Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful”. This is particularly true for this city. There is something about the time from the end of November to the beginning of January where there is a spell over the city, making every minute magical. Manhattan does have some holiday traditions, such as the Rockefeller Tree, the Rockettes, The Macy’s windows, etc. But, The Big Apple is much more special when you look past what every tourist is doing. If you walk around the city you will find something incredible without even trying.
Although it is beautiful, Rockefeller Center can get both crowded and expensive. Sometimes, quaint unknown ice rinks create the best memories. The Bryant Park ice skating rink is not only $18 cheaper, but also creates a more New York feel. The rink is a decent size but not too busy.
In terms of the infamous tree, there are hundreds of beautifully decorated trees throughout the city. One to see is the Origami Tree in the American Museum of Natural History. This tree opens right after Thanksgiving and this years theme is ‘Wild, Wicked, and Wonderful.’ Conveniently, there is another beautiful tree in Bryant Park with 3,000 custom ornaments. The lighting ceremony is on Dec. 3. You can have an amazing time in the city without the crowds and without going broke.
There is always something happening in the city. Whether you plan it, or fall upon it, you will find the city as magical as the rest of us. Just walking around you will find markets and events all over. Union Square opens a Christmas market every season, one of the city’s largest markets. Here, you will find the perfect Christmas present along with a wide selection of delicious food. Near here is a delicious chocolate bar, Max Brenner, the perfect substitute for the more famous option Serendipity. From banana split waffles to chocolate chunk pizza, you are completely immersed in a world of chocolate.
Dyker Heights in Brooklyn is known for its extreme lights during the holiday season. Houses are decked out with candy canes and snowflakes, and will probably be spotted from blocks away. So grab a hot chocolate and a sweater and stroll through the luminous streets between 80th and 86th, and you will be once again wowed by its magic.
Another annual event is the Harry Potter Yule Ball. Live out your childhood fantasies and attend this Yule Ball with rockers Harry and the Potters and the Potter Puppet Pals. Bring out your dress robe and wand and enjoy a night of pure nostalgia.
New York is constantly putting a new spins on old ideas. If you are not the caroling type, try the XMAS Pop Sing Along, where you can belt out the holiday tunes you hear today. With a ugly sweater competition, themed drinks, and good music, you are ensured to have a good time. If you are looking for a more traditional approach, try Christmas shows, which are very common throughout the city. For example, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical” is playing in Madison Square Theatre or go see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at Carnegie Hall.
A Christmas spent in New York is one you wont forget. If you look past the traditional tourist spots, you will find a whole new outlook on the Big Apple. It is the perfect time to find the true New York state of mind. You are in a city where the possibilities are endless and the experiences are life-changing. Walking around Manhattan you will find the magic that New Yorkers see everyday. The reason there are so many Christmas movies based here is because it is like no other. Open your mind and your door and walk into a city that will welcome you with a true holiday spirit.