If the Chinatown snowman doesn't come back this year, literally everything's ruined. (Photo: Angelo Fabara)

If the Chinatown snowman doesn’t come back this year, literally everything’s ruined. (Photo: Angelo Fabara)

It’s the time of year for spiked apple cider, festive but often indiscernible light displays above your block, and that priceless gift of a 311 call from your neighbors when you’re belaying a Festivus pole through your third-floor window. Amassing unique holiday gifts for your pals, loved ones, and others you’re obligated to feign closeness with for at least as long as you’re sharing a roof, is apparently all part of the fun too.
After all, what’s the holiday season without conspicuous consumption? Unless you’re in the business of being a total troll, then grabbing generic crap from J.Crew Wythe the day before is simply not an option. The least you can do to ease your capitalist guilt is patronize local businesses. Here’s how you can be nice (and not naughty) this holiday season.

East Village proprietors are certainly hoping you’ll spend your money at their shops. For the second year, the neighborhood’s merchant’s association has organized a shopping extravaganza and holiday party tomorrow, for a full day of sales and giveaways at more than two dozen local shops.
La Sirena (East Village Independent Merchants Association)

La Sirena (East Village Independent Merchants Association)

The event aims to highlight small businesses in the neighborhood with extra schwag, like a free ornament with any purchase at La Sirena Mexican Folk Art (27 E. 3rd Street).
“It’s really important to realize how far your dollar goes in the local economy,” said Lindsey Piscitell, the program director for the East Village Independent Merchants Association. She said many people might not realize how much independent businesses are struggling in the area.
“The threat is real and there’s a lot of turnover,” she said. “So especially during the holiday times, when spending is big and merchants need to be making a lot of money to help them through the difficult months of January and February, it’s important for residents to remember that their efforts go a long way in preserving the unique fabric of the neighborhood.” 
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks (East Village Independent Merchants Association)

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks (East Village Independent Merchants Association)

So get your gift shopping out of the way and help your favorite hood in the process. For your stylish sister, check out 20 percent-off deals at DUO NYC boutique or 15 percent discounts at East Village Vintage Collection. Pick up creative musical instruments and stuffed animals for all the kiddos (smelly, small people) in your life at Dinosaur Hill Toys Clothes and Gifts, offering a 10 percent discount. Perhaps a rare find from Bonnie Slotnick’s Cookbooks, also on sale for 10 percent, will enchant a foodie obsessed family member?
And don’t forget, holiday parties are still in full swing. To help you out, Taste Wine Company is giving 20 percent discounts on all wine purchases above $25 for the rest of the month and Joli Beauty Bar will sell unlimited blow outs (the perfect gift for that Bedford Stop fan in your life) for 30 days for $149.
After reveling in the local deals, (find a full list here) you can take advantage of freebie bites (with purchase, wah wah suckers) at Luke’s Lobster or Jimmy’s No. 43, then cap off the evening at Ballarò restaurant for a neighborhood holiday party of drinks and Italian snacks, like bruschette, pasta salad, and eggplant tapenade from 6pm to 9 pm. And open wide for the free stuff: the first 30 arrivals get free drinks.