Ah, the holiday season. If you’re anything like most people, the next few weeks are always tinged with a little doom — what are you going to get everyone? Even the most creative FashioniSTA can fall prey to the pressures of being thoughtful. How to avoid the big no-no’s of candles, bath soaps, and gift cards? You can start by, of course, heading to your nearest STA to scour the racks for a wallet-friendly fashion find… but sometimes a gal needs to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the marketplace and seek out a little something we like to refer to as a “stylish sanctuary.”

And that’s exactly what The Independent Designer’s Market in Boston’s South End feels like. Located in the lobby of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, a weekly exhibit of local artisans set up camp amongst the marble pillars and wrought-iron gates to showcase their handmade high-end goods. The market, which runs Sundays through 12/19 from 11a - 5p (picking up again in February), is in place to help fill a void for local independent designers. Besides SoWA and seasonal neighborhood block parties, there aren’t many venues in the Boston area for artists to rely on. Enter the IDM, created to offer a year-round marketplace for both merchants and shoppers.

The focus is on one-of-a-kind designs ranging from clothing and accessories to home goods and fine art. A wide array of styles and influences are on display, with goods priced anywhere from $20 - $1000. The venue, though regal, is on the small side, but the size of the market helps to keep the experience intimate rather than intimidating. On any given Sunday one can expect to see anywhere from fifteen to thirty booths on display, and the collection rotates regularly.

So now’s the time to take a break from the throngs of list-carrying well-wishers and head on down to the South End for a little refuge. You can still spend your time looking for that special something for a certain someone — thoughtfulness intact, frenzy excluded. A productive sojourn, indeed! For detailed information, visit www.idmboston.com.

~Kim, fashioniSTA, STA Harvard Square Manager