The Columbus Circle Holiday Market

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Photo: Leo Goes Grr

Neighborhood: West 50s
Type of Place: Specials

It's a chilly afternoon and getting dark fast--but a hearty group of carolers creates a welcoming mood as I approach the Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Making my way through, I'm happy to find more than a few locally made, handmade, and eco-friendly gift options. Preserving the planet is in vogue; here's hoping it will only become more and more so.

The girls of the Uneek booth are selling jewelry. I especially love a handmade crystal flower pendant on a silk cord, for an extremely reasonable $19. Maybe the winter has me dreaming of spring blooms; I also admire a stainless-steel flower pendant ($19 on its own, $25 with chain).

Want to jazz up the bottle of wine you're bringing to a party? The Homart booth offers stylish silk bags (3 for $15) sized to hold the vino. I also loved the luxurious decorative silk pillow cases, in many jewel tones and elegant patterns--a great deal at 3 for $25.

Tom Toomey of TCat Designs ( and Marushka Saunders of Stinky Minky Children's Wear ( are sharing a booth. Tom's kids' outfits are inspired by the artist Eric Carle; one charming option is a pink-and-brown t-shirt with a puppy face and the words "Woof Woof," sold with matching brown pants ($35). Marushka's pajama sets are also getting lots of attention ("I say it every time I see these: Why not make them in adult sizes?!" says one shopper). A flannel pair patterned with vintage airplanes ($45) looks especially welcoming--and sure, grownups could happily lounge around in them. (Are you listening, Marushka?)

The booth run by the Verna Kular photo collective is the kind of thing I'm always looking for at fairs like this: A great selection of practical items featuring the work of up-and-coming artists. In this case, t-shirts, bags, and journals bear terrific photographic images from members of the collective; photo prints are also for sale. A sharp-looking t-shirt featuring a down-home NYC street scene ($28) is the kind of thing your giftee won't find just anywhere.

"We love non-plastic toys!" exclaims a couple at the booth of Leo Goes Grr (, a new company featuring onesies, toys, and stuffed animals that are ecofriendly and made from organic materials. The enthusiasm is warranted; for health and environmental reasons, the age of plastics is rightfully slipping away. I'm especially drawn to the super-cute and snuggly animals (from $20, with natural materials and dyes), but everything's charming here. Festive blocks that can be linked to form a magnetic chain (again, made with all-natural dyes and totally baby-chew friendly) are being fussed over at $6 each. Funny how the toys of the future end up resembling the well-designed and much-loved staples of the past.

Customer enthusiasm is also brewing at the Bridgland Studios booth (, where gift-buyers from last year are paying a return visit. The glass jewelry here, courtesy of husband-and-wife team Jay and Jennifer Bridgland, catches my eye. I immediately notice a fantastic necklace: a "chunky" chain of steel loops with a beautiful crimson glass pendant ($100); but the lovely earrings start at a very affordable $10 and come in a wide selection.

At the Down to Earth booth, offering natural bath products, I chat with proprietor Cerise, who tells me that I have "a warm spirit." As we stand in the cold, her words cheer and comfort me immediately; so obviously she's got at least as warm a spirit as I might have. Getting back to shopping, I especially love products from the Bubble Roome, labeled "Handmade Goodness from Brooklyn" (the 3-Butter Body Cream, $19.50, smells good enough to eat!).

The warm spirit may be willing to keep exploring, but the flesh needs to get back inside. I say goodnight to Cerise and head toward the subway--but I'm caught along the way by the wonderful handmade "hanging spirals" at the Atmosphere Wooden Spiral booth ( The decorative spirals, made from renewable-forest wood and decorated with non-toxic paint, are delightfully unique and start at $25. The spirals' shapes can be altered at whim, and the company states that "We believe it brings good luck to change the shapes often." A sweet gift that brings its own good luck? Sounds like a slam-dunk.

May your holidays be bright and your new year luck be great. Happy shopping, and happy 2009!

Monday-Saturday 10 AM-8 PM; Sunday 10 AM-7 PM
until December 24th   - Pamela Grossman; Dec 14, 2008

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market
Columbus Circle
New York, NY