Stuff We Like: Christmas in New York
These four new Christmas books each highlight something special about the holiday season in New York City. Add them to your child’s library, and snuggle up together for a good dose of warm-and-fuzzy story time during the holidays.
by George Matteson and Adele Ursone, illustrated by James E. Ransome
Just a few days after Thanksgiving this year, thousands of people packed into Rockefeller Center in Midtown to watch an 80-foot-tall Norway spruce, decked with more than 30,000 multi-colored lights (energy-efficient lights, at that), light up the night for the first time. And at that moment, as tradition has held for the past 80 years, the Christmas season officially began. But did you ever wonder how that massive tree found its way to the middle of Manhattan? One year, tugboat captain (and author) George Matteson, his wife, and their daughter traveled by tug to fetch the giant tree. This dramatic picture book tells the story of their real-life journey up the Hudson River, and James Ransome’s striking paintings capture the excitement of the trip and the pride of the young girl who helped steer the tug into New York Harbor. Recommended for ages 4 and older. (Clarion Books, 2012; $17.99)
by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Robert Dunn
For kids in the Big Apple who are anxiously anticipating jolly old St. Nick’s arrival this holiday season, Santa Is Coming to New York details Santa’s journey from the North Pole to Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and every neighborhood in the city. The book includes beautiful pastel illustrations of NYC landmarks like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, and the George Washington Bridge. Recommended for ages 4 and older. (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2012; $9.99)
by Michael Storrings, introduction by Kathie Lee Gifford
This NYC version of the classic Christmas carol begins: “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the Statue of Liberty!” Through a dozen clever rhymes, author and illustrator Michael Storrings celebrates everything we love about New York during the holiday season — from chestnut vendors to taxi cabs to shopping on Fifth Avenue. The book includes an introduction by Kathie Lee Gifford, the Emmy Award-winning co-host of The Today Show and NYC mom of two. (Rizzoli, 2102; $14.95)
by E.T.A. Hoffman (translated by Ralph Manheim), with illustrations by Maurice Sendak
The Nutcracker ballet is a staple of the NYC holiday season, and most of us have seen it performed many times over the years. But the popular staged version of the tale is far from the story the original author, E.T.A. Hoffmann, imagined. Through new illustrations by the Brooklyn-born Maurice Sendak, the beloved and highly decorated storyteller who gave us Where the Wild Things Are (which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2013), this book restores Hoffmann’s original 1816 tale to all of its magnificent richness and peculiarities. Sendak made it his mission to bring back the “weird, dark qualities” that made the original “something of a masterpiece.” As is the case with Sendak’s other works, this new classic captures the wonder of childhood through the mystical, outlandish, and bizarre. (Crown, 2012; $24.99)
Looking for holiday activities in the Big Apple? Check out our roundup of the top 10 family-friendly holiday shows in the city, and head to our full calendar of events to search for fun and low-cost events in NYC and the surrounding area.