While online shopping for gifts over the holidays has become the go-to choice for many, there's an indistinguishable spark that arises when you spot that perfect present or snag the last available must-have gift of the season off the shelf. Throw in some holiday activities like wreath-making, dancing and ice skating, and you have a shopping outing to remember at these Peninsula holiday fairs, craft boutiques and other seasonal events. These pop-up events often feature one-of-a-kind wares, from food and clothing to artwork, toys and home decor. Here are fairs happening around the Peninsula this season:
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party, through Dec. 18: Step into a time portal to 1800s London without leaving the Peninsula at one of the Bay Area's most popular annual holiday traditions, the Dickens Fair. Nearly 100 shops and carts will sell one-of-a kind artisan goods ranging from antiquarian books and fine crafts to ornaments and toys. Dine on traditional fare like scotch eggs and fish and chips, and buy food gifts such as English Christmas puddings, specialty teas and handmade chocolates. Did we mention the on-site pubs, dance halls and kids' entertainment? New this year is the admission-free Vauxhall Gardens, a Victorian park-like setting complete with a skating rink and Christmas trees for sale.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party, weekends through Dec. 18 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City. Tickets range from $7-$45 and must be purchased online in advance.
Makers Market Pop-Up, Dec. 1: Grab a beer and shop Taplands Taproom & Brewery's annual Makers Market Pop-Up featuring locally crafted jewelry, home goods and other products.
Makers Market Pop-Up, Dec. 1, 4-8 p.m. at Taplands Taproom & Brewery, 1171 Homestead Road, Santa Clara. Admission is free.
Gamble Garden Winter Festival, Dec. 1-3: Gamble Garden kicks off its Winter Festival weekend with a grand opening party Dec. 1 with wine, hors d'oeuvres and a tree-lighting ceremony. Santa makes an appearance Dec. 2 for photo opps, along with the Redwood Grill food truck and Bayer Ballet for two performances of "The Snow Queen." The garden will host a children's holiday storytime Dec. 3.
At these events and during the daytime Dec. 2 and 3, the garden will host 20 vendors in the Gamble house and outdoors in a European-style marketplace, as well as a holiday edition of its popular Over the Garden Fence sale featuring holiday-themed home decor, furnishings, linens and more.
The Palo Alto Garden Club will also be on hand with fresh greens for decorating, homemade jams and other goods to stock a loved one's pantry.
Gamble Garden Winter Festival, Grand Opening Party Dec. 1 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Holiday Night with Santa Dec. 2 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Holiday Storytime Dec. 3 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.; Winter Festival Marketplace Dec. 2-3 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., respectively at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Grand Opening Party is $75 per person. Holiday Night with Santa is $35 per person, children 8 and under are free. Holiday Storytime is $40 per child and $35 per adult, children 1 and under are free. Winter Festival Marketplace admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under are free.
Holiday Market at Devil's Canyon, Dec. 2: The San Carlos brewery hosts a holiday market with music, food, holiday gifts and beer.
Holiday Market Dec. 2 from 4-8 p.m. at Devil's Canyon Brewing Company, 935 Washington St., San Carlos. Admission is free.
Waldorf School of the Peninsula Winter Fair, Dec. 3: The holiday boutique at the annual Winter Fair is stocked with handcrafted items, unique toys and books (and it's open for special adult shopping hours Dec. 2 from 5-8 p.m.) The fair will also include a puppet show, wreath-making, beeswax candle dipping and other family-friendly activities.
Waldorf School of the Peninsula Winter Fair, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (holiday boutique open until 4 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 5-8 p.m., adults only) at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, 11311 Mora Drive, Los Altos. Admission is free.
Allied Arts Christmas Market, Dec. 3: Shops and vendors at the guild offer gifts and holiday decor. The event also includes an auction of mini Christmas trees, a visit from Santa and drawings and treats for visitors.
Allied Arts Christmas Market, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Allied Arts Guild, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Admission is free.
Art Center Studio Holiday Sale, Dec. 3: The Palo Alto Art Center holds its annual sale featuring jewelry, functional and fine art ceramics, paintings, prints and other artwork created by local artists working in the Art Center's studios at the Palo Alto Art Center. The sale raises funds to benefit the artists, studios, and the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation.
Art Center Studio Holiday Sale. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto. (Foundation members-only presale held Dec. 2, 5-7 p.m.). Admission is free.
Weihnachtsmarkt, Dec. 3-4: Ludwig's Biergarten in downtown Mountain View is hosting its first traditional holiday market with a choir, photos with Santa, market vendors and German goods like stollen, gluhwein and currywurst.
Weihnachtsmarkt Dec. 3-4 from 1-7 p.m. at Ludwig's Biergarten, 383 Castro St. in Mountain View. Admission is free.
Fremont High School Holiday Craft Fair, Dec. 3-4: The Sunnyvale school's Featherettes Dance Team hosts its 34th annual Holiday Craft Fair, where local vendors will sell handmade cosmetics, clothing, jewelry and more.
Fremont High School Holiday Craft Fair, Dec. 3-4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 10 a.m.-3 p.m., respectively at Fremont High (main gym), 1279 Sunnyvale Saratoga Road, Sunnyvale. Admission is free.
Holly Jollypalooza, Dec. 4: A debut festival on the Coastside, Holly Jollypalooza will feature live music from Prince tribute band The Purple Ones, party band SuperBad and country band Urban Outlaws. Sip signature cocktails and other libations, dine on pizza, poke and more food truck offerings, and shop the Deck the Halls Holiday Gift Expo, an arts and crafts holiday market with works from 40 local artists. There will also be an Instagrammable holiday photo booth and a fun zone with kids' activities.
Holly Jollypalooza, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Eureka Square Shopping Center, 20 Eureka Drive, Pacifica. Admission is free with a suggested donation of a toy or book for the Pacifica Gives Holiday Drive.
Holiday Pop-Up at Saltwater Bakery, Dec. 4: Adoptable kittens, live music from Foggy Coast Kids and Izzy Katz and local vendors selling sweets, ceramics and other goods? Sign us up. Participating artisans at this gluten and dairy-free bakery's pop-up include Craft Happy Pacifica, Copper + Moss Studio, Knit by Kara and 15 other small businesses.
Holiday Pop-Up at Saltwater Bakery, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Saltwater Bakery, 1905 Palmetto Ave., Pacifica. Admission is free.
German Holiday Market, Dec. 10: The German International School of Silicon Valley hosts its annual holiday marketplace, with traditional German holiday treats such as stollen, gingerbread and chocolate and gifts such as wooden ornaments and nutcrackers, plus food and music. Proceeds benefit the school.
German Holiday Market, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at the Mountain View Caltrain station, 456 W. Evelyn Ave., Mountain View. Free admission.
Palo Alto High School Winter Glass Sale, Dec. 16-17: Paly Fiery Arts holds a sale of handcrafted ornaments, candy canes, seasonal decor and other items. Proceeds benefit the Palo Alto High School sculpture program.
Palo Alto High School Winter Glass Sale, Dec. 16 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Dec. 17 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Palo Alto High School, Room 105, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto.