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Shop local with Vermont Edition's annual gift guide

Shopping local can be fun, indoors or out.
Natalia Smuriakova/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Shopping local can be fun, indoors or out.

The holiday season is a great time to support local businesses and makers across Vermont.

We had some help this year putting together this local gift guide. Zach Williamson is the event and festival manager at Burlington City Arts and oversees BTV Winter Market, and Eliza West is an organizer with the Vermont Queer Craft Fair.

Williamson compared the Winter Market to building a small village with each vendor in their own individual shed.

"Back in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, we wanted to continue this market which used to happen just one weekend only in Contois Auditorium in City Hall. Pre-COVID days, we crammed 30 or 40 artists into Contois and went for one big blowout weekend." This outdoor market allows for more vendors over several weekends.

For West, creating the Vermont Queer Fair has been about community and connection. "We created this event because it felt like an opportunity to find create a community space and find some joy together," West said when asked about the feedback they get from vendors and shoppers. "And our community has seen that and felt it, and it has just been amazing to create something really meaningful for people."

Another guest on the show today was Akshata Nayak, founder of Little Patakha, a line of diverse and multicultural books, toys, and media for children.

"A running theme across our products is authentic inclusion," Nayak said. "We try to show kids in very subtle and easy, simple ways that there is more to us that connects us than separates us, which I think is very important when there's so much of us-versus-them ideology spreading."

A listener also wrote in with a suggestion: As people look for gifts through Vermont markets and stores, think about our community's most vulnerable children, those in foster care and households receiving services from DCF. The DCF office in Williston is collecting $25 gift cards to distribute to families providing care to ensure these children also share in the holiday joy. You can bring or mail the gift cards to their office at 426 Industrial Ave, Suite 140, Williston, VT 05495, attn: Meghan Flanders. We foster infants and have been collecting cards in our neighborhood.

And there are hobbyist makers out there creating gifts to welcome refugee families and help those who are unhoused or in shelters. If you weave, sew, knit or work in any other craft, consider checking with guilds in the state to join in their efforts.

Here's the list of small businesses, galleries, restaurants, and markets mentioned on today's show:

Broadcast at noon Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or check us out on Instagram.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Andrea Laurion joined Vermont Public as a news producer for Vermont Edition in December 2022. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a graduate of the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. Before getting into audio, Andrea worked as an obituary writer, a lunch lady, a wedding photographer assistant, a children’s birthday party hostess, a haunted house actor, and an admin assistant many times over.