The holiday markets scattered around Manhattan may seem like overcrowded tourist traps, but they're actually brimming with exceptional last-minute finds. Below, our tricks for navigating the stands with your composure intact:
At the Columbus Circle shops, make a beeline to the La Savonnerie booth for lavish stocking stuffers like honey-almond soaps ($7 each or 4 for $25), then head to Spices and Teas for some calming ginger and cherry brews ($7 to $12). On your way out, browse New Form Perspective's beautiful selection of wrap-neck cardigans ($280).
The Union Square Holiday Market is full of Hudson Valley treats like Onurth Organic peppermint-and-lavender body scrubs ($34) and facial kits ($106). Pick up some leather-and-crystal wrap bracelets ($84) for your niece at the Sara Designs booth, then refuel with a Nutella-and-banana crepe from Bar Suzette ($6).
Among the glowing glass shops currently lining Bryant Park, none is more inviting than Vintage, the warmed-by-fireplace boutique offering jewel-tone stone rings ($35) and Himalayan-rose-scented candles ($26). After you've perused the eclectic finds, get some violet shower oil ($18) from Sabon and settle near the skating rink with a cup of Max Brenner hot chocolate ($5).