Category Archives: Holidays

O, Christmas Tree. O, Christmas Tree.

I was raised with the understanding that “Time to trim the Christmas tree!” started with putting said tree together. Our tree was stored in a giant tupperware bin, amidst an array of plush snowmen, Precious Moments nativity scenes, and shiny, red garland. Sure, we didn’t have the joy of picking out a new tree every year, but we did get to control which way the branches curved.

While I have no regrets as to my childhood of straightening out wire branches and attaching them to color coordinated slots on  a big ole pole, I have to admit that I was a little excited ecstatic about the prospect of getting a real tree this year for my apartment. My first real Christmas tree. The smell of pine, the crunch of needles loosed from the branches, the task of watering the tree…I couldn’t wait.

So, on the chosen night, my roommate and I headed out to find our tree. We took the train one stop to a grocery store that had been rumored to have great trees. As we excitedly sifted through the selection, it became clear that not all rumors are true. Trees with strange bald spots and already rotting stumps greeted us at every turn. Just as we were about to give up, we saw it: Standing, half tied up and pushed to the side. It stood a good 5-ft, had strangely bushy and awkwardly-faced branches, and looked like it would last til just past Christmas. Our tree. We nearly jumped in excitement (Okay, I nearly jumped in excitement. My roommate, who is a normal, well-adjusted member of society, just smiled ), paid, and happily began to carry it back to the train.

Which brings us to adventure number 1: Riding the subway with a 5-foot tree in tow.

Surprisingly this was not so much of a milestone as carrying said tree from the subway, up two blocks, down an avenue, and then hauling it up four flights of stairs. As we trudged, we half joked/half prayed-“Wouldn’t it be funny if one the four male friends we live across the street from passed us on the street right now, and then offered, out of the kindness of his heart, to carry our tree for us? Wouldn’t that be just lovely?”

…it would have been. But, after a full ten minutes of hoping, even as we climbed the stairs to our apartment, we victoriously carried the tree into our living room ourselves.

Next came the decorations. After standing up our tree, declaring it every euphemistic name we could think of for slightly awkward (Quirky! Cute! Unique!), we rushed out the door to go raid the various 99-cent stores in our neighborhood. We were met with the discovery that 99-cent stores close at 9 pm. (No, I am not kidding.) After coercing one of the shop owners to let us in, we picked out some lights, bobbles, and a classy light-up star for our tree-topper.

After a couple hours of cutting snowflakes, listening to Christmas music, and drinking hot toddies, our third roommate arrived home, and we haphazardly decorated our little tree. We stood there, practically vibrating from excitement, staring at what had to be the most beautifully-imperfect tree in existence.

The tree

The quirky little tree that marks my first real Christmas tree, and my first Christmas in my new apartment

Overcome with a need to share this with others, we texted our neighbors a brief “Come over”, with the hopes that their close proximity would mean that they would overlook the fact that it was midnight, and come look at our tree. Sure enough, two did. And with a shot of Jameson, several Santa hats, and Christmas carols underscoring the conversation, we laughed, joked, and celebrated around the tree- my first real Christmas tree.

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Your Holiday Guide to NYC

Well, if I didn’t have a calendar, it wouldn’t take more than two minutes outside to make me very aware that it is the holiday season once again. From the light-strewn power lines to the Christmas trees being sold outside of the Rite-Aid near my subway stop, it’s taking over the streets of NYC. Now, this particular season happens to be my absolute favorite (original, I know). I love seeing my family, cannot wait to eat Christmas dinner (Thanksgiving was a week ago, so it’s totally fine that I’m already craving a huge feast…right?), and I’ve been obsessed with twinkle lights since I was old enough to stick pennies in an outlet. Living in the city, I have the unique privilege of being near a ridiculous amount of fun, free holiday activities. So, I thought I would share some with you, in the hopes that you will get to the city to enjoy a few yourself this holiday season.

K’s Guide to Christmas in New York:

Bryant Park Holiday Market1) Start your day off with a walk through the Union Square Holiday Market. Awesome little gifts, really great loose-leaf tea, and you can totally grab something freshly baked and delicious for breakfast. There’s also some of the best cider I have ever found hidden somewhere amidst the vendors.

pond_bryant_park2) Take your skates to Bryant Park next for the best place to skate in the city. It has the best view, hands down, and is free if you bring your own skates. Plus, if you go on a weekday before school is out, it’s hardly ever crowded.

imgres3) Head over to City Bakery and warm up with some of their famous hot chocolate. You must, i repeat, MUST get the marshmallow on top. It is literally a brick of heaven. Do it.

imgres-14) If it’s getting dark at this point, take a self-led window tour. Hit up all the must-sees (Bloomingdales, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s), and scope out any other cool ones on the way. Make sure to watch the Sak’s light show while you’re passing by.

santaland-at-macy-s-20085) Well, now that you’re at Macy’s, check out Santaland! You are never too old to visit Santa. Plus it’s Christmas overload there-so you’ll be sure to get your entire year’s worth of Christmas lights, music, dancing bears in tutus, and candy cane statues.

imgres-26) Finally, end your adventure at Rockefeller Center. That tree is the best part of New York in December. It’s stunning, with more lights than you have ever seen. Get ready to push some tourists out of the way to get a picture. Worth it.

I really hope you get to experience any, if not all, of these things. It is really an incredible way to celebrate the best time of the year. And if it happens to snow while you’re here, well…catch a few.