Christmas Village in Baltimore

With so many purchases being made online these days, it’s getting harder for brick and mortar retailers to hold onto customers, even in the busier season. Many Baltimore neighborhoods are making the extra effort to push for local holiday shopping this year, by offering inventive perks like happy hours, caroling, or even a cookie crawl. Rather than sitting alone on an office computer to do your shopping this year, shoppers are taking advantage of the chance to see holiday shopping as an event, or fulfilling experience, rather than just a chore.

Tonight, December 14, from 5:30-9pm, Harbor East hosts its third and final “Merriment & Music Series” installment. The night will include a Holiday Cookie Tour ($5), plus live music, Selfies with Santa, a sidewalk bar, hot cocoa, and a children’s drive for House Of Ruth, collecting coats, toys, and diapers for kids in need. Shoppers can attend the event while visiting local shops and getting their gift-buying done to the tune of holiday music.

This weekend, December 16-18, Roland Park Civic League hosts the “Roland Park Shop & Dine” event. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all the shops and restaurants in Roland Park will offer special deals and discounts to shoppers. New women’s clothing shop, Boutique 44 in Wyndhurst Station, will offer a Holiday Open House featuring an afternoon happy hour from 2-5pm.

Christmas Village in Baltimore

Through December 24, The Inner Harbor hosts an annual pop-up Christmas Village for tourists to visit, in addition to shopping at the permanent stores on the waterfront. The southeast corner of the harbor has been transformed into a German-Style Christmas Market, complete with music events, holiday themed vendors, and even warm glog.

Hampden, of course, has its infamous “Miracle on 34th Street.” The single block, must-see, Christmas destination draws thousands of shoppers and diners to the neighborhood during its run, which is generally from Thanksgiving weekend through the new year. When you’re done with your Christmas shopping on the avenue, stroll two blocks down to visit the lights, snap a selfie, and then head right back to the avenue for a meal at one of the neighborhoods countless restaurants.

Wherever you do your shopping this year, keep the holiday spirit of giving in mind. Keep safe, and warm out there!

Rachel Bone is a regular contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl.