A New York Holiday!
Is there a true definition or meaning of the holidays in NYC?
Do you believe in magic? For families who need to see and do it all, there is no place more magical than New York City for the holidays. While there is always a wealth of amazing opportunities and experiences to keep us moving at a fast and furious pace in NYC, the holiday season is even more supercharged. It is filled with holiday cheer, special limited-time holiday engagements, seasonal parties, and oh so much to celebrate.
We are all well aware that the true meaning of the holidays is not a VIP ticket to the hottest show in town or the biggest present under the tree but it is easy to get caught up in this hoopla. The holidays make me thankful for the wealth of special, seasonal events and enchanting experiences that present opportunities to savor treasured time with beloved family and friends, enjoy these magical moments, and make lasting memories.
They say there’s no place like home for the holidays and to me, home is wherever my family is together. And what better place to kick off the holiday season than New York! Everyone has their own New York state of mind and that’s why everyone’s favorite things about the city are never the same. My home away from home is where I am actively involved in the New York Junior League (NYJL). Our love for New York City and the people who call it home are at the heart of all we do. We believe that all women, children, and families should have equal opportunity, the resources to unlock their potential, and the structures to support them.
I vividly remember the first snowy winter we had. There was lots of excitement and anticipation in the air. While my kids ran out to play and catch a snowflake on their tongue they could relish in the pure bliss of childhood. Many others worried about travel plans and navigating through the snow, but the New York City homeless population had to deal with this weather in a much more serious capacity. On that cold night, Covenant House President Kevin Ryan tweeted “Brutally cold night. Direct homeless youth in NYC to @CovenantHouse We’ll make room.” The Covenant House New York, a community partner of the NYJL, serves more than 400 homeless youth each day – providing food, shelter, and other basic needs and services through a variety of custom-fit programs. This is where the NYJL Rights of Passage committee provides these youth with basic life skills workshops to help them along their path at Covenant House and beyond.
Working diligently alongside more than 50 community partners, NYJL members deliver impactful programs to our city’s most vulnerable populations. I was fortunate to partake in holiday happenings we host for many community partners. At one celebration for young children, the donated school supplies and toys may be the only gifts of the season that these kids receive. Watching their eyes light up with pure joy is infectious and makes you want to do more and more. So my family did more.
Whether making holiday cards for veterans overseas or to thank helpers in our community, donating new or gently used toys and essentials to those who need them more than us, dropping off fun and festive items for a holiday bazaar for senior citizens, or ensuring others can enjoy a proper holiday feast by donating food, we make this part of our holiday tradition and this brings out our best holiday spirit.
My kids are fortunate to have what they need (and much of what they want) during the holidays. I always wish I could give them more of what they want (within reason of course) but the best gift I can give them is not to let them have too much. I want them to have perspective and to give thanks. Giving is better than receiving and I will be giving them the world when we do more to help others, especially if we do it together as a family.
My colleague always says that the beauty of New York is that you make it your own and I want to help make our New York City a better place for its children and families at the holidays and always. I hope many others will do the same this season and create some real holiday magic!