The good news is we now have time to actually see and touch the holiday gifts we are buying. The bad news is Fifth Avenue midtown is pretty much off limits. Seems not the gold standard anymore, anyway. Thankfully, there are many other places to find cool, and likely less expensive, presents. Museum stores and craft markets are great, and you can feel virtuous because they also support worthy causes and people.
The Brooklyn Museum store has amazing local clothes, jewelry and crafts. The store at the Museum of Arts and Design has globally sourced design products, including ceramics and jewelry. The Cooper Hewitt also has well designed products. For expensive, elegant gifts try Neue Gallerie. And for Americana, try the Morgan Library. The Jewish Museum has beautiful holiday toys and tableware. And, the United Nations is not a museum, but the United Nations Gift Centre has an unusual variety of fascinating items from all over the world.
Then, there are the holiday fairs. Lively and large. You could go to Winter Village at Bryant Park and ice skate--or say "hi" to the bedecked lions at the Public Library. Or there is the Annual Holiday Fair Grand Central, where you can also taste innovative Danish food, and find Kidding Around, an excellent children's toy store. The Union Square Holiday Market is another option--and it is close to the city's largest green market, ABC Carpet and lots of other fun stores. The Holiday Market at Columbus Circle is excellent, and after shopping go to Robert to revive and take in a view of everyone and everything. Also splendid is Chelsea Market. Great places to eat and drink, fabulous decorations, and quality pop up stores. Even if you don't buy anything, talking to artisans is fun and inspiring!!!