NYC: Things To Do During the Holiday Season

Toronto saw a light scattering of snow this past week, and like a child excited about the possibility of being off school for a snow day, I squealed with glee at the sight of fat snowflakes gracefully falling from the sky.

The holiday season is by far one of my favourite times of year. I hate the cold (I think my body temperature runs at least two degrees lower than everyone else’s, i.e. I’m ALWAYS cold), but there’s something about seeing the first snow and all the Christmas decorations in stores that puts me in a happy mood.

Christmas has always been a big event in my family. Every Christmas morning we’d all go to my grandmother’s and have our traditional breakfast, open presents, and enjoy the day with each other. The Christmas tree was always fully adorned with familiar decorations, lights, and those silver strips of tinsel meant to look like icicles. My cousins and I would always play with them, pulling them off the tree, and seeing packages of that stuff in stores still brings me back to those days.

All of the good memories I have of my family being together during Christmas is why I love the holiday season so much.

I’ve always heard about how beautiful New York City is over the holidays, but I’ve never been able to get there during the season. I realized that all four of my previous trips to NYC have occurred in either May or November. I don’t really have an explanation as to why. But, now that I have the chance to be there for the Christmastime, even if for one day, I’m making sure I have all my bases covered.

I’ve been doing some research on events that are happening within the city and some holiday sights that are deemed as “must-sees”. I’ve compiled a list of the most popular ones I’ve come across to share with you all. I unfortunately won’t have a chance to do it all due to lack of time and money, but if anyone else will be in New York over the holidays, here are a few suggestions on what you can do and see.

Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular A New York Christmas tradition since 1933, this show attracts over one million visitors a year. It features over 140 performers, including the famous dance troupe The Rockettes. It includes more than a dozen different scenes covering many different holiday traditions and themes. If you have the time, this is a must-see and I’m sad I can’t go.

rcThe Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree With its initial lighting scheduled for Wednesday, December 4th, this iconic tree will remain lit until 11pm on January 7th, 2014. Acting as a backdrop for the gold Prometheus statue and seasonal ice rink, this huge tree is a long-standing tradition, with roots dating back to 1931 (the tree at that time was a modest balsam strung with cranberries and paper garlands). The tree can reach anywhere between 69 and 100 feet, is laden with up to 30,000 lights, and is topped with a star that weighs 550 lbs. This attraction is definitely on my list.


Winter Village at Bryant Park There’s holiday shops, an ice rink, a Christmas tree, and a restaurant overlooking everything. I can’t skate so I won’t partake in the rink, but I’ll be browsing around the shops and enjoying the Winter Wonderland. If there’s snow like the picture below, that would be an added bonus.


Holiday Window Displays Nothing says ” ‘Tis the Season” like a twenty-foot storefront window showcasing a holiday scene. Stores like Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks, Cartier, Tiffany’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s and ‘ are all competitors in the sport of holiday window displays, and some even wrap their entire building with a big red ribbon and bow. Go big or go home. I like set design and costumes, so I will be staking out these displays to capture them on film.

storeG. Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ Performed by the New York City Ballet, this show is the main reason why I’m willing to go to NYC for one day. The production, the skill of the dancers, the music, the set — I love everything about it.


These are only a few suggestions of what you can do over the holidays in NYC. You can also get a souvenir Santa picture from Macy’s or another Santa’s village location. In New York anything is possible, and there will undoubtably be endless options of things to do to put you in the festive spirit.


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