St Nicholas Fayre, the king of York Christmas markets, is here. One of the most popular (ie packed) yuletide markets in the whole of the country, this four-day event marks the first acceptable time to acknowledge the onset of Christmas.
The fayre envelops Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square and Coppergate and as previous patrons will know, it gets rather hectic.
With crowded stalls pushing all manner of gifts, home wares and food, it can be tricky to work out what to buy.
This is not helped by the general Christmassy atmosphere that descends upon the place, luring you into thinking that the clock made out of an old gin bottle would fit perfectly in your kitchen.
But fear not York, we are here to help.
OK. So you turn up to the fayre bursting with merriment, tis nearly the season to be jolly, after all. Then you see this.
Don’t panic! It’s important to keep calm and carry on (and not buy a T-shirt with that slogan on, which is being peddled somewhere near M&S). Just follow our guide and you’ll stock up with a great selection of gifts before you can say “Park & Ride”.
First, a gift for you. To steady your nerves. Why not indulge in a mug of hot chocolate with added liquor? Elsewhere you’ll find mulled wine on sale, as well as a stall from The York Brewery. There are a lot of opportunities for alcohol. It is Christmas.
Now head over to the stall half way down Parliament Street selling old music posters. A perfect place to browse and recapture your youth, whether you were of a Pink Floyd or (god forbid) Status Quo inclination. The music poster adverts cost around £7, with offers if you buy multiples.
You might be feeling in need of sustenance at this point. There is a mass of food options, but the top pick for food related gifts has to be the famed Botham’s of Whitby. With a good selection of their products on offer it is a great opportunity to stock up on sugary treats. A pack of their classic ginger biscuits costs £1.25.
The Chilli Jam Man
For a more quirky food gift head to The Chilli Jam Man in front of HSBC. This successful company based in Thixendale offers a selection of jams ranging from the mild to the explosive. They have also recently launched Jamonnaise, a peculiar jam / mayonnaise hybrid. Prices start at £4.
We haven’t dealt with Christmas decorations yet, so at this point its probably best to head to the stall selling winter themed pot pourri, wreaths and garlands. The stand smells like Christmas, and its not just the brandy hot chocolate talking. A small wreath will set you back £10 whilst the large garlands cost £30.
The day’s drawing to a close and presents for children have somehow eluded you. Make haste towards Coppergate where you can purchase personalised gifts. Our favourites were the wooden fairy wands (priced at £2.50), which you can have monogrammed for free.
There we have it, the Mix Six picks of St Nicholas Fayre. Let us know if there are any great stalls we missed.
- The market runs until Sunday December 1.
- More details here
- For all our Christmas 2013 stories, click here