5 Offbeat Ways To Celebrate The Holidays

December 9, 2013 8:00 AM

New York City offers practically as many ways to celebrate the holiday season as it does bodegas and taxis. Below are our favorite offbeat ways, perfect for after you’ve seen the tree at Rockefeller Center and watched the Rockettes kick. By Jessica Allen.

More: The 5 Best Holiday Shows This Season In NYC

(credit: IFC Center)

(credit: IFC Center)

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

IFC Center
323 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-7771

More: NYC’s 6 Best Movie Theaters

Each year IFC Center shows “It’s a Wonderful Life” on the big screen—this year, it plays from December 13 to 26. If you recall the movie as being all sticky sweet and sentimental, you’ll be surprised at just how dark and bleak it really is. Sure, Clarence gets his wings, but there’s no denying the movie’s moral: life is hard, and you have to compromise what you want to fulfill your obligations to other people. Frank Capra’s 1946 masterpiece definitely stands as one of the greatest, and saddest, of all holiday movies.

(credit: Garrett Ziegler)

(credit: Garrett Ziegler)

Presents to the Animals

Prospect Park Zoo
450 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225
(718) 399-7339

Life in a zoo has its advantages—safety, regular meals, preservation of the species, toys—but it can also be kind of boring. Every Saturday and Sunday in December the folks at Prospect Park Zoo liven things up by giving presents to various animals at 11 am and 3:30 pm. These wrapped boxes contain goodies like fruits, nuts, stems, and veggies, and the meerkats, otters, dingoes, and others go adorably crazy for the kindness and wrapping paper.

(credit: New York City Fire Museum)

(credit: New York City Fire Museum)

Santa Rescue

New York City Fire Museum
278 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 691-1303

OK, this one’s mostly for the kiddies. On Sunday, December 8, real live New York City firefighters will “rescue” Santa from the roof of the New York City Fire Museum. Once Santa has been safely secured, he’ll pose for pictures with kids while The John Clacher Band sings carols. The fun starts at 11:30 am. It’s free to watch the rescue; $10 for adults and $2 for kids to hang out with Santa afterward (buy tickets here).

Spoons, Toons & Booze

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 384-3980

Once a month, Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn hosts a special brunch for the 18 and over set. Spoons, Toons & Booze features an all-you-can-eat cereal bar, alcohol, witty banter, audience participation, and selections of your favorite Saturday morning childhood cartoons on the big screen. The “Christmas Special” on December 14 and 15 offers holiday-themed episodes from among 80 cartoons. You can even have your picture taken with the host, Santa himself.


The Rink at Rockefeller Center
601 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 332-7654

Exactly what it sounds like! TubaChristmas began in 1974 as a tribute to a beloved teacher. This annual concert held around the world features solo and ensemble compositions for the tuba and euphonium. The New York City show starts at 3:30 pm on Sunday, December 15, but you can watch rehearsals starting at 12:30. It’s the 40th anniversary of the first show, so expect heartfelt tributes and tunes.

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