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Christmas eve in NY.. How do americans celebrate it? Some ideas?

Christmas eve in NY.. How do americans celebrate it? Some ideas?

Nov 12th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 489
Christmas eve in NY.. How do americans celebrate it? Some ideas?

Hello everyone!
We will be in NY from 19th to 27th December and as time approaches i really CAN'T WAIT!! I'm getting more and more excited by the day !
So no, i'm starting to book restaurants, theatre tickets etc, and i would like to know how you spend Christmas Eve. Is it a night of celebration or a night staying in with friends and family?
Also i would like to book a table to a bar -restaurant for that evening with good food and music, and also have some drinks there as well.
And one final question. What is the perfect time to book a table? (i'm sorry if it's a silly question but i'm greek and here i would book something after 10.30p.m.

(the only restriction is NOT japanese food)
cristine27 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Christmas Eve is usually stay in with family and friends.

Depending on the nationality there is sometimes a church service at midnight - and some people open gift on Christmas Eve versus Christmas morning.

Also - some families do both - seeing one side of the family on the Ee and the other side on the Day.

It's not a big time for going out - and many places close early.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Although several restaurants do an Italian "Feast of the Seven Fishes" - usually a seven course meal with all different, tradtional fish and seafood ingredients. Reservations must be made in advance - the one at Batali's Roman trattoria, Lupa is a notoriously tough one to get . . .
mp is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Twice I've spent Christmas and Christmas Eve in NYC with my family.

Mass at St.Patrick's Cathedral, dinner somewhere very casual, and cocktails at The Oak Bar at The Plaza.

If The Plaza hasn't re-opened, look at The King Cole Bar at St. Regis, Bemelmens or Cafe Carlyle at The Carlyle, or The Bull and Bear at The Waldorf=Astoria.
Nov 12th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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Our Christmas Eve tradition is to make tamales and drink wine. After the tamales are done, we hang out and play games or watch Christmas movies. We've never gone out on Christmas Eve and the only people we know who do are going out in conjunction with church services.
J_Correa is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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For years, Christmas Eve was a seafood feast with shrimp, etc. from the Georgia coast.

In non-traditional years, Christmas day lunch was Chinese - because those are the restaurants that were open.

Christmas Eve service at a church at home or on the road.

Hanging out, eating and taking a walk through the woods if Christmas was spent at home.
starrsville is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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Christmas Eve is usually a time for staying home and celebrating with friends and family.

Check opentable.com for places that are open. You can see the menus and times that reservations are available.
panecott is offline  
Nov 12th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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When we lived in NYC we went to our church's Christmas Eve service that ended around 6 or 6:30 pm (it was the family service with the Nativity pageant).

Afterwards we went out to eat because we were already dressed up in our Christmas finery and I did not particularly want to go home and cook. Occasionally we went to TOTG, and several times we went to a lovely French restaurant on York Avenue called Tour de France. The chef was Vietnamese, lol, but it was divinely French...it's no longer there

I would go out to dinner and then find a beautiful church with a big choral midnight mass. You won't be disappointed, even if you are not religious
kswl is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Thanks for your suggestions!!
What time does shops close that evening?
Also do you think we would have a problem finding taxis that night (Christmas Eve) because if that's the case we may choose something closer to the hotel!
cristine27 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the few times mnay stores close.

If you cannot find a restaurant or gift go to an area where there are few Christians. Jewish delis, Indian restaurants, Chinatown. The diversity is one of the things I love most about NY.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 06:26 AM
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My parents tell me that when we lived in Queens we would go into Manhattan on Christmas Eve to look at the store windows (Macy's, etc.) because there would be virtually nobody else there at the time. Probably around 8 at night. I was to young to remember but I am wondering if it is still true.

Does anybody know? That is an idea for the OP to do on Christmas eve.
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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I think it used to be a good time to look at the windows, but now that NYC is flooded with European tourists, they may all have the same idea. I don't think finding a taxi will be that difficult on Xmas Eve. There are not many restaurants with live music---or I should say there are not many places with music that also have good food.

If you like jazz singers, I notice Ann Hampton Callaway is playing at Dizzy's Coca Cola thru Xmas Eve. I think that would be a fabulous (but possibly expensive) way to spend the evening. She's an excellent singer and performer.
I understand the food there is good.

Andrea Marcovichhi is playing at the Oak Room at the Algonquin hotel which is a lovely setting. They serve dinner but you could also eat elsewhere and then just go for the later show.


Dinner if you're not going to the theater is usually 8 or so.
mclaurie is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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Christmas eve is generally quiet in New York City, HOWEVER, there are many wonderful ways to celebrate.
Comedy Clubs are usually open... one year we went to the Gotham Comedy club and to dinner at Mesa Grill. Another lovely thing to do is to attend a concert... Cargenie Hall has the NY String Orchestra (an annual tradition) of young artists with a terrific guest artist. The Metropolitan Opera has a Christmas eve program as well, I believe.
Definitely brave the crowds and walk to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the ice skaters. Walk along Fifth Avenue and check out the windows in Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor.
If I were you... I would go to the top of the Peninsula Hotel to their bar for drinks...great views...then dinner and your theatre or concert.
Just dress warmly and ENJOY!
janschwartz is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Great ideas!! Thanks!!
Mclaurie i see there are available tables for Ann Hampton Callaway and it seems a lovely idea to spend the night there. (it's a restaurant with live music as i understand right?)
Janschwartz i have already in my list the Peninsula for drinks (or the Mandarin Oriental's lounge for afternoon coffee) so i might consider that idea as well for Christmas Eve.

cristine27 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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vjp, the last two times I was in Manhattan for Christmas, the streets were PACKED Christmas Eve. Literally it was hard to walk at Rock Center, Fifth Avenue, and insane in Times Square.
Nov 14th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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GoTravel, that makes total sense - people who live in NY generally stay in, but tourists (of which there are a gazillion over the Xmas holidays) have "nowhere to go", so they go OUT!!
Nov 14th, 2007, 08:36 AM
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Now..you scare me with your talk about the crowds!!
Although that's how i always had NewYork in my mind..
cristine27 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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The crowds are amazing but it is worth it.

We would take the kids and later go on our own to a little Italian restaurant in Soho.
Then we would walk around down there, looking at windows, it would be fairly quiet and peaceful late on Christmas Eve..

We always booked around 8 pm or later..depends on what plans the restaurant has
Scarlett is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Christmas in NYC is magical. The windows, happy people,cocktails, and Rockefeller center. St. Patrick's for pagentry and celebration of the season...more cocktails of course! Dinner reservations (Barbetta's ?)are a must and planned early. pray for snow!
johnthedorf is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Hmmm, 2 mentions for St Patty's services. For an alternative, I recommend the St Thomas (53 & 5) Christmas eve midnight service.
nstevey is offline  

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