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Christmas tree. Rockefeller Center.

Christmas tree. Rockefeller Center.


There has long been a dichotomy among Americans. Some love cities; some love the country. Over the course of the last 200 years, Americans have been voting with their feet and cities have been winning. Still many prefer the rural life, at least some of the time. But whether you’re a city or a country person, most people agree that at Christmastime our cities shine.

Tourism in our great cities like London, Rome and New York increases dramatically in late December. People flock to see the store windows, the churches and the Christmas trees. Christmas music and Christmas theater abounds. In New York, the Rockettes head up a Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. Our concert halls and churches echo the glory of Handel’s “Messiah.” The Salvation Army rings its bells on street corners. It’s the scene saluted in the popular song “Silver Bells.”

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you’ll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city

I think that Christmas time in the city is magical. It is the one time of year when avowed country people are willing to put up with the city crowds. In New York they flock to Rockefeller Center, to Macy’s, Saks and FAO SCHWARZ. They marvel at the decorations on Fifth Avenue. They enjoy ice skating, walks in the park, and of course, the sound of silver bells.
And as the song says, “In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.” I swear, it’s palpable. There’s nothing like a city at Christmas.