Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Covid has altered our reality and the 2020 holiday season is no exception. Crowded malls and bustling markets have given way to online shopping and socially distanced vendor events. Local businesses need your patronage now more than ever.

Stop at a local brewery and pick up some suds and swag for the beer drinkers on your list, go on a virtual shopping spree by visiting your favorite shops’ websites or stock up on gift cards and drop in when restrictions are lifted.

Staying safe and healthy is the best present you can give to your loved ones this year.

Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square
This festive shopping spot has been reconfigured for socially distanced browsing Nov. 27 through Dec. 23. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, you can stroll through the wooden chalets, stocking up on unique gifts while listening to live music. Your kids can even have a virtual chat with St. Nick. Donations from each North Pole Zoom meeting benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

I Made It! Market Shop Holiday Handmade
The folks behind I Made It! Market have joined forces with Cleveland Bazaar and Akron’s Crafty Mart to bring you a virtual fair filled with more than 150 artisans from Pittsburgh and Ohio. Browse the catalog now for ideas and visit the website Nov. 28-29, when makers will be online to offer advice on crafting and, of course, selecting the best presents.

PupCycled at I Made It! Market. Photo courtesy of I Made It! Market.

Winter Market at The Block Northway
Every Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. through Dec. 18, I Made It! Market vendors and farmer’s market sellers are setting up shop at The Block Northway. Wear a mask and browse the merchandise or support a local food truck while enjoying live entertainment. I Made It! Market also has two outdoor events at Tanger Outlets on Nov. 28 and Dec. 12. The Galleria of Mount Lebanon will host a pop-up starting Nov. 28. It’ll operate noon to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through the end of the year.

The Black Market: Holiday Edition at 623 Smithfield Street, Downtown
Shop for diverse and unique gifts from more than 70 Black-owned businesses from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6. The pop-up, a collaboration between the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Shayla Hawkins Events, features items such as apparel, accessories, home goods, art and candles.

Museum Store Sunday
Give the gift of culture this holiday season. On Nov. 29, more than 1,400 museum stores across the globe will celebrate with on-site and online shopping. Support local institutions such as The Andy Warhol Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, Fallingwater and Contemporary Craft.

Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace
Handmade Arcade’s annual in-person event has been reimagined as an immersive online shopping experience. From Nov. 28 through Dec. 6, more than 130 of the region’s top makers will be represented at the virtual marketplace. You also can experience behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on demonstrations and maker Q&As all from the comfort of your home.

Holiday Glass Sale at Pittsburgh Glass Center
In conjunction with Handmade Arcade Virtual Marketplace, the Pittsburgh Glass Center is having a sale. From Nov. 28 through Dec. 22, there will be an array of locally made funky, fanciful and functional glass art and jewelry available online and in person at the facility at 5472 Penn Ave. Pick up a glass-making kit to make your own gift, too.

Fair Trade Marketplace at Environmental Charter School
This year you can stock up on affordable, fair trade gifts online. The Environmental Charter School (ECS), which typically holds a Fair Trade Marketplace at its Milton Avenue building, is asking supporters to visit its vendors’ websites when shopping for the holidays. A percentage of online sales will help ECS continue to raise funds for the school and support artisans around the world.

Rodef Shalom Gift Corner
Buy Hanukkah gifts, greeting cards and wrapping paper while supporting this local, women-owned Judaica shop at 4905 Fifth Avenue in Squirrel Hill. You can schedule an appointment by calling 412-621-6566, ext. 115 or by sending an email. Browse the Facebook page for gift-giving inspiration.

Holiday Mart at Sweetwater Center for the Arts
Log on to experience Sweetwater’s 2020 Holiday Mart running from Nov. 28 through Dec. 19. The tradition, which is the art center’s largest annual fundraiser, continues virtually with locally handcrafted gifts including jewelry, knitwear, fashion accessories, mugs and bowls, wall art, ornaments and decorations. Get a sneak peek plus first dibs on the goods during the Home for the Holidays Virtual Preview Party on Nov. 27. Tickets are $25 and include access to the online store 24 hours early, a 10 percent discount and a complimentary Preview Party in a Box available for pickup at 200 Broad Street in Sewickley.

East End Free Market for Kids & Outdoor Holiday Social Distance “Party”
Children in Zone 5 can “shop” for free coats, toys and gifts for their families this holiday season. The event runs 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 5 at 113 N. Pacific Ave. It is open to kids from Bloomfield, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Highland Park, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln/Lemington, Morningside and Stanton Heights. To ensure social distancing guidelines are met, participants are asked to register online.

Kristy Locklin is a North Hills-based writer. When she's not busy reporting, she enjoys watching horror movies and exploring Pittsburgh's craft beer scene.