Santa roams the Lees Christmas markets in 2018

Covid makes Christmas markets go virtual in Lees village

  • Virtual Christmas markets planned for Lees village in Oldham
  • Markets have gone virtual to maintain 'community spirit' 
  • Some sellers skeptical about markets being virtual but others excited about idea 
  • Manchester's Xmas markets cancelled 

Christmas markets in Lees village in Oldham have been taken virtual this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The markets will take place on 28-29 November on Facebook where crafters and local businesses are able to share and sell their work virtually.

This year’s markets were organised by Clare Dervan and Karen Jakeman who believe it is important for the markets to go ahead.

Karen said: “We just really wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to still do the Christmas markets, which Clare and I have done annually for the past few years.”

The virtual markets are done through the LSG Business Hub which is responsible for many events that happen in the local area, including a virtual VE day that happened earlier this year also cancelled due to covid.

Karen continued “Covid is a difficult thing for everyone at the moment in different ways and we just want to keep that community spirit going, particularly during the Christmas period.”

Stall of Knitwits full of knitted toys and fashion accessories
Seller Angela Plaiter’s stall from 2018

Hoping to have more of a Christmas market feel, Lees virtual markets will also have Santa and local choirs joining the festivities.

“We really want them to get the feel of coming round a Christmas market,” said Karen.

Christmas Markets at Manchester town hall
Albert square during the Christmas markets 

Angela Plaiter (Knitwits) has been doing the markets for the past two years.

She has mixed feelings about the markets due to them being virtual. “I’m not too brilliant with technology. I am not sure people will buy if they can’t feel and see things in person.

“On the plus side, it means the buyer and seller can do everything from the comfort of their home.”

However, Joanne Barrett (Josie-Jo Pretty Little Things) believes that the virtual markets will be more effective online.

“I’m really looking forward to the virtual markets this year. I think it will be much more effective than the usual annual markets,” she said.

“This year I am getting a much wider audience in the local areas plus there is a massive encouragement to shop local and buy handmade.”