Holiday Markets are, in theory, magical places full of wonder and holiday warmth. But as anybody who has fought through the madness at Union Square during the holidays knows, they can sap your will to shop outside the Internet. So instead of throwing elbows at hastily constructed outdoor malls, check out some of the city's independent holiday markets, which harness the work of the city's creative community in places off the tourist trail.
Spiked Mug Fest and Holiday Bazaar
For those of us living in cold climates, the best part of the holidays—besides the joys of family, friends, and divine birthdays—are hot boozy drinks. To partake in this hallowed holiday tradition while perusing the goods of more than 50 vendors, head to the Spiked Mug Fest and Holiday Bazaar in Long Island City. You'll be able to try out cocktails like the whiskey-based and cherry liqueur-infused "Kansas Christmas Cake," honey bourbon hot toddies, warm mulled cider, and winter beers like Coney Island Brewery's "The Plunge." There will also be live bands, a DJ, and food vendors from all over Queens, which means practically all of the planet's cuisines will be represented.
Saturday, December 17th, 11:30 and Sunday December 18th, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. // The Factory, 30-30 47th Avenue, Long Island City // Free (Holiday Bazaar only), $39 (three hours of unlimited drinking) // spikedmugfest.com
Renegade Craft Fair
Holiday shopping should be joyful, right? Buying gifts for loved ones (and those whom you don't particularly like but are married to loved ones) should be an act of joy. But instead, the crassness of corporate America has turned it into a tedious quest to accumulate and trade the fruits of assembly lines and child labor. But it doesn't have to be that way! Rebel against the Christmas-industrial-complex by shopping at Renegade Craft Fair in Industry City. Over three weekends in December, Renegade Craft Fair's holiday pop-ups will feature a rotating cast of 150 independent artisans and makers selling everything from decorative deer antlers to Taylor Swift-inspired pins. There will also be plenty of food, as well as DJ sets and DIY workshops.
Saturday to Sunday, December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-8, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. // Factory Floor, 233 37th Street, Brooklyn // Free // www.renegadecraft.com
Fashion designer Wren Britton posed with his gas mask, made of corsets from the 1930s and 1940s, at the Morbid Anatomy Flea Market, where 18 vendors (mostly from Brooklyn) sold taxidermy, insect-studded jewelry, and human bones at The Bell House in Gowanus on Sunday. "In today's society everything is so fast and disposable," said Britton, whose stand featured Victorian-style jewelry and bat-shaped pendants. "Stuff like iPhones get renewed every year. I like those antiques that still work after 100 years, and I want to bring that back to people." @purevile #purevile2015 #morbidanatomy #morbidanatomymuseum #morbidanatomyholidayfleamarket #nyc #brooklyn #gowanus
Morbid Anatomy Holiday Flea Market
Do you ever feel the holidays can be a bit cloying? Are you one of those Tim Burton types who wishes that every holiday could be Halloween? Then you'll want to do your shopping at the Morbid Anatomy Holiday Flea Market at the Bell House in Gowanus. Participating vendors sell deconstructed and mounted skulls, mummy head snow globes, diaphonized animal specimens, and vintage books, art, sundries and ceramics that I'm assuming are weird and creepy.
Sunday, December 11th, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. // The Bell House,149 7th St, Brooklyn // $1 // morbidanatomymuseum.org
Awesometown Shopping Village
Get your full holiday fix at this East Williamsburg market: sip on some hot cocktails, get warm next to a fire pit, and buy your gifts from Brooklyn artists, designers and "eccentric entrepreneurs." Located at The Well, a 4,000-square-foot beer hall, Awesometown does sound pretty, well, awesome.
December 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18, 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. // 272 Meserole Street, Brooklyn // Free //
Bronx Museum Holiday Market
For the second year, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is hosting a holiday market showcasing the work of local artists, designers, bakers and brewers. The market will feature more than 50 vendors, musical and dance performances, photo opportunities with Ms. Santa, chances to make your own art, and hot cocoa and cider. Also, if you plan on being there Sunday, be sure to get in the holiday spirit by bringing some of your unused winter accessories for the Just a Little Warmer winter clothing drive to benefit Bowery Mission and SAMMON Build.
Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11, 11:00am to 6:00pm // 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx // Free // bronxmuseum.org
Greenpointers Tropical Holiday Market
Despite the fact that all the holiday origin stories come from the Middle East, the holiday aesthetic is mostly an ode to winter in the northern hemisphere: it's all snowflakes, open fireplaces, and Coke-drinking polar bears. It's nice and cozy, but let's be honest: winter mostly sucks. So check out the Greenpointers Tropical Holiday Market, where you can enjoy a mojito and pretend you reside in a place where the sun doesn't set at 4:30. The market, which takes place in an old rope factory, will feature more than 60 vendors and will have a tropical photo booth and offer massages, personalized stories by The Roving Typist, henna tattoos, face painting, and nail art.
Sunday, December 11th, 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. // Greenpoint Loft, 67 West Street, 5th Floor, Brooklyn // Free // Tropical Holiday Market Facebook page
Stuyvesant Indi Bazaar
This Bed-Stuy market was started by a collective of local female entrepreneurs and features local and handmade clothes, jewelry, crafts, tonics, accessories, and specialty foods. But unlike some of the other markets on this list, the Stuyvesant Indi Bazaar emphasizes personal wellness. You can't forget to take care of yourself during the holidays, you know? Massage and reflexology therapists will be on hand, and December 11th will be "Self-Care Sunday," which will feature workshops like "Flower Essence," "Cannabis in the New Era of Medical and Recreational Acceptance," and "Tools for Business Building and Growth."
Sunday, December 4th, 11th and 18th, 12:00 p.m. to 7:00pm // 376 Tompkins Avenue, Brooklyn // Free // stuyvesantindibazaar.com
F.A.D. Weekend Holiday Market
For the next three weekends, F.A.D., which stands for Fashion, Art and Design, is bringing 45 indie artisan vendors together in the basement of St. Paul's Church in Cobble Hill. So not only can you peruse the goods of some of the city's best artists, designers and makers, you can tell your mother you went to church over the holidays and it will be the truth, for once.
December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18 11:00 a.m. to 6:00pm // St. Paul's Church, 190 Court Street, Brooklyn // Free // fadweekend.com
Other holiday markets to check out:
Brooklyn Flea Winter Market (Fort Greene), Midnight Market (Jersey City), Om Grown (Inwood), Astoria Market (Astoria), Native American Art Market (Bowling Green), Old American Can Factory Holiday Market (Gowanus), Phoenician Flea (Williamsburg), Shwick Holiday Market (Bushwick), Vegan Shop Up (Brooklyn), Artists and Fleas (Williamsburg and Chelsea), Bulletin Holiday Market (Williamsburg), Etsy Handmade Calvacade (Chelsea)