The romance of a wintry Central Park, the enormous Rockefeller Tree, the energy coming off of Macy's and the busiest streets in America in full gift-hunting mode – Christmas in New York City is an almost overwhelming experience.

With so much to see and do there's a danger you'll miss these gems amongst the festive rush.

So we've compiled a list of six seasonal Manhattan marvels to take in on a trip to the city.

Shield thine eyes: The Met Gallery's Baroque Christmas tree and nativity. Photo / Supplied
Shield thine eyes: The Met Gallery's Baroque Christmas tree and nativity. Photo / Supplied

Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Creche

Yes, you've probably got a Christmas tree at home. However, we can guarantee your tree won't measure up to this one. Shield thine eyes, as the Met Gallery's divine showpiece is unveiled. Studded with fifty baroque angels and an exquisite nativity scene it is never the same twice. This eighteenth-century Neapolitan nativity scene traditionally collects new pieces each Christmas.

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People watching: Ice skaters at the Bryant Park Winter Village in New York City. Photo / Gary Hershorn, Getty Images
People watching: Ice skaters at the Bryant Park Winter Village in New York City. Photo / Gary Hershorn, Getty Images

Winter Village in Bryant Park

'People watching on ice' - there are few things more unique northern hemisphere Christmas than watching amateur skaters take to the ice. By all means, don a pair of skates, but the best views are from rink-side, with cup of hot chocolate in hand.

The Hip-Hop Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky's classic Christmas ballet is about due a remix. Fortunately an all-star cast has renewed the jingle in this seasonal favorite. MC Kurtis Blow and DJ Boo break down the masterwork in Broadway's United Palace Theatre before taking it for a US wide tour.

Union Square Holiday Market

Midtowners are drawn to the smell of mulled wine and cooking doughnuts. Wander the maze of stalls to pick up a few last minute gift ideas.

5th Avenue Holiday Window Displays

Mince pies at Tiffany's? Perhaps not, however during the high-season, 5th Avenue is a moveable feast for the eyes. New York's most glamorous window displays up the festive anti at this time of year – including Tiffany's, Bloomingdale's, Saks and a short saunter from Macy's for the icing on the Christmas cake.

Camels are escorted before Cardinal Timothy Dolan's blessing at The Christmas Spectacular's Living Nativity scene. Photo / John Lamparski, Getty Images
Camels are escorted before Cardinal Timothy Dolan's blessing at The Christmas Spectacular's Living Nativity scene. Photo / John Lamparski, Getty Images

Bringing the Christmas story to life

If you are at the intersection of 51st and 6th, you may feel the pressures of an NYC Christmas have parted you with your senses. For over twenty years, sheep, donkeys and the three camels, replete with wise men, have made their epiphany through the streets of Midtown Manhattan for the Radio City Music Hall's Living Nativity.

PETA has called repeatedly for the show's use of live animals to be scrapped - however, whether for or against the bizarre tradition, it's one of those million-and-one amazing things happening in the city over Christmas which might otherwise pass you by.