It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Stress-mas

Still hunting for that perfect gift for someone? Step away from the department store and head to one of the dozens of holiday markets and fairs that have popped up all over New York for something unique and maybe even handmade.

Whether you’re on a budget or just looking for something special, holiday markets are the way to go. And boy, are there a ton of them around. In no specific order, here are some of the season’s great holiday markets:

The Jingle Festival has returned to Chelsea Market and includes more than just your outstanding designers: music, theater, revolving art exhibits, poetry, and dance make this holiday festival a happening one through December 23.

More than 125 unique boutiques from around the world set up shop in Bryant Park through January 2, 2011. Pick up some Max Brenner chocolate, eco-friendly gifts, and much more.

Forget the Time Warner Center! Right across the street, you’ll find the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, where you can pick up gingerbread houses, handmade wooden puzzles, and more through December 24.

The Union Square Holiday Market, open until 8:00 p.m. through December 24, is a favorite of many New Yorkers.  Make sure to download their winter coupon book here.

The creators of the Hester Street Fair bring you The Big Social Holiday Market on December 17-23 on Mulberry Street. Pick up art, jewelry, handmade and vintage gifts, and snack on some delicious foods from staples like The Meatball Shop and Melt Bakery.

The Grand Central Holiday Fair presented by The New York Times is open every day through December 24 and features 76 hand-picked vendors that include everything from jewelry to handmade crafts.

If you’re able to Carpe Brooklyn, we recommend that you do so, because where the Slope meets the Swamp you’ll find the best holiday markets around. The Third Annual Lyceum Holiday Marketplace opens its doors on December 18 and 19 to a world of handmade holiday gifts, crafts, food, arts, music, photos with Santa, and even some batting cage action. There will also be a $1 raffle for an iPad. While you’re there, walk a few blocks to catch the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Craft Market III also on December 18 and 19 at two venues this year: Littlefield Performance Space and Textile Arts Center. For a list of vendors, click here.

And there’s more. Walk a few blocks toward Atlantic Terminal and into the Skylight One Hanson as Brooklyn Flea presents Gifted: A Holiday Market. More than 100 vendors on three floors include one-of-a-kind items like recycled vinyl record jewelry and delicious foods you will not want to miss. Gifted will run through December 23.

Also in Brooklyn, but over the Williamsburg Bridge, you’ll find the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, a holiday hang-out and shopping wonderland, on December 18 and 19.

In Westchester, support the arts at the second annual New Rochelle BID Holiday Arts & Crafts Market on December 18 and 19. Local artisans sell handcrafted jewelry, art, ceramics, clothes, and more. You can also check out this handy dandy Hudson Valley anti-mall shopping guide courtesy of Metromix.

Also, make sure to check out Pace student Jordan Veilleux’s holiday market pick and other favorite things here.