Ever since I was a wee young thing, Christmas has been my favourite time of the year. For me it’s never been about receiving presents(not even as a child) but more about the gathering of family, the smell of tinsel, and fairy lights – fairy lights everywhere. With its two Christmas markets and overabundance of fairy lights, Christmas here in Glasgow has always surpassed anything I ever experienced growing up in Australia, especially given the promise (although not always fulfilled) of a White Christmas each year.
It’s easy to say that Glasgow has truly captured my imagination and heart each and every Christmastime.
However, this year in the lead up to Christmas, Ben and I visited New York and spent a full week on the island of Manhattan where my Christmas experience was enhanced to a brand new level. There’s a reason why so many festive films take place in this metropolis and that’s because within those seven days, I discovered no one truly does Christmas like America.
(Are you ready for some bad photography?)
Swathes of glittering lights fill the streets and giant ornamentation that illuminates the high-rises can be seen every which way you turn. Thousands of people turn out onto the streets for the turning on of the legendary Rockefeller Christmas tree, and when they’re not craning their necks to see its shining star, they’re waiting in line to enter the city’s most famous toy stores.
Each shop window is bedecked with Christmas spirit and you’ll find the crowds here also, phones out to capture a piece of the festivity forever, with superstores like Saks 5th Avenue showcasing not only window displays, but fantastical light displays also.
Although it may sound daunting, the crowds that fill the street to celebrate the coming of Yule, it’s an incredibly warm and vibrant experience. Though should the crowds be too much to bear, even bars and pubs indulge themselves in wreaths and baubles, intermingling with the sounds of wine glasses clinking, and fire places simmering: a far more peaceful and relaxing environment.
And with Christmas Markets dotted around the city with ice-skating rinks and spiced wine and warm apple cider flowing freely, the temptation to buy a bauble or two to take home to hang upon your tree in memory is all too tempting to resist.
I’ve always loved Christmas, whether it be in Summer or Winter, yet after a week in New York and surrounded by the yuletide festivities my Christmas heart now belong firmly in Manhattan.