As an atheist, I must admit that I have a great fondness for the Christmas Season. It is not for any religious reason. My parents, culturally Jewish, but definitely not believers, always celebrated Christmas. They loved giving gifts and spending time with friends and family. So, every December, the season sets off my desire to bring those around me together, and I search for the right gift. That is why I go to the Holiday Market at Union Square in New York City.
Christmas Markets started in the towns and cities of Germany in the 14th century. During the four weeks of Advent, towns would host markets that sold seasonal foods, drink and goods. They would also have music, singers and a nativity scene. The Union Square Holiday Market started in 1995. Today, over 100 vendors sell their wares at the south end of the park along 14th street. As I walk along the several rows of vendors there is a wide range of goods for sale. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Kayrock – is a silk-screening and printing factory that is based in Greenpoint Brooklyn. Kayrock produces stationary, posters, tee-shirts and much more. Many of the goods, especially the tees, have a decidedly progressive message, so you get good quality and good ideas at the same time.
Corkbuds – this imaginative company up-cycles used wine corks as homes for plant cuttings. The corks provide a base for the soil that allows the plants to breath and also holds moisture. Best of all, they are really cute. When the plants grow, they can be replanted into a proper pot.
|Some corked succulants|
Black Lamb – Brooklyn based artist Rachele Rouquié creates some of the “punniest” art for sale. Her works are all hand made of cut paper and collage. At the market she is selling mostly greeting cards, although there are some larger pieces available.
Real. Weird. Art. - Joey Allgood produces wonderful, if surreal art, but then again, the name of hos company proves to be truth in advertising. My favorite is a picture of a banana in a gorilla suit in a shower. All of his work will make you go HMMMMM.
Eve Devore – Ms. Devore would like you to ponder on this idea – “What would you look like if you were and owl?” In fact, she has “owlized” many icons, from The Statue of Liberty to Winston Churchill. Her work shows an excellent sense of humor.
La Muse Kalliope – Artist Jean Lin has designed a colorful universe of lovely beings to help us get through the day. Little musette will inspire creativity. Dragonettes and Unicornettes help make our wishes come true. These eclectic little additions to your home are all hand-made and in fact they are interactive.
Tribal Home – Looking for piece of Middle Eastern style for your home? Tribal Home’s stall is over-flowing with lamps, bowls, and other home accessories that will bring a splash of color to your living quarters.
La Savonnerie – Offering a wide variety of soaps from Provance, France, the stall of La Savonnerie is both colorful and aromatic. Savon de Marseille are produced according to traditional methods dating back to the 1600’s. They are made from olive and vegetable oils, sea salts and the alkaline ash from burnt sea plants.
These are just a few of the wonderful vendors at the Union Square Holiday Market. But it is just a taste of what you can find when you visit. Head over before the market closes on December 24th.
Getting There: The market is located at Union Square – 14th street between University Place and Broadway. You can take the 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q trains to the Union Square stop. You can also take any of the M14 busses cross town.