Without a doubt, New York City is the most festive destination for the holidays. The Rockefeller tree, ice-skating in Central Park and every tourist’s favorite, the shopping. Just walking down 5th Ave, in and out of stores with the lights and the music already has me in the Christmas spirit and it’s not even December yet. Going into my second year here in New York, I’m Buddy the Elf’s kid sister. I want to tick all of the New York Christmas traditions off my list, who’s with me?
Santa Comes to Town
Every year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade ends with Santa coming to town. He arrives at Macys 34th Street and all of the children go nuts (did I say children?). Even though the city is well and truly on it’s festive way, Santa coming to town marks the start of the Christmas season in NYC.
Okay so it’s mental in any part of the world but NYC is the heart of Black Friday. People come from all over the world to do their Christmas shopping in the big city and this weekend in particular is like something from the discovery channel. If I took the day off had insane patience, I would probably enjoy Black Friday much more but these days I just wait for Cyber Monday. Christmas shopping in the comfort of your own lie-in.
Nothing says “Christmas is here” like when they light up the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza. It’s sort of like the ball drop on New Years Ever in so far as you should make your way to the Rockefeller Center before midday if you want a good spot, but so worth it. This year, they will be lighting the tree on Wednesday November 29th from 7pm-9pm with live performances. If you can’t make it, the tree will stay put from then until January 7th 2018.
If you’ve come here to celebrate the Christmas cheer, you can’t leave without ice-skating. The most famous of all is the Wollman Rink in Central Park (in every NYC-based Christmas movie ever). It’s located at the very bottom of Central Park, walking distance from midtown. Other great ice-skating locations are Rockefeller Plaza under the magical tree and Bryant Park, just seven blocks further south.
Saks Lights Show
Walk by Saks 5th Avenue to enter into a winter wonderland words can’t describe. Half a million people walk by the store every day during the Christmas season to watch the light show. Watch this and you’ll see why. The perfect place to drop off your better half while you bustle through fellow shoppers inside Saks. It will distract them and keep them entertained for a minimum of 20 mins, genius!
Radio City Music Hall Rockettes
The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes is a long-time New York holiday tradition (since 1933) which I have to admit I haven’t been to yet. I’m all about that Christmas cheese. I’m so excited to go this year and I hope it’s everything it’s hyped up to be. I’m told it’s a breath-taking, memorable performance with dancing nutcrackers, ice skaters and floating snowflakes.
5th Ave Window displays
Just walking down 5th Ave in the month of December will make you feel the Christmas spirit but the window displays are something New Yorkers look forward to every year. Each store has it’s own theme and let me tell you, they ball out! On November 20th at 7pm, Saks will be revealing their window displays and they set the bar pretty high every year.
Union Square Holiday Markets
What says I’ve been to New York at Christmas better than unique handmade gifts that no one will ever use but their super cute? I love walking through Union Square at Christmas because it’s like escaping the city into a little Christmas village. Hot chocolate never tasted so good in this electric holiday experience. They stay open until Christmas Eve which I’m sure is it’s busiest day of the season with New Yorkers being the most last-minute people on the planet.