Christmas with a Conscience

Does the thought of busy shopping centres, long checkout queues, mountains of plastic and Jingle Bells on migraine-inducing repeat make you cower just a little? Then why not give malls the kick this Christmas and check out the range of independent and fair trade markets happening right around the country instead. Not only will you find a much friendlier, less-chaotic environment, but you can shop happy knowing the gifts you buy will keep on giving directly back to makers, be they local artisans or fair trade co-ops in all corners of the world. As Fair@Square founder Susanna Bevilacqua says: “Something as simple as a $50 handmade recycled rug can help a mother in Cambodia put her child through school, clothe and feed her children, and prevent them from a life of human trafficking.” Check out our guide to the best Xmas markets and events below.

Fair@Square Festival – over 80 market stalls for fair trade, sustainable and locally-made goodies. Sat Dec 1 & Sun Dec 2, Federation Square, Melbourne VIC.

Queensland Fair Trade Christmas Market – ethically-produced homewares, handcrafts, toys, clothing, food, jewellery and more. 9.30am – 3.30pm, Sat Dec 1 & Sun Dec 2 at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, Ruthven Street, Corinda QLD.

Manly Fair Trade Christmas Market – 40 stalls selling a huge variety of quality handmade Fair Trade products from around the world, including toys, jewellery, clothing, homewares, accessories, tea, coffee and chocolate. 9am-5pm, Sat Dec 1 at Manly Council Forecourt, Manly NSW.

Made By Hand at Object gallery – a pop-up shop of Australian designers including Polli, Lyn & Tony, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Erin Lightfoot, Pouch Handmade, Stampel, Beneath The Sun and more. Upstairs at Object Gallery, 417 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW. 11am-5pm Tuesday to Saturday.

West End Vintage & Designer Markets – a place for clothes and collectibles to find loving new homes! 9am-4pm, Sat Dec 1 & Sat Dec 22 at The Rumpus Room, West End QLD.

Ultimo’s Green Market – natural, organic, sustainable and fair trade shopping. Features live music and workshops for kids. 10am-4pm, Sun Dec 2 at Ultimo Community Centre, Harris St, Ultimo NSW.

The Olive Tree Christmas Markets – 150 stalls featuring some of the best handmade artists and designers in the Newcastle region. 9am-5pm Sat Dec 1 & Sat Dec 15, The Junction Public School, Newcastle NSW.

The Big Design Market – fashion & accessories, homewares & textiles, lifestyle & kids products, stationery & books. Fri Dec 7 (10am-9pm), Sat Dec 8 (10am-5pm) & Sun Dec 9 (10am-5pm), The Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne VIC.

The Bleeding Heart City Market – handmade arts, crafts, gifts and vintage. 10am-4pm, Fri Dec 7 at Bleeding Heart Gallery, 166 Ann St, Brisbane QLD.

WorldChangers Christmas Market – fair trade and ethically-sourced gifts, live music, rides, food and family activities. 5.30pm-9pm Fri Dec 7, 25 O’Briens Rd, Figtree NSW.

Sew & Tell Presents: A Very Crafty Christmas – taking place in beautiful Bangalow, Sew & Tell is the perfect place to find unique, handmade and vintage gifts for all your friends and family. Includes a Free Stall (yes, everything is free!), Unfinished Business Stall (where you can adopt an unfinished craft project) and a Man Cave! 9am – 1.30pm, Sat 8 Dec at A & I Hall, Station St, Bangalow NSW.

Made Artists Market – handmade and contemporary craft, art and design markets. 9am-2pm, Sat Dec 8 at St John’s Anglican Church Hall, Port Fairy VIC.

BrisStyle Indie Markets – browse the wares of a huge variety of independent artisans, crafters and designers from Brisbane and Northern NSW. Designers Markets – Sat Dec 8, 9am-4pm at Racecourse Rd, Hamilton QLD and Twilight Markets – Fri Dec 14, 5pm-9pm in King George Square, Brisbane City QLD.

West End Twilight Markets – an eclectic mix of treasures, tucker and performance. 4pm-9pm, Sat Dec 8 & Sat Dec 22 at Reclaimed Hangar, cnr of Wilson & Boundary Streets, West End QLD.

Home Style Market – Handmade Twilight Market featuring over 65 stalls. Sat Dec 8th from 3pm-8pm at Sherwood State School, cnr Sherwood & Oxley Rds, Sherwood QLD.

The Finders Keepers Spring/Summer Market – finely-curated indie design and art markets at Sydney’s CarriageWorks. 6pm-10pm Sat Dec 8 & 10am-5pm Sun Dec 9 at 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh NSW.

If you know of anything else happening, please leave us a comment below!