Christmas Shopping in New York: The Big Apple at Christmas Time

4:46 pm  |  10.12.2021

It’s that time again: Christmas is just around the corner and the great search for the perfect gifts begins. If you want to make your shopping trip special, here are the best tips for the infamous Christmas shopping in New York!

Fine noses can already smell it – the scent that is now slowly but surely in the air and ensures contemplative hours. While the darkness, which comes earlier and earlier, causes one or the other gloomy mind, at the same time a wonderful time of the year is fast approaching – the Christmas season. 

Streets and shop windows are festively decorated, there is a smell of cinnamon and mulled wine everywhere and the wild search for the most beautiful gifts begins anew every year. But why not just do the Christmas shopping in the USA instead of exploring the shops at home? Christmas shopping in New York is a very big topic because the Big Apple is even more fascinating than usual at Christmas time. One more reason to introduce you to the biggest highlights in more detail.

Festive Opening of the Christmas Season

While we in Austria are slowly but surely getting into the mood for Christmas only with the onset of the cold and the opening of the mulled wine stands, things are a bit more festive in the USA. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place on the fourth Thursday in November of each year for the national holiday and traditionally heralds the start of the Christmas season.

Christmas time in New York

From Central Park to the ever-popular Macy’s store on 34th Street, the huge pageant runs through New York and makes childhood dreams come true. Comic heroes roam the streets, giant balloons glide through the air, stars and starlets show their presence – but in the end, it is the appearance of Santa Claus that sets the coming Christmas in the mood.

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Christmas Shopping on Black Friday

Fantastic Christmas atmosphere

But it continues just as traditionally after Thanksgiving – directly on Friday. “Black Friday” should be familiar to everyone by now. On said Friday, almost everyone in the USA rushes into the city’s numerous department stores to be seduced by great discounts and freebies. Now there’s no stopping Christmas shopping either, after all, the days until Christmas Eve is numbered.

The Best Places to Go Shopping

Anyone who has already been to Broadway during Advent knows about the glitter and sparkle on every corner. The shop windows are festively decorated and steal each other’s show, the decorations go far beyond those we know from Austria. For that reason alone, a stroll through the rows of shops is a pleasure for the eyes and the senses. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t miss a stroll through Tiffany & Co., let yourself be enchanted in Saks Fifth Avenue, or even spend a dollar or two in Macy’s – whether you’re just looking at the twinkling stones and lights See enough or make your credit card glow is up to you.

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Sparkling eyes at Tiffany & Co.

With this name, the eyes of all women should light up. While it glitters and sparkles in the shop window displays and in the showcases, diamonds, and eyes shine in competition. Since there are four of these stylish jewelry stores in New York, it won’t be difficult to come across one of the stores on your way through the streets. Admittedly, Christmas shopping here can be expensive fun, but if you travel to the USA during Advent, you shouldn’t miss out on a short detour to this jewelry paradise!

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Winter Wonderland on Saks Fith Avenue

The department store chain Saks Fith Avenue, which you can find twice in Manhattan, also comes up with something very special for its visitors during the contemplative time. Especially the little guests are amazed when they visit. Year after year, the decoration is based on a Christmas story for children. But even adults feel great joy and enthusiasm in immersing themselves in a fairytale setting. My tip: If you want to save a little when looking for gifts, you will definitely find it here.

Santa Land in Macy’s

The Macy’s chain is extremely well-known in the land of unlimited possibilities. You can find over 700 stores in the USA, including New York City, of course. Not only in winter but all year round, the shop windows are decorated thematically.

Meet Santa Claus in Person

So be sure to stop by during your stay – the so-called Santa Land, where you can meet Santa Claus in person, was a special highlight last year. However, since dear Santa is, according to Macy’s, a very well-known and sought-after man, you have to register in order to visit him in Santa Land. Certainly an honor – so let’s go.

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Experience the Tree Lighting Ceremony

Brooklyn Bridge

As mentioned earlier, the anticipation of Christmas begins after Thanksgiving. Just over a week after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, another traditional event is taking place, namely the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center.

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After countless Christmas trees have been put together into one big tree over several weeks, the lights are turned on at this ceremony among millions of spectators. About two hours later, the time has come: 45,000 LEDs light up and make the twenty-meter-high tree shine. A special highlight is a poinsettia on top, which is worth a fortune with its 25,000 Swarovski crystals.

Unfortunately, it gets very crowded at the Rockefeller Center on this date, so you should either be there early or watch the spectacle on TV. You not only have a good view from 5th Avenue, 49th, and 50th Streets, but also from the sofa at home. Or you can marvel at the gigantic tree after the Tree Lighting Ceremony – you have time until the first week of January, every day from 5.30 p.m.

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