I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Ever wish you could dodge the chain stores during the holiday season? More and more people are embracing that idea and leaving the corporations behind in favor of a handmade holiday. It's also not surprising that busy crafters come out of the woodwork to take part in the anxiety-inducing shopping rush that becomes ever more urgent as the calendar moves toward December 25.
Among this year's not-to-miss stops include seasonal markets in Union Square, Bryant Park, Columbus Circle, and Grand Central Terminal, but there are a variety of excellent one-day events, too, such as HANDMADE IN NYC, an artisan craft fair.
Situated in the idyllic West Village, local artists come together inside St. Anthony's Church (154 Sullivan Street at W. Houston) to meet and greet fellow neighbors, meet new friends, and sell their wares to the masses. This year's event promises to be its best ever. On hand will be a variety of professional artists, each displaying and offering for sale handmade jewelry, greeting cards, books, children's items, knitwear, accessories, and ceramics. Among this year's sponsors of the free event is The Ink Pad, a one-stop shop for crafters of all ages who are in need of specialty papers, art and stamping supplies, and inspiration. The store also hosts workshops for crafters as well as classes. So, beat the department store crowds and help support a real community of independent artists. After all, you're only as unique as the gifts you give.