It’s almost Christmas and rather than the perfect and idyllic Christmas like the one shown on the ads every year, with the perfect family, the perfect gifts and the tree with its glass ornaments, yours is the real Christmas, your Christmas, the one with the long family lunches, the obligatory gifts, the blowout meals, the excuses to avoid certain get-togethers and of course, the passive-aggressive and critical comments all day long. And so, little by little, without you even realising it, that Christmas from your childhood, full of magic and illusion, eventually vanishes. And it isn’t surprising; over 80% of the population feels stressed when faced with the commitments of Christmas and the implicit obligation to feel happy about returning home.
It’s true that many of us live far away from our families and take advantage of the holidays to return home, but I must confess that sometimes a break from the family is the most sane and necessary option. Pack your suitcase, forget about the twinge of regret, the feeling of guilt, and let yourself relax. We’re going on a trip.
New York, the city of Christmas
There’s nothing like travelling to New York to get back the spirit and the magic of Christmas because going to the United States is like walking onto the set of an American movie, where there’s nothing you haven’t already seen from your living room sofa in Serendipity.
The New York Christmas starts soon, with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at the end of November and the Christmas lights and window displays of the most famous cities in the Big Apple, such as Barneys, Tiffany & Co and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Although it goes dark early in wintertime, you can’t skip a quick visit to Dyker Heights (Brooklyn), an Italian-American neighbourhood famous for its amazingly over-the-top Christmas house decorations, which surprise both residents and tourists every year.
But what really marks the arrival of Christmas in New York is the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. Each year, millions of people show up to enjoy the ceremony, watch the live show (concerts and performances) and, if it’s not too crowded, skate on The Rink, the iconic New York ice rink (which, by the way, opens until midnight). You could also check out the Wollman Rink in Central Park, surrounded by a winter landscape which is straight out of a movie.
Wandering the streets and exploring the Christmas Markets with a Candy Cane with hot chocolate, a chai latte (my favourite) or a hot apple cider in your hands is one of the most authentic things you can do in New York at this time of year. As you walk around, you can find everything from original handmade gifts to ornaments for your own Christmas tree and among the stalls, you can also soak up some of the city’s Christmas atmosphere as the streets fill up with carol singers and Gospel groups.
If after all that; ice skating, visiting the most iconic shops in the world, seeing an amazing toy parade, attending a Gospel concert and roaming the streets of the Big Apple, you have still not regained your Christmas spirit, there are only two things left for you to try! First of all, writing your Christmas wish in your letter to Santa Claus and handing it in at Macy’s, where on one of the floors you’ll find Santaland, a little magic village from the North Pole full of Christmas decorations and elves, who will lead you all the way right to Santa’s knees; and you could also stay in New York until New Year’s Eve to celebrate the arrival of the new year in Times Square, where the famous One Times Square ball marks the start of the new year, releasing a fine rain of confetti onto the revellers below. That is sure to bring back the Christmas magic!
*Featured Image: TerraceStudio / Shutterstock.com