Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Christmas in the city

We had a nice quiet holiday season this year, celebrating at home, with family, friends and our dog. The kids were in school up until December 23 so many of our traditional crafts and activities didn’t make it on the schedule this year but it was all fine. With the kids bigger and busier, we only hit the major ones: paper chains counting down to Christmas, decorating the tree, a few rounds of sugar cookies and of course our Christmas Eve dinner. The kids still slept under the tree as they have for many years but rather than a merry buzzing chatter fest, the teenagers all just slept as soon as they were in sleeping bags.  And they continued to sleep even after the dog and I came through the front room in the morning!
Last year we tried to cut down our own tree as we have in the past but there were too many people milling about too few trees. We ended up buying from the first Christmas tree lot we came to. This year, Royce, with a friend, found a farther out place but a lovely place. It reminded us all a bit of European Christmas markets with stalls selling ornaments, decorations and hot chocolate. Oddly we did not buy a tree from the lot Adam was working at (because of the aforementioned love of the Christmas market feel). Through his Boy Scout troop, he volunteered at a lot in town. I was not sure what to expect when I dropped him off in the gloom and rain but when I picked him up seven hours later all was well. Why? Tips! Who knew you were supposed to tip the Boy Scout who carried your tree to your car? Adam is appalled that we have never done this. But then again, this year we tied tree onto our car ourselves and now we have Adam, experienced tree boy.
A high light of the season was getting into the city a few times. The girls and I went to the Nutcracker at Lincoln Center and were suitably awed by both the building and the performance. We watched little girls in tutus twirl in the hallways and lined up for autographs with the stars and remembered when. We ate hot dogs on the sidewalk and trundled past the tree at Rockefeller Center, along with millions of others. Due to the crowds, we opted to ice skate at a different rink, not the one in front of Rockefeller. We made our way to little Bryant Park, more manageable in terms of crowds and proximity to Penn Station. The girls took some turns around on the ice and soaked in the ambience of it all, the city, the window displays, the cold weather. It felt truly magical, in a way past Christmases have in other cities around the world. What a difference a year makes.


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