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This holiday season, it will undoubtedly help to keep more of your money circulating in the local economy.
The first wave of the pandemic wiped out more than 1,000 Philadelphia small businesses closed, and with a second wave here, local entrepreneurs are in for an uphill battle.
Several Philly organizations, curators, media outlets and community-minded residents have put together guides to small businesses in the city offering great gifts. Even if you feel safer shopping online, you don’t have to rely on big chains or ecommerce giants, because many annual holiday flea markets and shopping pop-ups have gone virtual.
Here’s a guide to the Philadelphia small biz shopping guides we’ve found, along with a selection of online pop-ups markets to hit up on specific dates.
Collections and curated lists
- Philly Shop Local Holiday 2020 — City resident Beth Burke collected a list of more than 150 locally-owned spots, from art to books to jewelry to food
- 2020 Made-in-Philly Holiday Gift Guide — Streets Dept links to more than 100 local artists and makers, organized by medium
- Philly Bookish Gift Guide — Literary collective Blue Stoop’s guide to bookstores and local authors
- NextFab 2020 Holiday Gift Guide — The Philly coworking makerspace pulled together a list of several dozen creators
- New Kensington CDC Holiday Market — Descriptions of dozens of small businesses and artists with links to their online stores
- Meredith Shares The Love — More than 120 independent Philly restaurants that’ve supported the Meredith school
- 25 Unexpected Gifts to Buy in Philadelphia This Year — Philly Mag rounds up unusual finds available at shops around the region
- 37 Great Black-Owned Shops and Boutiques in Philadelphia — Visit Philly’s list, newly updated for the holidays, is sorted by type of store
- Gifts That Don’t Suck — Local startup Resting Gift Face offers packages for everyone on your list
- Unique Finds From Small Brands — Clover Market has more than 800 products form 75 local vendors, with free shipping
- Gooder Gift Guide: Philadelphia — The Philly edition of an Instagram-based guide that “center[s] BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and women-owned brands”
- 300+ Black-owned Businesses in Philly — Organized by industry, this Philly Mag spreadsheet has many places to get presents or pick up gift cards
Biz corridors with socially distanced shopping
- Northern Liberties Holiday Pop-Up — More than 15 small businesses participating, 1 to 6 p.m. Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 3-6
- Old City District History Holidays — Window decorating contest, tree lighting, and dozens of shops with in-person and online options
- Deck the Ave East Passyunk Holidays 2020 — Holiday scavenger hunt, pop-up concerts, tree lighting, window decorations and weekend photos with Santa
- Holidays on the Hill — Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway, “Stag & Doe” nights, holiday scavenger hunt and more from Chestnut Hill businesses
- Christmas Village — Just 40 vendors to make more space, a single-direction pathway and a distanced food court
- Made in Philadelphia Market — Stalls from local makers surrounding City Hall, with new safety protocols in place
- Holidays in Manayunk — Tree lighting, “Sweets & Spirits” nights, Friday strolls, promenade of trees and dozens of shops to check out
Online pop-ups and flea markets
“The appeal of a flea market is you go and shop from a bunch of vendors in one go,” said Rebecca Aronow, who founded the annual Feminist Flea Market. “Shoppers are messaging us like, ‘I’m so glad you’re still doing this, it’s my favorite market.'”
Aronow’s market was born two years ago, first hosted at Underground Arts before it rapidly outgrew the space. Last year, Aronow moved their market to the Bok building, where the entrance fee benefitted a local charity and hundreds of Philly artists and makers profited off her event.
They didn’t want to give up on the event this year, especially “when everyone is having such a hard time,” they said. “The holidays are supposed to be when everyone makes so much of their money.”
A few otherwise annual Philly flea markets still haven’t announced whether they’ll have a virtual holiday sale — but do have past vendors listed on their websites.
Saturday and Sunday Nov. 28 and 29, pickup on Saturday Dec. 5
Pay $3 for the entry fee — which will benefit the Philadelphia Community Fridges — and you’ll have access to a website with 85 Philadelphia vendors. The full list of makers hasn’t yet been released, but in the past, Feminist Flea has worked with folks like:
- Handmade silkscreen shop Two Minds Press
- Ceramic artist Isabella Akhtarshenas
- Custom poet Soft Core Poetics
You can order goods from dozens of vendors at once, then have them shipped right to your door or stop by Underground Arts at 12th and Callowhill on Dec. 5 for curbside pickup. While you’re there, you can grab a vegan bite to eat at a pop-up kitchen from V Marks the Shop.
Saturday Nov. 28 through Thursday Dec. 31
You’ll have over a month to tune into this River Wards virtual holiday marketplace. The New Kensington Community Development Corporation is running an online shop for the entire month of December. Details on pickup and a full list of vendors are forthcoming. (Meantime, they’re still looking for vendors, so if you own a Kensington small business, you can submit an application here.)
It’ll cost you $10 to enter this online market, and all the cash will be funneled into the neighborhood’s small business relief fund.
Pickup on Saturday Dec. 5
From the Bartram’s Garden online marketplace you can grab fancy teas, beanies, soaps and stuff for kids. If you need a new quarantine hobby, might as well grab a bird-watching kit while you’re there. Also convenient: You can buy a bunch of individual items, or any of the themed gift boxes that Bartram’s has put together.
Still looking for holiday decorations? You can order a wreath from the botanical gardens and pickup with plenty of time to display.
Pickup on Saturday Nov. 28 or Saturday Dec. 19
Every holiday season, Bok hosts a handful of holiday markets including its own, the Made at Bok Market.
To take the place of its annual shopping event, the South Philadelphia school-turned-maker-space is selling a couple gift boxes full of wares made by tenants of their studio space: one full of home goods, and another with self-care supplies.
There are two primary pickup dates — Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 — but if you need to arrange another time to grab your gifts, the Bok folks are open to setting up an appointment.