Under normal circumstances, I am a staunch believer in celebrating Christmas exclusively in December. Anyone who dared play holiday music before the last Thursday in November would have been thoroughly berated by yours truly in the past. But this year I just can’t help it. It’s impossible not to be excited for Christmas right now when you’re living in the heart of New York City.
As Macy’s is rolling out their holiday window displays and Facebook events for holiday parties start popping up on my dashboard, I’ve cracked out my NYC holiday bucket list for this season. Below are the things I’ve wanted to see since watching Miracle on 34th Street as a kid and the tips I’ve picked up from other seasoned New Yorkers.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: A classic! One of the things I was most excited about living in the New Yorker hotel was that we’re in the perfect place to run to get an early spot before the parade starts at 9 AM. Another cool piece of advice I picked up was to go to Central Park the day before the parade to watch all of the balloons blow up!
- Go ice skating in Central Park: All the movies show the stars skating at Rockefeller Plaza, but the rink there costs a lot of money (about 25$ for general admission) and always has a long line of people waiting. I’ve been told that the Central Park skating rinks are much calmer and cost much less! Central Park has 2 rinks (Wollman Rink costs 12$, and Lasker Rink is 8$) and both offer skate rentals and lockers.
- Visit the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas tree: While I won’t be skating, I certainly wouldn’t miss the famous tree lighting ceremony! This year the event will be on November 29th at 7 PM.
- Stroll through Dyker Heights to see the Christmas lights: One of my favorite holiday memories was driving around my neighborhood with my family looking at all the gorgeous lights. And while my family won’t be with me, I think I’ve found a good equivalent to my usual holiday tradition. The Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn (from 11-13th Ave and 83rd-86th St.) is famous for its residents tens of thousands, over the top Christmas lights decorations. Since the area is residential and there’s no official tours, start times, etc., I’ve been told that the best times to see the area are between mid-December through New Years, between dusk and 9 PM.
- New Year’s Eve in Times Square: I know, I know. New Year’s Eve in Times Square is crowded, the subways are packed, and you can't go to the bathroom for 9 hours. But...I still want to do it. Just to say that I’ve done it! Then I’ll be on board with all the other New Yorkers who say it’s not worth everyone else’s time.
Written by: Natali Cavanagh