A Very Village Holiday Shopping Experience

Posted November 28, 2019

New York City is a veritable treasure trove for old-fashioned, in-person shopping. Navigating the extensive network of shops, boutiques, and outlets can be daunting for visitors, but there’s a way around that. Check out pop-up markets like the Union Square Holiday Market

Over the past couple of decades, the market has grown into a vast maze of goods from local makers, artisans, retailers, and craftspeople, all in one place. At Union Square Park, you’ll find everything from handcrafted jewelry and clothing to painted lampshades to antique maps. After our brainstorming session, gifting will be at the top of your mind, and you’ll be ready to pounce when you see the perfect gift.

Continue reading for a few of our favorite places to shop during the holidays. And skip down to read our tips and tidbits for finding, purchasing and giving a great present.

When it comes to those people who you're just not quite sure about, get a gift that’s guaranteed to please—decadent chocolate. Li-lac Chocolates offers a uniquely crafted treats for every taste bud, from rich walnut fudge to chocolate bars in the shape of Lady Liberty. Li-lac Chocolates has been in Manhattan since 1923, boasting to be our oldest chocolate house. Find exactly what you’re looking for in one of Li-lac’s six locations across the city or on their online store.

Looking for a unique and timeless treasure for the one you love? Stop by the Washington Square Hotel December 14–15 to discover stunning, wearable art. Joan Michlin is among New York’s most prominent artists and goldsmiths, with works exhibited in nine major museums world-wide. Swing by our lobby to discover the timeless designs of Joan Michlin’s art jewelry. Come meet Joan in person and see the latest collections! Learn more.

Sometimes the best gift to give is an experience. And Whether you live in the city or not, Greenwich Village makes the perfect romantic get-away. Come stay with us at Washington Square Hotel—check out our some of our gift packages. We are the soul of the Village and located right in the heart of the City. Book a stay in our locally-owed, historic boutique hotel.

It’s no secret that New York City is expensive, and during the holidays, budgets can be tight. However, you can still enjoy a quintessential Greenwich Village shopping experience guilt-free, using the following three tips on shopping conscientiously during the holidays. 


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. Whether or not you agree, the holiday season is upon us, bringing with it a whirlwind of family dinners, cocktail parties, long trips, and, of course, holiday shopping. Everyone has their own gifting style; some start the process of saving, budgeting, and shopping for gifts in June, while others have perfected the art of the last minute scramble, dashing through markets and boutiques on a scavenger hunt for the perfect gift. Most of us, it seems, fall somewhere in between.

If you’re still working out how to shop mindfully, responsibly, and sustainably, you’re not alone. But with some thoughtfulness and preparation, you can approach the giving season with all the optimism and merriment it calls for. Here are some of our tips for rethinking and reshaping your shopping and gifting habits to find a flow that feels right for you.


Let’s face it – some people are just good at giving heartfelt gifts. These are the people who surprise you with something lovely, thoughtful, and completely unexpected. They make it look effortless, but the truth is, giving a heartfelt gift is anything but. Gifting from the heart requires time and energy; how much often depends on whom you’re buying for. If the occasion is your best friend’s birthday, chances are, you have plenty of ideas, since you know what this person loves and needs. But for others, you might need to take some time for reflection.

Sure, you can pick up another pair of socks for your father-in-law and no one will judge. But if you’d like to give from the heart, think about the recipient of the gift. What are some shared experiences you’ve had? When have you seen this person truly happy? When you visit, are there objects they use and seem to sincerely enjoy? Let your mind wander and jot down some notes. Proceed with an open mind.


Online shopping is the way of the future, and we can see why. With a few clicks, you can complete your holiday shopping from your couch, wearing sweatpants and binging on Netflix. It’s not a bad way to go.

However, you’re less likely to come across something unique and unexpected when you’re searching for specific items online. Algorithms are at work, marketing a specific set of products to you. When you shop in person, you may come across a gift or item you’ve never even heard of before – something you’d have thought to type into that search engine.

Besides the possibility for the unexpected, shopping in person has plenty of other benefits. You can handle the goods yourself, getting a feel for quality and durability. You can see the true color of the item, rather than wondering if the color looks differently on your screen. Plus, shopping in person can be really fun. Chat with artisans, grab a locally brewed latte, and check out one of the many local food vendors serving up top-notch eats. All in all, wandering the Union Square Holiday Market is a quintessentially New York experience all on its own, thanks to the lively and spirited atmosphere.


For the environmentally-minded, the prospect of buying something that will eventually end up in a landfill and remain there for the next 1,000 years feels a tad uncomfortable, to put it mildly. In an era when people seem to have more stuff than ever, it’s hard to see the benefit of buying one more thing, especially when you know where it will end up.

However, you don’t have to be a Scrooge to protect the environment. A little thoughtfulness can go a long way toward minimizing your impact on the environment. For starters, try checking out some of our favorite vintage, consignment, and resale shops in the neighborhood. Some of the best, most thoughtful gifts come second hand.

Think about the life cycle of your gift. Is it long? This is especially relevant when shopping for children, who tire of and outgrow toys at lightning speed. While it’s probably unreasonable to buy a toy a child will cherish for the rest of his or her days, you can at least aim for quality and longevity. How long will the recipient be able to use your gift? Will it wear out quickly, or could it be passed down and reused for years to come? Is it recyclable?

One way to be sure your gift won’t end up in the landfill is to give an experience. Tickets to a concert or performance, a membership to a museum, or a year-long subscription to a great magazine or streaming service are some gifts that are both exciting, long-lasting, and easy on the planet.


Give a DIY Gift That Doesn’t Suck

It was much easier to get away with DIY gifts when you were a kid; maybe your grandma still has that Popsicle stick frame you glued together in second grade. Now that you’re grown, it’s hard to get your loved ones to swoon over arts and crafts projects, especially if you’re not the crafty type. If you jar and gift homemade jam made from berries picked from your own garden, we applaud you. For the rest of us mortals, there are still some easy ways to give a budget-friendly, DIY gift this season.

Think green. Drop by your local plant nursery and see if they’ll help you create a unique terrarium. Usually, you can buy the pot, soil, plants, and even decorative items like twigs, stones, and moss to create something unique and special, right in the shop. The process is fun even for people who aren’t expert gardeners, and plants are known to purify and the air and reduce anxiety; a win-win, if you ask us.

Make a photo book. In the age of social media, many of our favorite photos are online, viewed exclusively via screens. As the years pass, these photos become buried in the feed, forgotten except for when your social media platform reminds you of a long lost memory. Well, there are plenty of online retailers that can help you create your own photo book – the modern version of the photo album. Many people love to keep them on the coffee table, where it’s easy to thumb through and spend a little time reminiscing. It’s one answer to finding a gift for that pesky “person who has everything.”