'Weirdos' wanted: This holiday market offers thousands of eccentric gifts in Vancouver

Let out your inner weirdo at this awesome holiday market.

The Weirdos Holiday Market returns to Vancouver this winter to deck the halls with oddities galore, wrapping up December 11–12, 2021 | Photo courtesy Rachel Zottenberg

The Weirdos Holiday Market returns to Vancouver this holiday season to deck the halls with oddities galore.

Since 2017, the Weirdos Holiday Market has been an annual shopping destination for locals seeking totally unique gifts. Last year, however, the event had to pivot from a market-style holiday offering to a pop-up shop for pandemic-related capacity restrictions.

Now, visitors may enjoy the market in its original form and in one of its original homes at The Venables Hall (1739 Venables Street). The market kicked off last weekend and resumes on Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12.

Rachel Zottenberg, founder, organizer, and "head weirdo," tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that having the vendors together in the market to sell their art will create a totally different atmosphere. 

"One of the great things about the Weirdos' market is that there are actual weirdos that make all of this wonderful art," she underscores. "So the characters behind the art are all just really interesting, passionate people." 

Due to occupancy limits in last year's market, Zottenberg notes that the artists couldn't mingle and prepare together, which was a source of inspiration for everyone involved.

"The energy that you get in a market where everyone gets to live and vibe off of each other's energy and everyone gets to be present and prepare and be together...I feel like it has just been missed by everyone," she explains. 

The 2021 Weirdos Holiday Market features more than 25 vendors, personally curated by Zottenberg, each of them hosting their own tables full of items – from witchy wares, anatomical curiosities, unique collectibles, quirky clothing and eccentric art to magical pottery, one-of-a-kind prints, candles, books, stickers and much more.

Hoping to find something holiday-inspired?

You might not find your typical festive items—but you might find something even better. 

"There's plenty of Santa-ish paraphernalia lying around...but there's always a little edgy hint to anything you see," she describes.

"Nothing is the average version." 

That said, many of the items at the market aren't holiday-related. For example, one of the vendors has been crafting "plague doctor" masks for several years, long before the foreboding, crow-like pieces became timely. They are a big hit these days, however. 

For the first time, the market will also feature a selection of baked treats from Punk Rock Pastries, a local company known for crafting impressive and eccentric cakes and goodies.

Returning fan favourites include 

•Bonetique: Yolanda Mason’s delicate and whimsical sculptures created with salvaged animal bones and found organic matter

•Cailtin Ffrench, a  pagan artist who uses uses wildcrafted pigments and plants to make into paint, dyes and charms

•Local queer artist Jaik Puppyteeth, whose illustrated prints and cards reflect his uniquely dark humour

•Ultraviolet Oddities’ wacky planters made from deconstructed plastic dolls; 

•Mush Appreciated, beautiful jewelry created from real forest-foraged fungi

•Dirt Spindle, unusual pottery pieces that have been fused into the shapes of human mouths, feet, and hands

•Imaginary Friends, handmade one-of-a-kind gifts for anyone who appreciates nature.

Plus, many more artists offering unique products

And how does Zottenberg define "weird?"

"To me, it's always the stuff that not everybody is going to like. It's the stuff that's a little left of centre, and often it has something that's a little grotesque or abnormal or a little antique or a little strange or a little snarky or a little over-the-top silly," she explains. 

"But to be a weirdo is just to have those feelings in your heart while you create. To be an artist in itself is to be a weirdo."

Weirdos Holiday Market 

When: Saturday, Dec. 11 and Sunday, Dec. 12. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: The Venables Hall — 1739 Venables Street, Vancouver(at the corner of Venables and Commercial)
Cost: $4 per person at the door for ages 13+ (by donation for children 12 and under)

Face masks are required for everyone ages five and up and vaccine passports will be required for all patrons and vendors over the age of 12.

A portion of the door proceeds will be donated to the Urban Native Youth Association

Find out more information about the market online.