clock menu more-arrow no yes
Urbanspace/Facebook

Filed under:

Where to Shop at Manhattan's Biggest Holiday Markets

Find gifts for everyone from your social-media-crazed sister to your grumpy dad.

It's easy to write off New York's big holiday markets as another tourist trap to avoid, but so quickly eschewing this festive tradition could cause you to miss out on some seriously convenient present-shopping. In any of the four major locations — that's Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and Union Square — you can find gifts for all the names on your list.

We've highlighted five booths from each that make the crowds worth it and take the pressure out of finding the perfect gift for that specific someone.


Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Columbus Circle

For your first Christmas with the in-laws: Ebb & Flow

You can't go wrong with gifting a nice-smelling something, and Ebb & Flow offers candles, soaps, diffusers, and room sprays in a variety of interesting but non-invasive scents — think "tea clove sage aloe" and "dark ginger lavender."

For your three-year-old cousin who needs constant entertainment: Silly Puppets

Almost frighteningly realistic, Silly Puppets has everything from monkeys to monsters to grandmas for both casual and experienced puppeteers alike. For the most part, the market outposts offer only hand puppets, but head to the online store if you're more drawn to their full-body or professional product lines.
*also available at Bryant Park

wcocrop

Photo: Wildflower + Co/Facebook

For the teen who will Snapchat every gift she gets: Wildflower + Co

Kitschy charms and emoji embroidery are staples of this Etsy-based brand that spans both jewelry and paper crafts. Spice up your bracelets, backpacks, or cards with any one of their unique but on-trend additions.

To add a personal touch to a gift card: Black Lamb

Defaulted to giving cash in the form of a gift card? Dress it up with a card that has a sense of humor. Black Lamb's offerings are like Delia's graphic-tees-turned-stationery, with cute but minimalistic illustrations that add a definite pop no matter what's inside.

vcrop

Photo: Virginie Mellefiori/Facebook

For the friend who's trying to get Instagram-famous: Virginie Mellefiori

Rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and pins that are different but dainty. Hang a girl playing jump rope from your neck, or give your outfit a pop of color with the brand's confetti-inspired rings, earrings, and bracelets.

Bryant Park

For the aspiring mommy-blogger: Lucy and Leo

lucyleo

Photo: Lucy and Leo/Facebook

This organic clothing for babies and toddlers is just begging to be photographed, looking just as at home on its wearer as it would on your Instagram feed. Shop tops, bottoms, bodysuits, and "tidbits" for boys and girls, and don't be surprised if you see an honorary photoshoot online a few days later.

For your college friend who burns sage in her apartment: Sticks N' Stones

Partnered with the Garden of Curiosity, both brands strive for an urban alternative to gardening, incorporating the use of succulents and crystals in everything from basic terrariums all the way up to hanging ceramic and wooden displays.

For your aunt who signs texts with her name: Cathie Miranda Potterylady

Down to earth, well-crafted pottery that's made with a family feel. Mugs, sponge holders, and other kitchenware fill up the small booth, all microwaveable and dishwasher safe.

For the working mom who needs to treat herself: Sabon

While this luxury body and bath brand has a few locations across the city, its Bryant Park booth makes it easy to pick up Sabon's trusted and coveted products while checking off the rest of your list. The booth here is large to accommodate all the options, and helpful staff are there to give recommendations.

bop

Photo: @best_of_pals/Instagram

For your dog, because he totally knows it's the holiday season, right?: Best of Pals

This vegan store sells clothing, toys, and treats for pets to those that love them. Pick up some adorably festive sweaters or a TeePee Tent, all tried and tested by the brand employee's own pets.

Grand Central Terminal

For the Ron Swanson in your life: Fort Greene General Store

While the brand does carry items like jewelry and perfume, the Grand Central booth is all leather, matches, and trendy gear for the urban camper — or the person who camps out on the couch.

fortegreen

Photo: @fortgreengeneralstore/ Instagram

For the person who manages to make even their 125-square-foot apartment look chic: Apotheke

You'll want this brand's selection of candles, soap, and bath salts for the packaging alone. You won't just be gifting lotion — you'll also be gifting a classy piece of home decor.

For the baby you'll spend most of the evening playing with: Cate & Levi

Made from old sweaters and prints, these stuffed animals are toys that will look just as great in the hands of a toddler as they will when they're inevitably strewn across the living room. Bonus: you can also pick up kits to make your own, if you want to give this season an extra DIY touch.

wlfb

Photo: With Love, From Brooklyn/Facebook

For the family member who couldn't make it to the city this year: With Love From Brooklyn

Everything you know and love about the borough has been condensed into this tiny booth — food, prints, mugs, you name it. The items have all the novelty of being local staples, but you don't have to go exploring to find them.

For your grandfather to wear on Christmas morning: General Knot & Co

While this brand's neckwear and pocket squares are tasteful and timeless, you can also pick up everything from candles to iPad planners, all in equally sophisticated (and manly) scents and patterns.

Union Square

thefillingstation

Photo: The Filling Station/Facebook

For your dad who is known to send food back at restaurants: The Filling Station

You won't find these oils, vinegars, and salts at just any old grocery store. Cinnamon pear vinegar sits on shelves with butternut squash oil, and will give even the most sophisticated foodie a run for their money.

For your friend who can't hug every cat but tries anyway: Meow Parlour

This Lower East Side novelty isn't selling cats (you'd have to go to the café at 46 Hester Street to adopt one of your own), but they are selling everything a cat lover would need. Tee-shirts, totes, and other tidbits that fill the booth are just begging to get covered in fur.

For your younger sister who just discovered The Perks of Being A WallflowerThe Strand

The mammoth independent bookstore has compressed its stacks and stacks of books into one tiny booth. Actually, there are only a few books on sale at the Union Square location, but there are gifts and trinkets aplenty, like tee-shirts, bags, and small memorabilia.

For your friend who communicates in memes: Urban Cricket

With tanks and tees emblazoned with phrases like "You killed Brooklyn" and "Good things come to those who hustle," this hip retailer is almost painfully on-trend. For the more subtle pop-culture nerd, there are still items like Bill Murray coasters and boob mugs to quietly boast your irony.

poziepoems2

Photo: Urbanspace/Facebook

For the cousin moving into her first dorm room: Pozie Poems

This hanging poetry is perfect for any location. Display it in your window or hang it over your bed so you can always be inspired with the words of your choice.