Let the Christmas shopping season begin!
Truth be told, I love Christmas way too much and have been Christmas shopping since mid-summer. I hate buying things for myself, but I LOVE buying things for other people. Squamish’s Refresh Market was the perfect place to tick a few more gifts off the Christmas shopping list and to pick up some sweet treats for myself (and possibly Cedric, if he can convince me to share).
Refresh Market describes itself in the following way:
We are one of B.C.’s largest indie marketplaces for handmade and locally designed wares.
It is stocked with one-of-a-kind items and sold by the people who make them, so you get a good story behind each purchase. There is a huge range of products and they do a great job of providing a good mix of items, including candles, bath and skin products, kids and baby clothes and gear, art and cards, home decor products, chocolates and other sweets, jewelry, and other pretty things.
This was my first year at Refresh. I went with a few girlfriends and we each walked away with some pretty good buys. Here are some tips I picked up along the way:
- You can buy tickets online the week ahead of the market. Tickets are $5 at the door and $3 online, but there are a few extra fees from buying online so you only save a buck or so. Still, that’s an extra dollar to spend on artisanal chocolate.
- Don’t rely on the ATM onsite – there is one, but it runs out of money. Bring some cash ahead of time, but don’t worry too much about it – most booths take credit card.
- Do a walk through of all of the booths before making your purchases, so that you don’t buy one candle and then realize you like the smell of another one better.
We spent time at all of the booths and trust me, everything was great – but here are some of the booths that really stood out to me.
My favourite candle booth was Canvas Candle Company. I think all four of us picked up a candle or two here. The woodsy/Christmas-y Best Coast soy candle was a favourite, as was the Sister Sister (a delightful mix of lavender, rum, and berry). The packaging is simple (mason jars) and the market price special was just right: two large candles for $30, or two small ones for $16.
There were a ton of booths with really, really cute cards, but the Olive Branch & Co. booth stood out to me for a few reasons. First of all, the designs were simple, crisp, and beautiful. There was a good mix of Christmas cards and cards for other occasions, and the calligraphy was just lovely. The best part: if you bought a card, the lady at the booth would write the recipient of the card’s name on the envelope in matching calligraphy for free. I picked up 3 cards for $12 (I think), which I found to be a great deal. Browsing through her website, I see she does all kinds of beautiful things: invites, wedding vows, place cards, tattoo designs, etc.
In my opinion, the best booths involve something you can eat. Chocohappy Chocolates are based in Whistler and use local ingredients to create cones filled with delectable chocolates – like the sea salt caramel one I bought. Choosing a flavour was the hardest part, and other close contenders were the Baileys & Mallows and Hazelnut Crunch. I wish they made cones with ten different flavours so I could try them all.
There were so many beautiful things for babies and little kids that we found ourselves wishing we knew more people with babies. Trae Designs was a stand out booth because the wooden Coastal BC inspired toys were as beautiful as they looked fun. This is the kind of toy you wouldn’t mind “cluttering” up your home (if you can call something like this clutter). I’ve seen their work elsewhere in Squamish and I just think it’s delightful.
I fell in love with the pieces at the Muddy Marvels Pottery booth – particularly an oversized mug with a gold heart that I am kicking myself for not buying. I just learned that they make the mugs at the Camp Coffee & Lifestyle shop in Function Junction… I may have to pick one up there. Look at these cute little guys – they’re meant for holding rings, but aren’t they the perfect wintery decoration?
Be still, my heart!
This booth was expertly styled, complete with old timey props that looked like they came out of your grandpa’s old A-frame. It didn’t hurt that they sold gorgeous, useful things like axes, cutting boards, and rolling pins. They make wood products that are functional, but that look like art. Perfection.
The Refresh Winter Market was totally worth it. Next up: Arts Whistler’s Holiday Market (formerly known as Bizarre Bazaar) next weekend for some more hand crafted goodness.