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natale-a-manhattan-new-york-02There are so many great things to do at Christmas in New York.  New York is one of the biggest and best holiday destinations to go to and you really can get in the holiday spirit here.     Christmas in New York City can only be summed up in one word – SPECTACULAR.    No other city comes close to the magic and charm that is unique to New York.  Christmas in New York City is spectacular.   The beauty of Central Park – icy cold yet still full of warmth and tranquility, the hustle and bustle of the fabulous department stores and artisan markets, ice skating at the Rockefeller Center and so much more.

I would venture to say that Christmas in New York City is the stuff dreams are made of, and the city is one of the biggest and best holidaysanta-claus destinations in the world.  You don’t have to head to the mountains in order to get that feeling of Christmas. New York City becomes a winter wonderland during the holidays: snow blankets the streets of Manhattan; crowds ”ooh” and “aah” at the exquisite Christmas window displays adorning the stores along Fifth Avenue; ice skaters glide across the Rockefeller Skating Rink as the Rockefeller Christmas tree glows beneath the New York skyline. Don’t miss out on any chance to see Santa in NYC either!

Santa+Claus+86th+Annual+Macy+Thanksgiving+aohVc6MethGlOne of the things that I remember from New York City in the winter time, and especially in the Christmas season, is buying hot roasted chestnuts from a street vendor.   The aroma from the chestnuts is so enticing.   They are such a special holiday treat and one that should not be missed during a visit to New York City.

No Christmas in complete without ice skating at the Rockefeller Center.  Enter the Center from Fifth Avenue (Between 49th and 50th Streets), and prepared to line up as there is only room for 150 skaters.  Central Park also offers ice skating at the Wollman Rink, and you can even hold a Christmas party there!

Christmas windows have long been a New York tradition, and this year will be no exception.  Manhattan is full of amazing stores that go 10699835far beyond the norm at Christmas.

Some of the biggest shopping stores have a Santa’s Grotto to help make Christmas in New York City really special for children.  Your kids can meet Santa Claus himself, let him know what they want for Christmas and get a small present to keep them happy in the meantime.  Macy’s remains a family favourite for its famous Santa land.     You don’t have to be a child at Christmas to enjoy stores like American Girl, FAO Schwartz, Toys-R –US.

Christmas at Rockefeller Center, 2008Christmas-related attractions, such as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, Radio City Music Hall for their Christmas Spectacular (it sells out every year).   I remember as a child and later on when I was a bit older, going to see the tree and to Radio City for the Christmas Spectacular that always had a featured a movie, live animals and the world Famous Rockettes.  A special holiday highlight is the elaborate animated department store windows in New York City that are heavily visited by folks from all over the world, as well as native New Yorkers, Christmas music can be heard in the background. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one whose annual carol singing is well-recognized; another example is the Boys Choir can be heard singing Christmas Time is Here, a song featured in the animated television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  Christmas symphony orchestra and choral presentation such as Handel’s Messiah and performances of The Nutcracker ballet are well attended.

Another tradition is the holiday ballet treat THE NUTCRACKER:  and no one does The Nutcracker like the New York City Ballet! The famous NYC dancers have been dazzling audiences 21nutc-600for almost 60 years at Lincoln Center with this Christmas classic. Christmas in New York isn’t complete without the Sugar Plum Fairy, Mouse King, and the rest of the enchanting Nutcracker favorites.

fifth-avenue-622x416Most all of the museums in the city are elaborately decorated for the holidays, but one display that stands out in my memory and I feel is a must see is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”) and that is their annual Crèche display and will be on view from the 26th of November thru the 6th of January.   This is a large and intricate display that is added to every year, so no matter how many times you get to view it, one can find something different every time.  But you should plan on spending time at the museum as well.   One should make time to visit most all of the museums and stores in the city if only to see the holiday decorations.

I feel that it is also worth it to explore many of the various areas of the city as time permits while one is in the city, and not limit it to one Henry-Adamucci-9-months-meets-Santa-Claus-for-the-first-time-on-Saturday-Dec.-19-2009-in-New-York.-AP-PhotoMike-Adamucci-960x657specific area.   There are so many wonderfully decorated and unique places that should be explored and experienced.   And each area has some wonderful galleries and stores to shop in as well if you are looking for that special gift or something totally different (areas such as SOHO, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Greenwich Village).  Some of the best shops are not only located in the heart of the city, but in some of these other areas as well.  At the holidays also, many of the restaurants in the city in keeping with the season of the year have wonderfully themed menus often made with fresh local produce and are worth checking into.   It just what you a in the mood for and budget.   Just don’t settle for the first place you find, there may be something better up or across the street.


Kathy Kiefer





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