If you’re not there already, you might want to escape it all and head to one of our favorite Christmas destinations, New York, for this end of year. The sheer magnificence of the store displays, Christmas lights, and the general spirit, transform this metropolis into a wonderland that’ll leave young and old wide eyed. For the lucky ones on their way to the Big Apple, we’ve made a selection of some of the city’s must see events this festive season. Merry Christmas!
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
A New York tradition since 1933, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is 90 minutes of concentrated Christmas spirit and joy that will have you humming all the way to your hotel room. Elements of the show such as the Rockettes performance of the Parade of Wooden soldiers, is cannon, and engraved in the minds of generations of New Yorkers. The show is a pleasure for young and old alike and is the perfect introduction to an all American Christmas.
Venue: Radio City Hall
Rockefeller Christmas Tree
Non american readers may have fallen under the spell of this iconic tree in the movie “Home Alone 2” but for New Yorkers, the behemoth (record height of 100ft) has been the herald of Christmas for over 80 years and has stood tall throughout the city’s changing fortunes.
First installed during America’s great depression, the tree was then, a symbol of hope and decorated with handmade garlands made by the families of the workers. It’s now a much more glamourous affair and sports a 500lb Swarovski star at its top and dressed in a myriad of lights. Be warned, tourists flock to the tree like moths to the light, so it can be notoriously hard to get a good viewing spot.
Venue: Rockefeller Center
The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet
A performance of nutcracker is as synonymous with Christmas as Santa Claus, reindeers and pudding, and it’s the New York City Ballet’s version of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece that made the little soldier a household name in America.
These days, stage elements such as a Christmas tree that grows before the audience’s eyes and a constant flutter of crystal shaped snowflakes, add to the magic, but of course, it’s the flawless performance of one of the best troupes in the world that make this experience a must.
Venue: Lincoln Center
Christmas Window Displays
New York is a magical city during Christmas and a lot of that magic comes from the jaw dropping window displays of some of the greatest stores in the world. This year, Bergdorf Goodman’s windows will be honoring Austrian jewellers Swarovski with 7 million crystals in their display, the Paris George V’s Jeff Leatham will be decorating Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel extends their display throughout the whole store… There’s so much going on that we’d need a whole other article to go through it all, but take a look at this trusty guide and make the most of it all.
Venue: All around
Boomboxes, laptops, iPhones and one iconic track combine to make one of New York’s most recent, and unusual Christmas traditions. In 1992, composer Phil Kline recorded the elements of a song, bells, chords and choral singing, on four separate tracks, handed one cassette of each to a crowd and yelled : “play!”. The result is the true meaning of Christmas as people are brought together to form an emotional bond through the music. If all that went over your head, have a listen on the event’s official website to find out more and download the track.
Christmas Across Centuries
We’ll end our little selection with something less commercial. The Tallis Scholars will be displaying the work of Renaissance master Thomas Tallis, with a rendition of Puer natus est nobis at the magnificent Church of St. Mary the Virgin. There will no doubt be countless Christmas carols and classic concerts to be heard in New York, but Tallis’s work is a masterpiece, and the venue, a feast for the eyes.