Christmas Village has returned to transform LOVE Park into a holiday oasis — this year featuring a giant present installation decorated with 100,000 LED lights and the market’s first-ever beer garden.
Grab a drink and get ready to wander through the 80-plus booths that fill the outdoor, German-style holiday bazaar. Open daily through Christmas Eve, the annual attraction draws vendors from all over the world, selling everything from edible gifts to handcrafted jewelry to festive clothing and beyond. Here are 10 booths, new and returning, that you won’t want to miss.
Baked Cheese Haus
One of the most popular vendors of last year, Baked Cheese Haus has returned with its $10 raclette sandwich deal, filling the air with funky yet enticing aromas that permeate out from its East-side location in the market. Head to the booth to watch huge hunks of Alpine cheese being melted on the spot and lathered on baguettes delivered daily from Chestnut Hill’s Baker Street Bread Co. You’ll want to eat the sandwich as soon as it reaches your hands, but “Baked Cheese” blocks can be purchased for later. The giftable, nine-ounce bricks come in flavors like garlic, smoked bacon, and jalapeno, many of which you can sample in cubes straight off the griddle.
Inspired by Kirigami, a variation of origami that includes both folding and cutting paper, Lovepop creates 3D cards with laser-cut pop-ups, such as panda bears eating bamboo, Santa Claus riding a motorcycle, and giant eagles flying through the sky. The cards are designed to lie flat, enabling them to serve as coffee table art pieces once opened. Some are available to be customized, too, including LGBQT-friendly options where male and female figures can be swapped to create displays of same-sex couples as part of certain designs.
Mike’s Hot Honey
Two parts sweet, one part spicy, Mike’s Hot Honey invites you to add a little kick to your next bowl of ice cream, BBQ, breakfast waffles, hot toddy, or any other endless number of drinks and eats. Originally sold as a topping to drizzle on pizza, the conversation-starting sweetener gets its backend kick from Brazilian chilies, which are infused into a wildflower honey from New York. Making its Philly debut at Christmas Village this year, the product is sold in sizes ranging from mini 1.8-ounce jars to 24-ounce jugs.
Invited to an ugly sweater party this year? If you’re not planning on crafting your own silly sweater creation, consider sourcing one from Zanygoose — an option that allows you to avoid generic corporate purveyors and shop local instead. Launched out of the Philly area just over two years ago, Zanygoose sells soft, long-sleeve pullovers. Imagery ranges from school-friendly depictions, like those of elf bodies and black Santa Claus, to office-friendly conversation starters, like a passed out Santa on the couch with a spilled milk carton by his side, to raunchier humored sweaters, like one with a reindeer mounting another from behind. Before picking one out, think wisely about who your audience will be.
Edible Birdhouses’ white pine “villas” and “chateaux” are layered with all sorts of seeds to attracted the cardinals, blue jays, and other birds in your neighborhood. Once all of the food is picked off from the little houses, you can reapply your own using peanut butter or Crisco. Edible wreath designs also are available. All structures incorporate habanero pepper as a way to repel any hungry squirrels roaming around your neighborhood.
Chopsticks go far beyond eating utensils at this inventive booth, where folding baskets of all sizes are available for sale. Each easily transportable vessel is made out of recycled bamboo that’s been dyed using tea leaves and food coloring. The chopsticks create an aerated design, which makes for an ideal environment to hold items like soap and fruit.
From hot sauce to salt to mustard, Truffleist sells an array of seasonings, all infused with a touch of distinctive truffle mushroom flavor. Products range between $15 and $30, with options to buy gift packs that include a sample of each. An array of truffle oils are available, too, in different sized bottles, ranging from two to five and a half ounces.
Flatboat Fair Traders
From notebooks made from elephant dung to colorfully painted animal toys to balsa wood earrings, Flatboat Fair Traders sells an array of giftable items, all made by artisans in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Based out of Pittsburgh, the company seeks to help support women in developing countries.
The Christmas Tree Stand
If you’re in search of a holiday tree this year, the Christmas Tree Stand offers multiple options, including one where you can “rent” a potted tree that the company will later pick up from your house and plant on a farm. Perhaps even more noteworthy at this stand, however, is the display of eye-catching reindeer and snowmen. Crafted from recycled trees and evergreen branches than hang as arms and antlers, the wooden figurines make for one-of-a-kind decorations.
Torchbearer Sauces sets up its stall from mild to “Ultimate Annihilation” spicy, displaying dozens of sauce options like Chipotle BBQ and Smoky Horseradish along with those containing ghost chilies, scorpion peppers, and other tongue-burning flavors. If you want to test your tolerance, samples are provided atop corn chips. Just be prepared for a little eye-watering if you reach for something like the Zombie Apocalypse sauce.