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.

30 comments on “New York City at Christmas

  1. 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.

  2. 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?
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  3. 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.
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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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