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8 free Christmas markets to fill your stockings

Christmas is less than a month away, and that means the holiday craft market scene heats up faster than Santa's beard after the offspring of chimney that isn't on time.

We have come up with a list of local markets in the Ottawa-Gatineau area that we think should provide gift givers with a wide selection of artisanal, locally made and similar items.

Even better – there is no market that charges entry fees.

Compilation of each and every one may take place until mid-January, so if there is a market in the area that you think is worthy of praise, let us know at Twitter, Facebook or via email.

Christmas Museum Market

Where: Canadian History Museum

Dates: November 30 from 11 to 8 nights, December 1, and 2 from 9 am to 5 pm.

This really starts on Thursday but it runs all weekend, with more than 80 vendors taking over the historical museum hall.

Many vendors come from western Quebec, offering items ranging from chocolate and maple products to jewelery and wooden crafts.

The museum itself is also open, so visitors can pair their holiday shopping with exhibits on medieval European history or 19th-century Canadian photography.

Christmas Market Carp Farmers

Where: Carp Fairgrounds

When: November 30 from 3pm to 8pm, December 1 from 8am to 2pm.

Around 75 vendors will be spread over two buildings in the annual Carp market, which operates today and tomorrow.

The list of advanced food vendors includes dozens of eastern Ontario producers offering delicious dishes such as organic honey, hot sauce and Syrian desserts.

There will also be soap, candles, wool products, and other inedible items for market visitors to put in Christmas stockings this year.

While the market itself is free, visitors can offer donations to the West Carleton Food Access Center.

613 Christmas

Where: Carleton University Fieldhouse, 85 University Rd.

When: December 1 from 10am to 5pm

Organized by people watching the 613flea eclectic market the rest of the year, 613Christmas is their holiday-themed spin with the same concept.

About 150 vendors are expected to go down to Carleton University Fieldhouse this Saturday, including bakers, local craftsmen, and antique merchants.

So if you imagine this year's retro-themed Christmas, this one might be your hallway.

The Good Companions Christmas Bazaar

Where: The Good Companions Senior Center, 670 Albert St.

Date: December 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

As suggested by one of Twitter CBC Ottawa followers, This Saturday market offers handicrafts and baked goods produced by local seniors.

Expect high-quality blankets, knitting, hot chocolate, and what is the center of Albert Street – a non-profit offering programming and support services for older Ottawans – billing as "the famous tourtière pie."

Santa Claus is also expected to appear.

Merrickville Craft and Vendor Fair

Where: Merrickville United Art Center, 100 Main St., Merrickville

Date: December 1 from 12 to 6 nights

If you love shopping and walking on the banks of the Rideau River in beautiful Merrickville, we have a craft exhibition for you.

More than 30 vendors will be established in the newly renovated center, which also functions as the Merrickville United Church.

There will also be a breakfast with Santa and a parade, all part of the community Christmas celebration at Merrickville.

Woodroffe High School Craft Fair

Where: Woodroffe High School, 2410 Georgina Dr., Ottawa.

When: December 1 from 9am to 3pm

This is the fifth year the school's parent council welcomes local artisans to help raise funds.

Wakefield Christmas Market

Where: 38 chemin de la Vallée de Wakefield

When: December 8 from 2pm to 7pm

Since 2013, this one-day holiday showcase in western Quebec has claimed itself as a "European-inspired outdoor holiday market."

About 70 vendors will be peddling their wares in a unique riverbank community about 40 kilometers north of Ottawa.

There will also be horse-drawn sledges, photos with Santa, and – perhaps in accordance with the city's conscious reputation – a campaign for writing Amnesty International's letters at the local library.

Ottawa Farmers Christmas Market

Where: The Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park

When: Saturday and Sunday from December to December 23, from 9am to 3pm

The Ottawa Farmers Market annual holiday exhibition takes place throughout December in the simple Aberdeen Pavilion.

This is a good thing too, because of a heritage site – built in 1898 to hold an agricultural exhibition, and is now a national historic site – easily large enough to meet 100-plus craft and food retailers.

This year's market also features live Christmas music, horse-drawn horse-drawn carriages on certain dates, and "children's crafting corners" for families who want to make their own holiday accessories this year.

And for those who procrastinate among us, the good news: the market end date is December 23, just two days before the Christmas deadline.

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