Sunday, December 19, 2010

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Last weekend was filled with all kinds of holiday festivities. Becky's mom came to visit us from Wisconsin to enjoy New Yorky Christmas goodness! Sometimes New York can be really obnoxious, but it really is a magical place to be at Christmas time. On Saturday Becky and her mom hit up Christmas markets at Bryant Park and Grand Central, viewed the Macy's windows and the Rockefeller Center tree, and visited the Bronx Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show. Becky and I also went last year, and learned that we probably would have gone much sooner if we had realized it was in fact not really about trains at all. There's an electric train that runs through it all, but the main attraction is all sorts of New York buildings rendered in natural materials.

Unfortunately I missed all of this (and therefore am going to make Becky re-do much of it), but fortunately it was for a good cause. Every year my work has a holiday party on a Saturday in December for all of the families we work with. We work really hard to decorate the gym, and then we have food and music and raffle prizes and of course Santa! It's a lot of work, but it's also fun to see the families in a more relaxed atmosphere and just have fun. I can't post pictures of the families since I don't want to get fired for not protecting people's privacy or anything, but here's a view of the gym before any of the clients arrived.
Afterwords we met up at Columbus Circle to shop the market (although I was running a little late and missed most of this) and view the magic. A few years ago Becky declared that walking through the Shops at Columbus Circle at Christmastime made her feel like she's in a movie, and even though I laughed at her at the time I actually have to totally agree. It's the quintessential mall-at-Christmas, with colorful flashing lights and a cheery holiday soundtrack, and sometimes even a sprinkling of fake snow.
We then enjoyed dinner at Acqua, an Italian restaurant we'd never tried before, and headed home to collapse.

Sunday morning dreary and early we geared ourselves up for a 9 am performance of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Apparently it is so popular that on peak weekends they pack six performances into a day. On principle we pretty much refuse to pay full price for theater and we could only find a good coupon for early morning or late evening, so 9am won out. The weather gods decided to pour rain. As a Midwesterner, rain in winter causes a lot of cognitive dissonance for me. But here on the East Coast, rain is known as a normal, if unpleasant, wintertime hazard. Standing on the street in New Jersey waiting for a bus while sheets of rain pour from the sky and 40 mph gusts of wind whip your umbrella around is a distinctly un-Christmasy way to start a day of holiday goodness. By the time we got to Radio City we were more than ready for some hot chocolate. Thankfully, they anticipated our needs and had a stand all set up. I asked Becky if she wanted some, and she jokingly asked if we could buy it and then take it to the bar and spike it. Why yes, in fact the hot chocolate bar will do that for you! Hot chocolate, caramel liquor shots, and fresh whipped cream quickly erased any memory of the out of doors. Our orchestra seats absolutely rocked and the show was full of Christmas wonder.

Next we braved the still-wet out-of-doors for much too long, in order to experience all the deliciousness that Sarabeth's has to offer. Sadly by the time we got seated they were no longer serving the Big Bad Wolf Porridge (or any of the other lesser porridges), but crisp potato waffles with chicken apple breakfast sausages can make up for pretty much anything. Seriously, those things are delicious. And I recently learned that they are not on the menu at Sarabeth's Central Park South location. Isn't that disappointing and odd?

By this time we were a wet and generally exhausted, so we returned to the Jerz for relaxing and Christmas cookie baking. This is Becky's yearly obsession, so perhaps she will regale you with tales from the kitchen. Let's just say, in one afternoon I think she finished off five varieties. Yum.


  1. My favorite thing about this post is your use of the phrase "cognitive dissonance." The end.

    And, I will see the Christmas Spectacular at least once in my life. It's required.

    Miss you both. Merry Christmas!

  2. Haha, Jen, I guess once a psychology major always a psychology major...

    You should definitely get out here for the Christmas Spectacular sometime! Merry Christmas to you too!