It’s that magical time of year again.

When tired Brummies have to battle their way through huge crowds and walk the long way around to avoid a certain Bavarian-themed market, as hordes of revellers descend upon the city centre. If, like us, you try and steer well clear of said market, and the overwhelming mediocrity of it all, but still want to get into the festive spirit – we have some helpful suggestions of smaller, independent markets where you can buy thoughtful, handmade gifts from local small businesses.

Read on for our guide to 8 alternative Christmas markets in Birmingham, where you can shop local and support independent businesses.

The Paperdolls Christmas Market

The Paperdolls Handmade Market returns to The Custard Factory in Digbeth on 23-24 November for an entire weekend of shopping local. With over 100 independent designers, artists and makers (yes, 100!), as well as an array of creative workshops that you can book to do, we’re hailing this one as truly unmissable. Head on down to Brum’s creative quarter to start your Christmas shopping early, and pick out something truly unique – all while supporting local Brum independents. The market runs from 11am – 5pm and is FREE to enter.

Location: The Custard Factory, Digbeth

Date: Saturday 23 November, Sunday 24 November

Entry: FREE

The Christmas Feast

On Saturday 30 November, head to Digbeth for The Christmas Feast. A day-long celebration of all things festive. Expect street food from Baked in Brick, The Patty Freaks, Low ‘N’ Slow, Fat Snags, The Bournville Waffle Company and many more, festive tipples (think mulled cider and rum-spiked hot chocolate), live music, DJ’s, an indoor market hall where you can do all of your Christmas shopping (featuring: Pip’s Hot Sauce, Jam vs Custard, Punks and Chancers, Love Kiki Designs, Tom Woolley Illustration and loads more independent designers and makers), and ACTUAL REAL LIFE REINDEER!!!

Location: The Bond Company, Digbeth

Date: Saturday 30 November

Entry: £5 – tickets here.

Birmingham Originals Winter Makers Market

If you’re looking to support local this Christmas, and get your hands on some indie goodies, make sure you head to the Birmingham Originals Winter Makers Market on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December at BMAG. With 45 local independent artists, designers and makers across 2 days (along with a FREE goody bag for the first 25 people through the doors each day), this is the perfect opportunity to pick up something wonderful and unique for either yourself or a loved one this Christmas, from some of our city’s most talented creatives. Best of all, it’s FREE entry! See you there?

Location: Water Hall, Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery

Date: Saturday 30 November, Sunday 1 December

Entry: FREE

MAC’s Christmas Arts Market

On 30 November, 1 December, 7 December and 8 December, head to Midlands Arts Centre for MAC’s Christmas Arts Market. The ideal opportunity to grab some Christmas presents for loved ones directly from some of Brum’s most talented makers. Expect jewellery, textiles, woodwork, stationery, cards and more – the perfect handmade gifts to show the loved ones in your life just how much they mean to you. And you get to support local Brum creatives too! The markets are FREE to attend and located on the first floor gallery and public foyer.

Location: Midlands Arts Centre, Moseley

Date: Saturday 30 November, Sunday 1 December, Saturday 7 December, Sunday 8 December

Entry: FREE

Christmas Craft Fair At Sarehole Mill

On Sunday 1 December, journey to the iconic Sarehole Mill to peruse their Christmas Craft Fair. Expect a wonderful variety of handmade items and gifts for you to purchase, created by local artists, designers and makers, alongside vintage goods and more. Entrance to the grounds and Craft Fair is FREE, with half-price admission to the Mill all day. Just the thing to get you into the festive spirit!

Location: Sarehole Mill, Hall Green

Date: Sunday 1 December

Entry: FREE

Etsy Made Local

IDEAS Birmingham are hosting their 5th annual Etsy Made Local event at Medicine Bakery + Gallery on 3 – 22 December. For a whole 20 days you have the chance to browse and buy handmade gifts directly from your local, friendly Brum indie makers. There will also be workshops taking place during the event, giving you the opportunity to have a go at making a gift yourself – ideal for that special, personal touch. Entry is FREE and kids are welcome.

Location: Medicine Bakery And Gallery, New Street

Date: Tuesday 3 December – Sunday 22 December

Entry: FREE

Mama Meet And Market At Digmas

Mama Meet And Market are bringing the ultimate family friendly event to The Custard Factory on 7-8 December. Their Festive Family Market is coming to Digbeth as part of the wider Digmas celebrations – a weekend to celebrate the wonderful independent businesses who have made their home in Birmingham’s creative quarter. Digmas brings together a community of shops, cafes, restaurants and more, offering festive fun and activities throughout the weekend. This market will showcase a huge selection of independent businesses, brands and boutiques with babies, children and families in mind. With great facilities (including a soft play area for the little ones) you can shop until you drop and pick up gifts for the whole family.

Location: The Custard Factory, Digbeth

Date: Saturday 7 December, Sunday 8 December

Entry: FREE

Harborne Handmade Christmas Market

Another independent craft market for your Christmas present and supporting local needs, but this time in Harborne. Harborne Handmade Christmas Market takes place on Sunday 8 December at Moor Pool Hall (a short walk from Harborne High Street). Featuring 26 local makers (CAKE by Lil’s Parlour, Frilly Industries, and Punks and Chancers all included), this indie market is the ideal place to pick up a wonderfully-creative gift for that special someone in your life (or, you know, just for yourself – if you want a new t-shirt, some jewellery, or to upgrade your home with a new print).

Location: Moor Pool Hall, Harborne

Date: Sunday 8 December

Entry: FREE

If you like to discover new hidden gems and support local, download the Independent Birmingham App.

Enjoy up to 20% off (alongside exclusive 2-for-1 offers, freebies and more) at over 115 of the very best independent cafes, bars, restaurants, pubs, theatres, cinemas, hotels, shops and experiences in Birmingham – including: Digbeth Dining Club, The Electric Cinema, The Wilderness, Carters, The Indian Brewery, Birmingham Hippodrome, Adam’s, 18/81, Zindiya, The Meat Shack, Baked In Brick, Harborne Kitchen, BoneHead, Purnell’s Restaurant, Chakana, Tiger Bites Pig, Bodega Bar And Cantina, Stirchley Wines And Spirits, Wayland’s Yard, Legna, Purnell’s Bistro, Buffalo and Rye, Midlands Arts Centre, Gaijin Sushi, 40 St Paul’s, The Plough, Hare and Hounds, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, The Jekyll And Hyde, Bourne and Co., The Rose Villa Tavern, Cherry Reds, The Prince of Wales, The Loft, Laghi’s Deli, Medicine Bakery, The Paper Duck, The Clean Kilo, The Early Bird Bakery and many more.

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