After leaving home from Thanksgiving Break and getting my first whiff of the holiday spirit by seeing a Christmas tree in the New Haven train station, I headed back to school the Monday after Thanksgiving for my first holiday season in the city!
When I got back, I started celebrating right away – I guess I didn’t want to wait a minute! I grabbed a friend of mine, Michelle, and headed to Columbus Circle for the Winter’s Eve celebration! The trees were lit up around the Circle and in front of the Times Warner building. There were tents set up by holiday shops and high-end restaurants selling holiday novelties and cheap eats. It was crowded with people radiating their own form of holiday spirit. Michelle and I walked into the mall, and walked up Broadway towards Lincoln Center and Lincoln Square. Lincoln Square was where there were more tents set up and they had holiday music playing around a decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the Square. It was beautiful and it was a great start to the season!
And I didn’t stop. The very next day, I planned to skip my computers class at 5:30 and instead go to Rockefeller Center for the famous tree lighting at the Plaza. I left early with another friend, Casmir, and we got there around 4 PM. We had to get there early because it was increasingly getting crowded by the minute. We walked around and found a spot but you couldn’t see the tree as it was being blocked by other trees! So, we quickly walked to the other side of the plaza and we found a really good spot – it was close, I could see the television screen and, best of all, I could see the tree clearly. It was a beautiful tree. (Honestly, not the best I’ve seen compared to years’ past.)
But it was, nonetheless, an amazing experience. I have watched the tree lighting for, I don’t know, maybe three or four years on television and I was finally there. I was finally a part of the crowd in the greatest city in the world. No, I was in a crowd of five hundred thousand people – half a million people – in New York City. I was beyond happy. I couldn’t have been any happier. I stood there for five hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. The music, the people, the pictures, the show, and the tree. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope to make it a yearly tradition.
Another night included making mini gingerbread houses a night after my family made theirs back at home! It was a nice surprise from my friends. They knew that I missed the tradition of making a gingerbread house with my family and a bunch of my floormates and other friends bought supplies to make gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, frosting and candy. It was a fun night and I appreciated all of it. It definitely lifted my spirit.
I also decorated my dorm room with some cheap holiday garland, stockings and Santa hats! I had Christmas cups, bowls and even a holiday paper towel roll to use. I used a “Merry Christmas” mug for my coffee almost every single day. My roommate used some of my garland and bows to hang on his side – it was a great way to keep up the spirit throughout the weeks of December. I also had my own miniature lit Christmas tree decorated with my own ornaments from home! It was on all the time.
I went to Olive Garden with Sam and Crystal; to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, walked around Prospect Park and Brooklyn with Amanda; to the Met with my RA; saw a gingerbread festival; witnessed the first few flurries in the city; and saw decorations all throughout New York. I also saw caroling at the South Street Seaport; did Secret Santa with some floormates; saw the 5th Avenue decorations; had my family over for a day and experienced the lunar eclipse in New York City.
The first few weeks of December away from home were hard because I was used to celebrating this special and beautiful time at home. But, they knew I loved New York and it was time for me to be an independent person. So, it was time for me to enjoy my time in the city and I knew that they wouldn’t have wanted anything else other than myself enjoying the city. Therefore, I’ll say, I had an amazing first holiday season in New York City with my friends from college…
I hope your holiday season was just as great!
I’ll leave you with some more pictures: