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There is no place like New York for the holidays and it has been a special treat to look out our window at our Tribeca neighbors lighting their menorahs and putting up their trees and lights.   In addition to lighting our own menorah, I hosted our annual Yankee Swap with old friend Bridget Moynahan (her bright idea to start this tradition while we both lived in L.A. 5 years ago).  Below are some of my favorite things to do this holiday season in New York.

1. Host your own Yankee Swap.  Gather together your favorite girlfriends and ask each to bring a wrapped gift under a set amount.  Sit around a fire (fantasy as I don’t have a fireplace) with lots of bubbly to go around and have each girl pick a number from a stocking.  Number one picks first, opening any gift in front so all eyes can see.  Number two picks next and can choose to keep the gift they have just opened OR they can ‘swap’ their gift with number one.  The third lady can choose between the gift she has opened or the two previous gifts.  The higher the number you draw the better, as you will have more gifts to choose from, however it pays to be strategic as number one ultimately can choose again after all your guests have picked and she may choose any gift!

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2. Dance to the ballet and make The Nutcracker a family tradition.

3. Head downtown and strap your skates on at the Standard Hotel ice rink.   It’s my favorite rink in the city because of its intimate size and snow bunny vibe.  Have cheese fondue and hot chocolate while wrapped in blankets between skating sessions.

4. Head midtown to see the tree at Rock Center and take in all the holiday splendor of the windows at Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys.

5. Settle in to the holiday spirit on the big screen with Les Miserables.   I went to the New York premiere at the Ziegfeld, cried for two hours and sang all the way home.

Most of all this holiday season I will remember to share with the people around me, give thanks to those who have shared their lives with me, and LOVE.  Thank you for supporting the Stephanie Johnson brand and allowing me to share my thoughts on SJ’s Style Compass.   I have so much to be grateful for every day.  Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday filled with love and appreciation.

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