Take it all in. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market only comes once a year! — Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey / RVD COMMUNICATIONS / Urbanspace
We certainly don't want to add one more thing to your to-do list at the end of the year. After all, there are presents to wrap. There are relatives to ignore. There are Christmas cookies to eat and New Year's resolutions to anticipate.
Confronted with twinkling lights and passionate vendors in rustic wooden booths, even the most dedicated cynic might be forced to smile. (It may have something to do with the excess of pastries, but we will also pretend that it's the holiday spirit, because stories sound more sentimental that way.)
Hopefully Santa slows down long enough to read signs — Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey / RVD COMMUNICATIONS / Urbanspace
New York is dressed up in its holiday finest at this Central Park market, generally open from late November or early December on up until Christmas Eve.
There are local vendors that will be sure to return – such as The Truffleist from Queens, which specializes in . . . guess what? Gourmet, high-quality truffle products.
From honey to oil to mustard, their booth is the place to get hostess gifts that are more memorable than another bottle of wine. Not that we're knocking the holiday staple of alcohol. We're just convinced your creativity can do a little better.
The Truffleist will elevate your next batch of popcorn, that's for sure — Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey / RVD COMMUNICATIONS / Urbanspace
Of course, what is New York if it's not trying to constantly outdo itself? This year, other vendors include the New York Puzzle Company, which places everything from maps to "Harper's Bazaar" covers on its pieces. With anywhere from 20 to 2000 pieces, these puzzles could definitely make an activity for a long winter's night.
Now, if you're in the market for more New York gear (and you're in the middle of Central Park, so no one would blame you), scooch over to the Lil' New Yorker, where a collection of New York artists and designers specialize in handmade products for the cool little kids in your life.
They've been known to even offer cotton karate pants that claim, "I like big bugs, and I cannot lie."
A long day of work deserves a little booth hopping — Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey / RVD COMMUNICATIONS / Urbanspace
Save your wallet and sacrifice your pant size by perusing the food stands. You will not be wanting for choice: from organic bean-to-bar chocolate made in small batches in Brooklyn at Raaka Chocolate to the new addition of Hill Country Barbecue, inspired by the "meat-markets-turned-barbecue-joints of Central Texas."
The only thing this market is missing is mulled wine, but it's forgivable. From Christmas stars to thick homemade jams to glass ornaments, 59th Street and Central Park becomes dedicated to our wants rather than our needs.
There's always January for the "needs" side of life. And those resolutions . . .
"Twinkle, twinkle, little Christmas light!" — Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey / RVD COMMUNICATIONS / Urbanspace