The Most Wonderful Time of the Year in the Most Wonderful City in the World!

The holidays are a magical time to visit New York City, especially with children. There is so much to do and so many opportunities to make lasting memories.
Macy's parade
To kick off the holiday season, Macy’s hosts the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. This is a favorite adventure for my family and the pictures above are from one of our trips. It originated in 1924 as a way for Macy’s immigrant employees to celebrate Christmas like they did at homeNote 1 "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.", Inc., n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.. It has evolved into a holiday tradition that includes big balloons, marching bands, celebrity performers, clowns, floats and a little bit of Broadway! And it always concludes with the arrival of Santa Claus. Part of the fun is watching the big balloons being filled with helium the day before the parade.

During the holiday season, festive decorations are everywhere. Large department stores are famous for their elaborate holiday window displays and Rockefeller Center is aglow with the lights on the Christmas tree, a tradition that started in 1931 when the center was still under constructionNote 2 "84th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting 2016." Tishman Speyer, n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016..

Another New York City holiday tradition is the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall with the world famous Rockettes. These high steppers have been performing in the show since 1932 and the production is famous for including a live nativity sceneNote 3 "History." MSG Sports & Entertainment, LLC, n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016..

The holiday season culminates with the New Year’s Eve Countdown and lowering of the ball (since 1907) at Times SquareNote 4 "New Year's Eve Schedule." Times Square District Management Association, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016..

In addition to holiday specific events, New York City is host to many kid-friendly parks, museums and shows.

Following are a list of materials that will put you in a New York holiday state of mind and help you plan your excursion.

Information Guides

Storied City: A Children's Book Guide to New York City by Leonard S. Marcus
In this handy-size book, renowned critic and historian (and New Yorker) Leonard S. Marcus has created and narrated twenty walking tours of New York City based on children's literature. Illustrated with maps, photographs, and book art, the tours can be followed from start to finish or abbreviated to suit a reader's, or a family's, particular interests.

The Little Bookroom Guide to New York City with Children: Play, Eat, Shop by Angela Hederman and Michael Berman
The Little Bookroom Guide to New York City with Children focuses on what parents with good taste want to know: how to see New York City in a child-centered way...without passing up any of the city's sophisticated food, sights, or shops just because the kids are along. Organized around EAT, PLAY, SHOP, and STAY, the authors take you to well-known museums and attractions, but also out of tourist-thronged Midtown and into corners of the city that New Yorkers themselves love to take their children.

In New York by Marc Tolon Brown
"Beloved children's illustrator Marc Brown takes readers on a tour of New York City with this lovingly crafted tribute that also serves as a handy travel guide"—Provided by publisher.

Christmastime in New York City by Roxie Munro
A tribute to the magic of Manhattan during the holiday season from a beloved cover illustrator for The New Yorker. Back in print for the first time in more than twenty years, Christmastime in New York City takes readers on a tour of the Big Apple all decked out for the holiday season.

Picture Books and Easy Readers

Picture Books and Easy Readers
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet
Everyone's a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets"? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy's Parade.

Milly and the Macy's Parade by Shana Corey and Brett Helquist
The Macy's Parade is a treasured American pastime. But few people know that the first parade in 1924 was organized by immigrant employees at Macy's eager to incorporate their old-world traditions into their new American heritage. With facility and flair, Shana Corey tells the fictional story of a Polish immigrant girl who helps envision this grand event. Brett Helquist's expressive, exquisitely detailed paintings are like holiday window displays come to life.

Ernie & the Big Newz by Ernie Anastos
Ernie covers the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City and realizes his dream of becoming a TV reporter.
The Carpenter's Gift etc.
The Carpenter's Gift by David Rubel
In Depression-era New York City, construction workers at the Rockefeller Center site help a family in need--a gift that is repaid years later in the donation of an enormous Christmas tree.

The Christmas Tugboat: How the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Came to New York City by George Matteson and Adele Ursone
A New York Harbor tugboat captain and his family take the tug up the Hudson River to pick up and tow the barge carrying the enormous Christmas tree that will be displayed at Rockefeller Center.

Christmas in the City by Loretta Krupinski
Two mice find themselves in New York City when the tree in which they made their home becomes the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus etc.
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus by Cyndy Szekeres
Virginia O'Hanlon, a young cat, questions a major New York newspaper about the existence of Santa Claus and she receives an answer from the paper's editor that reaffirms the spirit of Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in New York City by Lisa Adams
Emily writes a letter home each of the twelve days she spends exploring the five boroughs of New York City at Christmastime, as her cousin Daniel shows her everything from a pigeon in a Central Park tree to twelve streamers twirling on New Year’s Eve.

Pooch on the Loose: A Christmas Adventure by Steven Kroll
Bart longs to explore New York City at Christmastime, but his owner keeps him on a tight leash. Finally he breaks free and becomes a pooch on the loose! All the spectacular New York attractions, however, cannot take the place of the person who cares about him the most. Young and old alike will enjoy Bart's Christmas adventure, especially as pictured in Michael Garland's dazzling digital illustrations of the Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, and more.
The Money We'll Save etc.
The Money We'll Save by Brock Cole
In nineteenth-century New York City, when Pa brings home a young turkey in hopes of saving money on their Christmas dinner, his family faces all sorts of trouble—and expense—in their tiny apartment.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse: An Aesop Fable retold & illustrated by Helen Ward
A retelling of Aesop's well-known fable in which a country mouse visits a town mouse and they find they prefer very different ways of life. Set in 1930s New York at Christmas.

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon
A young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany arrives in New York City on the seventh night of Hanukkah and receives small acts of kindness while exploring the city.

Mim's Christmas Jam by Andrea Davis Pinkney
When Pap goes away to build the New York City subway in 1915, his family sends him Mother's special jam which works magic in returning him home to celebrate Christmas.

Note 1 "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.", Inc., n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Note 2 "84th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting 2016." Tishman Speyer, n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Note 3 "History." MSG Sports & Entertainment, LLC, n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

Note 4 "New Year's Eve Schedule." Times Square District Management Association, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.

—Connie R.


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