A Day of Christmas Shopping in New York City
Silver Bells! Silver Bells! It's Christmas-Shopping-Time in The City. Let's make a day of it.
There's a reason New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations during the holidays. It's simply a magical place to be this time of year. The snow-softened streets are illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights strung up on every tree and rooftop. Curiosities from bow-sporting paper-mache giraffes to thimble-sized vilages call out from the store windows, and everyone seems to be in their best moods.
Christmas is magical. What about Christmas shopping?
I have three challenges when it comes to Christmas shopping. I don't enjoy shopping, I don't enjoy crowds, and I really don't enjoy spending money. So for me, finding the perfect gift that sends just the right message for under a hundred dollars can be almost as daunting as facing the hordes of fellow procrastinaters that fill the shops the week before Christmas.
That being said, when one doesn't leave all of one's Christmas shopping for a huge trek to town the day before Christmas (the method I learned from my grandfather), it can be not only more productive, but also enjoyable. Especially when you have the luxry of having New York City at your fingertips. So why not make a day of it? Grab a friend (and some comfortable shoes), and lets head to SoHo, where we'll wind our way towards Chelsea.
1. For Starters
Bistro Les Amis, 180 Spring St
You have a full day ahead. Fuel up on house-made pasta at this sweet little French Bistro where servers still check your coats at the door.
Example: Whole Wheat Goat Cheese Ravioli: $14
2. For the Stylish Freind
Treat a friend to some handcrafted millenry for an authentic New York souveneir. Plus the quirky shop-owner is an experience all in herself.
Example: Felt Beret: $30
3. For the Tea Connoisseur Friend
Harney & Sons, 433 Broome St
Remember your trip to New York all winter long via your morning cup of Harney & Son's tea. This shop in SoHo has an entire wall of tea tins, full of unique and flavorful blends for all tastes. Stocking stuffers anyone?
Example: Sampler tin: $4, regular tin $6-8
4. For the Girly Friend
Arianna Skincare, 193 Spring St
Arianna sells soaps and Bath Bombs so beautiful you are tempted to taste them! For twelve bucks you can find a cupcake-shaped gift that will make anyone happy.
Example: Classic cupcake Bath Bomb: $10-14
5. For Conversation
SoHo is always bustling with interesting characters (and fashion), such as this dapper old chap with the vinatge bicycle. Collect a few stories to tell when handing out your gifts.
6. For the Chocolate Lover
MarieBelle, 484 Broome St
All of this shopping leaves you in need of a treat. Stop in at MarieBelle for some handpainted chocolates to add to your Christmas Shopping and enjoy a cup of New York's finest hot cocoa while you're there.
Example: Small chocolate bar: $4; 10 oz Hot Chocolate Tin: $13
7. For the Hipster Friend
Generation Records, 210 Thompson St or Village Music World, 197 Bleecker St
Dig through bins of records, tapes, and vintage posters for a gift with a little character. Even if your friend doesn't have a record player, the album art can sometimes be a treat in itself, with or without an added frame.
Example: Unsealed Perry Como record: $3
9. For the Arty Friend
Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St
Enjoy a sprawling bread-crumb trail of street art leading up to the Whitney museum. Hit up the gift shop after a wander through the museum for artsy-gifts or a fun postcard.
Example: Carmen Herrera Postcard: $3
10. For the Foodie Friend
Spices and Tease, Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave
Enjoy the colorful spread of heaped spice bowls in this little corner of Chelsea Market. The tea selection is good here too, but the spice and herb selection is what brings me back.
Example: 4 oz Ground Cumin: $7
For the Other Foodie Friend
Buonitalia, Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave
You've walked at least 8 miles today and you've just been exposed to mounds of spices. You're ready for some dinner and maybe even an oyster shooter (or two) for kicks. Grab some dried pasta or other goods from the Italian grocery on your way out to complete your Christmas shopping for the day.
Example: 250g Egg Pasta Fettuccine Campofilone: $6.50
Ta Da -- For the Finale
The Highline Park
Finish the full day off with a walk along the Highline, a fairly new fully-landscaped park that was built on a converted railroad trestle. Walk along the skyline and watch the lights dance off the horizon, bags in tow, satisfied with a full day of Christmas shopping, a number of names checked off your list, and a great deal of fun while doing it.
Five pink fingers on a snowflake path.
A child bent over her fallen glove laughs.
Snowflakes and ice-skates;
music and first dates.
roasted nuts from carts at the park,
Twinkling bulbs that white out the dark.
Bright red sleighs with baskets of roses,
Tall Dappled Greys with white velvet noses,
Sleigh bells, and don’t tells, Christmas is coming.
Crosby, Sinatra. Everyone’s humming.
Cocoa-mustaches and peppermint kisses
handshakes and pound cakes; a thousand warm wishes.
Ribbons of gold spun with sweet tales of old
Dancing in streets with strangers you meet
Packages are bundled, both large and small,
The Christmas Eve Drumroll: toy cars and dolls.
Dark Russian Tea, in clear sparking glasses,
Rockette and Rockefeller and seasonal passes.
A man with no shoes is handed a pair,
He pats his pup’s head. Somebody cares.
It’s a season for giving, of laughing, and living.
Christmastime in The City, it’s the magic we love.
With joy for the future, in a fallen pink glove.
Thank you Elizabeth Hyde for letting me take a million pictures of you and for our whimsical SoHo/Chelsea Adventure! Please come back soon <3