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New York City at Christmas

Christmas decorations start going up on stores, office buildings and private homes in New York City right after Thanksgiving. The decorations are sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate. No matter, they put a smile on my face and help me get into the spirit of the season. I’m sure they do the same for others, which is why there are usually scores of people milling around.

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 9.07.35 AM

All Dressed Up for Christmas

Each Christmas, this building on 6th Avenue near 50th Street decorates with these large red balls but every year when I see them, it feels like the first time (at least to me). A little Christmas magic, perhaps?

Red balls decorate building in New York

All Dressed Up

Lipstick lights decorate a building in New York

All Dressed Up in color

Radio City Music Hall tree

All Dressed Up – Radio City Music Hall

The day after I took this photo, I noticed the wheels on the train were moving and steam was coming from the engine. It was absolutely the coolest thing to see. Even cooler, was seeing the way the kids were reacting.

Train decoration for Christmas in New York

All Dressed Up – Time Warner Building

Rockefeller Center's ready for Christmas

All Dressed Up – Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center at Christmas

All Dressed Up – the Swarovski Star

The Swarovski Star has adorned the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree for the last nine years. This year’s star is comprised of 25,000 crystals and 1,000,000 facets, measures 9 1/2 feet in diameter and is 1 1/2 feet deep. It weighs 550 pounds.

Onlookers at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

All Dressed Up – Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree has been part of New York City’s Christmas celebration since 1933. The tree, measuring between 70 and 100 feet, is usually Norway Spruce and is donated. Trees have come from Upstate New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey and Ottawa. It takes approximately 30,000 lights to decorate. LED lights have been used since 2007. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting is broadcast live on NBC around the end of November. The tree stays up until January 6th, then is recycled.

Agels Rockefeller Center Christmas decoration

All Dressed Up – Rockefeller Center

Blue Christmas Tree, Bryant Park

All Dressed Up – Bryant Park

Bryant Park celebrates Christmas in a big way with free skating, a tree, and stores selling a variety of handcrafted gift items. The stores stay open until Christmas Eve. Christmas stores can be found at several locations around the city including Grand Central and Lincoln Square.

Shops selling Christmas gifts

All Dressed Up – Bryant Park

Christmas decoration at Macy's

All Dressed Up – Macy’s, Herald Square

Christmas decorations at Macy's draws a crowd

Macy’s Window

Each year, Macy’s department store in Herald Square features two window displays — one from The Miracle on 34th Street and a second that is chosen for that year. This year, the inspiration came from Virginia O’Hanlon’s 1897 letter to the New York Sun and the editorial response that was titled, Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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Macy’s Window

In addition to Macy’s, Saks, Bloomingdale’s, Cartier, Gucci, etc., also have beautiful Christmas decorations. If you’re in New York this Christmas or anytime before the first week in January, I hope you’ll check them out.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.


  1. New York is a wonderful place to see Christmas spirit! I especially like Bryant Park and Macy’s windows. The last time I was in NYC over the holidays, SAKS building was really impressive.
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..A German Tradition I Love!My Profile

  2. NYC is the perfect holiday vacation- the city is so beautiful all dressed up for Christmas!
    jade recently posted..Twin Falls Maui: Exploring the Road to HanaMy Profile

  3. I’ve always loved the giant christmas tree balls in front of the McGraw Hill Building, but I have to say that the giant christmas lights look more like giant lipsticks in fashion-don’t colors. hope you went into Radio Cit and saw the show. it really is spectacular.

  4. Beautiful captures of the decorations! Lovely to see everyone gearing up towards a festival! Have a wonderful day Marcia 🙂
    Arti recently posted..The Great Buddha at Todai-ji Temple in Nara, JapanMy Profile

  5. I keep promising myself that I will visit New York during Christmas. You’re just tempting me more. I love all these decorations, but particularly the Star! Merry Christmas!
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Peace on EarthMy Profile

  6. I’ve always wanted to visit NYC over the Christmas season – and go skating in Central Park and window shopping and, and…
    Hope your holiday is exactly that – a holiday and a happy one.
    Leigh recently posted..11 National Parks in Canada You Probably Haven’t Heard OfMy Profile

  7. I would love to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and stay in NYC until New Year’s Eve just to experience the holidays at a city that makes holiday decorations a tourist attraction. Those are all beautifully decked out and how cool to see those huge trees all lit up. Always been a wish to see those window displays too. Merry Christmas, Marcia!
    Mary recently posted..San Juan, Puerto Rico with Kids: 5 Free AttractionsMy Profile

  8. NY does look beautiful during the holiday season… Best wishes for a Happy Holidays too! I missed you!!! 🙂
    ElizOF recently posted..Haiku: Just A Dream…My Profile

  9. Thanks, Elizabeth, same to you. Sorry I missed you too, next time.

  10. I now understand a little bit more about the Christmas spirit.

    Christmas has different connotations here with the summer heat. It feels mismatched, false in a way. Like we are trying to impose European traditions on a place that won’t accommodate.

    How about Christmas in Jamaica?
    Narelle recently posted..An artful taleMy Profile

  11. I LOVE NYC at Christmas! 5th Ave, Rockefeller Center,Central Park in the snow — wonderful! Merry Christmas, Marcia!

  12. Can you believe that I’ve never seen an in-depth look at Christmas in NYC? I’ve heard about the Rockefeller Center tree and the Macy’s windows, but the other decorations are new to me. It must be so magical! I really must visit there some Christmas season.
    Michele recently posted..The Trouble with Travel PlansMy Profile

  13. Sophie

    When I was at uni in the USA, I often stopped for a few days in NYC. Always festive 🙂
    Sophie recently posted..Sunday scenes from down under: Auckland Harbour BridgeMy Profile

  14. NYC always goes all out for the holidays. Glad you were able to experience it, Sophie.

  15. Yes, you should, Michele! Hope you add it to your travel list.

  16. Thanks, Cathy. Belated Christmas greetings to you too!
    NYC’s just a beautiful place to be at Christmas. Glad you’ve seen it.

  17. WOW, this is one amazing house! Thanks for sharing, Narelle.

  18. LOL, sometimes I feel the same about Christmas here. What works up north seems quite out of place here.
    We have pine trees here but most people who put up trees, use plastic ones. I prefer to string lights on a few of the trees near our house like we used to do when I was younger.

  19. That would be a fantastic vacation, Mary. You should definitely add it to your travel bucket list. The Thanksgiving Day Parade is amazing — I’ve not been but I’ve been to watch the balloons being blown up the night before the parade. The tree lighting ceremony is a must but only if you like crowds.

  20. I hope you get to do all those things, Leigh. Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

  21. It’s definitely worth a visit, Vera. I always feel like a kid when I see decorations, they’re so beautiful!

  22. Thanks, Arti. I agree, it is lovely to see.

  23. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to catch the show. It’s still on my list, maybe next year.

  24. It a magical place, for sure, Jade.

  25. Yes, Saks always has an impressive window. Unfortunately, there were so many people crowded around I couldn’t get good shots.

  26. Oooh, I do see you hit a little bit of the rain, but you still got some great shots! And of things not on the main stretch of 5th Avenue! (Actually, I haven’t even passed a few of those in my foot travels, and I live here!) Happy holidays!
    Koren recently posted..Merry Christmas from Fifth Avenue!My Profile

  27. NYC is one place that I have to attend for a Christmas before my life ends. Has to be a magical place.
    Leon recently posted..Wedding Photography and Videography 2012 in ReviewMy Profile

  28. Thanks, Koren! There was more than a little bit of rain, I was lucky to get the shots I did.
    Hope you make it there next time.
    Happy New Year!

  29. NYC definitely is a place to visit whether for Christmas or not.
    It is a remarkable place.