As the Christmas ho­liday quickly ap­proa­ches, many of us are in need of a good, full day of se­rious Christmas shopping.

Instead of turning to the old standbys of the big box stores, the local mall, and the impersonal online stores, consider treating yourself to a day of holiday fun and shopping in the City of Boston.

Just a quick 30 minute ride down Route 93 (or even better, avoiding the traffic with a leisurely ride on the commuter rail) will bring a wealth of shopping opportunities surrounded by that one of a kind feeling only Christmastime in the city can bring.

Your first stop for holiday shopping should be the obvious Down­town Crossing. Perhaps Boston's most recognized landmark for retail shopping, Downtown Cros­sing, located at 24 Winter St., features city street shopping in one walkable area with many of your favorite retail stores adorned in holiday decorations, lights and holiday music.

Downtown Crossing also offers it’s annual Holiday Market, open daily from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31. This traditional holiday market features handcrafted and one of a kind, specialty items amidst a Christmas city landscape.

The Prudential Center, located at 800 Boylston St., offers a shopping mall experience unlike anything found in your typical shopping malls.

The “Pru” is filled with many high end designer stores, retailers, restaurants, and salons, making this a smorgasbord of luxury for the serious shopper.

Some of the Pru retailers may not be within everyone's Christmas shopping budget, but window shopping is always free, and can be almost as satisfying.

The Pru does offer holiday am­biance that is cost free, and is sure to get you in the spirit of the season.

On Friday evenings, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Pru highlights two holiday favorites, caroling and cocoa.

Start off a weekend of holiday fun in the Boylston Plaza with warm cocoa and carols sung by a cappella quartet. Carolers are professional singers from both the New York City and Boston areas, and provide plenty of winter holiday songs.

After the caroling, play Winter Pru Fun and Seek for a chance to win one of three $1,000 Prudential Center Gift Cards. Find all five of the winter activity stickers hidden within the center. Stickers all have the Pru logo and are in the shapes of a sled, mitten, hot cocoa cup, snowflake and a snowman.

Once you find all the stickers, take a selfie with each sticker and post the photos on Instagram (be sure to tag your photos @PruBoston and #PruandSeek). Winners will be an­nounced every Thursday until Christmas.

When looking for that one of a kind gift for that special someone on your shopping list, look no further than Snowport.

Snowport, located at 88 Seaport Blvd in Boston’s Seaport, is a european-style, winter holiday market offering holiday shopping mixed with fun, food and activities.

This marketplace features over 100 small businesses that sell art, jewelry, home goods, clothing, hand-crafted items, and much more.

Enjoy the fresh sea air and a cup of hot cocoa while shopping and taking in the holiday lights that decorate the area. There are also multiple food trucks and vendors onsite to partake in almost any type of refreshments from fresh waffles to craft beer.

Snowport hours are Monday through Thursday from 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sun­day 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now through Jan. 2.

Another holiday shopping tradition you may not want to miss is the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, located at 29 Mount Auburn St. in nearby Cambridge.

This holiday marketplace has been a shopping tradition for more than 30 years, and includes select crafters from all over New Eng­land offering beautiful handmade items of all types. Fair hours are weekdays 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., now through Dec. 22.

You can also choose to shop at Boston’s famous Faneuil Hall Mar­­ket, offering holiday market style shopping year ’round, mixed in with your favorite retail stores.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 concerns, the annual holiday “Blink” lights and sound extravaganza has been cancelled for the second year in a row, and the huge, lit tree that normally stands outside of Faneuil Hall was not put up this year.

However, there is a decorated tree in the Quincy Market Buil­ding, and Faneuil Hall retails have decorated their storefronts to create a festive shopping at­mosphere that is sure to put you in the holiday mood.

After walking and shopping in the brisk December air, there are plenty of eateries to choose from to enjoy a relaxing meal, or have a quick bite to refuel between shopping.

This holiday season, don’t be dragged down with the chore of holiday shopping in a stuffy mall or behind a lonely computer screen. Boston is just a short drive or train ride away, and can transform the drudgery of holiday shopping into a magical holiday experience the whole family can enjoy.

Submerge yourself in the spirit of the season that only Christmas­time in the city can offer. En­joy­ing the elaborately decorated storefronts, twinkling city lights and holiday music that fills the air and warms the heart, might just be worth more than any gift you could buy.

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