Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Tis the season to be Jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Happy holiday’s pretties, I hope you are all enjoying the holiday festivities and feeling the fuzzy holiday spirit.

In NYC there is a ton to do at this time of the year, the most popular among holiday enthusiast and tourist is the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. I confess I have lived in NYC my entire life and have probably only attended the lighting twice maybe three times. I am not much of a fan of crowded attractions which I know sounds absurd for someone living in the busy and overpopulated big apple.

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Looking through old photos I’ve been reminiscing on the excitement I felt as a child during this time of the year. I remember waiting anxiously for December to roll in not only because Santa would be due for a visit but because it was a month full of fun family activities and bonding.

For my very traditional Dominican family the bonding starts with cleaning, lol. Doesn’t sound very exciting, huh?  I know my fellow quisqueyanos can relate when I say Christmas and New Year’s means extreme holiday cleaning. In my home it means, painting if necessary, removing wax from all floors, re-waxing the floors, new festive bed sheets for all bedrooms, holiday curtains for each room including the bathroom (of course with the matching hand towels), holiday tablecloth for the dining table and the list goes on but I assure you every corner screams Christmas. You are probably still wondering where the fun in all this begins. The second the holiday cd is popped in the radio it starts, the family stories start pouring followed by endless laughter and before you know it all the chores are done and you had a ball doing it (well maybe not a ball but much more enjoyable than a typical day of cleaning).

We put up the Christmas tree right after thanksgiving, even though my sister has already moved out our parent’s home we all put it up as a family (a tradition we intended to maintain always).

Then we are off to the cooking, pasteles en hoja a very traditional dish for Dominicans. It is plantain “masa” with ground beef or stripped chicken or pork wrapped in a plantain leaf and tied with string. In my house we make it by stations (this was a way for my sister and me to be incorporated in the process when we were younger but as we got older the tradition stuck). First station is mine adding oil to each leaf which is then passed on to my father who adds the masa, he then passes it on to my sister who adds the meat and finally passes it to my mother who wraps and ties the pastel. We store them in the freezer until Christmas or whenever we decide to enjoy one.

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Anyway I have gone on a reminiscing rant, back to holiday activities in NYC. Here is a couple to consider (most likely for next year).

*Ice Skating rink at Rockefeller or Central Park

* Radio City Christmas Spectacular (I haven’t gone but am dying too)

* Walk by 5th avenue and enjoy the beautiful holiday displays and maybe get a little shopping in

*Holiday market at Columbus Circle (59th street)

* Make Music Winter (TODAY DECEMBER 21ST)– this one is so cool, it is an outdoor musical celebration where the audience is part of the show, you just show up and sing along at any of the locations I will add the link below (some locations have special requirements, read instructions carefully)

http://makemusicny.org/winter/

And below are more “indoorsy” ideas

* Ugly sweater party or brunch/ dinner date with friends or family

* Pj’s movie night enjoying hot cocoa or ginger tea

This year it was important for me to get involved in some holiday festivities, I missed the feeling. I went with my sister to the Lincoln Center tree lighting. It is such a beautiful feeling to be around strangers who just like you are enjoying the holiday magic. Even though New Yorkers are labeled as being rude when you attend these events there is an unspoken bond in the air, everyone is happy, extra polite and jolly. It brings back the happy feelings of childhood when life was much less complicated. I encourage everyone to try it.

I also had a Secret Santa with ugly sweater theme dinner with my cousins. So many laughs, it was great. This is what the holidays are all about bonding and enjoying life, traditions, family and friends.

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What are some of your holiday traditions or plans?

 

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