If you were down at the Grace United Church “Christmas Extravaganza” this past Saturday, you surely felt that the Christmas season was upon Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Behind a little blue door at the back of the church, “Jingle Bell Rock” was blasting and reasonably priced gift bags and immaculate jams were lined up row by row.
“There’s so many good things. I wish I got here earlier but I had company so I didn’t get the chance,” market-goer Emily Hyde said.
“It’s such a great event, I’ll definitely be here next week.”
The popular annual Christmas Market is being held over two weekends this year due to pandemic capacity restrictions. This Saturday, Nov. 20, the market will include Christmas baking, tourtieres, toys, vintage items, antique china and more.
One of the focuses for the event this year was ensuring that items were not too expensive, organizer Carol Gorman said.
“We’re coming out of a pandemic. People don’t have a lot of money. We wanted to make sure everybody could afford to come out today,” she said.
The gift bags were indeed moderately priced, ranging from $5 to $15, depending on what was inside. Some had mugs, coffee and chocolate, while another had a Will Smith movie, some notebooks and glassware.
“Everything was donated by people from the church,” Gorman said.
Volunteers spent weeks putting all the disparate items donated into thematic gift packages.
“We grouped things that were kind of similar to each other. Like if there was a cat thing, we’d do all the cat stuff— a cat candle with a cat ceramic mug,” volunteer Gail Data said.
Data was one of several volunteers who got together for nearly four weeks to put all the gift packages together, Gorman said.
“I’m the only one that belongs to the church. The rest were my tribe, my soul sisters so to speak,” she said.
Against the back wall was a veritable what’s what of homemade jams courtesy of Heinz Probst and David Greaves.
“I’m just enjoying all the colours,” Silk Chauncey said as she and her daughter Soleil perused the vibrant jam display.
There was gooseberry, raspberry, apricot almond and peach nectarine – and that is barely scratching the surface.
Probst said gooseberry jam is his favourite.
“I have my eye on the lemon curd,” Chauncey said.