The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

The Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThisThe Mama Bears Holidays in New York CityPinThis

 

Every year our holidays are never complete without a few jaunts into the big city for some added Christmas fun. Between the energy and lights of the Big Apple and the years and years of memories we run into around every corner, it’s just a tradition we can never do without. This year was certainly no exception! We have our list of regulars, sure, but we added a few new gems to the mix as well to shake things up a bit. Lucky for us we picked what turned out to be an unseasonably warm December day and hit the ground running with our littles in tow once again.

We started our day at the Winter Village at Bryant Park. We moseyed around checking out the shops and snacking on pickles (Pickle Me Pete’s!), macaroons, and hot chocolates before sitting down to watch the skaters for a bit. After a quick lunch at our favorite place in the area- Bill’s Bar & Burgers (their wings are amazing!!) we headed over to our next stop- Macy’s.

Now let me just start off by saying that Macy’s Santaland never disappoints. Never is the decor anything less than magical. Never are the elves anything less than funny and friendly, and NEVER is Santa anything less than, well, Santa. You can count on a jolly old fellow with a big round belly and a genuine cascading white beard on his smiling face to meet you each and every time with nothing but sweet words and a patient demeanor for the kiddos. You would think that these basic parameters would be hard to mess up, but I am confident that we’ve all seen our fair share of Santa meet-and-greet train wrecks, so trust me when I tell you that the Macy’s version is the real deal! It’s an oldie but goodie in our books and something we look forward to every year.

Next stop on the agenda was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden to switch things up a bit. It was our first time here and we loved it! The storyline has an interesting twist and the children were hooked from the beginning. But we won’t spoil the surprise! We ended our evening at a special place that was new to us all- the Sea Grill at Rockefeller Center. For this time of year they put out a holiday pre-fixe menu- even one for the littles! Super excited, they told us days in advance what their selections would be- shrimp cocktail, lobster macaroni and cheese and vanilla ice cream pops! We adults opted instead for the signature crab cakes and braised beef short rib- all of which were absolutely delicious! Best of all, we got to enjoy this new vantage point from which to watch the skaters and the city’s iconic Christmas tree right outside the windows.

It truly is hard to believe that a city as bustling as New York could come even more alive during this time of year but it truly does. Everyone has their own unique ways of ringing in the season, traditions to relive anew and brand new experiences to savor. There are just so many ways to enjoy Christmastime in New York City both with and without kids, these are but a few. Our few. If you’ve got a few awesome ones yourself, share them, we’d love to hear all about them! Happiest of holidays, friends! We wish you and yours nothing but joy and laughs and most of all- fun!

The Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThisThe Mama Bears Kindness Advent Calendar DIY Holiday CraftPinThis
I am completely convinced that the urge to gift things to children is rooted in evolutionary biology. Like a knee-jerk reaction or the urge to sneeze, we are powerless when it comes to turning over lovingly bought and wrapped gifts to children. One could feasibly make a strong argument here in favor of conditioning, sure. Like Pavlov’s well-trained dogs, you might say that we’ve taught ourselves to melt at the sound of little squeals of delight or at the sight of miniature ear-to-ear grins, but I beg to differ. I’m with Darwin all the way on this one.

Only… it makes it that much harder to say no.

I know, I know. How could I, right? How could I fly in the face of thousands of years of evolutionary progress and hold back a present that could instantly illicit the biologically correct reaction my heart is so hard-wired to desire? Well, it’s easy. It’s that I truly believe that the lesson the kids in this equation get from all this irrepressible gifting is indeed tantamount to conditioning.

Kids need to learn to, well, need. To want and to hope. They need practice in actually striving for something, working towards or behaving in a way that will earn them said item, experience, or even emotion. That’s right, sometimes the only thing they should be getting is a plain old feeling of pride. Or a nice big helping of satisfaction, possibly with a side of inspiration to boot! If we succumb to our inherent need to easily see smiling faces all around us each and every time we are effectively robbing kiddos of this opportunity.

Sometimes a little humility is all they need, and never is this need more apparent than in the midst of the current season- the epitome of flagrant gifting- the holidays. So this year I’m implementing a new element to our December traditions. Following the lovely lead of Colleen over at Inspired to Share, this year I’m adding a Kindness Advent Calendar to our lineup of December fun!

Nothing over the top here. Just some simple over-the-door swag (as our local nursery so aptly calls it), some twine, and little kindness cards each brimming with something other than material booty. Return a shopping cart here, writing a heartfelt letter there, helping someone with an errand. I’ve basically added ten easy, age-appropriate acts of generosity to my littles’ happy season. Ten opportunities to be kind. To show empathy.

To grow.

There are plenty of ways to recreate Colleen’s beautiful tradition. You can go for a little door swag yourself at your local nursery. The bough needs nothing more than a little spritz of water from time to time, or you could do something more straightforward with neat miniature envelopes like Colleen herself did. However you choose to do it, the point is to provide a fun new way to drive an important lesson home during a time of the year when so much else is turning their attention elsewhere. Have fun with this, friends and share with us your own take on this little DIY. We can’t wait to see what wonderful ideas you come up with!

  • I loooove the idea of a Kindness Advent Calendar! So awesome! I will definitely do this when my LO is old enough to comprehend.ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Thanks babe!! So easy to make too! SOOOOO many fun things to look forward to with your little one, how exciting!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • This is a wonderful idea for an advent calendar. It helps remind/teach us that Christmas is about giving, not what we can get.ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Absolutely true! Especially at such a young age, it’s so easy for them to think the real meaning is all about them them them. Glad you like the calendar <3ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love everything about this! It’s such a nice idea, plus it’s so pretty. Love it!ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      Aww thanks sweet pea!! We totally agree, plus it takes a bit of the pressure off of having to think of the next coolest thing for that darn elf to do around the house! HAHA!ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love this!! What a great idea. Your photos are gorgeous too. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • The Mama Bears

      We are so happy that you love it!! It was so simple to make, we had a great time doing it! Thanks so much for your kind words!! ❤️ReplyCancel