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.