It’s December…Bring on the holidays: Festivities. Food. Benevolence.

One of the things I love about the holidays — other than getting together with family and friends for the usual and customary festivities — is the mix and mingling with business folk — especially the ones you like.

This week, I had three mix and mingles — one charity + dinner + meeting combination, a house party that had nothing to do with my industry, but I’m always up for the intimacy of a civilized house party, and one professional association love fest.

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Holidays: A time for giving.  A time for loving.  A time for eating.  But giving is the best.

This year, I was involved one of the most make-your-heart-all-warm-and-fuzzy-inside activities.  Rounding up presents for a wonderful organization:

Logo-ToysforTots

About 30+ of my fellow industry professionals gathered at FAO Schwarz near Central Park South across from the Plaza Hotel.  We were broken into “teams” and each had about an hour and half to gather hundreds of toys for kids in need.  This year, on our minds were children displaced as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Friendly competition was built in.  We had a budget, quantity was important — the more presents the better.  Another fun inclusion — clues.  Figure out the clue.  Find the present.  Good times..although it was tough to do all of this while the store was open for “regular” customers and tourist gawkers.  If you’re unfamiliar with FAO Schwarz, watch the 80s movie “Big” with Tom Hanks.  A number of scenes were filmed there, including the one with the floor piano (which does still exist, by the way — just head upstairs).

After the shopping was all done, we headed to BICE, a great Italian place within walking distance.

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A holiday cocktail party in someone’s home (who’s not a relative) can be a real treat.  You see how others live — and how they decorate for the holidays.

I got a chance via an invitation from a friend, to join her as she hob-knobbed with her industry peeps.  The scene was lovely.  Railroad-style apartment in a typical, converted New York City townhouse.  Every inch of the apartment was decorated.  Sure, it had five rooms, but if you’re unfamiliar with a railroad-style apartment, that basically means, you have to walk through a room to get to the next.  So, in this case, we entered into what was an open space used in part for the kitchen, a sharp left into the next room and we were in the dining room, through that room was the bedroom. Continuing into the next room we were now in the office, and through that room was the last room, the living room.  Where was the bathroom?  Tucked away off the kitchen area.  The width of the apartment was not the widest.  To give you perspective, the bedroom only held a queen size bed, squeezed between the walls (I mean it) leaving only a narrow walkway into the adjacent rooms.

All that aside, the rooms were beautiful — just beautiful.  Lots of art. Holiday decorations. Flameless candles, which added a glow in the dimmed rooms.  The Christmas tree was simply: A Vision. Quite the conversation piece.  But I’m still wondering how they got that humongous tree up the five flights of steep stairs.

Then there was the food.  There were the usual ham and trimmings, finger food, homemade cookies and sweet treats of all varieties.  But far above them all was an amazing crab meat (and not imitation) with seafood cocktail sauce and cream cheese spread.  It was out.of.this.world.  Once it hit my lips, I stood — yes, stood — as if on guard at the platter for the remainder of the night.  Actually, the only time I moved was to get to the bar. Oh, and by the way, as small as this apartment was — and this is so New York — they had service staff.  There was the coat check guy who stood in the hallway with a rack that held our coats.  Inside stood a bartender behind the “bar” in the kitchen. I thought: ‘Well, this is nice.’

Unfortunately, I have no pictures.  It would have completely out of line to be snapping photos like the paps in someone’s home (but believe me, I was tempted…next time, I’ll find a way to do it covertly).

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High above Columbus Circle at the Museum of Arts and Design, 100+ marketers talked shop, holiday plans and celebrated the accomplishments of a year drawing to a close.  The location couldn’t have been more perfect with Central Park almost beneath us.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.  It rained the entire day.  The fog hovered over the city producing nothing in the views department.  You’ll see what I mean.  But thankfully, I snapped a few food pics.  Enjoy!

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Columbus Circle - Not your ordinary roundabout

Happy Holidays!

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