As the holiday season rapidly approaches, Yukoners find themselves in the full swing of seasonal craft markets. One of the most highly-anticipated events in the calendar, and the largest in the 2019 season, is the 12 Days of Christmas Market, taking place this year from Dec. 12 to Dec. 23 at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre.

Cascia Krolczyk, the market manager for the Fireweed Community Market Society, which runs the 12 Days of Christmas Market, explains what makes the market so unique.

“All of the craft fairs are so great and the 12 Days of Christmas Market is just part of the hustle and bustle of the season,” she said. “But if I had to try and describe what makes it a market you don’t want to miss, I would have to say it’s the accessibility and the local experience we offer. We are open for 12 full days with long hours – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. the rest of the week. This lets customers choose when they want to shop. If they prefer a quieter time, that is possible, and if they love the hustle and bustle of a Saturday morning, we have those too! With over 100 vendors, all local to the Yukon, we have some really amazing local treasures!” 

Krolczyk said there is a good mix this year of new vendors bringing interesting work to the market, as well as established vendors bringing their new creations. “I’m really excited about all the new local vendors participating,” she said. “We have 30 new vendors this year and all their stuff looks so great!  I’m also really excited to have two different maker groups represented. Forager’s General Store and Clay Tree Studio both represent five and four artists, respectively.”    

There is more to the 12 Days of Christmas Market than just the work of amazing local artisans, food producers and craftspeople, however. The market will again run its daily free draws for gift baskets donated by groups of vendors. Local buskers will entertain the crowds as they shop. There will also be a couple of small market tents set up in the hallway outside of the main space for NGOs to use on a rotating basis throughout the market’s run. “It will be a way of connecting the summer market to this one,” said Krolczyk. “It’s just a single table used on a rotating basis but encompasses the ‘community’ in the Fireweed Community Market Society.”

For those embarking on their first 12 Days experience, Krolczyk has a few tips. 

“Vendors are not behind their tables at 12 Days like at most other craft fairs, but walk the floor to help customers with any questions.

“A central cashier is set up with two tills working most of the time and, when needed, a third roving cashier is used to help our customers check out in a timely manner. We also now accept all methods of payment with no limits of debit purchases.”