By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Procrastinators who’ve left their holiday shopping until the last minute needn’t worry that they’ve run out of time to find gifts people will actually want. For those frazzled folks, T&V offers a last-minute gift guide, highlighting a few local shops and holiday market booths with goods sure to please even the pickiest family members.
For the foodie
Beecher’s New York, 900 Broadway, between East 19th and 20th Streets, (212) 466-3340, beechershandmadecheese.com
A cheese monger at Beecher’s told T&V said that the company’s cheese curds are a unique and frequent gift because the squeaky snack is not always easy to find. The shop also sells pre-made gift sets offering a hat box full of cheese and crackers for $55. A couple of options are available with different varieties of cheeses, with one offering the shop’s popular fig spread.
For the lactose intolerant, the shop also has a handful of quirky sauces and spreads, including the fig jam, a rosemary and pear spread and caramel mustard. For the most adventurous lactose tolerant, the shop offers a chevre cheesemaking kit for $27.
Brooklyn Brew Shop/Farm Steady, Union Square Holiday Market, brooklynbrewshop.com
Brooklyn Brew Shop and Farm Steady offer some adventurous gifts for gluten tolerant relatives. The most popular kits the business sells are the Everyday IPA and Everyday Wheat. Kits come with everything necessary to make a batch of beer, but the company also sells additional mixes for variety, and the tools in the kit can be reused for multiple batches. Kits start at $75. For the teetotalers, the Farm Steady branch of the company offers kits to make everything bagels and soft pretzels, which start at $25.
Breads Bakery, 18 East 16th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Union Square West, (212) 633-2253, breadsbakery.com
This Union Square bakery is well-known for its chocolate babka, which is a good option for chocolate lovers, but the shop also offers a handful of other seasonal treats, such as sufganiyot, Israeli jelly donuts for Hannukah and Stollen breads. Both the babka and rugelach are popular, and the babka can be frozen for up to a month.
For the home
Fishs Eddy, 889 Broadway, between East 19th and 20th Streets, (212) 420-9020, fishseddy.com
This quirky home goods store on Broadway makes the procrastinators’ job easy with multiple barrels of pre-wrapped mugs with gift tags attached right near the door under a sign that says “gifts under $20.” Individual mugs are around $15 and sets of glasses are around $30, depending on the pattern. An employee noted that their most popular items are the ones that are conveniently already packaged for easy gift-giving. Some of the more popular items include the heroes of the Torah glasses, since Hannukah-specific gifts are rarer than those for Christmas, and the shop’s Hillary Clinton mug is still selling well. The “First First Man” mug with Bill Clinton on it is still available but is currently on sale, apparently not doing as well as the one with Hillary.
Brooklyn Charm, Union Square Holiday Market, brooklyncharm.com
This jewelry business allows gift-givers to get creative with their presents, offering trays of charms and beads for shoppers to put on chains. Some of the more simple pieces have been the most popular, however, with the monocle necklace and necklaces with states on them some of the best sellers. An employee at the booth said that the states are especially big sellers for gifts around the holidays because people will buy them for their home state to bring back. The monocles vary in size, with the cheapest at $20 and most expensive at $30. Shoppers have the option to personalize necklaces or bracelets with charms that can be engraved with writing. Engraving costs $5 for the first letter and $1 for every letter following.
Nio, Union Square Holiday Market, nio-madewithlove.com
This Israeli company specializes in body products with Dead Sea minerals. One of the best sellers is the body scrub, which is $38 and lasts around six months. Lotion is also available for $30 and if bought with the body scrub, a container of bubble bath gets thrown in for free. The booth also offers face and eye creams, as well as bars of soap, all made with Dead Sea minerals.
The company only has locations at the Union Square and Columbus Circle Holiday Markets and while they have stores throughout Israel, they don’t have a presence in the US yet.
Kubiya Games, Union Square Holiday Market, kubiyagames.com
Kubiya Games founder and creator Kobi Levi offers a number of brain teasers made of sustainable wood and based on puzzles from, in some cases, centuries ago. He has also turned the usually-solitary art of puzzling into a social activity by having players compete to see who can solve the puzzle the fastest. One of the two-player games is a tangram puzzle, which is a handful of triangular pieces that can be put together to make various shapes. Since starting the company, Levi has made some of the tangrams more specific, such as one game that challenges players to make only cats, and another that is in the shape of a heart. The two-player tangram is $55. Other options for both kids and adults is the 3D tic-tac-toe, played on three different levels, and some of the puzzles and educational products are acceptable for children as young as six months.
Hannari & MG, 20 East 20th Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South, (212) 475-7484, hannari.us
This Japanese store focuses primarily on accessories for dogs but the back half of the shop offers knick-knacks and games for kids straight from Japan. As for the dog-related merchandise, the business specializes in costumes, mostly for smaller dogs, although some reindeer and Santa hats for larger dogs are also available. The sushi squeaky toys have been popular and at $8 a pop make an inexpensive stocking stuffer for Fido.
An employee told T&V that the most popular outfits this holiday season have been the reindeer costumes. The store is also one of the few in the US that sells Snoopy products for pets. Outfits for the smaller dogs can range from $20 to $30 and larger outfits are from $40 to $55, but there is also a holiday sale offering 30 percent off certain items through Christmas Eve.