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Holiday Traditions for my City Babies

There is something magical about New York City during the holidays. It really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world around this time of year.

Harlan’s first Christmas was spent here in New York City. We didn’t live here at the time, but I had two weeks off of work for winter break and my husband couldn’t take off for very long, so we decided to stay with him for my two week vacation. This helped give me a little taste as to what our lives were going to be like when we did finally make the move.

I tried to make the most of the two week vacation and fit as much NYC holiday cheer into my schedule as possible. Although Harlan was too young to understand where we were taking her, it was still so much fun brining her to the holiday hot spots around New York City.

Since our very first holiday season here, we’ve made it a tradition to take Harlan to those same spots that we did three years ago. I am so excited that this year Avery will get to take part. Take a look at nine of my favorite New York City holiday traditions that I love to share with my girls.


  • Bryant Park Holiday Shops 1 of 9
    Bryant Park Holiday Shops
    Bryant Park is so much fun during the holidays. We started going with Harlan when we first moved here and we've made it a point to visit every year since. They have holiday shops filled with NYC ornaments, hot chocolate, local artists, and so much more. They also have a free ice skating rink in the middle of the park. We always love to stop at their pop-up restaurant Celsius to watch the ice skaters and grab a bite to eat.
  • Central Park 2 of 9
    Central Park
    Central Park is one of our favorite places to go any time of the year. But it is especially incredible during the winter time. It's even more special when it snows. The park is picture perfect. People are ice skating, kids are sledding down many of the hills, and taking in all of the beautiful scenery. We always make sure to visit Central Park around the holidays because there is just something magical about being in the huge gorgeous park this time of year.
  • Ice Skating 3 of 9
    Ice Skating
    New York City is filled with so many places to ice skate during the winter time. And no matter which rink you choose, they are all sure to be beautiful. Although both of my girls have been too young to venture out and skate yet, they still have so much fun watching the ice skaters skate around.
  • Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 4 of 9
    Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows
    If there is one thing that gets the attention of kids of all ages, it's beautiful holiday lights. Fifth Avenue stores are known for going all out during the holiday season, decorating their window fronts with displays and also putting lights everywhere. We love to take a walk from Rockefeller Center down to Central Park to see all of the gorgeous holiday window displays that these stores have done. We took Avery for the first time a couple of weeks ago and her eyes were locked on all of the lights that surrounded her. It really is a beautiful sight.
  • Pick Out Our Christmas Tree 5 of 9
    Pick Out Our Christmas Tree
    Before moving to NYC, both my husband and I never had a real Christmas tree. Now that we live in a tiny apartment, we don't have room to store a fake tree anywhere, so every year we venture out to the street to find the perfect one. As someone from the suburbs, I was so used to Christmas Trees being in big grassy lots on the sides of the road. Here in NYC, all of the little delis and markets sell trees on the sidewalk ready for you to carry home. Harlan was at the perfect age this year to help pick out her favorite tree. Avery was a bit overwhelmed with so many trees surrounding her.
  • Macy’s Puppet Show 6 of 9
    Macy's Puppet Show
    This is one of my absolute favorite things to take the kids to. We brought Harlan to the Macy's puppet show for the first time when she was only one year old. We were a bit cautious not knowing if she was going to be able to sit still through the entire thing. It is the most entertaining show, with real marionette puppets, that she has stayed sitting with her eyes glued every year.
  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 7 of 9
    Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
    This Christmas tree is a must for any tourist or city dweller. The spectacular Rockefeller Christmas tree is absolutely incredible and unlike anything I have ever seen. We took Harlan for the first time when she was only months old and have been going back every year. Although it is a huge tourist spot and there are crowds of people nearly all the time, I love seeing the joy on their face when they see that big tree lit up.
  • Santa at Macy’s 8 of 9
    Santa at Macy's
    My oldest daughter Harlan thinks that Santa lives at Macy's during the day and then travels home to the North Pole every night. This was the very first Santa she visited at only months old and the one we've been going back to year after year. Macy's does an incredible job with this display. You enter Santaland and take a ride on a train to the North Pole. While you wait there are many animated characters and trees to keep you and your kids occupied while you wait to see Santa.
  • Union Square Holiday Market 9 of 9
    Union Square Holiday Market
    Let me first start out by telling you that while I love taking the girls to this holiday market, it is always jam packed. We went for the first time this holiday season last week and could hardly get through with our stroller because there were so many people. These holiday shops feature local jewelry makers, hot chocolate, apple cider, leather goods, and anything that you can imagine from your gift list. Harlan loves picking out one special treat from one of the shops to take home. It really is a fun experience, but you have to do your best to go when they are less busy. Image via Urban Space NYC

More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

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