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How to keep your cool at the holiday markets
The holiday shops at Bryant Park.

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).

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