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Christkindl markets in New York City can be crowded, confounding affairs. There are people everywhere, the stalls are small and you are constantly being jostled as people jockey for more personal space. But they are also festive and fun and a great place to get gifts for your loved ones. You don’t even need to go in with a game plan…you just have to stay in good humor as the old lady next to you elbows you in the ribs to get a closer look.

I went to two holiday markets this weekend: the Columbus Circle Market and the Union Square Market. While there are some repeat vendors between the two, I did find that they offer enough variation that it’s worth going to both. (Union Square is a bit bigger, though, so if you are negotiating with a boyfriend/husband/bored friend, then that’s the one to go to.) You will probably notice I didn’t include Bryant Park. I went last year and didn’t enjoy it. I found the permanent stalls much less festive and the offering limited and commercial. I did have friends tell me this weekend that skating there is fun, which I haven’t done yet. (If anyone else has gone to the market this year and thinks it’s worth going back, definitely let me know.)

The great thing about these markets is they provide a space for some really interesting artists and crafts people to showcase and sell their work to an audience who may not have otherwise come across it. There are some cheap knickknacks, but many stalls are rented by local artisans, who are selling legitimate made in New York items, as well as international wares from more recent implants. I took photos of some of my favorites, which you can see below. Also, if you want a complete list of holiday festivities, check out New Yorkled (a rather jarring site, but it has useful links and info) and Markets of New York‘s holiday markets guide. The New York Post also highlights a few of its favorites here and includes more images of the jewelry vendors. I was more focused on the food…

See You in the City!

Union Square Market:

View of the Market. 

“No Chewing Allowed” are absolutely delicious French truffles. Cute gift packaging too.

In honor of The Muppet MovieSilly Puppets! I wanted one of these. These are at both Columbus Circle and Union Square.

These pieces are from Alternative Art and I was quite taken with them, although, they are pricey. The small ones you see here are $20 and they go up from there. It’s a mixed medium of original photography, painted canvas overlay, gold leaf and stained glass finish.

I liked every single one of these flavors and all are made in Brooklyn.

Liddabit Sweets makes naturally made candy bars with local, seasonal ingredients. Yum!

Columbus Circle:

Come and enjoy a honey tasting from BeeUntoOthers.com I hope to receive a jar in my stocking.

Belgian Chocolates in vintage New York style by Rogue Confections.

Oh my gosh, these empanadas were really good. We missed Pies N’ Thighs, which were last year’s food highlight, but these were still delicious.