To ring in the holidays this year, we've teamed up with American Express's #PointsForPresents program for a little lighthearted meditation on the season, straight from a celebrated member of the New York community. What defines the holidays in New York? What's the best gift for someone from the city? What do you love about the holidays not just as a person, but the die-hard New Yorker you are? Here's what Brooklynite Pat Kiernan had to say.

Pat Kiernan is the morning anchor at NY1 News and the editor of He's a part of the morning routine for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, and is known nationally as a game show and trivia event host. He'll appear in an upcoming episode of Nurse Jackie on Showtime, one of many times he’s played himself on TV and in the movies—including a turn in 2012's blockbuster, The Avengers.

©Tim Hill
What's the one thing in the holiday spread you absolutely have to have seconds of?

I love pie. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my first loyalty belongs to pumpkin pie. But if there are two or three kinds of pie I can’t resist having at least a small slice of all of them.

Has there ever been a gift you've given that made you stop and think, "Wow. I really outdid myself this year"? I didn’t know it until months later, but the Ceiva picture frame I gave my grandmother was brilliant. She doesn’t know computers and isn’t going to learn at this point. But there’s this magic picture frame that sits on her dresser and every night it magically updates with the pictures I’ve emailed the day before.

How about a gift you've received? Anything you'll always remember? My Apple II Plus computer. I’m guessing it was 1982 when my parents agreed to spend the equivalent of a decent used car and buy our first computer. My dad conceded it would be useful for him, but I didn’t miss the fact that 90% of the decision was at my urging. I spent years making geeky programs with that computer and its 48 kilobytes of memory.

Did your family have any bizarre/funny/unusual holiday rituals growing up? I don’t really think of it as bizarre, but we’re very serious about leaving a snack for Santa and the reindeer on Christmas Eve. I’m not sure where we obtained this information, but we are quite confident Santa wants cookies and the reindeer are looking for carrots. Santa is a little messy as he eats the cookies in a hurry. There is typically a trail of crumbs.

Finish this sentence: "It isn't the holidays in New York without... 'Gridlock alert days.'" Sorry to flip to the negative, but there’s nothing festive about traffic in December in Manhattan.

What made you want to become a news anchor? I was interested in broadcasting from the time I was six years old. And I love to learn about the news. Being a news anchor is a perfect mix of those two things.

What was your inspiration for reading the newspaper on TV? Even in an era of declining circulation, newspapers are doing a huge amount of important, original reporting. For years, television borrowed heavily from the newspapers but never properly attributed the source of their story ideas. The “In the Papers” segment celebrates great reporting and gives credit where credit is due. It’s a great shortcut for viewers, who are more inclined to pick up a newspaper after seeing an intriguing story. And I was curating news long before the blogs made “content curation” an industry.

Do you have any key pivotal moments from your career?

1. Edmonton, Alberta. 1988. I got my first broadcasting gig doing "96 second news updates' on the radio.
2. Providence, Rhode Island. 1995. A local station flew me in from Canada for an interview, putting me close enough to New York that I was able to make a side trip and visit the exec who had been nibbling at my resume. He offered me the job that led to my gig at NY1.
3. New York, New York. 2004. Game show producer Michael Davies hired me to host "Studio 7" for the WB Network. It was the first of many game show collaborations and opened up an interesting side of my career.

We also asked Pat to share what he might get for the loved ones this holiday, using Membership Rewards® points from American Express. These aren't the typical membership rewards points, so don't think it's all ball-point pens and label makers! Here's what Pat picked out for his clan.

It's that wonderful time of year, and the Membership Rewards® program from American Express lets you use points for thousands of rewards. Most people know you can use points for travel, but why not for gifts (and we’re not talking about run-of-the-mill pens and antiquated electronics)! From useful items like a Macbook air to fun items like Beats by Dre, American Express has a wide variety of gifts for your family, your friends and all those in between.

And just in case you are worried about being too "on-the-go" to shop for holiday gifts this year, you can now download the new and improved American Express app to use Membership Rewards points from your smart phone for almost anything and everything—Metrocards or martinis (which are ok to be dry).