Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? Like, where did the time go?
And while I’m still not exactly sure when specifically it’s okay to start talking about the “holiday season” (before Thanksgiving? After Halloween? Thanks for the confusion, big retail), I think I’m in the clear at this point in time. Thanksgiving just happened and Christmas is less than 3 weeks away!
Third only to birthday month and the entire fall season, the holiday season is truly one of my favorite times of year. We get to spend time with friends and family, sure, but I really love baking (obviously) and seeing how others celebrate. Whether it’s a different culture, city, or even just a next door neighbor, I love seeing what the holidays mean of other people! This year, I’ll be heading to Viriginia for Christmas with Chef’s family. I’m really excited to be heading to a new place to celebrate the holiday and learn which traditions make the holiday special for their family. My feelings of excitement and wanderlust for Virginia are very reminiscent of what I was doing this time last December.
And it still blows me away that I was prepping for my three weeks of traveling through NYC, London and Paris. As those of you who have already read about my experiences at the 9/11 Memorial, Katz Deli, my favorite NYC bookstore/cafe and the Statue of Liberty in NYC or my nostalgic trip to Trafalgar Square in London know, I’m slowly but surely recounting my amazing travels last holiday season. My goal is to get all of this done within a year of my return from said trip. We’ll see how well that goes! Since it’s that time of year, I wanted to share with you all of the fun things I saw in New York leading up to the
polar vortex holidays last year, so I created a very brief guide of sorts. I figure, if I was a tourist with a limited amount of time and no clue of what to do in New York during the holidays, others might be out there. Right? So here’s what I’d recommend doing if you’re tight on time, but want to jumpstart your holidays in NYC:
You have to go to Rockefeller Center. It’s gorgeous! I really wanted to go ice skating in the rink below the stunning Christmas tree, but my parents reminded me I still had 2 1/2 weeks of traveling left, which would be difficult if I broke my ankle. Touche. Oh and take a picture in front of the stunning tree, which I heard is 85 freaking feet tall this year! While you’re there, check out the light show Saks 5th Avenue puts on. It is so detailed and entertaining. Kids and adults alike will love it. If you want to see a video of the 2013 display and show, visit Best Window Displays’ post on it here. I was very impressed and
demanded requested to watch it like 7 times before we moved on.
Wander over to Times Square. It’s so much fun watching the hustle and bustle of your fellow tourists, especially during the holidays. Light shows, Christmas carolers, and more. We found a bench and just people-watched for a bit. But then our hands and feet almost fell off because it was pre-Polar Vortex week, so we had to keep moving.
Wander around your neighborhood. We were staying on the cusp of Little Italy and Chinatown, so it was very interesting seeing how the different neighborhoods decorated. I saw my first snowman in a while (pictured above) and loved checking out the light displays. Obviously, stopping into a bar for a pick-me-up/warm-me-up beverage is advised.
Obligatory Starbucks’ (or other nearby coffee shop) hot chocolate to warm up because it. is. frigid! Walking around being a tourist and checking out holiday displays is hard work. Add in some below zero temperatures (okay I’m being West Coast dramatic) and you’ll definitely need to warm up with a hot beverage. Whether or not you want to make it an “adult” beverage is your call. Vanilla or salted caramel vodka would be great additions to a hot chocolate..
I’m sure there are many, many more things a tourist could do in New York at Christmastime– so if you have any ideas, please share! I am by no means an expert on anything New York (although I’m trying really hard to be a bagel aficionado), but I wanted to share what was special to me while I was in New York during the week before Christmas. So I know, that when I make it back to the Big Apple for another holiday season, I’ll be doing the above and looking for fun new traditions to add to my list.