With the leaves just barely starting to change, there’s a good chance you haven’t thought much about the holiday season. To be sure it doesn’t sneak up on you, we got the scoop on some of the many great holiday boutiques and shopping events that are coming up. Make sure you mark them on your calendar!
Best of Missouri Market MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Missouri Botanical Garden is pulling out all the stops for this year’s 20th anniversary of the Best of Missouri Market. The event features about 120 vendors, of which 30 are new this year, says co-chair Ellen Dubinsky. “Every year we rotate out some of our vendors and look for new vendors, so when you come to the Best of Missouri Market, you always find something different.”
She and co-chair Nora Stern have worked on the market since its inception. “The idea came about because the Garden was looking for a way to reach out to more people,” Dubinsky says. In addition, it helps people learn about the goods produced in Missouri. “We wanted people to know that you don’t have to get on a plane and fly to California to get wine; we have very good vineyards here!”
New exhibitors this year include wrought iron workers, a new basket weaver, glass artisans, potters and jewelry makers, Dubinsky says. Additions to food exhibits include a vineyard, salsa, pickles and sweet treats. Other fun activities include a kids’ corner and food court, she notes. The market runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 1 and 2, with the first-ever ‘First Look Friday’ from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 30. The Friday event includes live music, and artists from a special exhibit by the Kodner Gallery will be in attendance. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for those ages 65 and up, and $5 for Garden members and children ages 3 to 12.
Unique Boutique JOHN BURROUGHS SCHOOL
What better way to get a jump on the Black Friday crowds than with the John Burroughs School Unique Boutique? The weekend before Thanksgiving, the market highlights handcrafted works of art and gift items. Shoppers can find everything from ceramics to jewelry, apparel, home décor, botanically based soaps and beautifully packaged baked goods.
Event co-chairs Michelle Wexler and Mary Kaye Fort expect about 40 vendors—both local artisans and exhibitors from around the country. “We try to get exhibitors we feel have something unique and who are affordable,” Wexler says. “We have a variety of price points, whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or a nice piece of art.” Vendors include Before & Again, Paper Birds handmade books and boxes, Rachel Akin Ceramics and Stone Hollow Studio.
Wexler says that in addition to being a successful fundraiser, the sale is all about building camaraderie in the community. “You can come and shop, enjoy the ambience and have a bite to eat. It’s a good sized crowd every year, and people are excited about the upcoming holidays.” The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 19 and 20 in the school’s main building, and there is a $5 admission fee.
Holiday Mart LADUE CHAPEL NURSERY SCHOOL
Now in its 19th year, the longstanding Ladue Chapel Nursery School Holiday Mart takes over the whole chapel each year, says event chair Katie Gardner. “We keep it on the small side, so it’s a great shopping experience,” she adds. “We’re pretty selective with the vendors we accept, and it’s been a really successful show.”
Shoppers at the school’s largest fundraiser will find a mix of about 40 vendors with an emphasis on homemade goods. Among the vendors are Tui Leatherman, who sells the popular Patience Brewster Krinkles holiday decorations, and jewelry designer Julie Elizabeth, who attended the school. “A lot of the parents currently at the school attended Ladue Chapel themselves,” Gardner notes. Other great finds include hand-knit sweaters, ornaments, decorations, handmade picture frames, hand-painted accessories and baked goods that celebrate the school’s mascot—the turtle. Check it out from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 1 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2.