Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone! I've been having a wonderful time celebrating the season with friends and family in New York City and Minnesota this year. Check out some highlights from my holiday adventures.
1. Holiday Window Displays
One of the highlights of Christmas in New York is checking out the beautiful window displays that the big department stores showcase during the season. While many stores along Fifth Avenue and throughout the city dress up their windows, the Bergdorf Goodman displays are the creme de la creme. These elaborate creations feature gorgeous fashion and stunningly intricate backdrops. Bergdorf's windows are known for their old-world craftsmanship and opulent designs, which take 11 months to plan. This year's theme was "The Arts", with windows dedicated to Music, Theater, Architecture, Dance, and more.
2. Christmas Eve Lunch at Del Posto
My sister and I had a delightful Christmas Eve luncheon at Del Posto, one of New York's finest restaurants. The upscale Italian eatery was created by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich. The ambiance is warm and elegant with an air of old-world European luxury, excellent service, and live piano music. The grand, two-story dining room features marble floors, an extensive bar, and a dramatic staircase leading to the balcony level. Best of all, the Prix Fixe lunch is surprisingly affordable! For a fixed price of $49 you get to select an appetizer, entree, and dessert. You can also add a tasting portion of pasta for an additional $10. As an added bonus, the meal begins with a lovely amuse-bouche welcome from the chef, includes an amazing bread basket, and ends with a sweet selection of petit four.
3. Christmas in Minnesota
I spent Christmas Day with my parents in Minnesota. Christmas is a bittersweet day for us - we try to make the most of things while remembering happier times. Nearly 17 years ago my dad suffered a devastating brain aneurysm that changed our lives forever. His condition has deteriorated over the years, and now he lives in a nursing home - unable to walk, speak, or feed himself. It's been a long and heartbreaking journey, but all we can do is accept things as they are. While it's easy to assume that everyone else is having "the most wonderful time of the year", the truth is that the holidays are a difficult time for many people. But despite the imperfection of this moment and the sorrow that weighs on our hearts, I am so grateful for my little family and the time we have together.
4. Holiday Tea at The Saint Paul Hotel
On a happier note, after Christmas my mom and I had the loveliest time enjoying high tea at the historic Saint Paul Hotel. Served in the elegant lobby, this five-course, two-hour event is fashioned after England's Traditional Afternoon Tea. My mom and I sipped on Black Currant Tea, and nibbled on a yummy selection of sweet and savory treats. Waitresses dressed in traditional French maid outfits poured tea while a piano player entertained us with live music. It felt right out of a scene from Downton Abbey! The hotel serves tea every weekend with a number of special themed teas throughout the year. You can find more information here. Be sure to make a reservation as the events sell out quickly.