What’s your favourite part of the holidays? Is it trimming the tree? Perusing the booths at the Toronto Christmas Market in Distillery District, or admiring the ornate Christmas displays at department stores? Toronto is filled with holiday spirit, but this December I spent a week in New York City with one of my friends to get a glimpse into how New Yorkers celebrate the holiday season. Although the high temps made the air feel like spring, the copious amounts of holiday cheer definitely made it clear that it’s Christmas time.
For some, New York at Christmas may seem like a nightmare. But if you can get past the tourist-packed streets and navigate through the crowds, this is the most magical time of the year.
One of the signs of Christmas time in NYC are the creative holiday window displays at the major department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Ave. Whether you happen to walk by during the day or evening, they are equally glorious. Take a look at some of this creative work.
Of course the Christmas spirit doesn’t just stop at the windows. The holiday decorations inside Macy’s were just as spectacular, complete with a post station and a mailbox incase you got the sudden urge to send your Christmas list to Santa! Although, if you want your list delivered directly, just head up to the 8th floor and see the jolly old St. Nick in person…just be prepared to wait in line for hours. All jokes aside though, for each letter collected in stores and online through Christmas Eve, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million, to help grant wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions.
NYC Christmas isn’t complete without a visit to Rockefeller Centre and marvel at the breathtaking, humongous Christmas tree. The Norway Spruce is a 10-ton, 78-foot wonder illuminated in over 45,000 LED lights. To put it simply – it’s real, it’s big and it’s spectacular.
Since Christmas is the perfect time to catch a show, to add to the holiday festivities, Meghan and I made time to experience the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Nothing says Christmas like flying Santa, high-kicking Rockettes, and a huge LED screen complete with a 3D component. The Spectacular has become one of NYC’s most hallowed holiday traditions, drawing tourists and locals alike. Although there were a number obnoxious individuals that took photos (good for them), we decided to keep it classy, so I don’t have too many photos to share, but trust me when I tell you it was worth a ticket.
Although the holiday displays in stores and around the downtown are abundant, there is no lack of creativity and holiday cheer in other Manhattan neighbourhoods. Back in our vacation headquarters on the Upper East Side, there were lots of lavish displays and fun decor. Beautiful garlands covered the windows sills and draped the entrance gates, and cheerful lights and Santas light up the outdoor fire escapes.
If you have not yet had the chance to spend the holidays in New York City and if you don’t mind the crowds, it’s definitely something to put on your To Do list for 2016.
Hope you all have a wonderful, fun, health and memorable New Year! See you all in 2016!