It is finally December and holiday decorations have been dusted off the shelves. Christmas trees are up and the holiday decoration pop-up stores have made their way to local malls, especially in Long Island. The only missing piece that would make this holiday season dreamy is a sprinkle of snow. As we wait for that, check out these local events you can attend to help spread the holiday cheer!
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Where: Rockefeller Center, NYC
When: December 1 to the beginning of January
Cost: Free (unless you want to ice skate under the tree)
Lights. Camera. Celebrate. Let the holidays begin with a beautiful sighting of NYC’s favorite 12-ton Christmas tree. At 79-feet tall, the Norway Spruce hails from Elkton, Maryland and is donned with 50,000 LED lights. The tree is lit from 6 a.m. to midnight every day, except Christmas when it is on for 24 hours and on New Year’s Eve until only 9 p.m. From my own experience, it is extremely difficult to visit the tree on Christmas Day with the large crowds drawn there every year. If you want to spend time taking pictures or simply admire the view, plan on going anytime before the week of Christmas or after to avoid crowds and the coronavirus.
Lights Display in Dyker Heights
Where: Dyker Heights, Brooklyn
When: 5-9 p.m. until December 30, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Cost: $55 per adult
This almost three-hour tour takes you through the most spirited Christmas neighborhood in Brooklyn. With an extravagant light show every year, this community draws in crowds of admirers during the few hours they turn on their lights starting after Thanksgiving. This is the 15th year the lights are on display and they have not yet ceased to impress. Book a bus tour through this neighborhood before tickets sell out and you miss the chance to see a 15-foot tall Santa.
Bryant Park Winter Village
Where: Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Street and Fifth and Sixth Avenues
When: Now until January 2, hours vary
Cost: Free admission to park and the ice rink (skate rentals not included)
This cozy winter village is back at Bryant Park, featuring the famous ice rink, holiday shops and heated igloos with a view of the rink. The shops feature local and global artisans, selling everything from delicious food to self-care products and accessories. It is the perfect place to spend an afternoon admiring the festive open-air market while drinking an extra hot cup of hot chocolate and watching people gracefully fall on the ice rink. There are also curling lanes available for rent at the plaza.
Wreath making Workshop
Where: Queens Botanical Garden – 43-50 Main St., New York, NY 11355
When: Saturday December 11 at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
When it comes to DIY Christmas projects, making a wreath to hang on your front door is a classic. Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb or have never designed a wreath before. The Queens Botanical Gardens (QBG) has got you covered with everything you need to decorate your wreath. For non-QBG members, tickets are $35 which include all wreath materials and entrance to the gardens. The event is held outdoors on the QBG terrace, so be sure to dress warm. Individuals over 12 years old are required to show proof of at least one dose of an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine to attend.
The Buy From a Black Woman Holiday Market
Where: Times Square
When: December 11 and 18
Cost: Free admission + whatever you buy to support these businesses
What better way to celebrate the holidays and spread the Christmas spirit than supporting local businesses and giving back to the community. This collaboration between H&M and the non-profit organization Buy From a Black Woman is meant to empower and support Black Woman business owners and encourage economic growth. With a new set of shops at Times Square every week, the market is highlighting businesses centered around everything from herbal teas to scented candles to home décor. Be sure to bring your holiday shopping list and find gifts for loved ones here!