It’s SantaCon in New York (and other cities), which makes Manhattan one of the craziest, busiest, obnoxious, most annoying places in the U.S. for a day.

Basically, the SantaCon pub crawl is an excuse for people to head into the city to dress up in their Christmas pyjamas / costumes / underwear and act stupid.

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At first it was funny and festive to see so many people dressed up as Christmas characters.

But, then we started to see things like fights and people teetering precariously off the rooftops of buildings and line-ups that engulfed entire city blocks and made it impossible to get anywhere.

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Finding a cab or an Uber throughout the day was like swimming upstream while looking for a unicorn with a diamond crown on its head. And, cab drivers know this so they’re going to turn off the meter and demand only outrageous amounts of cash.

The good news is that as the day progressed, people got more and more inebriated and it was easy to outmaneuver them and steal a cab at the point of drop off. At one point we watched a massive line of drunken Santas waiting at a taxi queue for cabs… but locals were snagging the cabs from the end of the queue before the cars even made it to the Santas.

As such, for the evening we sought out activities and places that weren’t flooded with drunk Santas.

Avra Estiatorio

When the apocalypse comes, my child will be holed up in any place where she can still eat Greek food all day long. I won’t have to resort to using technology to find her, I’ll just look for places that have tzatziki.

As such, we found this one great Greek restaurant in Midtown called Avra Estiatorio. I managed to snap the photo below just before gads and gads of large families showed up to hunker down for the evening. Before the food was even ordered the pitchers of ice and bottles of ouzo were on the table.

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Not only was the food fantastic (La Niña discovered a new favourite dip: skordalia), but the large family dynamics and people watching was even better.

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A Young Dickens

After dinner we dressed up and headed to Theatre Row for a show. There’s something about old theatre buildings and tiny/cozy shows that makes me really happy.

A Young Dickens is about Charles Dickens’ life before he became an author, about those things that inspired him to write and lobby against social injustice, and about the journey taken by Dickens after his parents were put in debtors prison.

It’s musical theatre with an underlying moral and social message.

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The show is great for families without the cheesy, childishness, outrageous dramatics of typical Christmas productions. I’d say it’s a great show for 8-10 aged kids and older (there were plenty of adults without kids in attendance).