The Very Best of Holiday Markets/Happenings

Grand Central holiday fair, Shops at Bryant Park and more…

The 2010 Holiday Craft Marketplace packs the Brooklyn Lyceum with all manner of handmade holiday hipness Dec 18 and 19. If you waited ’til the last minute, take the opportunity to participate in the movement towards artisanal, homemade, less-corporate goods and gifts. Join your Brooklyn brethren and jump on the bandwagon!

Conveniently close to the Central Park’s Wollman ice skating rink, Columbus Circle Market offers handmade wooden puzzles, gingerbread houses and kits, French truffles, mother and daughter apparel, handcrafted home accessories and more in an elegant and beautiful market now through Dec 24. New for 2010, the market concierge can help you find anything you need—at the market or in the neighborhood.

More than 100 boutique-style shops and specialty food stores from around the world comprise the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, now through Jan 2. Wow your gift recipients with exquisite and distinctive apparel, jewelry, decorative goods, imported and local food and much more.

One hundred local and national merchants bring you some of the world’s most unique gifts at the Union Square Holiday Market, now through Jan 2. This is the place do your holiday buying or just enjoy browsing. Nibbles and noshes throughout the market keep shoppers from getting hungry.

Seventy-six mini-stores illuminated by gold chandeliers suspended from a 48-foot ceiling light up the Grand Central Holiday Fair. This elegant market has everything from contemporary jewelry to art objects and crafts ready for everyone on your list through Dec 24.

The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show, chugging along through Jan 9, features painstakingly crafted miniatures of New York City’s built environment, all made entirely out of plants. Seeds, bark, leaves and fungi are among the botanical resources employed by Paul Busse’s team to create the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and other landmarks. Large-scale model trains navigate the familiar yet fantastically rendered New York landscape.

The U.S. Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than 100 years ago—and today, its Letters to Santa Program has taken on a life of its own. Postal facilities throughout the country allow charitable organizations, major corporations, local businesses and individuals to adopt letters to Santa to make children’s holiday dreams come true from coast to coast.

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