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We have a few traditions in our family, not a lot, but a few significant ones.  The one I think that’s the best for us would be the annual trip into NYC to do the Christmas highlights.  If you have not been, Christmas in NYC is pretty great.  Not many places I’ve been to do it on quite the grand scale that NYC does.  There’s decorations and lights everywhere.  Stores try to out-do each other in decorating their window displays.  There’s a Santa on every corner ringing their bell.  There’s shows aplenty all over the city.

We start the day getting on the Long Island Rail Road and taking the train into the city. This alone is a big thrill for the kids.  They are pure suburban kids, so taking a real train is pretty exciting for them.  This gets the day off in a good way.

We arrive at Penn and the next stop if generally across the street to the Macy’s on 34th street.  This is the original.  The big show.  It’s about 12 stories or something, and they claim to be the largest single store in America or the world.  It’s difficult to argue.  It’s massive and has it all.  It even still has WOODEN escalators, which are generally a better option than the elevator since the store is JAMMED from about Thanksgiving on.  We make our way up to the 8th floor (I think) to Santaland.  It’s pretty great.  As you’re moving along the line it’s really like you’re walking through the North Pole.  It’s great and the kids really have a blast.  They see Santa, ask for whatever, and we get the picture at the end for us and the grandparents.

At that point, we typically have lunch since we try to get there at the opening.  You never know, but we’re pretty good.  It will save a lot of time getting there right away.

After we have lunch, we typically try to see the Rockefeller Center tree, and check out at least of few windows.  We will likely hit Macy’s (of course), Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and maybe Bloomingdale’s.  They do a really great job.  It really gets you in the spirit of the season.

Sometimes we’ve split up and Vera and Natalie went to the American Girl Store and Liam and I go to Lego.  We all try to hit either Disney, Toys R Us Times Square, or FAO Schwartz.  All 3 of these stores are huge and really do some job around Christmas.  Sure it’s a lot of “wait until Christmas” and “Santa is coming soon” but it really is a nice experience.

Some years we may even try to squeeze in a show.  The favorites are of course the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (with the Rockettes) or a Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden.

At this point, the kids are still pretty good, but they are getting wiped out.  It’s generally a bit cold, and a bit windy.  Snow would be great, especially since the snow melts as soon as it hits the ground in Manhattan.

We hop back on the train and 34 minutes later, we’re home.

We will likely go this week, and we can’t wait.  What are some traditions you hold dear?

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