Saturday, December 12, 2009

Virtual Advent Tour: Christmas in NYC!

The Virtual Advent Tour is hosted by Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Reading Adventures. It's a brilliant way to celebrate the holidays and the month of December. One of my favorite traditions while growing up was The Advent Calendar my mother gave to my sister and I the last day of November. I loved opening the windows every day in December and seeing that day's picture and quote. The Virtual Advent Tour brings the calendar to life. It's also a wonderful way to get to know fellow bloggers!

Every December when I was growing up, my parents, my twin sister and I spent a weekend in New York City to see all the Christmas decorations and attend the Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln center.





The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center is amazingly beautiful especially at night!




The Nutcracker Ballet is a fairy-tale ballet based on the story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by E.T.A. Hoffman which was set to music by Tchaikovsky. In the story a little German girl, Clara (sometimes also called Marie) and her brother Fritz and their parents are celebrating Christmas with friends and family. Clara's mysterious godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, brings a large bag of gifts for all of the children at the party. He gives Clara the gift of a Nutcracker Doll.
When the party is over and the family is sleeping, Clara creeps downstairs to look at the Nutcracker Doll which is under the tree. She falls asleep and has a long dream in which the Nutcracker Doll becomes life-size and defends her against a large mouse king and his band of mice! At this point in the ballet, the Christmas Tree begins to grow until it takes over the room! (In the next scene it has disappeared from the stage)
Upon winning the battle against the Mouse King, the Nutcracker Doll is transformed into a Prince. Clara and the Prince travel to a world where they are greeted by dancing snowflakes as they enter The Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Fairy and the people of The Land of Sweets perform several dances for Clara and the Prince, such as a Spanish Dance representing Chocolate, an Arabian Dance representing coffee, a dance by Candy Canes.
Eventually Clara awake sunder the Christmas Tree with the Nutcracker Doll in her arms. And the curtain closes.

There are a few different productions of The Nutcracker and the story varies a little bit from production to production,. But Tchaikovsky's music is beautiful. The Russian Dance is very recognizable, The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies is beautiful as is Waltz of the Flowers and March. Every time I hear any of these pieces I immediately see images of the Nutcracker Ballet in my head!






The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a beautiful Christmas Tree with a handmade nativity scene at the base of the tree with wise men, shepards, men, women, children and animals along the base of the tree all the way around it who are on their way to visit the nativity. Beautiful angels cover the tree from top to bottom. It's splendid and beautiful!




Several of the large store in NYC such as Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue, decorate their windows with holiday scenes. They are lovely and so much fun. People wait on lines just to view the windows. Sometimes they're fantasy or child-like fun or Christmas scenes of people celebrating...They are different every year!

30 comments:

  1. Oh, how I wish I could be there this time of year!

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  2. Those trees are beautiful! Although I think I might be one of the only ones who finds The Nutcracker creepy and therefore hide this time of year when it's all over the TV. ;) I don't know why, when I saw it (on TV) when I was a kid it just struck me the wrong way and to this day I am still creeped out by it.

    But I am a huge fan of tree lights!

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  3. I love The Nutcracker, and would love to see it at Lincoln Center some day. NYC in December is magical! Great post!

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  4. What fun memories! I, too, grew up going into the City for special Christmas events, so thank you especially for the push down my own Christmas memory lanes.

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  5. Yes, NYC is beautiful during the holiday season. Living here all my life I can take it for granted at times. Nice to be reminded of all the beauty surrounding me!

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  6. What a lovely post. I'm starting to feel really Christmassy, and looking forward to going into Picadilly in London to get some Fortnum and Mason's traditional sauces as a special treat for the dinner!

    Your cat pictures are brilliant by he way, especially Jazzy who looks slightly miffed!

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  7. What wonderful traditions! I'm in the SF Bay Area so I see the Nutcracker every year in San Francisco. I'd love to spend the days after Christmas and New Year's in NYC someday!

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  8. Our ballet has done the Nutcracker every year but I'll bet it doesn't hold a candle to the Lincoln Center performance! This year is the last year because the ballet is being disbanded--how sad is that?!

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  9. I love the music of The Nutcracker, but I've never seen the stage production. It looks magical.

    Some day I would love to visit NYC at Christmas time to see all of the window displays. They're so beautiful!

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  10. Thanks for the ideas ... we are going up to NYC soon and I'm looking forward to seeing some of these. We went last year and it was so crazy at Rockefeller Center .. you could barely get near it! And I remember seeing "The Nutcracker" when I was a little girl (not that production) and it was so amazing. I don't think my 5-year-old son is quite ready for that yet!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing the photos of NYC! My Mom used to take all the Grandchildren and their Moms to see the Nutcracker each Christmas until the boys started to complain too much. Seashell was a soldier in a local production, maybe she will let me post the photo of her!?

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  12. It sounds like such an amazing experience to be able to enjoy Christmas time in New York City.

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  13. I have always wanted to go to NYC for Christmas! Great post!

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  14. I love The Nutcracker too! I saw it a few years ago.

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  15. Just lovely Amy. I do love to try and visit the city in December, even though the place is a madhouse. We will be trying for one day next weekend!

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  16. I want to go to NYC! That would be a fun holiday trip. :) Thanks for joining in for the Virtual Advent and Happy Holidays!

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  17. Christmas in New York sounds magical. I'd love to see The Nutcracker.

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  18. Thank you for the Christmas tour!

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  19. Most years I go to NYC for a weekend at Christmas time with my bro and his family. Sadly I am not going this year... :-(

    I love the Rockefeller Center tree. I remember one year we stayed in a nearby hotel and I walked over very early, before the crowds. It was lovely.
    I also say the animals for the Radio City show being unloaded on a side street. Strange to see camels in NYC.

    But my favorite is the tree at the Met. If I can get anyone to go with me...

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  20. Bermudaonion: NYC has so many beautiful decorations this time of year. Down the middle of Park Ave., there are life -size angels with white lights and trees covered in white lights and large decorated trees on the upper East and West sides and down in Battery Park. Of course, the draw back is the crowds!

    Cat: I totlly understand being creeped out by the Nutcracker. As a child I was scared of him but loved the rest of the ballet. The Nutcracker is definitely a strange symbol of Christmas! Stck with the trees and angels, they're beautiful and Santa and Snowmen which are so cute!

    Jo-Ann: Lincoln Center is especially beautiful at Christmas and a real treat. As an adult one of the reasons I love going is to see all of the excited children dressed up, their eyes wide and shining. My husband and I haven't been to see the Christmas sights in NYC this year yet. This coming week or next we'll go - I like to go close to christmas!

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  21. Sprite: Happy to bring back good Christmas memories for you. It's great that you've experienced the beautiy and fun of NYC during Christmas!

    Pesy Cat: Living here it's easy to forget to look at all of the beautiful decorations and the pretty lights, especially when you have errands to run and work to do. I hope you take some time to explore and enjoy some of NYC's beautiful Christmas treats this year! What's Anni getting for Christmas?!

    Novelinsights: I am happy you like my post. I'm sure London, Picadilly (great name!) is beautiful at holiday time! Enjoy those gravies, the thought of them makes my stomach growl. My kitties are my children and I adore them. Glad you like the photos, I try to change them periodically. Jazzy, is a character, my little furry curmudgeon! Miffed she is most of the time, good call! lol

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  22. Kathleen: I would love to get to see SF someday! Let me know if you get to NYC, there's so much you should see especially during the holidays. So glad you have experienced the magi & wonder of the Nutcracker. The music and some of the dancing tht goes along with it is my favorite part now. The music stays in my head for weeks after hearing it!

    Lisa: I'm sorry to hear your ballet company is being disbanded, that's awful & very disappointing. I guess you'll have to come to NY for the Nutcracker, Swan Lake & other great ballet performances! :o)

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  23. Willoughby: As an adult, my favorite part of The Nutcracker is the music, it's delightful & beautiful. But if, when you come to NYC during the holidays you must go to The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center, it's worth it just to see the Christmas Tree grow out of the stage! The department store windows at Lord & Taylor, Saks and some others are a must as well!

    Jenners: I'm glad you are going to be visiting NYC soon. You probably have your plans, but if you need ideas or anything please let me know. The Nutcracker is probably a little old for your son. Madison Square Garden has some great performances geared towards children. The store windows are great too. Rockefeller Center is a zoo, you're right. My husband and I try to visit late, late at night around eleven or midnight when it's more quiet. But you would be amazed how many people are still around! Enjoy yout trip to NYC!

    Kathy: I am so happy you enjoyed the pictures. I wanted the photos of the tree at Rockefeller Center and MOMA to come out big but they didn't. Oh well. Maybe I will try again in a few days. I guess The Nutcracker is more for girls when kids get older. I'd love to see pics of Seashell as a soldier in the Nutcracker!

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  24. Literary Feline: It's wonderful & really helps put me in the Christmas spirit!

    Amy: Thank you! And thank you for visiting my blog! I hope you come to NYC during the holidays one year. You will be so happy you did as there is so much to see! Some of the streets in the Village are splendidly decorated and breath-taking!

    Nicole: It is wonderful, isn't it? And the music is so beautiful!

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  25. Diane: It is a madhouse in NYC during the holidays, especially on the weekend. But you've got to try, right?! I hope you are able to enjoy yourselves. My husband and I are going to go in to see all the sights during the week soon, either very early or very late!

    Kailana: Thank you for hosting The Virtual Advent Tour! It's fantastic! I hope you get to NYC one year soon during the holidays, I think you'll love all the sights!

    Chris: Hopefull you can come to NYC next year during the holidays and attend the Nutcracker too! You'll be happy you did! Have a wonderful Happy Holiday!

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  26. Kathy: Hi! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I wish some of the photos were larger but I guess you get the idea! Good to see you here :o)

    Caite: I LOVE the tree at the Met. People tend to be very familiar with the tree at Rockefeller Center but not at the Met. My husband has never seen that tree and I am determined he will this year. You were smart to walk over to Rockefeller Center when the crowds were gone, it's magical then. I'm sorry you arent visiting NYC with your brother and his family this year. If you want to go to the Met with my husband and I, let me know!

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  27. Wow, I wish I was there! So much fun!

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  28. Great post! I love the music of The Nutcracker, though I was so young when I saw the ballet that I don't think I much appreciated it. Oh, well, maybe I'll see it again!

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