If you been following along with this blog at all, you’ve learned by now that I love a good tradition especially amongst friends. Christmas is a great time for traditions and though I don’ t feel much emotion towards Christmas, I do feel a lot of great emotion during this holiday season in general. It’s the season of giving, the season of love, time with family, time to give thanks and it all wraps up with New Years. A time for reflection and new beginnings. As I write this, I am sitting on a plane, Colorado bound, leaving my great big city of New York behind for the 13th Christmas in a row. Flying, though a major pain in the ass, is my favorite place to indulge in nostalgia and sappy emotions. Two people I feel a lot of sappy emotions for AND who I have a standing Christmas tradition with are Amy and Meghan. You may have heard me mention them before. Every year, we make a point to get together, even if it just for dinner to celebrate Christmas. We no longer exchange gifts but value our time together, greater than any monetary gift. Two years in particular stand out though and I must share as Christmas creeps upon us.
Our Junior year of college, we lived together in a tiny two bedroom on the upper east side. We decided that instead of exchanging physical gifts, we would each plan a fun activity. We called it Amy, Meghan and Jessica’s day-o-fun! Technically is was a random Thursday night and then Saturday but still, lots-o-fun. We agreed to keep our activities a secret until the moment of.
Meghan went first, surprising us with tickets to the Radio City Rockettes Christmas spectacular. It doesn’t get any more New York festive than that. At that point it was my first time in Radio City Music Hall and wow oh wow it was beautiful. Velvet seats, ornate wall murals, gold paneling and crystal chandeliers everywhere and it’s all been there for 85 years, seeing thousands of performances and millions of visitors. The Rockettes were phenomenal as you would expect and we left the theater literally skipping down the street while wearing our 3D glasses. Way to kick off our holiday season Meg! Pun intended.
On Saturday we left our apartment all together and headed to midtown to the heart of the Christmas chaos. Amy lead us to her surprise and Meghan and I found ourselves giddy with excitement when we realized we were going to Build-a-Bear! Yes, that’s right, three 19 year old women(girls) were stoked about building our own stuffed bears! We went through the steps of stuffing our own bears finishing off with making a wish on the heart before sewing it up. Lastly we all gave them very well thought out names. Amy and I named our bears after the legendary dance pioneers Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan. Meghan named hers Sampson, after God knows who.
Bears in tow, we set off to my surprise activity. It was no surprise to anyone when we arrived at the observation deck of 30 Rockefeller Center, as I had been raving about it since my first visit a year prior. We took the high speed elevator and stepped off onto the 70th floor and let the awe of New York’s Skyline take over. To the south you can see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and at the time, the beginning stages of the Freedom Tower. To the north you can see Central Park in its entirety. Even people who hate the city would agree the view from up there is magical. From that high up and seeing 360 degrees of Manhattan has a way of making you feel so small in a humbling way. 8 million people below totally oblivious to how extraordinary it looks from above. We took our photo of all six of us(bears included) and wrapped up our adventure. We finished our day-o-fun at our apartment, drinking hot chocolate and watching Elf, another tradition of ours.
The following Christmas is my second favorite Christmas get together with my girls. The three of us were joined by another member of our very special circle of chicas, Angie. Angie’s blog post is coming soon, but quickly I will say we met in college and when they say you make the best of friends in collage, Angie is a perfect example of that. The four of us met up at Amy and Meghan’s apartment in Astoria and planned a night in of wine and girl talk. At this point in our lives, we were all dealing with real adult stress causing stuff. I won’t go into detail, as some was very personal and some very emotional but nonetheless it was taking a toll and a night to surrender to the wine and unconditional love of your girlfriends is exactly what the doctor ordered. We vented, we advised, we drank, we ate, we danced but most of all we laughed. We laughed so hard tears streamed down our cheeks. Mariah Carey belted her most famous All I want for Christmas on repeat and we danced on walls, in doorways and under mistletoe the way you’re supposed to dance when no one is watching. All our problems were gone for those hours, our hearts were full and our emotions happy.
It wasn’t a night of crazy adventure but the way I felt that night is a memory that will stick with me forever. It’s the feeling that we should all feel come Christmas time. It shouldn’t be about the presents or the spectacles. It should be about the people who make us feel free to be ourselves and the memories we’re able to make together.
With that, Amy, Meghan, Angie, and anyone else reading this, I wish you a very merry Christmas full of love and light. May you feel as happy and complete as I did on those Christmas get togethers so many years ago.