On the 22nd day of Christmas…

22 December

With Fairytale of New York our favourite Christmas song, we were keen to get someone to cover Christmas in NYC for our Advent Calendar. Step forward Jenna Birks – here’s her account of December in the Big Apple…

People always rave about New York at Christmas. When I told people I was going there, everyone said the same thing: it’s amazing; the Americans go all out for Christmas; there’s a Santa on every corner. But as so often happens with the overly anticipated, when we actually arrived, it all seemed a bit disappointing. Our hotel sat right in Times Square, the only lights the flashing of the billboards without a decoration in sight. Where was the Christmas over-load I’d been promised?

As time went on, and me and my family explored the city, we began to uncover some of the classic elements of a New York Christmas. The famous Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center; the toy soldiers lining the street; the lights decorating the side of Macy’s.  But somehow after all the hype, it just didn’t feel quite right. No matter how many beautiful lights we saw, or how many Christmas trees we posed in front of or even how many Eggnog Lattes I drank, I couldn’t capture the Christmas spirit I imagined I would find in this amazing city.

Eventually, I came to realise the obvious. The beauty of New York at Christmas is not in the oversized decorations, or even in the ringing bells and donation buckets on every corner. Instead, we find Christmas in the bustling hum of the excited shoppers in every store, the smiling faces of the shop assistants and the fallible attempts to hide the gifts we’ve bought for each other in our suitcases. We don’t need falling snow, a dressed-up Santa or a wreath on every door for it to feel like Christmas. Ultimately, it is being together as a family, with your loved ones and exploring this beautiful, amazing city that makes Christmas in New York, really something to remember forever.

So wherever you are this December, have a lovely Christmas.

Jenna Birks is a freelance blogger & copywriter and blogs at Decent Online Presence and tweets @jenloubee.

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