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Holidays In New York City: The To-Do List

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The holidays in New York City can be overwhelming: overcrowding, overbooked restaurants, overpriced hotels, and an overload of cultural offerings. A life-long New Yorker, as a gesture of good-will, I've assembled a list of the Big Apple's many offerings for travelers and residents alike. For (window) shopping, visit the elaborate displays at Saks, Barneys, Lord & Taylor, Bloomies, Bergdorf, and Macy's, as well as the holiday craft fairs at Columbus Circle, Union Square, Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. And don't forget to swing by Rockefeller Center for a picture with this year's Christmas Tree! Then, whether you fancy a Broadway show, a seasonal exhibit, some ice-skating, or a visit with Santa to round out your holiday spirit, you'll find something for every interest here. Happy Holidays!

SHOWS
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Through 12/30)
This ultimate Christmas show, which debuted in 1933, includes the world-famous Radio City Rockettes performing their beloved March of the Wooden Soldiers, a living nativity, and magnificent special effects. (Radio City Music Hall; www.radiocitychristmas.com)

New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker (Through 1/2)
Each winter, the New York City Ballet inspires prima ballerinas of all ages with its staging of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™, the story of a little girl's flight through toy soldiers, cunning mice, a gifted Nutcracker, and sugarplum fairies. (www.nycballet.com/nutcracker/nutcracker.html)

Elf (Through 1/2)
Based on the hit movie, Elf is the story of a North Pole orphan who embarks on a journey to New York City to win over his real family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. (www.elfmusical.com)

Cirque de Soleil's Wintuk (Through 1/2)
In its final season, Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk weaves breathtaking acrobatics with theatrical effects, following a young boy's search for snow (www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/wintuk)

ICE SKATING
The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center has come to signify the quintessential New York City experience. Every 90 minutes beginning at 8:30 AM, New Yorkers and visitors alike get their skate on. (www.therinkatrockcenter.com)

A twirl through Central Park's Wollman Rink offers a more natural skating environment. (www.wollmanskatingrink.com)

SANTA STUFF
Were you naughty or nice? Macy's Santaland, on the 8th floor of the Herald Square store, is open daily through December 24th. (www.macys.com)

South Street Seaport's Story Time with Santa is a different way to spend time with the man in red on weekends through December 20th. (www.southstreetseaport.com)

Santa and his elves are also hosting Breakfast at the Rock Center Café through Christmas Eve. A skating session on the neighboring rink is included in the price. (212-332-7620; Reservations essential)

SEASONAL EXHIBITS
Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden (Through 1/9)
Explore replicas of over 100 historic New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium, and St. Patrick's Cathedral--made entirely of plant materials--as model trains speed past along a half-mile of track. (http://www.nybg.org/hts09)

The Jewish Museum will unveil A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line Of Fire through January 30th. Libeskind, an international figure in architecture and design, created this installation with a selection of Hanukkah lamps from the Museum's renowned collection. (www.thejewishmuseum.org)

Through January 9th, Le Parker Meridien hotel will host its second Gingerbread Extravaganza, during which local bakeries display their delectable large-scale confections. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest, an organization that feeds hungry New Yorkers. (www.parkermeridien.com)

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