i love giving gifts and sometimes i get a little carried away in my hunt, but really, i think it’s the most satisfying thing to find that perfect present. so i will, on occasion, make certain members of my family crazy as i visit shop after shop for this person and that person. so that you all don’t have to endure that process, i have put together a list of my favorite go-to shops — mostly small ones with some craft fairs and a few of my favorite chains. visiting just a few of these places should get you through most of your shopping list. as for electronics and books, i think you all can figure out where to go for that (though i do have my favorite book shops). and if you don’t have time to go out and about, i am rolling out a few gift guides next week too.
my first shopping guide today is focused on downtown, and later this afternoon i’ll have some ideas for midtown and uptown. next friday i’ll hit brooklyn’s highlights. if you are downtown, do be sure to stop by chelsea market. it’s a little insane, but the food gift ideas are pretty great there right now (lucy’s whey, jacques torres, dickson’s farmstand) and there’s even a future perfect pop-up if you can’t make it out to williamsburg. a real highlight is to then mosey down to the marc jacobs at bleecker and west 11th where they’ll take polaroids of you with their adorable polar bears and penguin helpers (pictured above). you even get to take a print home. how sweet is that.
auto: a great design shop packed with what is in right now like the phaidon color library series, missoni towels, stylish hats and often great wallets, pens and toys. 805 washington street near gansevoort street, meatpacking district, 212.229.2292.
mxyplyzyx: little bits of everything here - always cutting edge but affordable and fun (good things for pets too). the shop can get packed so be wary or visit early in the day. lots of ecofriendly items too. 125 greenwich avenue between horatio and jane streets, west village, 212.989.4300.
flight 001: perfect all those items for travel you cannot believe you lived without for so long, and especially good for that “hard to buy for” guy. 96 greenwich avenue at west 12th street, west village 212.989.0001.
greenwich letterpress: one of my all time favorite stationery shops. these girls have style. 39 christopher street between waverly place and 7th avenue, west village 212.989.7474.
kiosk: these creative shopkeepers collect goodies from around the world and bring them back for all of us. the current exhibit is “portugal: we are the world.” 95 spring street, 2nd floor between broadway and mercer streets, soho, 212.226.8601.
michele varian: gorgeous silk and velvet pillows, as well as all sorts of appealing, beautiful and mostly reasonably priced home accessories. 35 crosby street between grand and broome streets, just east of soho, 212.226.1076.
the upper rust: great antique shop with addictive apothecary glass containers as well as frames, lighting, mirrors and perfect stocking stuffers. 445 east 9th street between avenue a and 1st street, east village, 212.533.3953.
john derian dry goods: first, the place for decoupage in all sorts of shapes and sizes plus handcrafted costumes for kids, linens, jewelry. the editing that goes on in this shop and the sister space next door is perfection. 10 east 2nd street between 2nd avenue and the bowery, east village, 212.677.8408.
save khaki: great basic high quality affordable clothes for the men in your life. 327 lafayette street at bleeker street, east village, 212.925.0134.
holiday markets: i’ve only been to two of these markets so far so i can’t really say whether one is better than another but if you’re in the neighborhood i think it’s worth checking at least one out. of the ones i have not visited, i think my top choices will be gifted and the bust holiday craftacular.
holiday handmade cavalcade: an etsy market place,at the openhouse gallery, 201 mulberry street near spring street. saturday, december 5th.
gifted: this is the brooklyn flea reincarnated in manhattan. there’ll be lots of food and interesting artisans i’m sure. 20 east 4th street at lafayette streets, almost east village. runs wed. to sun. for dec. 2nd to the 6th, and 9th to the 13th, and then every day from dec. 16th to the 24th.
bust holiday craftacular: this fair is all about crafts and the handmade which all sounds good to me. at the metropolitan pavilion, 125 west 18th street between 6th and 7th avenues. sunday, december 6th.
union square holiday market: now in its 14th year, this market has more than 100 boutiques. union square park, off of 14th street and broadway. runs from now through december 24th.
downtown chains + big stores: sometimes, we all have to go to a chain, and i think these are the best ones. once i’ve checked out some of my favorite smaller spots, and if i still have a few gifts not yet found, i know that i can always pick up something last minute at these places.
abc home: this new york institution has a tremendous selection of somewhat eclectic home goods, plus my favorite nancy koltes has a new spot here with her beautiful linens and cute present ideas. 888 broadway at 19th street, union square, 212.473.3000.
uniqlo: cashmere and more cheap cashmere. it won’t last but it sure looks good while it does. 546 broadway between spring and prince streets, soho, 917.237.8800.
topshop: i still have not been but i’m sure it’s great fun. 478 broadway between houston street and laguardia place, soho.
anthropologie: chain store perfection. 375 west broadway between spring and broome streets, soho, 212.343.7070.
kate’s paperie: quite pricey stationery, excellent card selection and really beautiful wrapping. 72 spring street between crosby and lafayette streets, soho, 212.941.9816.