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By Madeline Kerr

The Pepper Pod in Chelsea is hosting a Veterans Christmas Market and “She-Shed” sale on Dec. 3 from 12-4 pm, and there’s a good chance you have never been to a Christmas market quite like this one before.

That’s because this will be the first time that The Pepper Pod, a retreat centre specifically for women veterans, has hosted this kind of shopping event, as last year’s even was cancelled due to weather. There are few places quite like The Pepper Pod. While many of the traditional Christmas Market goods will be available for sale, most vendors will have a connection to the military community, and many will be veterans or serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“It’s generally a tiring, sombre, low-energy time of year,” says Pepper Pod executive director Julia Thomas, referring to the blustery days of early December. “But this is the kind of event that is going to leave everyone so energized.” Thomas explains that the Christmas Market, like most of the events hosted by the Pod, is aimed at providing “an opportunity to support our women veterans… it’s an opportunity [for them] to inspire each other.”

Thomas is still hoping to attract more vendors to join the ranks (so to speak), but already the list of goods is extensive and diverse. There will be Christmasmas decorations for sale, as well as artisanal honey, locally-roasted coffee, cheeseboards, soy candles, stationery, soap, bath-bombs, speciality olive oils, dried herbs, jewelry, and more.

The Christmas Market may just be taking place for one afternoon, but The Pepper Pod is home to a year-round boutique known as the “She-Shed,” which will also be hosting its sale the same day. The proceeds from the sale of these items – which include crafts, jewelry, candles, and artisanal foods – go towards supporting the veteran community.

The Christmas Market is not a fundraiser for the centre. Admission is completely free and open to all members of the public, and vendors are not charged for their participation. So that the organizers can plan for an approximate number of attendants, interested shoppers are encouraged to register online ahead of time. This can be done on The Pepper Pod’s website at The event will take place outdoors and under a tent set up on the grounds of the centre, across the road from Nordik Spa.

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