It’s difficult to fathom the holidays are just around the corner. If you are like me, thoughts of holiday shopping don’t even cross your mind until around December 23. But Gwinnett is full of spectacular events, artisan shopping and even a new chocolate factory for those looking for unique, local and artisan gifts!
Gas South District will host two regional artisan markets in November. November 3-5, the Atlanta Holiday Boutique is the place to discover beautiful, custom-made gifts by local artisan designers, with over 75 vendors expected. On Friday night, they are hosting a “Girls’ Night” from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., where you can enjoy music, fantastic door prizes and late-night, exclusive access to some of the chicest boutiques.
If antiques, vintage style and folk art are more your vibe, don’t miss “The Vintage Experience” from November 17-19, featuring dozens of local and regional vendors.
Other shopping favorites include the Duluth Farmers and Artisans Market (happening the second and fourth Sundays in November), where a bevy of choices awaits, ranging from local produce, baked goods and other locally made food products to homemade jams, jellies, pickles and salsa, all perfect stocking stuffers.
Tis the season for shopping in the Peachtree Corners/Norcross area. New shops are always opening at The Forum, and our favorites include Auburn Candle Company, Girl Tribe and LoveSac. Historic Norcross hosts their annual Historic Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 11. The charming downtown shops will be decked and ready with door prizes, special surprises, sales, new merchandise and refreshments!
If shopping local is your mantra, visit the Hudgens Art Center Gift Shop. Stocked with hand- crafted treasures from local artists, you’ll find paintings, ceramics, jewelry, mixed media and glass goodies. The gift shop is open during gallery hours, currently 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
FOOD + DRINK
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! From truffles to molded chocolate, pralines, chocolate-covered fruit and nuts, chocolate bark and more, Bitzel’s sells it all, including the award-winning Georgia Peach Truffle. For the selective chocolate fanatic, Bitzel’s also offers Belgian and single-origin gluten-free, organic and non-GMO Options.
Located in Suwanee and opening in November 2023, Bitzel’s is an authentic chocolate factory with a facility featuring 168 feet of linear glass showcasing chocolate production from bean to bark. Master chocolatier Sabrina Coombs—formerly of Nobu Atlanta, the Four Seasons and a season eight finalist on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship— is Bitzel’s executive pastry chef.
Interactive screens feature Ecuadorean and Ugandan families explaining the process of growing and harvesting cacao. Visitors will learn about fermentation, drying, sorting, packing, grinding, roasting, tempering and more. Special tastings, pairings and chocolate-making experiences will be available for the holidays – making Bitzel’s one of our favorite ‘experiential’ holiday recommendations.
Craving a cocktail? You won’t want to miss Sleigh on Perry in downtown Lawrenceville. Two words: Holiday explosion. This Christmas-themed pop-up bar will satisfy all your holiday fantasies. From festive decorations to Christmas movie-themed cocktails, this spot brings the Holly Jolly spirit. Sleigh on Perry will be open to the public on December 21, 22 and 23 from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. The Sleigh Last Minute Gift Market will be on Sunday, December 17, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It’s no secret that Gwinnett is officially the Seoul of the South. It’s not just because of our restaurants but also numerous international markets, making locating those hard-to-find ingredients a breeze. This holiday season, we highly recommend the “Everyday Korean” cookbook, co-written by Kim Sunée and Atlanta chef Seung Hee (Korean Fusion on Instagram). The cookbook blends traditional Korean flavors and cooking techniques with ingredients easily found at Gwinnett’s local neighborhood market, grocery store or online. The book includes tips for building up Korean pantry staples, beer, wine and soju pairings, and recipes for making everything from bulgogi and japchae (sweet potato noodles) to kimchi-bacon mac and cheese.
And we can’t forget two great ways to light up your holiday nights. There’s no such thing as too many Christmas lights this time of year, especially when you admire them from the warmth of your car. The LAWRENCEVILLE LIGHTS are open December 7-9 and 14-16 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Prepare to be dazzled at the Winter Lantern Festival, where you’ll step into a dazzling world of light with over 1000 handmade Chinese lanterns. It’s a stunning, whimsical walkthrough experience to light up and warm up the season!
Visit www.exploregwinnett.org for a full slate of holiday events, experiences and more.