December is a crazy busy month. 🎄🕎 ⛄️❄️ Every year we have traditions of family activities that we like to do to celebrate the holidays. Here is a complete list that you can check off with your family! ✔️
Cut Down Your Xmas Tree
Although we usually pick up a tree at Hicks there are plenty of Christmas tree farms out east. While you’re at it you can snap some cute pics!
Obviously every year you need your obligatory Santa pic. Hicks has a free Santa every day in December.
There are early afternoon and late afternoon times so check before you go. Although depending on when you go the lines can be long, there’s plenty of other things you can do while you’re there or while your partner waits on line. 💰 Check out their animated Christmas display, shop their decorations or pick up your Xmas tree.
Hicks is your one stop shop for all Xmas and Holiday Decorations, ornaments, Christian village collections etc… The benefit of taking your Santa pics at Hicks is that it’s free and you can take your own pics with your own camera! Score! 📸
Every year we have a family dinner in the main restaurant with just the kids. No extended family and no friends. Just us. 👨👩👧👧👬
Every room is decorated differently with hundreds of decorations. A highlight is the group of carolers that comes around to each table and sing a few tunes.🎶
It’s a nice night to dress up in our Xmas finest and take some holiday family pics.👗👔 Then head over to the old fashion Xmas village: the toy store, the candy store, the bakery, the Xmas store, the ice cream store etc…
Another option is the breakfast with Santa 🎅🏼which we did last year and was also super cute! Lots of pic opps!
Jones Beach Magic of Lights Show
Cruise over to Jones Beach at night for a family fun event for all ages. The whole experience takes around 1 hour. Hundreds of light displays.
Make a 20 minute pit stop at the Xmas Concession Village for snacks, hot chocolate, roasting smores on an open fire, pics with Santa and other Xmas activities.
$20 Per 🚙.
No Holiday season is complete without a trip to Dyker Heights which i have previously written a post about that you can read here.
“Out of all the yuletide razzle-dazzle NYC has to offer, the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights 2017 display is by far the most spectacular. (Sorry, Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree). Each year, over 100,000 people flock to the Brooklyn nabe to witness some of the most over-the-top Christmas lights we’ve ever seen—think huge inflatable Santas and snowmen, and houses that blast Christmas carols from loundspeakers. There is a lot of ground to cover, as many houses in the area participate over multiple blocks and avenues. (We’re talking tens of thousands of lights).” There is really nothing that compares and it’s a guaranteed WOW for the whole family! 🌟🌟🌟
Decorated Christmas Houses on LI
Every year after we leave Hicks we head over to Bridle Path Drive in Old Westbury to check out the dueling Xmas houses. The first 2 houses on the street are in a full blown holiday decoration competition and we LOVE it!
Here are some others!
Rockefeller Center Area
Of course you have to head over to Rockefeller Center to take your tree pic, and if you want to brace the long lines you can go ice skating on the famous rink!
Still trying to check that one off my list! ⛸ While you are there head across the street to Saks for their beautiful Light show projected on the facade of the building!
Amazing! Also while you’re there you can check out the new American Girl Store which is right across from the tree as well!
Check out all the Holiday Window displays! One more pretty then the next! 🖼🎄🕎♥️🌟
Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes
An excellent show for the entire family! A holiday classic that is always changing its look.
But you can always count on the fabulous Rockettes to keep you in awe! 👯👯👯
This is an insiders secret on the East Side of NYC. I don’t think many people know about this beautiful Christmas decorated restaurant.
It’s ridiculously busy and they don’t always answer the phone but call ahead for reservations! “Rolf’s, a true Murray Hill staple, is known for donning extravagant and over-the-top Christmas decorations for six months out of the year (think icicle ornaments, garlands, multicolored string lights, and fake ice). The menu is mostly an afterthought to this sensory overload of neon, but satisfies with the standard German offerings of bratwurst, schnitzel, and steins upon steins of brew.”
Bryant Park Winter Village
The best part is the 17,000 square foot ice skating rink. ⛸
If that’s not your thing “This European inspired open-air market features artisans from around the world. Located along Bryant Park’s allées and terraces, the Holiday Shops are housed in custom-designed, “jewel box” kiosks. Enjoy local crafts, artisanal food, and goods from around the world.”
Of course you can take a horse and buggy ride through the park and snuggle under the warm blankets they provide. You can take the kids ice skating in the Wollman Rink as well! ⛸
Macy’s Santaland Herald Square
As a child I have many memories of watching Miracle on 34th Street so I finally got a chance last year to take my kids to Santaland in Macy’s! You can read more here!
” Of all NYC’s amazing opportunities to meet Saint Nick, not a one can claim to be more iconic than Macy’s Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square.”
New York Botanical Gardens Train Show
Your little boys (and girls) will enjoy the various train track setups throughout the indoor houses of the gardens.
When I think of Xmas music some of my favorite songs that come to mind are those from the Nutcracker. This year we are heading to the famous performance! “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition with old-fashioned costumes, a tree that grows before your eyes, crystal-shaped snowflakes, fine choreography by New York City Ballet, and Tchaikovsky’s captivating music at David H. Koch Theater.”
The Ride: Holiday Edition
This is basically a show on wheels in a ridiculously pimped out bus! 🚌 We haven’t yet tried it but hoping to check this off our list this holiday season! “THE RIDE takes a seasonal twist for a limited time to celebrate the wonder and magic of the holiday season in New York City! Original seasonal music, videos and hilarious hosts support dazzling holiday performances that you will discover along the 4.2-mile journey through New York City. “The weather outside may be frightful” but you will be experiencing all of this entertainment protected from the elements as the show unfolds against a backdrop of the sparklingly decorated City.”
There are plenty of show around NYC and Long Island to keep your families entertained…like I mentioned before there is the Nutcracker, Xmas Spectacular, ELF at MSG, Jingle Ball, Garfield, etc…
A few more ideas to round out our Xmas traditions…I wanted to share a few things we do in my house that are special…first of course is our Elf on the Shelf or (mensch on the bench) if you prefer… the kids get a HUGE kick out of waking up every morning and going on a hunt to find out where our elves are hiding. I even overheard my 9 and 11 year olds a few days ago wondering when our elf will be arriving for the holidays! The magic is REAL!
The other tradition that is extremely near and dear to my heart is our Christmas Village featuring a mix of Dept 56 and Lemax Village Houses. Every year my elves take great care and squeal with delight as they pop open the boxes are arrange them on the shelves.
Every year we make a new purchase and add one new store/ house/ restaurant/ business to our village. Their favorite part is definitely arranging all the villagers and pets and decorations.
Then mom lights them up and voila! We have a Village!!! 🏡💒🏘🏛🏞
This is a beautiful tradition and collection that brings the whole family together and you can pass down through generations!
Last but not least if you can’t get a spot at Storybook Experience (631-482-9897) this year then book you photoshoot/magical experience for next year. You get a private Santa experience through several holiday scenes and beautiful Norman Rockwell-esque pictures to document the journey! Tell em I sent ya!
Please share any and all holiday traditions that are special to your family I’m always looking for new things to add to our Holiday Bucketlist!!! 📝🎄🕎