If hitting the crowd-packed malls and big-box retailers this holiday season makes you want to throw back spiked eggnog, read on. Because getting something for everyone on your list doesn’t have to be soul sucking and stressful.

The New Local, a Boulder-based arts nonprofit, is igniting the magic of the season all month long with its inaugural Starlight Festival—a multi-weekend celebration of treats and crafts where participants are encouraged to savor the moment with cocoa, song, and artistry.

The all-female and female-identifying organization first emerged as a pop-up in November 2019. Then, members filled the space of longtime, former janitorial retailer Top Hat Supply on Boulder’s Pearl Street with an array of art, handcrafted bath products, and various wares. It was a hit. In six weeks, the group collectively earned $48,000 and each artist took home 100 percent of her profits.

The New Local in Boulder
Photo courtesy of the New Local

Last year, the New Local relocated into a picturesque, historic Victorian known as the Montgomery House at 741 Pearl Street. Open seven days a week, the permanent gallery has become so much more than a place to shop for one-of-a-kind treasures. The dwelling houses several artist studios, including botanical and floral artist Fawns Leap.

The New Local’s Annex, just a few doors down at 713 Pearl Street, hosts a rotating selection of exhibitions, tea ceremonies, yoga sessions, and workshops. Currently, the genre-defying work of Beth Van De Water can be seen at her compelling show Los Corazones through the end of the month.

All gallery art sales help to keep workshops and classes offered by artists thriving, with 40 percent of purchases going to the nonprofit’s diverse programming.

“It’s all about community,” says Marie-Juliette Bird, founder of the New Local and the jewelry designer of luxury line Blackbird and the Snow. “From fostering inclusive events to nurturing aspiring and established artists, being in creative community generates joy. Stewarding an iconic Boulder home from 1885 is a privilege. We enjoy filling this historic space with creative energy and inspiring artwork.”

The gallery at the New Local in Boulder
Inside the New Local’s gallery. Photo by Bridget Dorr

Starlight kicked off the weekend of Black Friday and will continue through Christmas Eve, giving folks plenty of chances to embrace a new tradition or bask in the nostalgia of an old favorite.

Included in the mix are various art pop-ups where even more fresh pieces will be up for grabs, with 25 percent of purchases going to the New Local’s scholarship program that provides a variety of free artistic programming.

“The Starlight Festival brings together the most uplifting elements of the holiday season within one historic venue, our Victorian headquarters on West Pearl Street,” Bird says. “Every weekend, we’re hosting local musicians, holiday-themed activities for families like gingerbread decorating and menorah painting, plus a juried-collection of gifts from 75 exceptional local women artists, designers, and makers.”

Starlight Festival Events and Treats

Homemade Christmas cards at the New Local in Boulder
Photo courtesy of the New Local
  • Saturday, Dec. 2: Warm up with complimentary hot cocoa and tea while you peruse the well-appointed gallery, which includes ceramics, apothecary goods, paintings, fine jewelry, photography, beaded tapestries, botanically dyed dresses, handmade clothing, books, and more. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Dec. 2: Shop the abstract paintings of Sarah Kinn and sustainable clothing of Moss D by Marcia Kay Davis. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 3: Skip a trip the drugstore and craft handmade paper cards sure to impress your loved ones.* 10 a.m.–12 p.m.; $50/duo or $75/trio 
  • Friday, Dec. 8: Embrace Colombia’s tradition of crafting lanterns for Día de las Velitas, or “Day of the Little Candles,” to celebrate the start of the holiday season. 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 9: Enjoy a holiday serenade by live bands while you shop the sustainable clothing of Foxlilie Studio. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 10: Bond with your kiddos during an adult-and-child ornament-making session.* 10 a.m.–11 a.m. or 11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.; $50/duo or $75/trio
  • Sunday, Dec. 10: Create a new family heirloom together at the ceramic menorah painting class.* 1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.; $75/menorah
  • Sunday, Dec. 10: Shop the hand-painted clothing of Elizabeth Strunk and Victorian-inspired jewels by Blackbird and the Snow. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 15: Channel your inner Great British Baking Show when you compete in the family gingerbread house contest.* 4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.; $45/house
  • Saturday, Dec. 16: Make wood-burned ornaments, because who doesn’t love playing with fire?* 11 a.m.–1 p.m.; $75 (ages 16+)
  • Saturday, Dec. 16: Shop nature-inspired stained glass by Cicada Glassworks. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 17: Paint wood ornaments by Hollow and Form to add to your tree.* 11 a.m.–12 p.m.; $45
  • Sunday, Dec. 17: Dress up your four poster bed with embroidered sheets by Elizabeth Prentiss of Sunshine Canyon. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 23: Shop one-of-a-kind ceramics by Bridgett Dorr and Ab Barleaux. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 24: Give the gift of greenery without all the work when you shop handmade ceramics, pressed with botanicals native to the region, by Lynette Errante. Noon–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 24: Decorate holiday cookies from Scandinavian bakery Süti and Co. just in time for the Big Man’s visit, for a suggested donation. Noon–5 p.m.

* These events require online registration.

The New Local is located at 741 Pearl Street in Boulder. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kalene McCort
Kalene McCort
Kalene McCort is the former features reporter for the Boulder Daily Camera and is working on her first novel. Follow her on Instagram @Kalenemccort.