Christmas in the City
By Maeve Rose Browne
I was inspired to write this piece in December 2020 when I was absorbing the Christmas spirit in a shut-down New York City.
Christmas in New York City is like no other.
Evergreen trees shed their tiny pine needles all over the grey concrete, festive lights line the classic brownstones, and both tourists and natives glide along the ice ground of Wollman Rink. Films like Elf, Serendipity, and the classic Home Alone 2 only add to the unique holiday scene in New York.
Of course, with the unconventional year we’ve had, the jolly spirit never made its way to the city. “For rent” signs plague the city, and boarded up stores continue to invade streets. There are no clusters of people straining their next to look at the massive Rockefeller Tree, nor are there any religious ceremonies.
But even through the hardships, I’ve noticed the resurgence of a classic holiday activity.
One day I was on a casual stroll in my neighborhood, craving fresh air and praying it would cure my Zoom fatigue. As I was walking, I peered, in the least creepy way possible, into the large windows of some of the brownstones. Every single one had a common factor: Christmas trees. I did not pass a home or apartment without the evergreen tree wrapped in rainbow lights.
I immediately googled if Christmas tree sales had increased this year, and it had. In fact, it had nearly doubled within the first few weeks of sales.
This led me to ponder why we were all in a tree frenzy. The most logical reasons are probably due to a lack of travel—if you vacation during the holiday season, you probably won’t be purchasing a tree. But thinking about this from a psychological point of view, it makes sense.
Everyone has undergone this expansive change. Life as we know it is gone, and all of the holiday joy that we felt has dissipated. But these trees in people’s homes are a thing of wonder.
We’re all tired of seeing the rising death toll everytime we turn on the television, but at the same time we can’t truly distract ourselves. But a Christmas tree is a new life; it is something that eats up our time but also connects through the action of decorating
No matter if you are fighting with mom or irritated by a sibling, everyone circles around the bushel of pine standing in the home.
The divisiveness in our country right now is incalculable. But all of those windows busy with bright trees reminds me that, in even our most difficult times, we all come together. We latch onto each other and rely on one another to survive. Much like those lights on the trees, we are all intertwined with the goal of bringing light to our world.
My process for this piece began with me verbalizing to my mentor how I was feeling about the holiday season. I then started to put thoughts into words, and started to piece together all of my ideas. My mentor then edited the piece and spoke it through with me again.
Maeve Browne is a current senior in high school in New York. She is new to the Girls Write Now community, but has learned a lot from her mentor and the programming. She is interested in photography and hopes to go into a career in public health communications.