Christmas Eve in New Jersey: Nostalgia, the tree, and a pickpocket

Lucky Duck at Keelen's Ponderosa

Lucky Duck visits Keelen’s Ponderosa.

Well, a miniature version, residing in the hand-painted village under my mom’s Christmas tree. My Grandma Wilma and Aunt Sue spent years painting each piece, and it’s certainly a sight to be seen.

The village under the tree

A Christmas Eve interview and tour

Hear about the pickpocket in Penn Station, as well as get a look at what it’s like inside Club Keelen on The Night Before Christmas.

Merry Christmas, from Lucky Duck, my family and me

The pond

One horse open sleigh

Snowing in Central Park

Snow in Central Park Shannon Truax

Lucky Duck enjoys the most beautiful Winter Wonderland in New York City.

Central Park in the snow is one of the most beautiful things that you will ever see. This is especially true during the Holiday season, when the beautiful windows of Bergdorf Goodman inspire, the lights of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center sparkle, the Christmas Markets are in full swing, and The Empire State Building lights up NYC in red and green.

Live reporting from the snow with Katrina

The Winter Wonderland of Central Park

Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Katrina Stahl in Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Shannon Truax at Central Park Holiday Market

A quick list of my favorite Christmas blog posts

Happy Holidays!

Lucky Duck and I wish you the best Christmas and Holiday season!

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Christmas shopping at The Union Square Holiday Market in New York City

Union Square Holiday Market

Lucky Duck lends a hand to Santa at The Union Square Holiday Market.

Every holiday season, the white tents pop up around New York, and I love it! I Today, I returned to The Union Square Holiday Market and had a lot of fun checking out the crafts and eating a warm, yummy cinnamon pretzel.

I met Quinn here a few weeks ago, and today, we followed up and had a little jaunt in the festive holiday space. Here’s a video we did to capture the spirit of the season. Quinn makes an appearance at the end.

These little buddies were having a good time, too!

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Union Square Holiday Market New York

Merry Christmas, and Happy Last Minute Shopping!

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My first real Christmas tree

Trim the Lucky Duck tree of fun

Lucky Duck trims the tree Chez Moi.

This is a first

I actually have a real, live Christmas tree this year! Those who know me from my past are likely shocked, as my MO was to put up one of those white lawn ornaments in my apartment every year in Seattle. Here’s a shot from my Queen Anne abode in 2004. As you can see, I’ve upped my game, in terms of Christmas tree and Santa dress.

My old tree

My first Christmas in New York

Kristen and I aren’t traveling back to Seattle for the holidays this year, for a number of reasons: cost, timing, and then there’s always the chance you’ll get stuck. Two years ago, Kristen was forced to stay in Seattle through the New Year because New York was covered in snow. We were on the news at Sea-Tac Airport because of the situation.

Buying the tree

It was really important to me to have a tree this year. Rory, my adorable tree salesman, offered a ton of great info about the trees. My gosh, I got lucky being able to shop with this little muffin. Look at this little guy!

Rory helps me pick out a tree

Rory picked this one out for me, and we had it wrapped up. It’s really the perfect tree! It stands a bit over 8 feet tall, but it’s not so wide that I can’t use my dining table. In fact, the table fits right next to my tree, so I can turn off all the lights, turn on the tree, and enjoy cozy, yummy meals for the next 10 days!

Wrapping up my 9 foot tree

Santa attire, of course

Last year, I had Jamie Von Stratton make me a Santa dress. It was probably one of the best wardrobe decisions I’ve ever made. We went to the fabric store, and in one day, this amazing creation existed… Here’s a video describing my attire, with a nod to the tree, my rubber duck nativity set, and diamond mistletoe.

While I realize that my home-crafted Santa Rubber Ducky earrings are in the video, they are too amazing not to shine a bright light on right here. Thank you for the idea, Kristen! And thank you, Cheryl and Tim, for sending me these adorable Christmas ornaments!

Christmas ornament earrings

A fantastic Christmas party

After filming the video, we hopped on the L train to go out to Greenpoint for a Christmas party, when Hanukkah Girl got on.

Lady Santa and Hanukkah Girl

My role at the party was to play up the photo booth. That was fun! Here are some of my favorite shots.

Kristen and me at Mikeys party


Mikey and me

Mikey's Christmas party 1

Shannon and Kristen at Mikeys party

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Christmas in New York: The tree by day and Shopping at Macy’s

The tree at Rockefeller Center Macy's on 34th Street

Lucky Duck kicks off the Christmas Season in New York City.

I wanted to start celebrating Christmas in New York right away, and it’s always fun to do it with friends. Today, Simon and I set out to check out the world-famous Christmas landmarks, in the city we call home.

Coffee at Chelsea Market

First, we started with 6 oz. Espressos with Milk at Chelsea Market.

Espresso and Milk at Chelsea Market

Next stop – The Tree at Rockefeller Center

I’ve seen the tree many times, but never as a New York City resident. We took the D train from 14th over to Rockefeller Center. It was pretty exciting coming down 5th Avenue and making our way to the big tree.

Shannon Harms and Simon Baltovic at the Ice Skating Rink

Shannon Harms and Simon Baltovic at the tree

The Swarovski Star

Then we stopped to check out the Swarovski Star, in honor of the amazing Swarovski green duck that Simon picked up for me in Hong Kong.

Swarovski Star at Rockefeller Center Green Swarovski Duck

Holiday Shopping at Macy’s

Right now, it’s Friends and Family at Macy’s, which is just in time for Christmas. I knew what I wanted to buy my mom, and I definitely wanted to take advantage of the Sale of the Century. Here’s some reportage from just outside the mecca on 34th Street.

Before going in, we checked out the festive windows.

Macy's Holiday Windows

When we got inside, it actually went well! I found my mom and Al the perfect Christmas gift from Kristen and me! I also wrote a letter to Santa. Here’s a look!

We didn’t make it back to Rockefeller Center at dark; we were starving and had to call it good. But we’ll be back there soon enough for some more reportage under the lights.

It was a lot of fun to get out and spread some New York City Christmastime cheer. I can’t wait to do it again.

Merry Christmas! And Like Lucky Duck on Facebook!

Christmas in the Flatiron District

Update 12/7/12: It has been brought to my attention that I have completely misinterpreted the Christmas display in the Flatiron District! Brandon pointed out that this display is actually an old school pop up card, opened up, sitting on the mantle.

The concept is BRILLIANT and thought provoking! Whoever created this display is genius.

So, New York, my most sincere apologies for not reading the signage and catching on sooner. Don’t hate me. I’m new in town, and I promise that you’ll be happy to have me here.

Flatiron Upside Down Christmas decorations

Lucky Duck checks out the Flatiron 23rd Partnership Christmas display on 5th  and Broadway.

My sister and I were out at our friend Josh’s holiday party tonight on the Upper East Side, and we decided to get off the 6 train at 23rd and walk – so glad we did!

Christmas decorations bloopers in the Flatiron District

As we were making our way back to Chelsea, this caught our eye…

Flatiron Upside Down Christmas decorations

When I saw that Tiffany’s sponsored this exhibit, it amplified the issue for me. Really? I bet it will be fixed by morning… so funny.

Here’s a look at the other side:

Flatiron District Christmas Display

Lots of Josh in the Flatiron District

As I mentioned, Kristen and I were coming back from Josh’s holiday party. Our friend Josh is amazing, and the party was a blast, as evidenced by this random party shot.

Josh's Christmas party

Well, guess who is on the Sprint ad in the Flatiron Building, right by this holiday light disaster – Josh!! Apparently, he’s just here to help. :)

Josh is in a Sprint ad

Conversocial’s New York office is in the Flatiron District. Josh March is the co-founder and CEO. He was just on Bloomberg.

Josh March on Bloomberg

If your business is looking for a way to manage customer service in your social channels, Conversocial is your answer. Period. They just hosted a meet-up at Delicatessen in SoHo, and it was a fantastic event. I’m so glad that I was able to attend. Hertz presented on the tremendous success they’ve seen since working with Conversocial.

Shannon Harms and Josh March

What a funny night in the Flatiron District…

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Post-Christmas shopping at The Mall of America

The Mall of America Nickelodeon Theme Park

Lucky Duck hits the rides, and the sales, at The Mall of America.

A quick recap of the itinerary

It certainly was an unexpected surprise of Divine Intervention. Mike and I shared the best Christmas we’ve ever had. I flew out to meet him in Paris, where we enjoyed five days taking in all the famous sites and an amazing meal atop the Eiffel Tower. From there, we flew in to Orlando and spent two days at Disney World. Then we drove to Sarasota to spend Christmas at Mike’s mom’s and revisit where we got married. Our flight home connected through in Minneapolis.

Here’s a visual. My path is red, Mike’s is blue, the black is when we traveled together.

World Travels

Getting lost, re-routed, and out to the MOA

I was in charge of navigation in our drive to Orlando International Airport, and I did something wrong. We were lost and practically missed our flight home. We made it with just a few minutes to spare and were able to upgrade to first class. Whew! Right? Wrong! Just then, we got word that a Delta cart hit the plane and caused structural damage. Our flight was delayed for 5 hours, and we had to be rebooked.

Because of the holiday rush, we couldn’t get out of Minneapolis until late the next day, so we took about 60 bucks in vouchers to Outback Steakhouse. We flew out to Minneapolis five hours later, stayed the night, and set out to check out the Mall of America while we waited for the last leg of our journey home.

The Mall of America is a blast

Shannon at The Mall of America entrance

While at first we were pretty upset about the delay, we realized that there was nothing we could do about it and to make the best of a weird situation. I worried though that Mike would freak out knowing that he had to shop in a mall for 6 hours, but I think he had more fun than I did!

Nickelodeon Universe

The middle of the mall is a big theme park, filled with rides, food, and games. We rode Dora Explorer’s Ferris Wheel, Balloon Race, and the carousel. Mike played Air Ball and won a football that he gave away to a cute little boy who was having a hard time winning a prize. (This prize was pretty fitting – Mike won his Fantasy Football league while we were away!)

Ferris Wheel View from on top of the ferris wheel
The balloons Mike wins a football
Carousel Carousel

Lucky Duck makes friends at Peeps

Look at what Lucky Duck was able to spot from the Ferris Wheel – A big Peeps store!

Peeps store at Mall of America

And inside, he met a ton of friends.

Peeps Plushies Peeps Plushies Peepsters Santa Peeps Plushies

Lucky Duck even found a couple of friends who have a lot in common with him. They pose in a life ring, take photos with the world’s most famous icons, and they were just at The Eiffel Tower too!

Peeps Ahoy Peeps Ahoy

Mike and I didn’t make any new friends, but we did find some of our favorite snacks.

Mike & Ike Hot Tamales The Icee Bear


Time to go shopping

The Mall of America offers more than 520 stores (see more cool Mall of America facts), so we had to pick and choose which ones we wanted to visit. Mike actually picked out a few stores that interested him – some Sports themed stores, a cool flags store, an Irish store where he bought a very cool Ireland zip-up, and the one that took the cake – Alpaca World!

Mike loves Alpaca World

I picked out my two favorite stores – Nordstrom Rack where I bought a sequins Vince Camuto cocktail dress, and The Microsoft Store where I found Minnesota-themed Xboxes!

Nordstrom Rack at MOA Nordstrom Rack sale at MOA
Microsoft Store at MOA Minnesota themed Xboxes

And Lucky Duck picked a couple of stores too – Lego World and the candy store, where he bought me a boxed set of U.S. President PEZ dispensers! (This was fitting too – we went to The Hall of Presidents at Disney World!)

Lego World at MOA Lego World at MOA


Candy store with lots of PEZ PEZ Presidents dispensers

The Mall of America is decorated for Christmas

One of my favorite things about traveling during Christmastime is enjoying all the beautiful Christmas decorations. We sure saw some amazing ones in Paris and Disney World, and MOA was gorgeous too.

Christmas at MOA Christmas at MOA

All of this sure can work up an appetite

And there is definitely not a shortage of restaurants to pick from. Mike and I actually picked three. In six hours of walking, shopping, and playing on rides, we got pretty hungry!

We had our morning coffee and egg sandwiches at Caribou right as the mall was opening.

Caribou Coffee

We stopped at Crave for sushi, salads, and mussels. I loved the drinks too!

Mussels at Crave Sparkling Strawberries at Crave

Later, we stopped at Tucci Benucch for happy hour and got a mini pizza, mini meatballs, and a strawberry, basil, balsamic mojito.

Drinks at Tucci Benucch Happy hour at Tucci Benucch

When it was time to fly home, I was actually ready to head out. Vacation was awesome, and our special day at The Mall of America was such a very cool opportunity. I’ll never forget it. It was honestly the best Christmas I’ve ever had.

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