The festive period is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work and then it's all over with a bang. I'm guessing here, as I've never run further than the distance to the bus, but I've done a few crafty Christmas' now.
Generally, if you're taking it seriously you can bank your entire year on a whole load of carefully chosen craft fairs. Personally, I don't have the temperament or the stamina to handle that much Christmas cheer, so I tend to cherry pick one or two big fairs and just enjoy it.
This year I returned for the second time to the Mill Road Winter Fair - and what a year it was! It was blowing a gale, so the whole tent felt like it was going to run away any minute. In fact, the food tent opposite us came down a few times! Anyway, it was a lovely year full of lovely people, including my dear friend who came to help me out. I got to see some traders I met the first year, and a few Cambridge familiars who came by!
In fact, it was my best year so far! Sold a lot of toys, gave out a lot of business cards [and received a few too!] and had a fantastic time. I love you, Mill Road - you're such a charming creature.
Christmas mugs with free mulled wine, street dancers, live music - if you're ever in Cambridge in December, make Mill Road a main event.
Sorry about the photo quality - only had my phone to snap a few photos!
My second main fair of the festive period was the St Albans Christmas Market, alongside the beautiful cathedral and the ivy-clad walls of the vintry gardens. We were inside these little wooden chalets, which had to be lit interiorly and dressed up for Christmas - I opted to make olive green garlands with holly, and decorated them with my moths.
Lucky me, I had a lot of help from my friends and family to get everything set up but that's where the majority of my luck run out. To be fair, I imagine the people running the Christmas Market had a lot of obstacles when setting up such a major event but it lacked a lot of the charm and warm atmosphere that's associated with those cute little german markets. There weren't many coloured lights, barely any music to set the mood, and the majority of the traders I spoke to where disappointed with the lack of cohesion between the organisers and the traders. In fact, a friend of mine who had a stall in the same place I did on a set of different days told me it was her worst trading days of the season.
Despite the downsides, it was a good day overall for the toys. The weather was clear and mild, the market day in the main part of town brought plenty of footfall down into the gardens and I met some lovely fellow traders. I had a few lovely visits from my friends throughout the day - thank you for the cups of herbal tea! - and met a lot of lovely St Albans locals. I sold quite a few of my toys, and gave out plenty of business cards and even made a few contacts on social media.
Overall, it was a good season for me! I had some fantastic experiences, and got some brilliant feedback from buyers and admirers alike. In fact, I had such a good season I was able to buy myself some fancy new equipment! Merry Christmas to me!
Sorry to leave blogging about Christmas so late - I'm not the best at motivating myself when it's chilly out. All I can think about is hot soup and hot baths, not how hot my laptop gets. If I learnt anything this year - and I hope I did - it's that I need to start making my Christmas stock just after Halloween, and I need to start taking better photos.
Happy Holidays [in March!]