I kind of disappeared from the online world last week when my mother-in-law arrived in New York to spend the holiday with us. Our days leading up to Christmas were filled with fabulous dinners and long walks through the bright city.

We were lucky to have a little snow leftover from the previous weekend. Central Park was just lovely with those big towering London Plane trees. Children were sledding around and building snowmen. The streets along midtown were packed with last-minute shoppers, so Central Park was a wonderful escape.

I stole some time away to visit the New York Library on my own one afternoon. It is a very stately, elegant building with large lion statues welcoming you inside. Carolers were on the steps outside singing while shoppers scuttled down the crowded streets.

I took refuge inside for a couple hours to read under these great big windows in the Rose Reading Room. It was so peaceful and I could have happily stayed there all day. There is always so much to do in New York though, so I stayed a couple hours before running off to a museum.

Our Christmas Eve and the evenings that followed, we ate good cheese, drank good wine and watched some great murder mystery movies. I think I’ll be flying home about five pounds heavier from the cheese alone.

We ate out most nights, but we stocked up at the Park Slope Coop to make a few homemade meals. Christmas Eve I made a lemon-roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and the garlicky-butternut squash recipe I am still obsessed with. Everything turned out well and could be roasted at the same time, so no one was stuck in the kitchen all night. The chicken was so tender – it was falling off the bone. I’ll make that one again soon.

We watched so many fun movies together, drank endless cups of coffee, and just enjoyed each others company. We had some lovely dinners out at Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants – all amazing. We wandered through the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Whitney Museum and spent over four hours at the Met, still not seeing everything we wanted to look at.

No huge family dinners. No waking up early to cook and shuffle off somewhere. We missed seeing those loved ones and there will be many a future Christmas spent in the traditional manner. But for this one strange year, we enjoyed a little holiday rebellion bucking traditions and having a ball together in New York.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson