Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in NYC All Month Long!

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New York does everything big, and the holiday season is no exception. Lights, decorations and good cheer take over the city for the next few weeks, making this, as they say, the most wonderful time of the year. Here are our top holiday picks to get you and your little ones filled with the holiday sprit, NYC-style — all month long.

The Three Bears Holiday Bashphoto:  Justina Wong

The Three Bears Holiday Bash
Songs, dancing, puppets, and all in Central Park…what more could you ask for in a holiday show? “The Three Bears Holiday Bash” returns to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater with its festive puppet show celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Mama and Papa Bear’s holiday show, along with the audience sing-a-long of “12 Days of Christmas,” is guaranteed to get your whole family in the holiday spirit.

Nov. 12 – Dec. 30
$10/adults; $7/children under 12
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater
81st Street and Central Park West
Upper West Side
Online: cityparksfoundation.org


photo: Charles16e via Flickr

Origami Holiday Tree
Looking for a new way to decorate your tree this year? Get inspired by the Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History. For more than 40 years, this museum tradition displays a tree that is decorated with more than 500 hand-folded models created by origami artists from all around the world. With the help of volunteers from OrigamiUSA, your little artists will have the chance to make their own origami to spice up your tree at home.

Nov. 24 – Jan. 11
Free with museum admission; click here for ticket prices
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
Upper West Side
Online: amnh.org

FotoFilip-LSBID-WintersEve13-7459photo: Filip Wolak

Winter’s Eve
The 15th annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square has something for every one of your holiday helpers to enjoy. The celebration begins with the beautiful Upper West Side tree lighting, which is followed by a list of festive activities to choose from for the rest of the evening. Your little ones can decorate mini-cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, watch performances from the Big Apple Circus, make holiday cards, get their faces painted, listen to Suzy Shelton band sing their catchy tunes, and watch Okamoto carve ice into a sculptures of a giant polar bear and nutcracker.

Dec. 1, 5:30 – 9 p.m.
Broadway from Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle to 68th Street
Online: winterseve.nyc

winter wonderlandphoto: Bronx Museum of Arts

Family Affair: Winter Wonderland  
The Bronx Museum of Arts is helping families celebrate the holidays with its Winter Wonderland event. The whole afternoon will be filled with art activities for the entire family to enjoy. This is a great opportunity to craft some hand-made gifts for friends and family. Register here ahead of time to skip the line.

Dec. 6, 1- 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free for children under 12 accompanied by a parent or guardian
Bronx Museum of Arts
1040 Grand Concourse
Online: bronxmuseum.org

hershel and goblin photo: Play Me a Story

MetLife Early Learner Performance Series: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
This interactive musical performance at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum will get your little one ready to spin the dreidel and light the menorah. Play Me a Story will perform this story from the popular children’s book for one afternoon, inviting the kids in the audience to join in the fun. They will learn about the magic of Hanukkah by acting out the characters and singing and dancing along.

Sun., Dec. 7, 1 & 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $9 for museum admittance; free for members & children under 1
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
145 Brooklyn Ave.
Crown Heights
Online: Brooklyn Children’s Museum

historicrichmondtown photo: Historic Richmond Town

Christmas in Richmond Town
Nostalgic for an old-fashioned Christmas? Historic Richmond Town will give you a traditional holiday experience that will fill your whole family with joy. With carolers singing in the streets and horse-drawn carriages rolling past, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There will also be story-telling, tours of historic homes, a choir performance, plus a visit from Santa (arriving on a fire engine!) for you and your little elves to enjoy. Be sure not to miss the free traditional tree lighting at 5 p.m.

Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Tickets: $2/person; free for children six & under
Historic Richmond Town
441 Clarke Avenue
Staten Island
Online: historicrichmondtown.org

winterfamilydayphoto: Joshua Winata

Winter Family Day at the Morgan Library & Museum
The annual Winter Family Day is an afternoon filled with holiday fun. This year’s theme celebrates the Middle Ages. Little knights and princesses will get to truly transform themselves by dressing in handmade costumes and creating their own holiday cards with inspiration from the museum’s manuscripts.  There will also be a heartwarming puppet show of The Magic of Hans Christian Anderson, and the afternoon comes to an end with a strolling reading of Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.

Sun., Dec. 7, 2- 5p.m.
Click here for admission prices
The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave. at 36th St.
Online: themorgan.org

New York Botanical Garden: Tree lighting and Holiday Train Showphoto: TalismanPHOTO

Holiday Train Show
Take your family on a magical trip through New York landmarks at the The New York Botanical Garden’s 23rd annual Holiday Train Show. With over 20 large-scale model trains and trolleys as well as models of favorite NYC destinations such as Rockefeller Center and Yankee Stadium, your little ones will be enchanted by seeing their (mini) city covered in sparkling lights. A variety of children’s activities such as scavenger hunts and puppet making, plus a performance of All Aboard with Thomas and Friends makes this an event that will be sure to become one of your family’s favorite holiday traditions. Tickets can sell out quick, so make sure to plan ahead!

Through Jan. 19
Tickets: Click here for admission prices
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Online: nybg.org


photo: Alan Miles via Flickr

Madison Square Holiday
Everyone knows about the giant tree at Rockefeller Center, but what about the one in Madison Square Park? For over 100 years, the park has celebrated its own holiday tree tradition, and this year is gearing up to be tons of fun! There will be performances from Broadway’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Audra Rox. Your little ones can also listen to festive stories, learn how to plant Red Twig Dogwoods and enjoy yummy holiday treats. It’s all topped off by the Tree of Light illumination.

Dec. 9, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free
Madison Square Park
Flatiron District
Online: madisonsquarepark.org

Dan-Zanes-Bannerphoto: City Winery New York

Holiday Sing-A-Long with Dan Zanes & Friends
Looking for something a little different to get you in the spirit this season? Sing in the holidays at City Winery for their 4th annual Holiday Sing-A-Long with Dan Zanes & Friends. This interactive musical performance will have you and your kindie rocker singing and dancing with the Grammy winning band, whose music has been featured on Sesame Street and Nickelodeon, just to name a few.

Dec. 14, 11 a.m.
Tickets: $20/person                                                                                                                          
City Winery
155 Varick St.
Online: citywinery.com

scienceofsantaphoto: Nicole Capatasto

Doctor Kaboom’s The Science of Santa
Are your little elves curious about how Santa works his magic? Doctor Kaboom in NYU Skirball’s show wonders the same thing, and decides that Santa Claus must be the greatest scientist in the world! He performs experiments to try and explain how Santa climbs down those skinny chimneys, how his reindeer can fly around the whole world and how he knows which boys and girls have been naughty or nice.

Dec. 20, 11 a.m.
Tickets: $20-$28/person
NYU Skirball for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Pl.
Washington Square
Online: nyuskirball.org

adriance farmhouse

photo: Queens County Farm Museum

Holiday Open House    
Don’t let the after-holiday blues get you down! Visit the Holiday Open House at the Queens County Farm Museum to keep the merriment going. There will be tours of the festively-decorated Adriance Farmhouse, as well as craft activities for children. Plus: mulled cider to keep visitors nice and cozy.

Dec. 26, 27 & 28, noon – 4 p.m.
Tickets: Free
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Pkwy.
Floral Park
Online: queensfarm.org


photo: New York Hall of Science via Flickr

GingerBread Lane
Four words: underground candy subway station. That’s just one amazing element of the Queens New York Hall of Science’s massive Gingerbread Lane exhibit. The 300-square-foot village made entirely of edible gingerbread, royal icing and candy, is drafted, designed, baked and built over the course of an entire year. The village includes an estimated 1,900 pounds of icing, 400 pounds of candy and 500 popunds of gingerbread dough, and is (not surprisingly) a contender for the Guinness World Record for the largest gingerbread exhibit. Intrigued? Check out GingerBread Lane special events, like workshops to make your own gingerbread house! GingerBread Lane is free with museum admission.

New York Hall of Science
Through Jan. 11
$11/adults, $8/children
47-01 111th St.
Online: nysci.org/

What’s your favorite NYC holiday season tradition? Tell us about it in the comments below!

—Katie Johnson