“The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young, the heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair, and its soul full of music breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung.” Phillips Brooks
Unofficial Christmas Capital
When I think of Christmas in the City, I automatically think of New York. It is the unofficial capital of Christmas at least in the states. From Thanksgiving (and even before) until the beginning of January the city that never sleeps channels the Whoville spirit with Christmas decorations springing up seemingly overnight everywhere. New York is the epitome of Christmas. Even with all the large crowds the decorations attract, I could never hate it, because it was always so festive. The moment the big snowflake went up on Fifth Avenue, it felt like the Christmas season had commenced.
New York’s taste in decorations vary from the magical and classy, to the tacky, to the downright outlandish and everything in between. There is enough “tea” for everyone depending on what kind of Christmas you want and I love it. Even the more residential areas get in on the decorating action. I know I compile a semblance of a list every year, but that is because Christmastime is one of the best times, despite the cold temps, to visit the Concrete Jungle.
There is SO much to do and see. Yes, you have the popular tourist activities, like seeing the Rockefeller tree, or seeing the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, but then you have the gingerbread houses in Madison Square Park, and Broadway always has at least one holiday show if not more. The city is full of Christmas cheer and I love it so much. This is some of my favorite things to do, this time of year.
Hands down my favorite spot in New York is Bryant Park. Year round, snow or grass, Christmas or summer, it is my Happy Place. This might come as a shock being a mermaid, but I JUST (by a hair!) might love it the most at Christmas. Beginning in October the Bank of America Winter Village comes to life. Complete with shops, an ice rink, and eateries it is a hub for all the Christmas cheer.
All the shops in the Winter Village are small businesses and I have found some amazingly cool and one of a kind gifts here as well as some of my now go to favorite gift giving brands like Melsy Illustrations, SHalant Candles, and peaceful stone light. You will find unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list.
While everyone pushes and shoves to see the tree lighting at Rockefeller, the much smaller and definitely more local tree lighting at Bryant Park is my favorite, with skaters, a skating show, music, and fireworks at the end, it is such a fun event to go to. I even found one of my favorite seasonal outdoor bars there. Recently changed sponsorship and renamed Fevertree Porch they still serve the best boozy hot chocolate and is the perfect spot to sit and watch all the frenzied Christmas Shoppers hustling about.
Saks Fifth Avenue Windows
The holiday windows in New York are as much a staple as the Rockefeller Tree is. Saks Fifth Avenue which is across from Rock Center just might be my favorite Christmas window displays. Every year they have a different theme which tells a story and since 2004 a light show on the side of their building has accompanied the story. It is one of my favorite Christmas activities and I use to walk the forty blocks from my apartment weekly to watch it.
Walking the Streets
I know this is broad, but much of the charm of city life is that to truly appreciate it, you have to walk everywhere. Regardless of the city, taxis and cars do not really give you the feel of what a place is like, like your feet do. To feel the festiveness, to discover gorgeous hidden decorations in courtyards, and beautifully decorated restaurants, you have to walk, you have to explore.
It is how I have discovered some of my favorite spots, stumbling into them, and grateful to the universe for bringing me to these hidden nuggets of adventure. It is how I discovered the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. For years, I never knew the name, but every year I would stumble upon it at Christmas swept away by the elegance of the decorations. Many of the more residential streets will decorate their courtyards and the side of their buildings and it is always fun to go exploring to see what festiveness people have Martha Stewarted up.
Speaking of exploring, I have mentioned Dyker Heights so many times, but that is because it is the epitome of Whoville. Just a train ride away in good ol’ Brooklyn, it is an experience and a tradition I have done every year, even before I moved to New York.
My friends and I will “lose” ourselves on the streets as we walk the blocks looking at the gorgeous houses (some of which are essentially mansions) done up in their Christmas best. It has become a huge event and every year it gets bigger and bigger. It just might be my top Christmas must do and see, and it isn’t even in Manhattan!
Have you been to New York at Christmas time? What is your favorite Christmas thing to do?
The Nautical Gift Guide
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Trimming The Tree
Favorite Christmas Movies
Wanderlusting: Santa’s Village
What DO I Wear?!?! Christmas Glam
Christmas in Charleston
Kate’s Christmas Playlist
What DO I Wear?!?! Ugly Christmas Sweater