I love Christmas. I love the songs, the food, the decorations, the smells. And this year there’s extra cheer because, for the first time in a few years, I’ll be able to head back home to England for Christmas with my family. I’m already looking forward to it, so I am more than ready to embrace every holiday event the city has to offer.

Tonight I eased myself in with a visit to the Winter Village at Bryant Park. Gone is the grass where I square danced and ran for my life, and instead there’s a brightly-lit ice rink lined with small huts selling a variety of snacks, gifts and decorations.

Ryan met me for a browse after work and together we took a wander.

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We didn’t skate, although I did go last year. The Bryant Park rink is cheaper than the other options, but while it’s much larger than the rink outside the Rockefeller Center (films always make it look so huge somehow), it’s not as spacious as the one over in Central Park. (There are also others popping up across the city – South Street Seaport, Prospect Park, Battery Park – that I’m hoping to get to this year.)

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The added bonus of the rink here at Bryant Park is the market – if you don’t fancy skating, you can watch others stumble or whizz past from a little cafe area, a cup of hot cider in hand.

Ignoring the rink, we set our sights on that hot cider. Mmm, sweet and delicious.

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Then we browsed the stores – ornaments, jewellery, metal figurines, bags, hats and gifts including wooden board games, slippers and socks.

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It was surprisingly quiet – perhaps because we’re only in November, or maybe because the prices are a little steep. You won’t be able to get all your holiday shopping there, but it’s worth a browse if you’re visiting for a skate.

We just made do with our cider and my increasing Christmas cheer…