Our favorite ways to celebrate the holidays in NYC

Local Highlights

Our favorite ways to celebrate the holidays in NYC (when you can’t go “home”)


While it might be true that there’s no place like home for the holidays, New Yorkers know as well as anyone that heading back home at this time of year isn’t always an option. Whether it’s a work obligation, not wanting to deal with the absolute mayhem that is an airport on Christmas Eve, or other, ahem, unforeseen circumstances, there are plenty of New Yorkers spending the holidays away from “home” this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a holiday full of spirit, joy, and all of the other seasonal good-tidings! 

In fact, the holidays in New York City can be downright magical—if you’re open to a less “traditional” approach to holiday celebrations, that is. So, if you’re open to doing the holidays a different way, take some tips from the team at Common on how to celebrate the holidays in NYC. 

Have a roommate holiday party

One of the perks about living in New York City is that, no matter what situation you are in, there is likely someone else within a few blocks experiencing the same thing. This level of camaraderie and humanity is part of what makes New York so special. By this virtue, there’s a strong possibility that someone close to you also can’t make it home for the holidays—creating a prime opportunity for a roommates/friends holiday party! If you’re searching for a venue, look no further than the furnished courtyard at our Bushwick home, Common Gates

Get tourist-y

Ever watch a Hallmark movie where the big-time attorney has to choose between making partner and true love? Spoiler alert: she chooses love. But at some point before she puts love before work, chances are the two get up to some impossibly touristy winter-in-NYC shenanigans. With most of the city out of town, now is the time to seize the opportunity to do all of those obscenely touristy things sans judgment. We’re talking taking a lap around the rink at Rockefeller Center, grabbing a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity (and/or some Magnolia banana pudding,) the whole deal. Indulge in a little Hallmark-level earnesty this holiday season—you deserve it. 

Light it up

While holiday lights may seem like a suburban trademark, New York doesn’t mess around when it comes to festive light shows. From the legendary lights of Dyker Heights to the Fifth Season installation at the Pulitzer Fountain, there’s no shortage of electrified holiday energy in New York. Our pick? Lightscape. Hosted by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (and a cab-ride away from Common Gates,) Lightscape is described as an “enchanting illuminated trail” and we couldn’t describe it better ourselves. The full spectrum of color paired with the beautiful scenery of the BBG is sure to infuse some magic into the holidays. 

This brief list hardly scratches the surface of all there is to do in New York during the holidays; but however you decide to spend the season, we implore you to make the most of it. Remember that if you can’t make it home—wherever home may be—you’re not alone, and this holiday season can still be one full of warm memories and joy. 

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