The History of December Holidays in NYC Lecture

Experience the magic, spectacle and spirit of the holiday season on an enchanted journey through the history of holiday traditions in NYC from Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and more.

This lecture on the holidays in New York takes you to the most spectacular seasonal sites and reveals the inspired stories behind them.

Learn the true magic behind Macys, and uncover the real miracles of 34th street

Discover how Santa became the reigning jolly old fellow and the meaning behind the many merry customs we associate with the season.

We will explore the history of the windows and dazzling displays along Fifth Avenue in a whole new way.   

Delight in the magnificence of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Rockettes, St. Patricks Cathedral and the worlds largest Menorah and much more.   

Get ready to enjoy the festive tales that will bring all the spectacle of the city to life for an unforgettable holiday treat.

Join historian Kevin Draper as we travel back in time to learn how New York invented Christmas and the holiday ties to Columbia University.

Find out how:

  •  Santa Claus was born in NYC
  •  a famous Christmas poem is related to Columbia University
  •  the most famous newspaper editorial is tied to the university

    Learn the history of:
  •  Yuletide sleigh rides
  •  Ice skating in NYC
  •  the Yule Log tradition and its connection to Columbia University


  • who created the first Christmas tree stand
  • who started the first Christmas tree market
  • what famous person invented colored Christmas tree electric lights
  • the world’s first Christmas tree with electric lights

Meet:  New York composers who wrote some of the greatest holiday songs of all time.


This event will be on Zoom. You will receive the zoom link upon registration.


Our Virtual Tour Guide:

Kevin Draper is the co-founder of New York Historical Tours. An impassioned New Yorker, Kevin brings to life the stories and history that have made New York the most exciting and dynamic city in the world. This includes looking at New York not just as the world class, dynamic city that never sleeps but the diverse and exciting collection of neighborhoods that never sleep. His knowledge, professionalism and storytelling ability have earned him rave reviews. Kevin has led historical talks and lectures for top universities and Fortune 500 companies and has been a consultant to a variety of publications including CBS, ABC, Bloomberg, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

December 14, 2021 at 6:00pm - 7pm



Alumni Leadership Team


Will you come?