I think there are a lot of things that we take for granted living in the greater New York and Philadelphia metro areas. For me, Christmas in New York is one of those things. But I had the opportunity to experience Christmas in New York through the eyes of someone seeing it for the very first time.

My Canadian friend, Brendan, was visiting a few weeks ago and I took him into The City to see The Big Apple in all of its Christmas splendor.

Afterwords, I figured it would be fun to get his perspective. So we did a Q&A. Here's what he had to say:


What were you most looking forward to seeing in New York City for Christmas?
Being a person who watched "Home Alone" every Christmas holiday, I knew I HAD to see the Rockefeller Center Tree! It's also listed as one of the top ten Christmas trees in the world!


What was your favorite part?
I think the best moment for me was when we  were walking up the street, and this store front had massive window displays that kept getting more elaborate the further you went up the block. Then coming around the corner, you see this massive light display and window display unlike anything you ever witnessed, with moving components and festive music, and you realize it was the Saks Fifth Avenue window display and light show. Right at that moment, it was a flurry of excitement, Christmas cheer, and I felt like I was a kid again.


Photo by Justin Louis
Photo by Justin Louis


Was there anything unexpected, or anything that surprised you?
Going with my last comment, I think that the Saks window for sure was a great surprise. But I got an even better surprise upon turning literally around and seeing the massive tree overlooking the ice rink at Rockefeller Center.


How does Christmas in New York compare to some of the other places you've been during the holidays in the past?
The only comparison I can even relate to New York during the holidays is Germany. Almost every major city hosts this massive Christmas market that takes up most of the city itself, and although it's very different, it still gave me the same excited Christmas feeling.


What advice would you give to a first time visitor?
Bring your camera! New York is a big place with a big personality! So much of what you see in film and TV is all within walking distance, and it would be a shame if you weren't able to capture any of it.

Take a train to Grand Central Station to see the beauty of it. From there go to Rockefeller Center, see the tree, stare at the store windows and light displays, and the one thing that is mandatory in NYC is to go to a Broadway show! That is the ultimate New York holiday trip!


If you went back, what would be the first thing that you'd make a point to see or do?
No matter what, the first thing I always want to see when I visit New York are the museums! Although I've only been twice, I found myself in the same museum as the first time I was there (The Met), seeing new exhibits that I didn't see last time. Even with the second trip, I still didn't manage to finish the museum because it was so big. Second from that, I always love seeing Times Square and Central Park.


Was there anything that disappointed you or didn't live up to your expectations?
I think the only thing that really disappointed me was the fact that the city is so big. You can't, and really, you can't see the whole city in a day. There is just too much to do, and at some points it was a lot of anxiety just trying to figure out where to go next.


Is there anything you feel like you missed or didn't get a chance to do or see?
The only thing I did miss this time around was, and I would still love a chance to see, would be to see the Statue of Liberty. But that isn't a holiday moment, just an everyday wish.

My thanks to Brendan for sharing his thoughts on his very first New York Christmas experience! What are your favorite things to see or do in NYC during the holiday season? Comment below and let us know!


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