Photo: NYC Parks / D. Avila
Not quite sure how to get rid of that Christmas Tree? From December 26 to January 11, NYC will be hosting its annual Mulchfest so that you can recycle your tree at a local park. With 67 total drop-off sites throughout the five boroughs—32 of which are chipping sites—it’s easier than ever to get your tree turned into mulch that will be used to help nourish trees and plants across the city.
How to participate this year
Image of the first Christmas tree in City Hall park in 1913; via Library of Congress
In 1912, the nation’s first public Christmas tree went up in Madison Square Park and sparked a new trend that would soon spread to parks across the city and beyond. The following year, acting Mayor Ardolph Kline initiated a similar tradition when he asked a young boy to help him light a Christmas tree in City Hall Park. By 1934, tree lighting celebrations became a citywide effort, with the Parks Department putting up 14 fifty-foot Norway Spruce trees throughout the city. Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia dedicated the trees from City Hall Park and broadcasted the ceremony to sites across the city.
Despite being the City That Never Sleeps, New York does close down a bit on Christmas Day, with all sorts of museums, shops, restaurants, and other businesses giving their staff a break for the holiday. But for those of us who do not celebrate or won’t be spending all of Christmas at home squabbling over politics with family, there’s still plenty to do in town, especially if you get a little creative. Here are seven great options.
All photos © James and Karla Murray
The city may have created additional pedestrian space around Rockefeller Center this year, but the throngs of tourists are still filling the streets around the Christmas tree and holiday windows. If you’d rather not deal with the crowds, photographers James and Karla Murray have captured the best of this year’s windows, from the magical “Frozen” themed light show at Saks Fifth Avenue to the artistic displays at Bergdorf Goodman. Ahead, see what’s on view this year and learn a bit more about what goes into creating these whimsical scenes.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Good luck finding a Christmas tree in NYC for under $75 this year; Photo by Billy Williams on Unsplash
A Christmas tree vendor in Manhattan is selling 20-foot Fraser firs for $6,500 each, most likely the most expensive evergreen in the city, the New York Post reported Sunday. Scott Lechner, the manager of Soho Trees, located near Canal Street, told the newspaper that the exorbitant prices aren’t slowing sales. “We’re sold out,” he said. The steep price tag includes delivery and installation.
Photo via Pexels
So maybe you don’t have room for a Norway spruce big enough to rival Rockefeller Center’s. Maybe you don’t even have a chimney from which to hang stockings with care. Or maybe holiday decorating seems a little old fashioned–which might be just what you’re looking for. The good thing about the season is that adding sparkle doesn’t take up a lot of space. The choices are nearly endless; what you choose should reflect nothing so much as your own personal style. From classic to retro to contemporary to some more out-of-the-box picks, here are some ideas for small-space holiday decorating.
What’s your holiday decorating style?
With its lit-up streets and sidewalk tree-sellers, New York is at its best during the holidays, especially if you can avoid tourist-clogged areas like Rockefeller Center and Times Square. There are lots of lovely festive spots to celebrate seasonal cheer, including local bars and restaurants that transform their spaces into holiday wonderlands, complete with themed drinks, bites, and lots of Christmas lights. Here are some of our favorites.
11 spots to get festive
The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center may be the most popular conifer in New York City, with 125 million people visiting the tree each year, but it certainly is not the only one. Every holiday season, spruces adorned with colorful lights and ornaments pop up across the five boroughs. The city’s many holiday trees each offer a unique take on the tradition, which began in NYC in 1912 when the first public Christmas tree was erected in Madison Square Park. For those looking to skip the Midtown crowds this year, we’ve rounded up 20 of the best holiday trees and lighting ceremonies, from the origami tree at the American Museum of Natural History to the flotilla of trees in Central Park’s Harlem Meer.
Get the full list
Image by Gerhard Gellinger via Pixabay
Advent calendars–those countdown calendars with little doors or tabs that can be opened each day of the month–are a visual, hands-on way to deal with counting the days ’til Christmas. The idea falls somewhere between a card and a gift, with the added excitement of having each day be a chance to reveal a new bauble, bonbon, potion or prize. Both the ritual of finding out what’s behind the door–and getting to enjoy it–can be almost as fun for grown-ups as kids. Below are 12 cool countdown calendars stocked with treats from chocolates and tea to Marvel figurines and “Game of Thrones” socks (yes, really.)–and one DIY version you can fill with whatever you like.
cool advent calendars, this way
Christmas shoppers on 6th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress
Black Friday marks the start of frantic holiday shopping, the day when retailers offer their best deals of the season to lure in eager shoppers. While some gift-givers now choose to digitally add items to shopping carts from the comfort of bed instead, many still line up outside of stores at the crack of dawn in search of major discounts. This is not a modern phenomenon, as these photographs from the Library of Congress of 20th century New York City reveal. Like today, New Yorkers of the early 1900s were drawn to the magical window shops and displays. Ahead, explore vintage photos of shoppers browsing New York City stores looking for the perfect presents, postcards and more.
See the photos here