Holiday shopping: The mere mention of those two words can bring terrifying flashbacks of claustrophobic malls filled with frantic consumers moving about to a soundtrack of screaming children and wretched seasonal songs. (Really, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," again?)

It doesn't have to be that way. And at some places, it isn't.

These NYC holidays markets seek to turn that shopping frown upside down, offering unique experiences filled with independent-minded vendors selling an eclectic array of goods.

Grand Holiday Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar's weekend market is transforming into
The Grand Bazaar's weekend market is transforming into a hot spot for the holidays, just in time to get your December gifts. Peruse holiday-specific goods from more than 100 vendors, including VoilĂ  Chocolat, ornaments from The Mermaids Dream and more. (100 W. 77th St., Manhattan, open Sundays from Nov. 27 to Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., grandbazaarnyc.org) (Credit: Grand Bazaar NYC)

F.A.D. Weekend Holiday Market

Head to Cobble Hill for unique finds at
Head to Cobble Hill for unique finds at this market, offering jewelry, accessories, art and more from more than 45 independent vendors. For that one-of-a-kind, local gift for the holidays, this market has you covered. (Basement of St. Paul's Church, 190 Court St., Brooklyn, Dec. 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18; 11 a.m.-6 p.m., free admission, fadweekend.com) (Credit: F.A.D. Weekend)

Brooklyn Flea + Smorgasburg Winter Market

The Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg seasonal merger has
The Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg seasonal merger has returned to its 2010 location. Peruse 75 vendors, selling an array of wares from the handmade to the vintage, and enjoy eats from 25 Smorgasburg food purveyors in the confines of a gorgeous, Art Deco former bank space. To raise money for the Food Bank for New York City, the market has an entry fee for the first time -- $1 for attendees over the age of 16. (Skylight One Hanson, 1 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, open through March, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., brooklynflea.com) (Credit: Brooklyn Flea)

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Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

When you finish up showing off your triple
When you finish up showing off your triple axel on The Rink at Bryant Park, acclimate to walking on a nonslippery surface by browsing the shops of the Winter Village. There are more than 125 different shops for your perusing pleasure. (Bryant Park Winter Village, 40th and 42nd streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan, Oct. 29 to Jan. 2, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, wintervillage.org) (Credit: Bryant Park Corp.)

Union Square Holiday Market

With more than 100 merchants, the Union Square
With more than 100 merchants, the Union Square Holiday Market provides a plethora of creative gifts for your shopping needs. The possibilities are endless -- from handmade jewelry and leather belts to accessories made from recycled plastic. Take a break from browsing and grab a snack from one of the food vendors, because who doesn't work up an appetite while shopping? (Union Square, Manhattan, Nov. 17 to Dec. 24, Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. urbanspacenyc.com) (Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton )

Astoria Market

This weekly market transforms into a holiday haven
This weekly market transforms into a holiday haven for three Sundays. Head to Astoria to shop from around 40 vendors, selling an array of handmade wares including jewelry, stained glass, ceramics, knitwear, leather boots and baked goods. (Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave., Queens, Dec. 4, 11 and 18, noon-6 p.m., astoriamarket.com) (Credit: Astoria Market)

Grand Central Holiday Fair

One major advantage is clear at this market:
One major advantage is clear at this market: a historic location with other holiday-spirit-inducing options, including the annual train show. Head to Vanderbilt Hall and peruse around 40 vendors selling wares for him and her, and for kids on two and four legs. (Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E. 42nd St., Manhattan, Nov. 14 to Dec. 24 (closed Thanksgiving Day) 10 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., grandcentralterminal.com) (Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

If this looks similar to the Union Square
If this looks similar to the Union Square version, it is: It's run by the same folks. So expect a similarly eclectic mix of goods, with something for most everyone on your list. Among other items, you will find handmade wooden puzzles, artisan chocolates and clothing for men, women and children. (Columbus Circle, at 59th Street and Central Park West, Nov. 29 to Dec. 24; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and Saturday; until 7 p.m. on Sundays, urbanspacenyc.com) (Credit: Erin Kestenbaum)

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BUST Craftacular Holiday Craft Fair

Who knows what handmade gems you'll find at
Who knows what handmade gems you'll find at the indie-minded market from your favorite femme-minded magazine? The Craftacular will take over the giant indoor Brooklyn Expo Center, where you can browse the wares of more than 200 crafty sellers of knitwear, food, vintage goods, art and more. Activities include make-your-own flower crowns, an ugly sweater photo booth, holiday manicures and a curated cocktail bar. Head to this fair early: The first 300 attendees will get a free swag bag of products. (Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin St., Brooklyn, Dec. 10 to 11, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., $3 at the door, bust.com) (Credit: BUST Craftacular)