Happy Holidays and Merry Lights n’ Shit!

The annual Holiday Markets are a New York City Yuletide-must. Who doesn’t love the magic of twinkling lights and walking at the speed of two broken hips? Nothing says “it’s Christmas time in the city” like sipping hot cocoa arm-in-arm with a finance bro you met on Hinge while not making eye contact with the vendors. You don’t have money, that’s what the Patagonia-vested boy is for!

Even with a little cash to spend, it’s not like you walked through this maze of candles and cat coasters with any intention of lugging home unique artisan gifts for your loved ones. You have one mittened hand for your eight-dollar white mocha and one for Eric from Morgan Stanley, or your best gal pal, or anything you may have just bought at an actual store. Since we would never expect you to “support local artists” or “contribute to the microeconomy,” here’s your very own holiday guide to enjoying this quaint seasonal attraction while skillfully dodging pesky shop attendants!

Earbuds

One of two reasons to be proud you don’t own AirPods, this method is tried and true in any context when you don’t want to be approached. Simply stick those outdated peasant wires in your listening tubes like it’s 2007 and be on your merry way! To add to your Fortress of Solitude, hum something, anything.

Now, if the vendor doesn’t see your pitiful non-wireless music device—let’s say you have your back turned to them or they don’t hear “Holly Jolly Christmas” coming through your clenched teeth—they might still try to explain their art to you. If this worst-case scenario comes to fruition, take out one earbud with as much physical exertion as you possible and scream at the top of your lungs “WHAT? SORRY!”, pointing to the other earbud. Then turn back around and be on your way. Nice!

Play Your Cuff

You remember that finance bro you’ve been seeing, right? Eric? He introduced you to his parents! Eh, that’s fine, he’s not that memorable anyway. Let’s put those six feet of walking quarter-zip to use.

Get up-close with Eric and stop at your booth of choice. Once the booth’s merchant starts telling you about how they painstakingly made each piece by hand, remember something “funny” that Eric told you earlier and laugh way too loudly while you tell the “joke” back to him between fits of laughter. You’re just so into each other (until spring comes) that no hand-painted teacup could distract you from your love(?) for each other.

Alternatively, give that sweet boring boy a playful peck on the cheek and insist that you left lipstick on his face, turn that into a task or conversation piece, and effectively drown out this down-and-out craftsperson trying to turn a profit in their dying medium. Holiday win!

“The Destitute Wench”

‘Tis the season to feel guilty, hardworking local business owner! If one of these greedy fuckers tries to eek you out of your hard-earned wage by telling you they’re selling two-for-one or have a five-dollar-bin, exhale every drop of breath in your body and start explaining how you’re down and out right now and, as much as you would love nothing more than to take a hand-knitted beer koozie home for each of your sixteen children, you just have to try and make ends meet. Run away in a fit of tears. That booth wasn’t even good, anyway.

“The Orphan Annie”

A fun variation on “The Destitute Wench,” wander into your booth of choice and begin to routinely window-shop the shit out of them. If the person behind the counter says so much as “These are handmade,” look them in the eyes as hopefully as you can, then let your gaze immediately drop as you turn out your pockets and say “Leapin’ lizards ma’am, I really wish I could. Maybe one day!” Then continue staring at the merchandise wistfully while the shop owner turns their attention to someone who doesn’t look like they’re trying to get adopted by a rich but absent socialite.

“The Wily Pup”

Obtain a small purebred dog before your trip to the shops. We know those narrow corners and corridors at the Markets are no such place for an animal that can be easily stepped on. That’s the point! Carry the pup around until you reach a shop you have no intention of patronizing. Once the vendor starts reeling off their speech to you, gently lower the dog to the sidewalk. Once the dog makes contact with the ground and inevitably pulls in any direction, dramatically look down and go “woOOAAAAHHHhHH there!! HEY! You— oh my god I’m so sorry. Fifi come back!!” and pull the dog safely beyond the booth’s parameters. Foiled again, Brooklyn Sock Company!

Now you have all the tools you need to enjoy the Instagram-able fun of the Holiday Markets without any of the responsibility of keeping this beloved tradition alive. No one needs to know that you ordered all your gifts on Amazon.

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