“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”

Norman Vincent Peale

EDIT: Charbonnel et Walker is now closed.

I recently took a day trip to New York City (on December 28th) to see the Christmas decorations before they were taken down for the New Year. We arrived via Amtrak at Penn Station on 32nd street and 7th Avenue and made our way (My Mom, cousin Cruise and I) to Macy’s to see the “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” themed windows. Macy’s, known for it’s Christmas time decorations, usually focuses their window decorations on the kids. So if you’re in the city around Christmas time, make sure Macy’s is on your list of places to see.

For lunch, before we headed to Macy’s we stopped across the street for some cheap but tasty gyros at Gyros II. You can have a lamb/chicken gyro or souvlaki with lettuce, onion, tomato and tzatziki. The gyro is very overwhelming in size and unless you’re looking to get messy, I recommend grabbing a fork before you sit down even though it was more fun eating the giant mess. The downstairs looks small but head upstairs for more seating. Both the chicken and the lamb taste very good so you can’t really go wrong in your choice. They don’t taste as good as Greek festivals but if you’re looking for a cheap and tasty meal after you get off the train, this is will fill the hunger void.

Next, we walked over and up 5th Avenue to head toward Lord and Taylor.These windows are usually very decorated and utilize movement greatly but aren’t particularly aimed at children. The windows are beautiful and interesting but just something to breeze past, I don’t tend to spend the time reading the small paragraphs they have there, I just like looking at what they built.

Our next stop was Saks Fifth Avenue, since they’re so close to Rockefeller Center and the big Christmas tree, these windows also are aimed toward children. Check out the window and see when their “special show” is performed. This year, the focus was the snowflake and the bubble and each 45 mins, a light and music show is performed on the surface of their building. The main reason we went to Saks was to get sweets and hot chocolate from Charbonnel et Walker on the 8th Floor. It’s a small cafe looking area where you can either sit at the bar and choose food off of the conveyor belt or sit at one of the tables and take advantage of the waiting staff. Once I got there, I realized that I didn’t want hot chocolate but cold chocolate which was just as satisfying. Paired with that, I got a cranberry and white chocolate scone which was too expensive for what we got but it was cooked perfectly and tasted fantastic.

The best part of visiting NYC after the holidays was that even though the crowds were still just as bad, the sales are so much better. All Christmas things are at least 40% off, some even 60% in order to get rid of them. The tree is still up until the first week of January and even though Christmas is over, being surrounded by ice skating, the windows and the Christmas decorations, it still feels like the Christmas season, even if for a day.