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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Monthly Archives: December 2010

My wife and I¬†decided not to go home for Christmas. Being our first Christmas as a married couple, it was a tough call. On one hand, you always want to be with family (and we were, thanks to gchat). On the other, the thought of making the Christmas holiday ours was exciting. So with sadness to be missing family and with some trepidation at what it might be like to miss them on Christmas, we didn’t buy plane tickets. Instead, we set up our apartment with a tree and decorations, did our food shopping early thanks to the advice of some wise friends and dug in. What an adventure!

Christmas Eve was relaxing and fun. We roamed Manhattan stealing late glimpses of the various holiday window displays at Lord & Taylor, Bergdorf¬†Goodman, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. A scheduled stop at Tiffany & Co. made the day even more special. Amber found the perfect charm to commemorate our first Christmas in New York, and we had delicious hot chocolate with home-made teal marshmallows. The streets were full of tourists, crowding the corner of every intersection and overrunning St. Patrick’s cathedral, where we took a brief rest to tour the cavernous spaces within. Amber had never seen it, and it is one of my favorite places to visit in the entire city. The burger place next door is so good that the Pope eats there, so we ducked in for a quick bite.

After a full day of walking, we took a quick break at our apartment before heading down to Chelsea where our church was hosting its Christmas Eve service. We arrived at 7th avenue and 22nd street to find people from all over the city caroling in front of a beautiful old Lutheran church. After singing a few songs (some of them sacred), we headed inside to sit on the balcony. We had met up with a couple of friends on accident, so we sat with them and enjoyed the service. Where there had been a fun brass quartet and megaphone-armed man leading the songs outside, a beautiful blend of piano, cello and vocals graced the old, wooden sanctuary with a calming sense of expectation for the coming Christ.

After heading home via an early Christmas gift (a cab ride), I crafted the Priest family’s signature “pizza fondue” for dinner, and we sat down to video chat with Amber’s family. We shared gifts and enjoyed each other’s company, even if we were nearly a thousand miles apart. It was wonderful.

Christmas day gave us the chance to open the presents that had been sitting under our tree for nearly 2 weeks. My mom has always gotten her shopping done early, and this year she sent ours up in plenty of time to have something sitting under the tree leading up Christmas. So we set up a video chat with my parents and brother, live from his new house in Georgia, and we opened gifts with them, too.

Our winter break and first Christmas together and apart from our families turned into something wonderful, and this was all before the blizzard. Next up: how Amber and I challenged the blizzard to a staring contest, and won.

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