It’s that time of year when everyone is shopping for holiday gifts, and New York City offers many options for completing your shopping list. One of my favorites is Grand Central Terminal’s annual Holiday Fair. This year’s Holiday Fair hosts 74 different booths, guaranteed to offer a variety of gifts for anyone you may be shopping for. The Holiday Fair takes place in Vanderbilt Hall, a convenient location.
With 74 booths to choose from, I’ve chosen some of my favorites to focus on for this article. The first one to catch my attention was that of Danielle Gori-Montanelli, who makes jewelry, hats, and other accessories from high quality wool felt. Danielle’s designs are fun, colorful, and whimsical, with close attention to small details. Here’s one of Danielle’s hats. The detail work on this hat is delightful.
She has some fun pins as well.
My favorite pin was this one. And while I was talking to Danielle, another woman came up proudly wearing one of them on her coat lapel. She said that she had received so many comments about it!
Finally here’s a picture of a sophisticated necklace made of black and white felt. I loved the architectural elements in this piece.
Next, I found the booth for Nöel Nomad, which carries beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations made by women in Kyrgystan. The ornaments are adorable–there are numerous different animals, as well as angels and nativity scenes. These ornaments would make great gifts and stocking stuffers.
One of my favorite thing at Nöel Nomad was the nativity scene, complete with yurt! Look at the lovely embroidered details on the yurt.
Another favorite: With Love, From Brooklyn. This shop focuses on artisan foods and other items, with the focus on products made in Brooklyn. The booth had so many things to choose from: Mast Brothers chocolate bars; Fatty Sundays chocolate covered pretzels; Field Trip beef jerky; illustrator Claudia Pearson’s New York-themed tea towels and coffee cups; Salty Road salt water taffy; caramels from Liddabit Sweets; The Jam Stand’s delicious jams; and spreadable bacon from The Bacon Jams. Yes, I just said that–spreadable bacon jam. I tasted it. Although I was skeptical, it was actually delicious! (I’m sure I left a few Brooklyn-based businesses out–my apologies!) But they definitely had some great stuff!
One fun product at With Love, From Brooklyn was W&P Design’s Carry On Cocktail Kits. If you know someone who enjoys cocktails, these kits would make unexpected and fun stocking stuffers.
One final fun thing from With Love, From Brooklyn: Boundless Brooklyn’s DIY Model Kits, including the ubiquitous New York City water tower. These kits have recently been featured in the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. There are also occasionally gallery shows, with artist-painted versions of the water towers. Here’s a photograph of a completed (but unpainted) water tower.
In another row, I discovered The Owl Workshop. One side of the booth had adorable organic cotton baby clothes, many with New York-specific screen-printed designs.
On the other side, there were tiny handmade outfits and accessories for dogs.
Just down from this stall was Verrier Boutique’s handcrafted paper items, included prints (both framed and unframed) and delightful sparkly cards. Verrier Boutique is the brainchild of mother-daughter team Ashleigh and Jude Verrier. If you are looking for a unique greeting card for birthdays or holidays, these cards would do the trick for sure! And the prints are bright, fun, and creative. (I particularly loved the New York City-themed Christmas cards, one of which is featured below.)
As I thought I was getting closer to the end of the Holiday Fair, I found MarieBelle New York Chocolates, which are made in Brooklyn. MarieBelle’s chocolates are sumptuous–rich and creamy. And they are presented in a way that makes them appealing, perfect for gifts (or for your own eating pleasure, as they’re hard to resist). MarieBelle’s signature ganache chocolates are screen-printed with edible cocoa butter designs; each pattern signals a different flavor, but also turns them into works of art.
MarieBelle is also known for their gourmet hot chocolate:
And, for stocking stuffers, MarieBelle has delicious chocolate bars. One version has sophisticated packaging and comes in flavors like Japanese Macha, Choco Banana, and Espresso. The other is playful and features saucy vintage pinup girls!
Finally, in the very last booth, I found another treasure, called Emma. Emma has no website, but her work is amazing. Everything in her shop she made by hand, either using crochet or knitting. She has beautiful scarves, hats, and headbands in a variety of soft, colorful yarns, but she also had some unique hats and neck pieces that are avant-garde, truly works of art. I thought I would feature of few of those special pieces here.
While you’re at Grand Central, make sure that you allow time to explore. The Terminal has beautiful architectural details, and there’s a food court with some delicious food and drink options on the lower level Dining Concourse. It’s also a good opportunity to see the model train exhibit at the New York Transit Museum’s annex, which is free.
Because the Holiday Fair takes place in Grand Central Terminal, it is easy to get to by public transportation. The 4, 5, 6, 7, and S subway lines all stop at Grand Central, as do numerous buses. You can also take the Metro North Railroad.