I’ll be home for Christmas. For some of us, that means drinking eggnog, donning goofy sweaters, watching A Christmas Story for the eighteen millionth time, and listening to an eccentric uncle talk about clock mechanisms for three hours (okay, maybe that’s just my family). But what if your “home for Christmas” is your New York apartment, eating Chinese takeout in front of Netflix’s Yule log? For tons of folks who either can’t or choose not to be with family, the “most wonderful time of the year” can kind of suck. But here’s the thing: we live in New York, where tons of people are in the same boat, AND there are options. So, are your Yuletide options limited to watching Ernest Saves Christmas in your underpants? No! Check below for some sweet suggestions on how to beat the Christmas blues and put some jolly in your holiday.
Nitehawk Saves Xmas
136 Metropolitan Ave. Various times, every day through 12/27
What screams “holiday spirit” louder than death by microwave? Swing by Nitehawk for a midnight showing of Gremlins, playing on Christmas day. Check their website for exact titles and showtimes, but they’re also playing midnight and brunch showings of favorites like Hook, Love Actually, and Silent Night, Deadly Night. Plus, Nitehawk features a full menu of booze and food, so you can have yourself a proper Christmas feast.
107 Suffolk Street. Every day through Christmas Eve, $20 general admission
This Christmas-themed fun house features a slew of fun winter things like hot cocoa and (faux) ice skating, an interactive nativity, Christmas karaoke, and a mistletoe forest. The main feature, of course, is that you can get a beautifully printed copy of a weird picture of yourself and your choice of Santas (well, several Santas and one Krampus, to be exact). There are family hours, but the event is recommended for adults.
The Yule Ball at the Bell House
149 7th Street, Gowanus. Saturday, December 19. Doors at 4pm, Show starts at 5pm. $20
If you’re a Christmas orphan and a nerd, what better way to celebrate both than with a party dedicated to the most famous Christmas orphan of all, The Boy Who Lived? Gather your best dress robes and apparate over to the Bell House for an evening of Harry Potter-themed Christmas revelry. Featured performers include Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Potter Puppet Pals, Tonks and the Aurors, and Ashley Hamel. As far as transportation is concerned, we recommend swiping your metrocard rather than running into the train station wall a la platform 9 ¾, but hey, it’s Christmas. Anything can happen.
The Love Supreme at the Brooklyn Bowl
Monday, December 21, 8pm. 61 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, $5
So this show may not be Christmas related, but maybe that’s what you need. Bowl, drink and dance those seasonal blues away when when “dance happy gospel soul outfit” The Love Supreme hits the Brooklyn Bowl.
A Very DIY Christmas at Aviv
Tuesday, December 22, 8pm. 496 Morgan Avenue, Bushwick, $8
Christmas-themed punk outfit Santa Youth hits Aviv, with more support from Unstoppable Death Machines, Fat Heaven, and kick a ten year old in the head. Plus, comedy from Omid Singh.
So Far Gone: Drake Night at Baby’s All Right
Wednesday, December 23, 10pm. 146 Broadway, Williamsburg, $10
Insert “Sleigh bells ring” joke here (I saw it on a sweater). We’re not sure exactly what a “Drake Night” entails, but this one involves DJ sets from Gun$ Garcia, Magglezz, and Dirty South Joe. Plus, there’s a special X-Mas champagne toast at 1am.
Christmas Movies at IFC
Every day through Christmas, various times
Perennial Christmas Orphan list favorite the IFC Center in west village plays classic Christmas movies every year through Christmas. Catch Home Alone this Sunday, 12/20, or choose any showing of It’s A Wonderful Life through Christmas Day.
Of course, there’s other things you can do this week as well, you don’t have to marry yourself to a schedule.
Go see the Christmas sights
Remember that time we live in New York? It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the most wonderful city of the year. Go see iconic sights when the streets are less crowded, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue have great window displays, as per usual; there’s the Chorus Tree at South Street Seaport, where carolers perform every day through Christmas; there’s that big ass tree in Rockefeller Center; and there’s the Winter Village at Bryant Park. That’s just the tip of the very festive iceberg.
I personally am not a fan of ice skating, as it has never ended well for me, but lots of people (maybe yourself included) don’t totally suck at it. New York is the place to go, with gorgeous rinks in Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center being the top two. I hear it’s actually an enjoyable experience for a lot of people.
Watch Ernest Saves Christmas in your underpants
What? We’re not here to judge. Many NYC apartments are beastly hot in the winter even when it’s not 63 degrees outside, your roommates are probably not around, and Ernest happens to be on Netflix. Other decidedly less stupid watching options include White Christmas, the newly released A Very Murray Christmas (we watched it for research purposes. The verdict: pretty okay), Nightmare Before Christmas, and the vastly underrated Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special.
Do your own museumarathon
You’ve got your NYC ID, but you haven’t taken advantage of it nearly as much as you should have. Fix that by going on a daylong adventure to some of the city’s best cultural institutions and get your year-long free memberships, all while seeing parts of New York you rarely venture out to.
Count your blessings (Instead of sheep)
Okay, so Bing Crosby may have been a real life douche whistle, but his character in this scene from White Christmas is significantly less so. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve got it pretty good: one can assume you’ve got access to a screen upon which you’re reading this. We can also assume you’ve got eyeballs- eyeballs are rad. You maybe, even probably, have a roof over your head in one of the coolest cities (certainly the best borough) in the world. Pretty fucking #blessed. So even if you don’t have family to go back to, think of the things you do have, and maybe share what ya got with other people. Check out New York Cares for a list of ways you can help the less fortunate this season.