Let the countdown begin. It’s Christmastime in the city. Although the snow helped a little, where are the Santas on every corner ringing bells? Where are the Christmas lights strung around apartment windows? And has anyone heard any Christmas carols?

You’ll be happy to know that the Winter Antiques Show Kick-Off Party was held in great anticipation of the actual show, which takes place Jan. 19 to Jan 28. This year will mark the 64th anniversary of presenting decorative art, antiques and design from around the world. All net proceeds from the show benefit the East Side House Settlement, the community-based organization in the South Bronx run by our very own Eula Johnson, who, like ESHS, is nationally recognized. Interested in attending the opening night party? Call 718-292-7392 for ticket information or visit the website at winterantiquesshow.com.

Leaving our presence on Earth and moving on to the next frontier is Jim Skeete and Dr. Chester Redhead. It can be said of both men, friends for many years through thick and thin, that they lived life to the fullest. Of the generation who entertained often and royally, there was no shame to their game. If you saw a lot of cars parked at their doors, then you were welcomed to come on in and join the party. Many long lasting friendships were made that way. Totally comfortable.

All of animal lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. The Animal Medical Center held its annual gala at Cipriani 42nd Street. There are several Ciprianis around town, but this one is perhaps my favorite. Its massive Italian Romanesque interior was originally constructed in 1921-23 for the Bowery Savings Bank. The pillars, which adorn the halls are 65 feet high and 80 feet wide and 197.5 feet deep and made of marble, limestone, sandstone and bronze. It’s a perfect party place if you plan to host close to 1,000 (a Jim Skeete, Chester Redhead kind of party). The event, which was appropriately entitled the Top Dog Gala, made oodles and oodles of noodles for the medical care of cats, dogs and a host of other animals.

For all of those familiar with American pop standards, it was the 102nd birthday of Frank Sinatra. Look for our American pop icon, Mary J. Blige, to add film star to her resume. She has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Best Supporting Actress.

If you are looking to get away over the holidays, look into the variety of I Love New York weekend getaways to upstate New York. Opt for a package that includes transportation, lodging, ski passes and a cozy log-burning fire to cuddle up next to. Alternatively, hop a flight down to Cuba, if it’s still legal—things happen so quickly you never know. Although the city of Havana is a place straight out of the 1950s, as if time has stood still, the people are friendly and the Cuba libres are plentiful. It is hard to envision how people can live in buildings that seem ready for condemnation. One can’t help but fear the structure will come tumbling down without a moment’s notice. Yet, there is a television in every home, the children are cleaned and cared for and everyone seems to be at peace.

For a quieter time with a beautiful vista, head west to a scenic town called Vinales. Situated deep in the valley, the countryside is beautiful. Turn to the left where the mountain range on the horizon is captivating or turn to the right where water is crystal clear blue. Anywhere you look, the view is enchanting. The sun is warm and might be just what the doctor ordered for this time of year.

Also enchanting was the invitation-only Christmas party hosted by Macy’s 34th Street. Greeting revelers at the door was Kristin Vaughn Robinson, looking very merry Christmas. The pass-around hors ‘d oeuvres of mini grilled cheese sandwiches, meatballs and sliders were delicious. There to help celebrate was fellow alumni Hamptonite, Michael Armstrong, and Michael Garner, who was only making a pop call because the 100 Black Men were also doing their thing the very same evening. Welcoming the crowd with a very short speech was Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette. Macy’s is amazing as it believes in one word, and that word is “amazing,” Gennette stated. “What’s important to the Macy’s organization is community,” he said. “Across this great land, what’s important to the community is important to Macy’s. We have amazing customers, and it is our mission not to let them down. Macy’s still believes. Our associates are diverse and inclusive. We want Macy’s to be a place where our employees can flourish and grow.”

In closing, Gennette expressed, “Macy’s is committed to giving back to the community. Through the write a letter to Santa initiative, $1 was donated to the [Make-A-Wish] Foundation. To date, approximately 2.5 million kid’s wishes were granted. I do believe in Santa Claus; I do believe in Santa Claus.”

Kiasha and Wayne Lewis were among the 500 guests who attended the sixth annual benefit of the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Mount Sinai Health System gala, where more that $3.4 million was raised. DBC, which is part of the Tisch Cancer Institute, located at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, offers the latest, most innovative approaches in breast health and treatment. The funds raised will benefit the breast cancer treatment program and research. The host for evening, Perri Peltz, referred to DBC as representing Mount Sinai’s bold new vision for patient-centered breast cancer treatment and research, one that focuses on the emotional as well as the physical health and wellness of people who have, or may be at risk for, cancer. Patients receive personalized, comprehensive and integrative care in a welcoming, private and reassuring setting.

I do believe in Santa Claus. I do believe in Santa Claus. I do believe in Santa Claus. Merry Christmas.

Until next week…kisses.