New York City. No words can justifiably describe the magic and energy of this place. There is just something in the air that brings the spirit alive, especially around the holidays. This would mark my tenth visit to the city, and I can honestly say that each trip is better than the last. It always feels brand new, but at the same time, I feel at home. I have traveled to some incredible places, but NYC you have my heart! You could spend a lifetime here and not even scratch the surface of what it has to offer. The people, the food, the energy, simply put, it’s electrifying. Whether it’s dropping into a quaint coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix in SoHo, dining at world-class restaurants (maybe sneaking a bagel and a slice of pizza as well), or grabbing an exquisite cocktail at a speakeasy (prepare for a dent in the wallet), New York never disappoints. Oh, and how could I forget...THE SHOPPING!! (I picked up an amazing pink coat at Club Monaco, which is pictured further down in this post! It is still available online, and it’s on sale ladies). Seriously though, how can one city have so many stylish people?? It’s insane! Despite all of the amazingness above, I have to say the best part about going in December is the unparalleled holiday spirit. It’s like Christmas on steroids. If you love the holidays like I do (the obsession is real, I am currently having Christmas withdrawals), you need to put NYC in December on your bucket list.


Family Tradition

Last Christmas Eric and I were basically nomads and were trying to figure out where to spend the holidays. This was a special Christmas since it was our first as husband and wife. It was also the first Christmas we could actually travel somewhere and not be confined by Eric’s crazy hockey schedule. We wanted to go somewhere that screamed, “IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!!” (P.S. we found it). New York was the natural choice as Eric is from Long Island, which is right outside of the city. We couldn’t imagine anywhere that could get us more in the spirit than NYC. That first trip was so epic that we decided Xmas in NYC would be our new tradition together (Christmas is extra special for us as that was the day Eric proposed). 

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Downtown Vibe

When it comes to NYC, I am definitely more of a downtown girl. I just love the vibe of SoHo, The Village, Meatpacking, and Tribeca... but at Christmas it’s an absolute MUST to head uptown. WARNING: there are more tourists (like us) than you can possibly imagine crammed into the streets like sardines, but it is so worth it for the sights which I will get into more detail later in this post. When we visit, we prefer to stay downtown away from all the craziness. It’s a little more low-key (for new york standards) and more local. The subway makes it so simple to head uptown into the Christmas sh*t show extravaganza, yet makes it possible to keep it at arm’s distance as well! It is personal preference on where you stay in the city, but to me nothing compares to the downtown feel. 


Where Brooklyn at?

We had a long list of must do’s that we wanted to accomplish this trip...what else is new? We began our adventure by heading south to Brooklyn. In the past few years, Brooklyn has really become a hot spot. We started at the Brooklyn Bridge, which is one of the most recognized bridges in the world. I have always wanted to see this bridge in person and I finally was able to. What a view of the skyline! It was decently busy, but I was surprised that there weren’t more people. If I could do it over again, I would wake up really early and go for sunrise so that no one else was there. Who am I kidding?? I like sleep way too much and we were probably out until 4 am anyway. That’s NY for you! We also hit the Manhattan Bridge while we were over there, which made for some great shots with the camera. Brooklyn really has such a unique vibe. I really don’t know what took me so long to explore this gem of a borough. Next trip we will definitely be giving it more of our attention. 

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The Nutcracker

Since we were there specifically for the holidays, we needed to participate in some festive activities. Last year we took in the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, this year it was the Nutcracker’s turn. Being a former dancer, the show brought back a feeling of nostalgia. When I was younger, my mom and I used to watch the ballet together during the holiday season. The show was everything I remembered it to be. The talent and elegance of the dancers mesmerized me. Eric may or may not have been bored to death (I think I heard him snoring), but he’s always a good sport. However, we both agreed that the second act was much more exciting than the first.


Lights on Fifth Ave.

It wouldn’t be Christmas in New York if we didn’t visit 5th Avenue. I think the North Pole may be the only place with more Christmas spirit than this area. It truly makes you feel like a child again amidst all of the Christmas cheer. Located uptown, 5th Ave is one of the most iconic streets in the world. It is lined block after block with designer stores, and during the holidays many of these stores put on spectacular displays in their storefronts. Cartier and Tiffany always do an exceptional job, but Saks Fifth Ave takes the cake in the wow department. When I say wow, I mean WOWWW!! Each year, Saks comes up with a different light show that will blow your mind (I can’t imagine what their electricity bill costs after December). The combination of the changing lights in the shape of a castle, located on the front of the building, and the loud festive music, it is nothing short of magical. Conveniently located right across the street from Saks is the one-and-only Rockefeller Christmas Tree. I have never witnessed a tree so big in my life! It never gets old to visit (we went to see it three times this trip alone). Even the Grinch wouldn’t be able to leave 5th Ave without feeling some holiday joy.


Skating in Central Park

Since Eric was basically born in skates, and I am Canadian, skating is a must (we actually have a skating rink in our backyard right now and we can’t wait to get on it). I will be honest though, you wouldn’t believe I was Canadian if you saw me on skates (remember Bambi? That’s basically me). Each year we head to Wollman Rink at Central Park on Christmas Day no matter how cold it is (this year was frigid but of course we didn’t let it ruin our fun). Central Park’s vast landscape makes it hard to believe that you are in a metropolitan city. The only reminders are a few skyscrapers in the distance. We had so much fun zipping around and sipping on hot chocolate (one of the tastiest hot chocolates I have ever had for the record). It was also amazing seeing Eric wearing a pair of rental figure skates (we had a good laugh about it)!! The only thing that could have made it better was a fresh snowfall (maybe a white Christmas next year), but let’s not get greedy. 


$65,000 in Decorations

To finish off our holiday, we decided to head to the most Christmassy establishment on earth, Rolf’s! I recently discovered the German restaurant thanks to Instagram (@effortlyss I am looking at you), and it was above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. This restaurant/bar is decked out with 65k worth of decorations (I repeat 65k!!!!). Not an inch of bare wall can be seen. If Santa took a poop, Rolf’s is what would come out! Rolf’s is known for its mulled wine and eggnog so be sure to order one or both when you are there (who am I kidding, its New York. You are probably going to order 10). If you want to book a table during the holidays you have to book months in advance, so we opted to wait outside in line for about 10 mins and cozied up at the bar once we made it into this sought-after place. I highly recommend coming here if you happen to be in the city next holiday season, it’s worth the picture. 


We are already counting down the days until next Christmas. Maybe one of you will join us on our holiday adventure. Hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to subscribe below if you would like to stay current with me!

Xo Chelsea