It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

So sorry it’s been so long since my last post!!

Quite honestly, I headed out for the Thanksgiving Holidays with the best of intentions.  I started out dutifully taking photos and planning my posts, and then…I decided that soaking up the quality time with my family (including the cutest niece on the planet) was worth putting blogging off for a few days.

After Thanksgiving, I drove back to North Carolina with Mom and Dad so I could get some quality time (and Southern food) in and I could blog about all the trouble that Mom and I always get into on our adventures. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. I sent my laptop charger home to NYC with my husband and therefore…no blog last week either! Yikes!

Selfishly, the break did allow me to skip the last few days of November…which means – it’s finally time to talk CHRISTMAS!!

In my opinion, there’s no denying that NYC is the absolute best at Christmas!

The holiday decorations are up in every store, the pop-up holiday markets are buzzing, and the subway peddlers are practically stealing our money and heartstrings with their carols. I gladly cross the street when I don’t need to if it means passing through one of the many sidewalk Christmas Tree lots filled with fragrant firs. The Starbucks red cups are everywhere – though I drink cold coffee (yes even in the winter) so I only enjoy those from afar. The ice skating rinks are filled to the brim and Santas (naughty and nice) are on every corner.

But that’s the NYC of the movies, right?!

What’s it like outside of the hustle bustle of holiday shoppers and ginormous Christmas trees?

My first Christmas in NYC was spent in Astoria. This Greek neighborhood will always feel like home to me in the big city.  The old-fashioned snowflake lights extend across the streets just in time for the local Christmas parade. Many of the stores hire a window painter to depict snowy landscapes, trees, garlands, and Santas galore. The Christmas tree stand is smaller, but that heavenly smell is still worth a detour.

I’m surprised I ever left Astoria really, especially when I remember that my apartment was the holy grail of Christmas decorations. I loved walking in and out of that Christmas Castle every evening. At Christmastime, I didn’t even have to tell people my address. My roommates and I could just give the subway stop and direct our guests toward the apartment with the lights. It was the best!

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It’s rather hard to capture the magic of Christmas lights…especially before I had an iPhone.

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The buildings next door pale in comparison.

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This was the year we got dripping icicle lights! Oooh!DSCF1585

One with snowflakes – for added Christmas Spirit.

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The many moving deer/soldiers!

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Then there was the year that we found out about Santa-Con. Never heard of it? Neither had I…until this bunch of jolly guys (and girls) showed up outside my apartment early one Saturday morning!

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I woke up my roommates to see the Santas playing in our park.

DSCF7309They just kept coming…

DSCF7311And coming…
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The Santa Convention happens every year in NYC (and probably a few other big cities). It’s basically a huge Santa bar crawl with secret locations that are revealed after you pay for your ticket (which goes to charity??). Santas meet in bars all over the city and finally converge at one location…at which time they are all pretty gonzo – but it’s quite a site to see.

The year these photos were taken, this group of Santas started their crawl at the Bohemian Beer Garden. When you don’t know an event like this exists, it’s pretty magical to wake up to on a Saturday morning. :)

Santa Con 2014 is happening next Saturday (December 14th) if anyone is interested. Rent your Santa suits soon! Here’s the website.

The boulevard I live on now doesn’t have any cute lights on the lamp posts or dangling across the street, but I still get to walk past two Christmas Tree vendors (if I take the long way home). I can see the city from my window, but the magical lights aren’t visible from across the river. The Empire State Building is usually good for some red and green this time of year, but it’s not quite the same as the warm twinkling of classic Christmas lights. We aren’t allowed to hang wreaths or decoration on our doors, but our lobby has a fake tree with some fake presents underneath.  It sounds sad when I compare it to my former landlord’s Christmas village lobby decoration complete with fake fluffy snow. That landlord’s wife even gave us some jingle bells for our doorknob one year because she felt sad that we didn’t have a wreath! They were the best!

There are some perks to my new high-rise home though! The view from my window is filled with my neighbors’ twinkling Christmas trees (I counted 14 last night!). I’m sure more will pop up in the next couple of days.

I’m working hard to make it feel like Christmas in our little shoebox. We only have 2 weeks before we head out for the holidays again and I need to get as much decoration going as my husband can handle!

I’ll be back every day this week with a few more apartment updates, and some holiday posts as well! How can I resist?!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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