christmas tree rockefeller center

Christmas Tours


Join us for this sparkling and inspiring tour of Christmas – Gothamtide in New York! Look, learn and have fun. New York City is the Christmas Capitol –  take in glittering lights and trees, enchanting displays and abundant entertainment. The tour is led by the renowned Christmas and Rockefeller Center Historian Sibyl McCormac Groff, who has studied the history of Christmas and the importance of New York in developing our holiday traditions. She created the word “Gothamtide” to reflect the secular and universal aspects of Christmas, which did not become a legal holiday in America until 1870. For over 25 years this author has led tours and given lectures. 

This year the starting point has changed to the elegant Le Parker Meridien Hotel lobby on West 56th Street just west of 6th Avenue.  What a feast for the eyes  is the hotel’s 6th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza crafted by bakeries and pastry chefs. You can even vote for your favorite New York-themed creation.

The tour will walk to Fifth Avenue and then strut down the avenue and environs ending at the most famous Christmas tree – the 82nd Rockefeller Center  tree between 49th and 50th Street in the plaza off Fifth Avenue (the tree is officially lit on December 3).

As we walk you will hear  about New York’s Christmas traditions “all around the town” and look up at the illuminated interesting buildings!  

Note that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit on December 3 and the Gingerbread Houses at Le Parker Meridien will be displayed beginning December 5th.

Please enter at the entrance graced with the Gingerbread houses closest to 6th Avenue. The next entrance is to the main Hotel lobby. 

Since New York City is in a construction boom some former holiday events or displays may not be up or there may be new things added this year. 

More information about Gothamtide happenings will be given out in print or online. 

Price From: $25.00

Christmas Holiday Walking Tour Highlights: As we walk you will hear about New York’s Christmas traditions “all around the town” and look up at the illuminated interesting buildings!

Some highlights include seeing and/or learning about

  • The development of the Christmas tree, lights, cards, gifts and entertainment
  • at 57th St. and 5th the giant, glittering UNICEF snowflake with its 16000 Baccarat crystals being a beacon of hope, peace and compassion
  • beautifully decorated store windows such as Tiffany’s, Bergdorf’s, Bulgari’s and Saks
  • hotel displays at the Plaza, Peninsula and Palace
  • holiday music at St. Thomas, St. Patrick’s and Radio City
  • Christmas markets at Grand Central, Bryant Park and 14th Street
  • learn about New Yorkers giving to charity since the 19th century
  • beautiful trees at the Metropolitan Museum, American Museum of Natural History, the New York Stock Exchange
  • ending at the inspiring 82nd Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

As your Christmas guide has received the first pine cone from the tree and loves it, you will hear about some illuminating stories about how the trees are found, its donors, where the original tree stood and wonderful accounts. This year’s “magical” tree from Pennsylvania is bigger than last year’s being 85′ high and 46′ wide.

Some merry makers come every year to look up and be inspired by the tree!

Do join NYCVP for this exhilarating tour and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “sprinkle joy!”

Tour Schedule

November 28 through December 30 @ 5:00pm.



If you should have any questions or  would like to book a private tour please contact The Spirited New Yorker