A last minute Christmas by myself?
December 19, 2013 9:44 AM   Subscribe

For various reasons including pets with no available sitter and a few failed plans, I have my first Christmas Day in NYC by myself. I don't feel particularly sad about this, but it might be weird to wake up in the morning with nothing to do. Fun and meaningful activities?

I've lived in NYC for about seven years, have had my family visit me for Christmases past, but this year, I'm here solo on Christmas Day.

For the 24th, I'm going to that nice U Church on the Upper East, and then heading to Extra Fancy for some cider (I had a great time doing that with my cousins last year).

On the day of, I'm headed to a generous acquaintance's house, which will be tons of fun and food.

But I have the whole day basically open.

I would have loved to volunteer, but alas, I can't find an opportunity that isn't booked solid.

So, what to do? I would love it if I somehow got to spend the day with a group of strangers who are also making the most of it, and spreading some Christmas orphan cheer.
posted by ulfberht to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Go for a run in Central Park. There will be tons of us doing bonus long runs.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:46 AM on December 19, 2013

Chinese restaurants are open on Christmas.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:50 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm looking at solo Christmas myself as well, but I"m actually considering just staying in and chillin', as I need that. (I got an unexpected bonus of gifts from an aunt who just mailed me this year's - and one from last year she forgot to give me, and I'm saving them all for Christmas Day and then making myself a stew in the crock pot or something.) But, "going to a movie" was another thing I was considering; movies will definitely be open.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:56 AM on December 19, 2013

The Jewish museum is open.
posted by brujita at 10:02 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Depending on the weather you could take a walk and look at holiday window displays.

I'm not from NYC but I imagine there might be places that are super crowded normally that might be borderline empty on Christmas. It could be fun to go on a picture taking spree of the empty places.
posted by MadMadam at 10:10 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Maybe propose a MetaFilter meetup?
posted by Fig at 10:11 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

(please don't go all flames and pitchforks on me for saying this... I swear I'm generally a very giving, caring person...)

Fuck meaningful and spreading cheer, I would be making that THE MORNING OF MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! I'd getting up late, making myself an epic breakfast (bonus points if breakfast isn't "breakfast" foods. I'm thinking a slice of cheesecake and some really good crispy spring rolls... but that's just me.), eat my breakfast while watching my favourite movie, fart and burp a lot. Drink some wine or liquor of your choice. I'd take a long, relaxing bath after movie breakfast, do all the fun spa bath stuff (facial, pedicure, manicure, salt scrub, etc), and then lay spread eagle on top of my bed, naked, fresh from the tub and just air dry for a bit. (If you haven't done this before, do it. BLISS!).

Seriously. I'd go full on hedonism. FULL ON.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:20 AM on December 19, 2013 [26 favorites]

Write some letters. You're in the right spirit, get it down, send them to people you'd have liked to see, but didn't get a chance to. They can sit in the post box until Thursday.
posted by DigDoug at 10:37 AM on December 19, 2013

I would imagine there's a soup kitchen or two that would love to have you help out, and a nice way to meet new people in the same position?
posted by Iteki at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2013

Ride the Staten Island Ferry.

Eat Chinese Food.

See A Movie.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:41 AM on December 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

I used to use Christmas Day as the perfect time to do a thorough cleaning of my home.

I also would cook something really decadent and give the majority of it to whoever was bartending at my local bar/restaurant that day, kind of as a consolation prize. But it was really for me, and just that I didn't want to keep all of it around as a temptation. The last year I did this, it was macaroni and cheese with bacon and black truffle oil. Mmmmm.
posted by janey47 at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2013

Try a new mulled wine recipe
posted by tanktop at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

At night go see the crazy Christmas house lights in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn!

Chinese food is pretty traditional for those of us with no Christmas plans; lots of other restaurants are open as well, such as these listed on Serious Eats. Even if you don't want to go to a restaurant alone, a decent number of coffee shops and such will be open too, at least in the morning.
posted by mlle valentine at 11:15 AM on December 19, 2013

Go see It's a Wonderful Life at the IFC?
posted by kathryn at 11:45 AM on December 19, 2013

I'd head out to a strenuous yoga class followed by an awesome breakfast, long bath/shower, and finally a movie.
posted by cocoagirl at 11:57 AM on December 19, 2013

Walking around in the city on Christmas morning when it's completely empty is a private joy of mine that I have to wait all year for. It's even more fun in areas that are usually jam packed like Times Square for that Omega Man feeling.
posted by cazoo at 12:04 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

The cool thing about New York is that not everybody celebrates Christmas, and even among the Christian population, Christmas isn't celebrated on the same date by everyone. This means there's plenty to do, even plenty that's festive and fun.

Favorite NYC Christmas activities:

- Movies and good Chinese food. Not the shitty $5 lunch special Chinese. The good stuff. Go to an eat-in sit down place with table service. My first thought is Grand Sichuan in Chelsea, but if you're in a different part of the city there may be a better place for you to go.

- Take the train out to Brighton Beach and go to one of the big Russian restaurants with the floor show and Vodka and the whole thing. Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 6, so it's just a regular day in Russian neighborhoods. This is more fun to do with other Christmas orphans or people who don't observe Christmas, but even alone you could just go out to Brighton beach and explore a cool different neighborhood where most things will be open.

- In the spirit of the Brighton Beach suggestion, I bet the Brooklyn Banya and other Russian bath houses are open that day. Get spanked with birch branches and sit in the schvitz for a good long time.
posted by Sara C. at 12:16 PM on December 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'd work on a project or two at home that you haven't had time for. Whether that's crafting, painting your toenails, cleaning and organizing, whatever.

If your pets include a dog, maybe a nice long walk or time at the dog park?
posted by radioamy at 1:18 PM on December 19, 2013

You can try the NYC Couchsurfing page-I'm sure there will be travelers looking for local friends to celebrate with, or maybe a meet-up going on of some sort. Or maybe just go for a long walk! Christmas time is so lovely in New York, and you might get some fascinating people watching. Enjoy!
posted by lightgray at 4:24 PM on December 19, 2013

"I would have loved to volunteer, but alas, I can't find an opportunity that isn't booked solid."

Create your own meaningful volunteer opportunity.

Get some inexpensive Christmas stockings and wrapping paper. Buy a bunch of small things that most homeless people would appreciate like new socks, travel-sized toiletries, knit hats, gloves, etc. (Google homeless gift bag for more ideas) as well as traditional stocking stuffers like chocolate, candy canes, and oranges (oranges go in the toes of the stockings). Individually wrap each item before putting it in the stocking.

On Christmas Day, don a Santa hat and go forth and find people who appear to be living on the street. Early mornings and late evenings are best for finding legitimately homeless people (versus professional beggars who just make themselves appear homeless to get money) because that's when you can see who is actually camping outside overnight.

Give them their stockings, wish them a Merry Christmas, and move on. Don't stand around to watch them unwrap stuff or ask them how they like it or anything like that -- it's better to just imagine that everyone was delighted with everything than to end up feeling resentful because someone didn't seem grateful or appreciative enough. When you do this sort of thing you have to do it in the spirit of selfless unconditional giving because if you impose any sort of expectations on the recipients it gets weird and icky. So be like Santa: leave the presents and move on the next chimney (person).

This is easier to do with a car but NYC is dense enough that you can just make return trips home to load up on more stockings if you make more than you can lug around on your person. Or find some people to help you carry the stockings -- you're probably not the only person you know who would like to volunteer on Christmas but can't find a conventional volunteer opportunity. Ask on Facebook if any of your friends want to join you and/or make a MetaFilter meetup for it on IRL.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:58 PM on December 19, 2013

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