, United San Antonio Pow Wow Inc., Grammy-winning performance artist Ty Defoe’s Hoop of Life, native flutist Ryan Little Eagle and more. Free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, November 24, Briscoe Western Art Museum, 210 W. Market St., (210) 299-4499, briscoemuseum.org.
Brickadelic Holiday Swap ‘n Shop
Craving some end-of-year shopping but running short on cash? Brickadelic has got you, fam. The vintage market is hosting a holiday version of its Swap ’n Shop, an earth-friendly and money-saving alternative to hitting the mall. Bring along a pile of junk you need to get rid of — providing it’s junk someone else might want — and swap amongst the other participants to your heart’s content without paying a dime. RSVP email@example.com to reserve a spot and participate. Free, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, November 24, Brick at Blue Star, 108 Blue Star, facebook.com/brickadelic.
30th Annual Mercado de Paz
The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center’s Mercado de Paz is the gold standard for local markets and a welcome alternative to Black Friday madness. Each year, the two-story Esperanza Center overflows with artists from San Antonio and beyond, selling a variety of artesania that includes hand-woven rugs, pottery, vintage goods, soaps and much more. The three-day market is accompanied by live music, and hypoglycemic shoppers can refuel with tasty snacks such as chicken mole and vegan menudo. Free, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, December 1, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, 922 San Pedro Ave., (210) 228-0201, esperanzacenter.org.
San Antonio Museum of Art Holiday Fair
While the San Antonio Museum of Art’s regular gift shop wares are nothing to shake a stick at, art-loving shoppers will certainly relish the chance to check out the expansion of offerings highlighted in the museum’s sixth annual Holiday Fair. A smorgasbord of vendors will showcase their products on SAMA’s West Courtyard, including clothing label Nomzee Designs, feminist art collective The Wednesdays, the Weavers of Southwest School of Art and folk artist Michele Parlee. Free, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, November 30, San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., (210) 978-8100, samuseum.org.
Hecho a Mano Outdoor Market
Calling all last-minute shoppers — you don’t have to settle for poorly thought-out gifts purchased at the last minute on Amazon Prime. Four days before Christmas, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will present its annual Hecho a Mano festival as a savior to holiday procrastinators. This year inaugurates a new partnership with the Avenida Guadalupe Association to host the fest at the historic Plaza Guadalupe, expanding the footprint of the market, which was held at the Galería Guadalupe in past years. In addition to providing an avenue for local makers and artisans to reach shoppers, Hecho a Mano features a canned food drive that benefits Inner City Development. Free, noon-6 p.m. Saturday, December 21, Plaza Guadalupe, 1327 Guadalupe St., (210) 271-3151, guadalupeculturalarts.org.
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