Christmas and the Holiday Season in New York City

nyc-christmas-lightsNew York City is a very special place to visit during Christmas and the holiday season. Each year, the city of New York puts on a special show that particularly comes alive at night as the whole city is illuminated in holiday lights. More than any other time of the year, the city comes alive with holiday markets, elaborate decorations in store windows, and a humongous tree at Rockefeller Center. While some may argue as to when Christmas in New York City officially starts, for me it starts when the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit in early December. This year, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on December 2nd with festivities beginning around 6:45 pm.

Bryant Park is a favorite place of mine at anytime of the year. It is particularly special during the holiday season as it is transformed into a festive outdoor Christmas market known as “Fetes de Noel.” With an ice skating rink as its centerpiece, the holiday shops at Bryant Park feature arts and crafts from more than 80 New York City artists and artisans. Other noteworthy holiday markets include: the Union Square Holiday Market, 14th – 18th Street & Broadway, and the Grand Central Holiday Fair at Grand Central Station on 42nd Street & Lexington Avenue. Grand Central Station is also home to a holiday laser light show which is projected on the ceiling above the terminal’s Main Concourse.

Rockefeller-Center-christmas-treeAnother one of our favorite spots, Little Italy (Mulberry Street between Canal & Broome Streets), is transformed into a Christmas wonderland where costumed carolers stroll down its streets. These streets are ablaze with Christmas lights and decorations while merchants sell holiday merchandise from brightly decorated tents. One of the most popular New York City holiday traditions is viewing the department store windows that are decorated to the nines for the holidays. Macy’s in Herald Square is home to “Santaland,” while Lord & Taylor boasts the most elaborate animated windows. This year, Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows are based on the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Starting November 30th, there is a 3 hour, early-evening tour of Manhattan’s glittering holiday lights. The New York City Holiday Lights Tour offers participants a panoramic night tour of the city and a peek at the famous department stores all done up for the holidays, including Lord and Taylor’s world-famous animated windows.

IMAGES VIA: alykat and dideo on flickr

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