Gift of Points Winner: Megan J. Celebrates Christmas in the Big Apple

This Texas-based family celebrated Christmas in New York City and treated their son to lifelong holiday memories.
Last updated June 2, 2023 | By Matt Miczulski
Ice skaters in Central Park

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As a way to give back to the FBZ community this year, FinanceBuzz Gives the Gift of Points awarded five winners with free airfare to destinations of their choosing. Winners were chosen based on their stories of where they’d fly with a free round-trip plane ticket and why that particular trip would be life-changing for them.

One of our winners was Megan J. from Texas. Megan recently got back from her Gift of Points trip to New York City with her husband, Patrick, and son, Kyle, and we had a chance to catch up with her to see how things went.

Here’s her story.

Why Megan chose New York City

Megan grew up in Michigan, where the Christmas season was always a magical time of year. During the winter, Megan would play out in the snow before retreating indoors to warm up by the fire. With hot chocolate in hand, there was no better way to finish the day than with one of her favorite holiday movies.

As a parent, one of the joys for Megan is reliving her childhood through her son, Kyle. Kyle is six years old, and although he watches the same Christmas movies Megan watched as a child, it’s hard for him to relate. Megan and her family currently reside in Houston, Texas, and many of the hallmarks of Christmas that Megan cherished growing up simply aren’t available to Kyle.

FinanceBuzz Gives the Gift of Points Winners

For Megan, free airfare would mean a chance to take her son on a weekend trip to visit New York City during the holidays — a trip that would allow Kyle to truly feel the Christmas magic. Hopefully, it would give him a chance to see real snow for the first time, too.

They would go see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and ice skating rink. They would visit Santa at Macy’s and admire the decorative window displays throughout the city. And, of course, they’d have to make a stop at the famed FAO Schwartz toy store.

At first, Kyle didn’t fully understand what this trip would mean, but Megan had an idea to get him on board. “What really got him excited was watching ‘Elf’ and ‘Home Alone 2,’” she explained. “And then he was like, ‘I’m so excited!’”

Ultimately, free airfare would give Megan the chance to fulfill a trip she’s been dreaming of for a while. “I’ve been thinking about this for probably two years, but I wasn’t able to make it ever work out or find a deal to make it affordable.”

And the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. Megan suspects that Kyle’s belief in Santa may be ending soon, and what better way to bask in the Christmas spirit than a trip to New York City during the holiday season?

Visiting NYC during the holidays

Megan and her family spent the weekend in New York City and kicked off the trip at Times Square that Friday night. It was also SantaCon that weekend, so the city was filled with people donning Santa attire. They ended their first night by ordering in classic New York-style pizza.

The next day, they had reservations for Macy’s Santaland, which was at the top of their to-do list and was one of the highlights of their trip. Megan described it as being on par with Disney rides — you can see the Santaland Express train before reaching the North Pole, where you’re met with extravagant holiday-themed scenery and Santa’s elves before finally arriving at Santa’s door.

“You see Santa’s workshop, and all the elves are just really happy to see you … and at the end of all that, there’s tons of displays,” she said.

After meeting with Santa, Megan and her family visited Rockefeller Center to see this year’s 77-foot-tall Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the holiday decorations adorning and surrounding. They went to a few different stores, including the Nintendo store (one of Kyle’s favorites), before making their way to FAO Schwartz where they saw the giant floor piano Tom Hanks danced on in the movie “Big.” When the sun had set, Megan and her family returned for the light display and Disney’s “Frozen 2”-inspired windows at Saks Fifth Avenue.

On Sunday, Megan and her family had tickets to see the Radio City Rockettes. Following the show, they took a stroll through Central Park, and before they knew it, it was time to head back to the airport to return home.

Wrapping up Megan’s NYC Christmas trip

Although it didn’t snow, Kyle had a blast and wanted to know when they’d be back — something Megan plans to do so they can experience more of what the city has to offer.

The timing of the trip couldn’t be any better either. Kyle is getting older and his belief in Santa is waning, so winning a chance to celebrate the Christmas spirit in New York City was truly special to Megan.

“If I were to wrap this up in a Hallmark bow … I think this was my last opportunity to really have this experience with him,” Megan said. “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity … It was a very memorable experience.”

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Matt Miczulski Matt Miczulski is a personal finance writer specializing in financial news, budget travel, banking, and debt. His interest in personal finance took off after eliminating $30,000 in debt in just over a year, and his goal is to help others learn how to get ahead with better money management strategies. A lover of history, Matt hopes to use his passion for storytelling to shine a new light on how people think about money. His work has also been featured on MoneyDoneRight and