It’s that time of year again. That time when you struggle to find the perfect gifts for the more demanding and discerning people on your holiday gift list. 

Let’s face it, some people are simply harder to shop for than others. Whether they’re picky, inscrutable or are literally the person who has everything, you’re sometimes left scratching your head with indecision and holiday stress. Worry no more! Here’s a rundown of the best local shops, sites and gifts to get you out of any gift-giving jam.

For that Neighbor Who Prefers Locally Sourced, Organic, Hand-dyed Hemp Garments

For some, if it isn’t artisanal, it simply isn’t worth owning. Fortunately, New York City’s seasonal markets are an absolute goldmine for finding one-of-a-kind, beautifully handcrafted gifts and artwork for the craft-obsessed folks on your list.

  • BUST Holiday Craftacular: Venerable BUST magazine has been a strong proponent of DIY, craft and creative culture for 22 years. Their 10th annual Craftacular will be held at the sprawling Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint Dec. 19 and 20 and will feature knitwear, jewelry, home décor, food, music and more.
  • Grand Central Holiday Fair: Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the one million busy New Yorkers and cheery visitors that pass through the famed terminal each day lies the massive Grand Central Holiday Fair. Situated in Vanderbilt Hall, the fair runs through Christmas Eve and features fine art, collectibles, home goods, jewelry and apparel from 74 vendors.

For that Design-Obsessed Boss Right Before Review Time

Bosses, male or female, can be hard to buy for. How do you select something personal that’s not too, you know, personal? Having a boss with a keen eye for design and a taste for the finer things only adds to the struggle. Here are two local gift sites that are more than up to the task of pleasing the hard-to-please.

  • Uncommon Goods: Brooklyn-based Uncommon Goods specializes in well-designed, high-quality products at reasonable prices. Many of the items are handmade, crafted from environmentally friendly materials and shipped in resourceful packaging. The site is organized by interest and recipient to make choosing just the right gift—for boss, grandpa or girlfriend—a breeze.
  • Areaware: Areaware is known for functional everyday objects with a sense of humor. Located in Williamsburg, Areaware works with designers to produce engaging collections that run the gamut from wooden toy robots to a piggy bank casted from an actual pig. No boring gifts here.

For the Fussy Children in Your Family

You’d think kids would be easy to shop for, right? Wrong! Today’s kids are savvier and more selective than ever, and frankly, a rainbow xylophone just isn’t going to cut it. Try these local shops for your kid conundrums.

  • Acorn Toy Shop: This sweet shop in Boerum Hill specializes in sustainably made, handcrafted toys meant to be passed down for generations. To visit Acorn is to delight in discovery as their array of heirloom toys, crafts and apparel is hung artfully from the ceiling and tucked into unexpected nooks and crannies throughout the store.
  • Dinosaur Hill: Dinosaur Hill has been delighting New York children and adults for nearly 25 years. Located in the East Village, the fanciful shop specializes in handmade toys and clothing to please the eye and stimulate the senses.

For the Super Who Could Use a Little Christmas Cheer

Local spirits are a growing enterprise in the New York area. Why not taking advantage of the trend and hand a bottle to that hard-working super or beleaguered doorman this holiday season?

  • Gristmill Distillers: Based in the Adirondacks, Gristmill Distillers specializes in farm-to-bottle spirits that perform equally well sipped straight or mixed into a fine cocktail. All ingredients, from the organic corn to the spring water, are locally sourced, mashed and distilled. Their current product line includes Blackfly Bourbon, Rusty Piton Moonshine and 1892 Apple Brandy. Look for them in Brooklyn at Grapeshot Wine & Spirits and Duke’s Liquor Box.
  • Black Dirt Distillery: Based just 50 miles outside of the city, Black Dirt Distillery has gained a reputation for its bourbon and apple jack brandy. Made from ingredients grown in the region’s namesake rich, black dirt, the spirits are locally distilled and aged in American Oak barrels. Find Black Dirt products at Astor Wines & Spirits and other major liquor shops.

For that Frenemy Whose Diet is Going a Bit Too Well

These high-end sweets will tempt even the most dedicated dieters away from their quinoa salad.

  • La Maison du Chocolat: La Maison du Chocolat specializes in truly scrumptious chocolate confections — including ganaches, pralines and truffles — housed in luxe packaging. While decidedly decadent, gifts can be found at price points from $8, for two chocolates in a delightful jewel box, to more than $300, for enormous hatboxes filled with their best-selling assortments. La Maison du Chocolat is available online and at five Manhattan locations.
  • Ladurée: Based on Paris’ glorious Champs-Elysées, Ladurée is best known for their simply perfect macarons —whipped egg white cookies surrounding decadent fillings such as rose petal, salted butter caramel and blackcurrant violet. Ladurée also sells an array of soaps, candles and chocolates in scrumptious Parisian packaging. Two of their three U.S. locations are in Manhattan: an uptown Madison Avenue boutique and a SoHo store and restaurant. Merci!

Whether your gift list is large or small, whether the recipients are naughty or nice, we’ve got your 2015 holiday gift giving covered.


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