48 hrs of Christmastime in NYC!

December 11, 2018

It has been on my mind now more than ever how fast time goes as I watch my children shoot up faster than bamboo. This year has felt like a chain of dominos tipping one day into the next and watching as the speed only progresses. When I started to think about Christmas and what I hoped it could be for our family, I knew I needed to not only pause the work, but also make time for our marriage. A peaceful home starts with peaceful parents after all. In a rare moment of spontaneity, we decided to use up some skymiles and do something we have been wanting to do for years….NYC at Christmastime.


When Gabe and I were dating we met up with some friends in NYC over the holidays, and ever since we have been wanting to get back. We felt like two kids without curfews, and went from one thing to the next doing as much and eating as much as we could;) It really was as magical as they make it in the movies, and it gave us a big dose of Christmas Spirit. Christmas trees on every corner, warm cafes playing holiday tunes every ten yards, several store fronts adorned in lights, and a hundred and two festive shows and activities to choose from. It was pretty cold, but if you have the right layers and winter wear, it’s bearable!

Bryant Park – Friday night we headed dropped our bags off at our Airbnb and got right in a cab to Bryant Park. It was definitely crowded, and we waited in line for about 45 minutes before getting our skates, but I would do it again! Surrounding the rink were holiday marts and booths, lights everywhere, and the aroma of fresh baked waffles and cinnamon rolls. I loved it. After we skated, we walked around the booths. This is probably a better option than Rockafeller center which tends to get more crowded.

Pastaii – We met up with some local friends for dinner, and this little Italian joint had incredible pasta! We didn’t want to spend a ton of time waiting for a table for meals, so we ate in little diners, and street food carts for meals as well. It was all delicious.


Madison Square Park – After grabbing breakfast and coffee Saturday morning, we headed to Madison Square Park. It’s a great place to see the flatiron building, and I loved the little gingerbread house with the train inside to view 24/7. We were in the city the same weekend of Santa Con, hence the loud and boisterous santas everywhere!

Empire State Building – Definitely touristy, and not necessarily holiday oriented, but this is one of the spots we went to back when we were dating, so we wanted to re-visit! It ended up being less than an hour to get to the top. The views are just unbeatable. Tip: When you get to the 82nd floor with the history stations, they give you the option to take the stairs to the top. Save yourself an additional 3o minute wait and take the stairs!


NYC Public Library – I am such a book and art nerd that I was completely swept away by the NYC Public library at Bryant Park. There is a room filled with original paintings including Rembrandts! I highly recommend a visit. Very quick lines to get in too!

Macy’s Windows – 8 floor Macy’s is a sight to see! On the outside, they have several windows that come to life in different holiday themes, and it is captivating! Besides, it’s been around since Miracle on 34th Street so it’s a must!



Radio City Music Hall’s Rockettes – I asked my friend Naomi (who has a whole bunch of good NYC recs!) which show we should see, and she recommended The Rockettes. There were many to choose from, but so glad we went to this! The dancing scenes were fascinating, but the live nativity was breathtaking. Super kid friendly too, and made me wish our children were with us. I will say, we naively planned to take an uber there and back and Times Square was as packed as New Years so we ended up walking there and back from our Airbnb. Definitely worth staying near the places of your main activities during this time of year.

Cafe Lalo – This is definitely the closest I have ever felt to star struck. As many of you know, You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies of all time, so sitting in the Cafe where they filmed one of the scenes gave me legit heart palpitations. I wanted to shake the fence! “It haaaaas to beeee!”Gabe was kind enough to pretend like he enjoyed it too;)

Have you been to the city at Christmas time? What did you see, eat, and do?

This trip truly filled us to the brim when we were running on empty. We rarely get away without it being work related or family event related, and it was such a big difference to spend time uninterrupted just the two of us. Thankful for family who stayed with our kids to make it possible.

Time is a gift that will always go further for me than any material goods!


P.S. A little video from our iphones to give you a better glimpse……


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A post shared by Gabe & Anna Liesemeyer (@inhonorofdesign) on

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  • Dying that you went to Cafe Lalo! We went at Christmas our first year of marriage with my sister and brother in law, and bought an ornament from one of the stalls at Bryant Park. ­čÖé I wish I had known about the art in the library! For a show we saw Phantom of the Opera, which was great. I’d also love to go back someday and see the Rockettes. We naively tried to get in to Serendipity’s one night (a la Serendipity and One Fine Day) but the wait was three hours!!

  • Beautiful! I can feel the Christmas Spirit
    You went early enough in December that the crowds were not insane yet. Between the 15th and the 25th is imposible to walk! Late November-early December is the best time to enjoy Christmas in NYC, in case anyone is planning this trip next year.

  • This sounds so fun! When I was a kid we lived about 2 1/2 hours north of NYC, so we’d go there occasionally-once, a relative was visiting in late November/early December, so we went down for the day and I loved going to FAO Schwartz and the Toys R Us on Times Square-so many fun displays and cool toys to look at, I felt like a kid in a Christmas movie ­čÖé

  • I love your coats and hat in these pics, Anna! Where are they from?
    P.S. Thank you for your beautiful and uplifting content!

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