The Phone Call That Made Christmas Magical

The time has come to wave a last goodbye to Christmas. As we pack away the final decorations, get ready for the (overdue) January detox, and (almost) resist the leftover chocolate coins, it’s good to take a moment to reflect on the best bits.

For me – the greatest present actually came before Christmas Day. I had the most exciting phone call of my life when Metro newspaper called me to tell me I’d won their “Made For The City” Facebook page competition of a Christmas Shopping trip for 2 to New York! There’s no feeling that quite matches the one of winning something. When I got the phone call, I was so excited I could barely breathe. New York is my all-time favourite city and it felt like my heart jumped out of my chest and took a dance around the room when I found out. I’d never won a prize like this before and it certainly took a while to sink in!

The flights, hotel and transfers were organised by lowcostholidays and Mostra provided me with the special treat of £500 spending money! Could it get any better? I decided to take my Mum with me as a special birthday surprise and her reaction was just as dramatic as mine! The phrase “over the moon” is the only way to describe it…

When we arrived in New York, our taxi from the airport was playing classic carols sung by Bing Crosby and it truly set the scene for Christmas magic. We emerged from the Lincoln Tunnel and began to see iconic skyscrapers sparkling as they disappeared into the heavens. It felt like being in a film – no wonder they call it the city of dreams.

We arrived at The Roosevelt Hotel, which is famous for not only being the setting of blockbuster movies such as Wall Street and Maid in Manhattan, but it is also the top choice of many celebrities and prestigious guests. The hotel lobby exhibits the glitz and glamour of classic 1920’s New York with luxurious antique furnishings and a magnificent Christmas tree almost as high as the ceiling.

The Guest Relations Manager could not have been more accommodating. When he discovered we’d won the prize and had come for my Mum’s birthday treat, he arranged for room service to deliver a selection of cakes, soft drinks and wine. 

As well as this, he organised an upgrade to a suite, which was truly outstanding. It was one of the finest hotel rooms we’ve ever seen – with a living room, dining area, two bathrooms and a huge bedroom.

 The Roosevelt Hotel is a true symbol of the elegance, romance and charm of New York – we even extended our stay so we could spend more time there. It shall definitely be our first choice when we return to New York again. 

During our stay, we were never short of exciting things to see and do! We visited the Christmas markets at Union Square and Bryant Park, drank hot apple cider, ate hot dogs with sauerkraut and bought some beautiful New York mementos.

The Christmas floor at Macy’s had every colour and theme of decorations you can imagine – from traditional snowglobes to farm animals, to wine bottle shaped baubles to nutcrackers.

The Rockefeller Christmas tree, decorations and ice rink were enough to take your breath away. We stopped and watched the world go by in what can only be described as fairytale New York.

A stand-out moment was watching The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. A show like no other – there were 3D animated sections, real-life camels, sheep and donkeys on stage to recreate the nativity scene, singing Santas, The Rockettes, ice skaters, ballet dancers and a snow fall scene on the audience. The choreography was exceptional as was the music and the costumes – it was the best Christmas show we’d ever seen!

As I walked along the snowy streets of Manhattan on my final day, I didn’t want the trip to end. I couldn’t have wished for a better way to celebrate Christmas.

Thank you Metro for a magical ending to 2013…

© 2014 Alicia Drewnicki