I have managed to visit 3 different Christmas markets this year in Manchester- Northern Greater Makers Market, Manchester Christmas Market and the Vegan Market.
The first of them all was the Northern Greater Makers Market. A small cosy market right by the main road in Deansgate. Main things they sell are crafts (which is amazing). I cannot say how much I enjoy walking around in crafts markets and shops getting inspired by creative people. This market I loved especially because I noticed so many things that were related to recycling, sustainability and nature. All the things I love and care about. You can find incredible gifts, ideas and ways to recycle.
From food side they had homemade cakes with 3 vegan options. I didn’t see anything else vegan, though, besides a street food truck. They also had different local cheeses, sausages and sweets. Unfortunately, from drinks alley they had only hard liquer, mainly gins and vodkas. And I am not fan of either of them. The bottles looked amazing, though! Great as a gift.
All the people in the market where so nice and didn’t mind me gadding about with a camera. They also didn’t mind giving me a little background about the products when asking. Made me feel like a part of a community.
The second market was the big Christmas Market on Albert Square. It has obviously bigger variety of shops and products which is not necessarily a good thing. As soon as you walked in, the smell of sausages was overwhelming. Made me super hungry but might be off-putting for vegetarians, for sure.
It was also busier so walking one way or the other took time as people tend to just stop in the middle of the road and…. I don’t know, enjoy their coffee? So it didn’t feel half as nice as the other one.
Another thing I noticed was that the shops where unorganised and you jumped from cheese to plates and from jewellery to sweets. Was a bit disturbing as I wasn’t really interested in any of the animal products. But it’s not the main issue for sure. But when really looking for something specific, can be confusing.
A super awesome surprise was to see that in every hot drink shop they were giving out mugs instead of plastic cups. How cool is that. You had to pay like 1-3 quid as a deposit, got it back before leaving the market and without all this unnecessary trash! Well done!
So when in the previous market everything was handmade and crafts then in this one I noticed at least 3-4 shops with some stupid Made-in-China crap (no offence). Why? Just why? There are so many awesome local companies and they let people to buy the space in the market to sell crap. Just why? Usually it has nothing even to do with Christmas. Just some cheap crap. That got me mad! Can people just try to not think only about money during this time of the year?!
Another odd thing I noticed was how many French, Dutch, German products were available compared to local, English stuff. Again… why? If I go abroad for Christmas and visit a market there I would expect and hope to buy something local. If I want to buy a German sausage, I will go to Germany. Okay?! Give me some British products, for god’s sake! Fortunately among all this… not so interesting stuff they also had some really nice local stuff- leather and wooden bowls/trays, wooden ties, clay mugs (which where very similar to the ones I got for my birthday!!!!), handmade jewellery, Manchester t-shirts, coasters and signs.
And last but not least Vegan Christmas Market. Unfortunately, that was only 1 weekend in Manchester but I believe there are similar ones on different weekends in other cities. Unlike the pervious 2, this one has an entrance fee of 3 pounds. Now, as I had to pay 3 quid, I went there to come back with some vegan cake. Now, guess what was the one thing I didn’t find. Yep! Vegan damn cake!
It was in a hotel which means it was soooooooo crowded inside. It was almost impossible to move around free. As soon as you walked in, the crowds led you the way. You could find anything from homemade juice to vegan leather bags but no vegan chocolate cake. There were doughnuts and chcocolate, burgers and candies but no cake. Yeah, I was disappointed. I couldn’t really understand the idea of paying 3 quid to go to a market and buy a burger for another 7 quid that you had to eat there. Does that make sense to you?
Well as I had already paid the 3 quid I decided to find at least couple of things that were worth the money. And something as close to the cake as possible. I found a body scrub with a smell of a dream, an organic cotton bag for washing the small items in the washing machine, 1 bottle of Jamaican juice and 2 doughnuts. Although everything was quite over priced I still think all the things I decided to buy were worth the price.
As a regular customer in a health shop I know what vegan cheese costs and therefore also notice when it’s over priced. And man, how pricy everything was! Which again was disappointing as naive Hanna thought she’s going to find some good deals. However… there were some really nice things. Especially if you have the coin to spend! I was trying all the flavours of vegan cheese there was. It was just sooooo amazing. Unfortunately, my company already noticed that Christmas bonus will be 15 quid so I cannot really afford buying 8 quid cheese for 2 sandwiches. They also had some really nice homemade liquer. I am not really the fan of liquer, I am more like a cocktail kinda-girl.
I don’t have many pictures of it as people, for some reason, where not letting me take any. What? Why? I don’t know. Sometimes I simply just don’t get people. But who am I to judge.
There are many other Christmas markets around the town so you can check them out as well. I guess the message to take with is that be aware of the prices and make aware decisions. Know where your products are from and who they are produced. Spending a little more for a good cause is worth it. Especially during Christmas time. Merry Ch…Ch… Chr… yeah, I can’t, it’s still too soon. Merry Sunday! 😉