NYC Celebrates a Diverse Holiday Season


(Izhar Laufer via FLICKR)


It’s wintertime and with that comes curling up under blankets on cold days, hot chocolate and, of course, a plethora of holidays that lend themselves to holiday songs and events. For those who observe any of the upcoming holidays and for those who don’t, there’s plenty to do in New York City this December.

The Largest Menorah in the World

The Largest Menorah is lit every night of Hanukkah and has been repeatedly rated the premier Hanukkah event in New York City. Lighting this world-record menorah is no easy feat, and Rabbi Shimon Hecht of park slope uses a special boom lift to get to the height of 35 feet to complete the ceremony. The lighting is accompanied by live music hot latkes each night, as well as a very special concert on the first evening. What makes this event even sweeter is that the lighting celebration and the concert are free of charge. So if you’re ready for lots of holiday fun, get to Grand Army Plaza during Hanukkah and get in on the grand celebrations. Be sure to check the time of menorah lighting on the website, since they change depending on the day.

Kwanzaa Celebration

Rejoice all because this winter, the American Museum of National History is holding a Kwanzaa celebration. The program will feature live music, spoken word, African dance and traditional crafts. There will also be an overview of seven principles of Kwanzaa, called Nguzo Saba, which promote unity, culture and community development. During the celebration a marketplace will be put up that will showcase local artisans from the African-American community. The celebration will take place in the museum on Dec. 30, starting at noon. The program itself is free, and you only have to pay for the museum admission and any wonderful goodies you find while exploring the marketplace.

Saks Fifth Avenue Window Display

Saks on Fifth Avenue decorate their windows annually, and the displays are always very successful. This year, the display celebrates the 80th anniversary of Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Even though the film is not usually considered a holiday classic, it is somewhat symbolically appropriate, featuring “snow” in the title. The window displays follow the famous story across 14 animated scenes, from the start all the way to the happy ending. The display is accompanied by an impressive 10-story theatrical light show that lasts about two minutes and is regularly repeated for everyone to see.

Holiday Train Display

For all of you railroad enthusiasts out there, New York Transit Museum is holding its 16th Annual Holiday Train Show. The show includes vintage Lionel model trains that travel all the way to North Pole through a two-level 34-feet-long scene of New York and countryside. Some pieces from the museum’s collection will also be on display against an amazing landscape designed by Brooklyn-based artist Josh Cochran. The show is free and is displayed at Grand Central Terminal during the daytime until February.

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Like volunteering at a soup kitchen or warming up with hot chocolate, the Christmas Tree just outside Rockefeller Plaza is, perhaps, one of the classic traditions during Christmastime in New York City. This year the Christmas Tree was lit on Nov. 29, with live performances from Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix and The Tenors. The classic holiday selfie backdrop, that is the Christmas Tree, will be illuminated every evening through Jan. 7. So don’t forget to stop by Rockefeller Plaza for a bit of holiday joy.

The wintertime is a joyous time for all, and whether you like to explore the city in the cold or watch Netflix under a thousand blankets, there are wonderful holiday things New York has to offer you. So, before you leave campus for winter break, be sure to check these sites out.