By Paul Lomax
Special to DNAinfo
UNION SQUARE — It's beginning to look a lot like...June?
Thousands of holiday shoppers basked in the balmy weather this weekend as they picked up gifts for friends and loved ones at the Union Square Holiday Market.
With the temperatures in Manhattan climbing into the 60s Sunday, shoppers hit the streets and the tents to kick off their holiday shopping.
Students Andrea Mufarreh and Ellen Ebert, both 19 and from San Francisco, enjoyed the spring-like weather while shopping for Christmas gifts for family and friends.
"The weather is beautiful," said Mufarreh. "I'm loving it!"
Ebert said that she was "enjoying New York City, especially in this weather. It's beautiful!"
The Holiday Market, which takes over part of the green space from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, is a smorgasbord of over 100 merchants hawking everything from handmade jewelry to bags and accessories made from recycled plastic, according to Urban Space, the market's operator.
Alphan Atila, 34, of Turkey, sells home decor from Central Asia and Turkey at a booth called "Tribal Home."
"This is our 10th year here and we love it," he said. "Considering what's going in the world and the economic climate, I really can't complain. So far since we opened business has been good."
Liz Rees, the Director of Marketing for Urban Spaces, said that the opening weekend for the market, which is in its 18th year, was helped along by the nice weather.
"I've been here since 2002 and I've seen an explosion of emerging designers and local artists that have made this market one of the most popular places for people to shop for holiday gifts," she said.
One such emerging business owner is Kip Cosson, 51, the owner of Kip Kids, a childrens' clothing line. This is his 16th year at the market.
"I lost my job as an interior designer 20 years ago, and it was the best thing that happened to me," said Cosson, who just published his first book, "Ned Visits New York."
"Seriously, I haven't looked back since I went out on my own and started my own business."