Holiday time in New York City is filled with lights, fanciful displays and shoppers rushing to find the perfect gift. Yet beyond the big box stores and Black Friday sales, a growing number of local merchants and artisans offer a wide range of sustainably minded products sure to please the pickiest on your gift list.
From ballet shoes to bike chain jewelry, sustainable gift giving has never been easier with many merchants and artists offering options to buy at their stores, online or at convenient holiday fairs throughout the city. Here are some surefire gifts that will be appreciated while reducing your environmental impact this holiday season.
Vegan Ballet Slippers
Cynthia King Dance
1256 Prospect Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11218
For the dancers in your life, Cynthia King Dance offers an alternative to leather ballet slippers with its cruelty-free, vegan dance shoes for children and adults. Available in traditional shades of pink, white and black, the surprisingly affordable shoes make excellent holiday gifts and can be purchased either at the Brooklyn studio or online.
Commuter Cups and Bike Chain Jewelry
139 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
This East Village storefront is a virtual treasure trove of sustainable items for everyone on your gift list. Green-minded commuters will appreciate a travel mug made of corn, while teens and anyone with a quirky bent are sure to love the recycled bike chain jewelry at the store. Purchases can be made either in person or online for the holiday season.
Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair
87 E. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10017
Offering an upscale shopping experience convenient for the 750,000 visitors who come into Grand Central Terminal each day, the yearly holiday fair is a juried showcase of the best in handcrafted items for your guests. Look for fine shawls, knitted items, hand-crafted jewelry and handbags, many which use organic, recycled and natural materials. The fair opens on November 12 and runs through December 24.
Practical And Food Gifts
Green in BRKLYN
432 Myrtle Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Green in BRKLYN offers a one-stop shop for green living and focuses on everyday items for home and family. An excellent source for organic coffees, tea and chocolates, the store is the perfect place to pick up a quick practical household or food gift or items to create your own green-inspired gift basket for family and friends.
Food Basket And Wine
The Green Grape and Green Grape Wine Store
765 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
For the green-minded foodies in your life, nothing can beat an organic and sustainable food basket. Packaged in a reusable tub that comes with its own pack of herb seeds, once the treats are gone, recipients can use the container to grow their own herbs. Headed off to a holiday party? The 756 Fulton location is an sustainably minded wine shop, featuring a range of wines at affordable prices perfect for a hostess gift or to bring to the next get-together with friends.
Funky, Recycled Gifts/Holiday Shops
40th St. and 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10036
The holiday shops open on November 18, offering plenty of time for shopping the 125 vendors scheduled to fill the tiny shops with handcrafted and unique gift items. Look for hand-knitted organic items, unusual gifts made from recycled materials and other sustainable items in the stalls that will be sure to please those who value handcrafted gifts. Open late and until Christmas Eve, the holiday shops are also the perfect place to find a last-minute gift for the green-minded person on your gift list.
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Tamar Auber is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.