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It might seem early to be thinking about getting tickets to 2021 holiday shows, but we’re here to tell you it’s not. Fun holiday shows and light festivals in NYC kick off as early as the first week of November, and dates are already selling out. From classics like the Rockettes’ Radio City Christmas Spectular to the return of the Big Apple Circus, and dazzling light shows there’s a lot to see! Get those tickets now so you aren’t left out in the cold this winter! (Looking for Nutcracker shows? They’re here!)

Theatrical Productions

photo: MSG Productions

Radio City Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes

The Rockettes are back, baby! And they’re even bringing back a beloved number to celebrate. The addition of “Snow”, which turns the stage into a winter wonderland, brings the total of numbers in the classic, 90-minute holiday show to nine. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes runs from November 5 to January 2, 2022, and tickets are on sale now.

$49 and up
Nov. 5, 2021- Jan. 2, 2022
Radio City Music Hall
1260 Sixth Ave.
Midtown
Online: rockettes.com

 Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

Based on Jim Henson’s beloved television special, this show takes audiences to Frogtown Hollow where Ma and Emmet Otter risk what little they have to make each other’s holiday dreams come true. Featuring a cast of performers with puppets from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and a toe-tapping score by legendary songwriter Paul Williams, this merry musical is recommended for ages five and up. 

Tickets: $25 and up
New Victory Theater 
209 W. 42nd St. 
Times Square 
646-223-3010
Online: newvictory.org

photo: Errisson Lawrence

'Twas the Night Before…By Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil’s exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas tale returns to the Hulu Theater for the holidays—its previous run at the venue sold out all 25 performances. The production marks Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show and is a flurry of Christmas cheer, rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters and of course, incredible and entertaining physical feats.  

Dec. 9 - 27
Tickets: $40 and up
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Penn Plaza
Midtown
212-465-6000
Online: msg.com

photo: Robert West

Big Apple Circus

Heads up: Big Apple Circus is returning to Lincoln Center with a new show, “Making The Impossible, Possible!”, helmed by world-renowned aerialist, high wire artist and Guinness World Record holder, Nik Wallenda. Acts joining Wallenda include Johnny Rockett, a combination of Evel Knievel & Charlie Chaplin (shown here), and Alan Silva from America’s Got Talent who will act as the circus' Ringmaster. Plus: an incredible cast of circus acts from around the world. Snag your tickets now—the show debuts on November 11!

Nov. 11 - Jan. 30, 2022
Tickets: $25 and up
Lincoln Center 
Midtown 
Online: bigapplecircus.com

photo: Image courtesy of Moonbug Entertainment and EMC Entertainment

CocoMelon LIVE! JJ's Journey

This live production is a journey through the world of CoComelon, featuring all the favorite characters and over 20 songs, including new original music. When JJ and his family are putting on a show, JJ needs some help writing his own song. Along the way he learns that by using his imagination, he can create, solve problems and have wonderful adventures. 

Dec. 4 & 5, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m
Tickets: $51 and up
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
4 Penn Plaza
Midtown
212-465-6741
Online: cocomelonlive.com

photo: Ken Ek

The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Musical

Yes, the holiday tradition is now a musical. The Elf on the Shelf: The Musical is a spectacle of music and dance that transports audiences to the North Pole to glimpse the magical lives of Santa’s Scout Elves. Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and heartfelt moments, this joyous show celebrates the splendor of the season.

Sun., Dec. 26, 2 & 7 pm.
Tickets: $45
Kings Theater
1027 Flatbush Ave. 
Flatbush
Online: kingstheatre.com

photo: Emilio Madrid

Empire Circus

Get ready for a circus unlike any you've ever seen before, courtesy circus enthusiast and Creative Director David Arquette. (Yes, that David Arquette!) Empire Circus transforms DUMBO's Empire Stores—and the picturesque courtyard between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges—into an awe-inspiring, choose-your-own-adventure circus experience. Audience members guide their own path—under, above, and right in the middle of the action — with free popcorn, free cotton candy, surprises, guest stars and fun around every nook and cranny. Expect high-flying fun, juggling, a balancing act and more! [Editor's note: Empire Circus is on hiatus, with new dates to be determined.]

Dates TBD
Tickets: $45
53 Water St. 
DUMBO
Online: empirecircus.com

photo: Courtesy of the Apollo Theater

30th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic

The 30th Annual Double Dutch Holiday Classic presented by the National Double Dutch League, returns to the Apollo stage—bringing together national and international communities of jumpers. Act fast! This sells out and tickets are getting snapped up! 

Sun., Dec. 5, 1 p.m.
Tickets: $25/individual, groups of 10 or more $25/person 
253 West 125th St.
The Apollo Theater
Harlem
1-800-745-3000
Online: apollotheater.org

Light Shows & Displays

 

photo: Winter Lantern Festival

Winter Lantern Festival

This lantern display returns to the New York City area with three locations for 2021. At Snug Harbor on Staten Island, check out ESCAPE: over eight acres of luminescence you can walk amongst and through. (It's back for the third year at this spot.) In addition to the lantern display, there will be a live DJ, projection mapping, food vendors, and more. 

Starting Nov. 25, the Queens County Farm Museum will host  Illuminate The Farm, an immersive and radiant world of color. It's a dazzling display of festive holiday lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, favorite farm animals and more. 

Finally, Long Island's Nassau County Museum of Art hosts "A Bug’s Night", a drive-through immersive experience. Roll through over 20 acres of vivid lanterns and holiday lights in the shape of flowers, bugs, animals. 

ESCAPE
Oct. 22-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/ages 3-12; Holiday week, $30/adults, $17/ages 3-12
Snug Harbor Cultural Center
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY
Online: nycwinterlanternfestival.com

A Bug's Night Drive Through Adventure
Oct. 22-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: Wed.-Thurs., $35/car, Fri-Sun, $50/car; Holiday week (Dec. 24-Jan. 2)/$60/car
Nassau County Museum of Art
One Museum Dr.
Roslyn, NY
Online: nycwinterlanternfestival.com

Illuminate the Farm
Nov. 25-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $25/adults; $17/ages 3-12; Holiday week, $30/adults, $17/ages 3-12
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkwy
Queens
Online:nycwinterlanternfestival.com

photo: Julie Larsen Maher

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights 

This popular animal-themed light and lantern display returns to the zoo starting November 19. See 260 lanterns representing almost 70 animal and plant species from around the globe. This year, 79 new lanterns representing 30 new animal species will make their debut at the zoo. But the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights is more than a display: activities and entertainment include ice-carving demonstrations, stilt-walkers, puppet shows, a holiday train and even treats like s’mores. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Select dates Nov. 19-Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $40/adults; $25/kids 3-12, $34.95/65 and up
Bronx Zoo
2300 Southern Blvd.
Bronx
718-220-5100
Online: bronxzoo.com

photo: LuminoCity Festival

LuminoCity Festival

The LuminoCity Festival, a spectacular display of larger-than-life figures lit from within returns to Randall’s Island this winter. ‘Shine Again’ is the theme of the event, which features exhibitions of spectacular light art displays inspired by the traditional art of Chinese lantern festivals. “Lumio”, the LuminoCity Festival mascot serves as your guide through the fantastical landscape, which features new displays for 2021. The all-new ‘Lumi’s Utopia” will include 3D sculptures made from drawings by six young artists, while “Lumi’s Friends” will feature light sculptures of social media pets @smoothiethecat & @turboroo. 

Nov. 12 - Jan., 2022
Tickets: $22-$76, timed entry 
Whitney Pond Park
133 Valley Rd.
Manhasset, NY
Online:  luminocityfestival.com

photo: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Lightscape at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Lightscape is coming to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this winter. A new after-dark, illuminated spectacular lightscape celebrates the beauty of nature in winter with a festive one-mile trail winding through the garden’s 52-acre landscape, animated by dazzling light, color, and sound. More than 18 distinct works of light art will be on view, among them the Cathedral of Light tunnel, a Fire Garden on Lily Pool Terrace, and the Field of Light, an animated light installation covering Cherry Esplanade.  A series of new light-based artworks by local artists will be featured as well.  Lightscape was launched at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London in 2014, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the show’s only U.S. East Coast venue.

Select dates, Nov. 19- Jan. 9, 2022
Tickets: $34/adults; $18/ages 3-12, free/age two and under 
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
150 Eastern Pkwy.
Prospect Heights
​​718-632-7200

Online: bbg.org

photo: NYBG

NYBG Glow

This walk-through light experience debuted in 2020, and it’s back and bigger for the 2021 holiday season. Glow is billed as “an outdoor color and light experience”, along a 1.5-mile winding path. Expect washes of brilliant color, thousands of dazzling LEDs, illuminated plant stories, and whimsical, picture-perfect installations that reflect the surrounding gardens and collections. Make it a double feature and check out the popular New York Botanic Garden Holiday Train Show while you’re there. (The garden offers a combo ticket.) 

Select dates, Nov. 24, - Jan. 22, 2021
Tickets: $35/adults; $20/kids
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx
718-817-8700
Online: nybg.org

 

— Mimi O’Connor

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NYC is the place for fun, pop-up experiences, but how do you decide which one’s for you and the kids? (And worth the cash?) From immersive, sensory experiences, to fun museums and the latest interactive Instagram spot, these are the best places to get seriously selfie in NYC with the family. Read on to find your match! (One note: Of course, during the holidays, NYC is especially rich with free selfie spots with all its Christmas light displays!)

photo: Mimi O'Connor

Stranger Things Store

The Upside Down has come to New York City. The Stranger Things Store opened in Times Square, appropriately, on Stranger Things Day (Nov. 6), which is the date the series' character Will Byers went missing. (Of course.) Part store, part immersive and interactive fan-geek experience, it's retailtainment at its best, meaning you're thrilled to give them all of your money before you leave. The free-to-visit expansive pop-up allows fans to stroll through various iconic settings from the show: Joyce's Christmas-light-strewn living room, the Starcourt Mall, the Palace Arcade (with working 80s video games) and the Snowball Dance at Hawkins Middle School—all to an early 80s soundtrack. Plus: visitors can avoid the Rift in the Russian Lab and take a selfie up close in the Upside Down with a Demogorgon. Plus lots of Easter eggs for super fans. The amount of merch is overwhelming, and overwhelmingly cool: everything from era-appropriate ringer T-shirts and Hawkins Middle School jerseys and tube socks to special edition boxes of General Mills' cereal and Scoops Ahoy sailor caps. Some of it is exclusive to the store, and you can also customize merch with embroidery and graphics on site. It's free to go, but it's highly recommended you make a reservation to guarantee entry

Through December 2021
5 Times Square
Times Square
Online: strangerthings-store.com

photo: CAMP

Present Camp & Paw Patrol Experience

CAMP, the store that's also an experience, is bringing the fun for the holidays. At its flagship on Fifth Avenue, the free "Present CAMP" in effect. Go through a secret entrance behind bookcase (super cool) to enter an emporium filled with lots of toys to buy and try. (Like, the Micro Scooters which have their own elevated race track.) Other fun includes a Snow Slime Wall (kids can pick from different slime to add to the gooey wall), a 
Fairy Finder Chest (a mini wall closet with accessories like masks, capes, headbands, gloves, hats) an
Indoor Net Climbing Wall and Stomp Racer Corn Hole. Plus—a card-making station! 

For Paw Patrol fans, head over to CAMP in Hudson Yards for the Paw Patrol Experience, an indoor fun zone dedicated to everyone's favorite rescue pups! 

CAMP Fifth Avenue
Flatiron District 
917-997-0439
Online:camp.com

photo: Michael Brosilow

Immersive Van Gogh

This high tech, immersive exploration of the Dutch painter's work doesn't debut until June 10,  but the exhibit has been selling out in cities nationwide. Created with world-renowned master of digital art, Italy’s Massimiliano Siccardi, the hour-long, walk-through experience is made up of 60,600 frames of video, 90,000,000 pixels, and 500,000+ cubic feet of projections. Producers describe it as "merging state-of-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling and world-class animation." Covid-19 safety precautions are in place; you can read about them here

Through Jan. 2, 2022
Tickets: starting at $40
Pier 36
299 South St. 
Lower East Side 
Online: vangoghnyc.com

 

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Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

No, you aren't crazy: there are two "immersive Van Gogh" experiences in NYC this summer. This one, produced by Exhibition Hub, is entitled "Van Gogh, The Immersive Experience." Staged downtown near the Financial District, this 20,000-square-foot light and sound spectacular features two-story, 360-degree projections of the artist's most compelling works and an original score. This exhibit also includes a Virtual Reality component, that guides you on a 10-minute journey through “A day in the Life of the Artist." During the VR experience, visitors "walk alongside Van Gogh" and learn the inspiration behind eight of his iconic works, including "Vincent’s Bedroom at Arles" and "Starry Night Over The Rhone River." 

Through Jan. 2022
Tickets: Adults/$36 and up; kids/$20 and up, seniors, students & military/$22 and up. Packages are available as well.
Skylight on Vesey
300 Vesey St. 
Financial District
Online: vangoghexpo.com

The Friends Experience

We'd be very surprised if your young kids were into this one (presumably, your toddler is not binge-watchinng Friends yet.) But, The Friends Experience would make a great moms group outing or date night destination. Superfans of the long-running sitcom can enter into its world, visiting replicas of Central Perk, Monica and Rachel's living room, Chandler and Joey's place (yes, you can sit in the armchairs) and even the staircase of the famous "Pivot!" scene, complete with couch askew just so. In addition to the recreated sets with interactive elements, The Friends Experience features iconic props, trivia and unknown facts, and photo ops galore spread out over its two floors, including one on the orange couch by the fountain from the show's opening sequence. 

And yes, you can grab a coffee or pastry from Central Perk, which is open to the public for grab-and-go drinks and bites. (A visit to the coffee shop is included with admission.) The shop features treats from Breads Bakery and BCakeNY. Got Covid-19 concerns? Don't worry: it's "Monica clean."

Through Jan. 2, 2022
Tickets: $45 and up (Private group reservations are available for $375.) 
130 E. 23rd St. 
Flatiron District
Online: friendstheexperience.com

Little Island @Pier 55

Little Island @Pier 55 opened in late-May, and it's been populating Instagram feeds ever since. This free "floating" park in the Hudson River looks great whether you're on the shore or enjoying its undulating 2.4 acres. Little Island offers visitors green space for lounging, an amphitheater, varied food and drink at The Play Ground (finger food, sandwiches, salads, beer and cocktails), as well as performances of all kinds thanks to acts curated by Artists in Residence. (Those officially start June 14.) Ongoing programming for kids happens here, too, from local artists and museums such as The Children's Museum of Art and the New Victory Theater. See programming for kids here, and performances scheduled for the Amphitheater here. Important things to know: Make a reservation for timed entry to avoid long lines. No bikes are allowed. It's open 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Read health and safety information here.

Hudson River Park
10th Avenue and W. 13th St. 
Meatpacking District
Online: littleisland.org

photo: Sloomoo Institute

Sloomoo Institute

If you missed your chance to visit this shrine to slime when it opened pre-pandemic, you can still get some slime time in. It's slightly altered (people play with their own slimes, not a collective vat, as was done previously), and you get to take slime home. Expect artisanal, scented slime, interactive activities, a massive DIY slime bar, slime experiments, an immersive ASMR tunnel, a lake of slime to walk on, and more. Advanced tickets are timed, masks are required, staff is in masks and gloves, and capacity is reduced. Dress in your get messy clothes and prepare to open your wallet: it's $39 a ticket. A percentage of sales goes to mental health charities.  

Sloomoo Institute 
475 Broadway
Soho
1-888-718-4253
Online: sloomooinstitute.com

Color Factory

Color Factory is a vibrant and interactive experience that celebrates hues of all kinds in myriad ways. One of the first immersive experiences to bring a massive ball pit to NYC, it paused for Covid-19, but is back. (And yes, you can still go in the ball pit. Read all about safety and sanitizing here.) It's sprucing up the show from May 17-27 and then will reopen for the summer season. Masks are required at all times. 

Color Factory NYC features 20,000 square feet and 16 installations of Technicolor, Instagram-friendly fun, such as ombré floating balloons with wishes for the world written by students at 826NYC, a walkable infographic leading you to your “secret color”, a palette of colorful treats featuring a custom macaron, a unique activity on color and human connection, and a luminous dance floor. Rooms are collaborations with artists and partners including OH HAPPY DAY, Leah Rosenberg, Erin Jang, and Roz Chast. Everyone gets to choose a quirky souvenir (made by to artist partners) on their way out. 

Tickets: $38; kids 3-12, $28, 2 and under are free (Tickets must be purchased in advance)
Closed Tues. & Wed. 
251 Spring St.
Soho
Online: colorfactory.co

photo: ARTECHOUSE NYC Ling_A

ARTECHOUSE NYC: Geometric Properties

 ARTECHOUSE NYC, New York’s first permanent art space dedicated solely to immersive digital art, opened its 2021 exhibition season with Geometric Properties. Created by Julius Horsthuis, an award-winning visual and fractal artist based out of Amsterdam, the immersive audio-visual installation is described as "a mind-bending journey through the infinite geometric patterns of fractal worlds, [taking] us on an exploration from our recent past to an ideal future — one that returns to nature and math as a source for inspiration." (It looks pretty cool, too!)

Tickets: $24/adults; $17/ages 4-17; free/children under the age of 4; $20/Students, Seniors, Military & First Responders:​$20
March 1 - Oct. 31
439 W. 15th St. 
Chelsea
Online: artechouse.com

photo: Museum of Ice Cream NYC

The Museum of Ice Cream

Yes, the Museum of Ice Cream is open! An immersive walk-through experience dedicated to the sweet treat, the MOIC opened a permanent NYC flagship in December of 2019, but shut down in March of 2020. It's back, and COVID-19 precautions are in place, including a new ventilation system, mask and glove requirements, deep cleanings at the beginning and end of every day, cleaning surfaces following any touching by visitors, capacity reduction, etc. You can read all safety measures here.

You must reserve tickets in advance, and the museum is open Thursday through Sunday now. 

The Museum of Ice Cream
558 Broadway
SoHo
Online: museumoficecream.com

photo: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

Unlike the other installations featured here, The Museum of Illusions is not passing through. Created in Zagreb, Croatia (with additional outposts in Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, and beyond) the museum is less technicolor extravaganza, and more exercise for your brain (in a good way). But don’t worry: fun photo ops still abound.

Visitors can explore more than 70 elements and experiences that include "illusionistic rooms", optical illusions, and puzzles. Every "piece" in the museum is accompanied by a clear and concise explanation of what is causing or creating the illusion; mathematical, biological, and psychological concepts are all touched upon, as are perception, vision, and how the human brain works.

This museum is an outstanding (and very fun) way to engage kids with complex scientific principles, and help them understand through experience. The well-curated gift shop allows you to take home some of the brain-bending fun. PS: Looking for a fun indoor birthday party idea? You can host one here.

Ongoing
Tickets: $19/adults; $15/kids six - 15; $17/students, seniors, military; $53/family of four
Daily, 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.
77 Eighth Ave.
Chelsea
212-645-3230
Online: newyork.museumofillusions.us

—Mimi O’Connor

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16 Holiday Gifts Moms Will Love & Actually Use

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When it comes to holiday gifts, moms are pretty easy. While we love the classics (pasta necklaces, salt dough ornaments and DIY photo frames), we also love anything that lets us splurge on ourselves a little. From stacked necklaces to coffee and delightful goodie boxes, we’ve carefully curated a list of gifts perfect for every kind of mom. Keep scrolling to find out what we would love to unwrap this year.


Amber Lewis for Anthropologie Ribbed Ceramic Candle

$32 & up   BUY NOW

This stunning candle is decor in itself with the ceramic base. Choose from three different scents.


Birth Month Flower Kit

$35   BUY NOW

They’ll love this simple flower kit that includes everything necessary to watch flowers grow from seed to bloom.


The Merino Slipper from Rothy's

$155   BUY NOW

Released just in time for holiday shopping, these slippers from her favorite brand will make any mom feel relaxed and appreciated this holiday season. They go from home to school pickup line in a flash.


Reclaimed Bread Board

$60   BUY NOW

Keep it simple with a stunning reclaimed wood board. Use it for cheese, bread, pizza and more.


Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask

$20   BUY NOW

It might sound like a drink rather than facial care, but this cult-favorite mask is super hydrating and offers a boost of Vitamin C as well.


Rifle Paper Co.'s Floral Serving Tray

$48   BUY NOW

Handmade in Sweden, these charming 15” serving trays come in three bright designs.


Valerie Madison XO Earrings

$95   BUY NOW

These stud earrings come in different metals and offer tons of style while being safe from little grabbing hands.


In Good Taste's CA Mixer

$65   BUY NOW

One should never have to choose just one type of wine. With this mixer, they’ll get a whole range of California styles.


Surf Shack's Sunset Groove Puzzle

$30   BUY NOW

From a Hawaii-based small business comes an uber-cool collection of puzzles by artists.


Caputo’s Online Cooking Classes

$99   BUY NOW

The foodie in your life will be thrilled with a cooking class in themes that vary from cheese boards to chocolate, a Tour of Italy and more.


Franklin 12

$29   BUY NOW

This planter comes in four different colors and will make a green thumb out of just about anyone.


Welly Traveler

$33   BUY NOW

The popular line of water bottles just dropped a limited-edition line in collaboration with BIPOC artist Walker Noble!


I Want It All Bangle Set

$45   BUY NOW

Imagine having (almost) everything you need right where you need it. We love this key bangle that also includes a place for hand sanitizer, a USB charger and a reusable tote bag.


Presentation Box Wellbeing

$37   BUY NOW

This box of infusions has over 20 selections that purify, invigorate and invite serenity.


Xyron Creative Station

$80   BUY NOW

Perfect for the crafty mom, this machine will produce creative invitations, laminate baubles and more.


Classic Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Collection

$70   BUY NOW

A perfect trio of cheese from one of the country's best cheesemakers.

—Amber Guetebier & Gabby Cullen

Featured image: iStock 

Editor’s Note: Prices and availability reflect the time of publication. Images courtesy of retailers.

If you purchase something from the links in this article, we may earn affiliate commission or compensation.

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Enter for a Chance to Win Tickets to NYBG’s Holiday Train Show!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Something that would make it more wonderful: A trip to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. As New York City’s favorite holiday tradition, the Holiday Train Show features model trains zipping past famous New York landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center and other favorites—each delightfully re-created from natural materials—and all under the warmth of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

We’ve teamed up with NYBG to give away four family-four packs to the 2021 Holiday Train Show. To enter for your chance to win one, submit the form below! Giveaway ends December 10.

Official rules.

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And just like that, the holiday season is upon us. For many, that means it’s time to get a Christmas tree. Visit a cut your own Christmas tree farm near NYC to chop your own, or pick out a pre-cut one. At many, you can also do some holiday shopping or even have a visit with Santa Claus himself! See what else to do this holiday season in NYC here!

photo: iStock

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farm Guidelines for 2021

Covid precautions are still in effect. Be sure to check a farm’s website for current policies. Social distancing and masks are still required, particularly indoors. Going on a weekday is always going to be your best bet in terms of fewer crowds and tree selection. While all of these farms provide a hand saw, it is recommended to bring your own if you have it. Heads up: In most cases, power saws are not permitted. Finally, many farms do not take credit cards, so have cash or a checkbook handy. 

Connecticut

photo: Croix S. via Yelp

Sabia Tree Farm

Head to this charming and quaint farm nestled in Fairfield County for neatly lined rows of trees. Pre-cut trees are labeled by type and range from five to 15-feet tall. Check the Sabia Tree Farm for current prices. Cash, check, credit cards and pay by Venmo is accepted. A handsaw is available to borrow and staff will assist you with baling and securely tying the tree to your car. You can also buy a pin stand that is customized for your tree here. Bonus: Professional photographers are available for a photo session you can book directly. Visit the farm stand for fresh farmed eggs and handmade gifts from local vendors.

Hours: Black Friday - Christmas 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

772 Morehouse Rd.
Easton, CT 06612
203-650-4429
Online: sabiatreefarm.com

 

Jones Family Farms

Weekend visits for both harvest your own trees and fresh-cut trees require a reservation from Nov. 20 through Dec. 12 (including the day after Thanksgiving). Due to limited parking, cars that do not purchase a tree will be charged $20. Come on a weekday to save $5 and reservations are not required. Guests that plan to harvest their own tree should arrive no later than 4 p.m. Trees are sustainably grown and pruned every year during the eight-to-10-year period it takes to grow to full size, and every buyer of a cut-your-own tree gets a free commemorative Woodbury pewter ornament. The farm’s Barnyard Shop sells holiday treats and decor including wreaths, handmade crafts and tree stands, and an outdoor Holiday Courtyard Market offers open-air shopping. Payment is by cash or check only. Expect to pay $82 plus tax for a harvest your own tree on the weekdays and on the weekend of Dec. 18-19. On peak weekends, harvest your own trees will cost $87 plus tax with your online reservation. Farm fresh cut trees will cost $25 to $139 or more, plus tax for trees from 3 to 10 feet tall. 

Hours: Daily, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Nov. 20-Dec. 24

555 Walnut Tree Rd.
Shelton, CT
203 929-8425
Online:
jonesfamilyfarms.com

 

Maple Row Farms 

This farm has practiced sustainable farming for well over 200 years. Choose between spruce or fir using this nifty online map. Did you know that fir and pine trees will hold their needles the longest over a spruce tree? Trees at Maple Farm are guaranteed so if you bring home one that loses a large amount of needles, return it to the Farm before Christmas for a replacement or a certificate for the following year.  Cut your Own trees on weekdays are $95 and pre-cut trees are discounted $10. It’s generally less busy too. Cut your own trees on weekends (includes Black Friday) are $105 and pre-cut trees start at $105. You will be provided with twine but will need to ask them to help you tie it to your car. Cash, check or credit cards are accepted. You can also purchase wreaths and other holiday items. The weekend offers hayrides, refreshments and tailgating is allowed. 

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Nov. 20-Dec. 23

229 Stepney Road
Easton, CT 06612
203-261-9577
Online: mrfarm.com/christmas-trees/

New Jersey

Wykoff's Christmas Tree Farm

Spend a fun day at this family-owned farm nestled in Warren County near the Delaware Water Gap. Not only do they grow award-winning trees, they've also provided trees to the White House. This is also the spot to get colorful Christmas trees, in hues like red, pink, purple and blue.

They have over 5,000 trees and several varieties to choose from. You can cut your own tree or pick a fresh-cut tree. The cost for cut-your-own is $12/foot, colored trees are an extra $4/foot and they have a saw on hand for you to use. Fresh-cut trees vary by type and size. Stop by the Christmas Barn for all your holiday decor needs. 

Hours: Open Nov. 27-Dec. 24. Weekends, 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.; weekdays 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

249 Country Rd. 519 (Mile marker 39)
Belvidere, NJ
908-475-4508
Online:
wyckoffs.com

Barclay's Tree Farm 

This family-owned and operated farm in Middlesex County promises one of the most affordable cut your own Christmas tree options in the area. Trees are $65 for heights up to 12 feet and $120 for varieties over 12 feet. (Payment is by cash or check.) Staff is on hand to help you pick the right tree, providing saws, squaring off and shaping branches as well as netting and securing the tree to your car. Douglas and Fraser firs are the farm’s bestsellers. Also on offer are the Blue Spruce which has a dusty blue look, the distinctive White Firs which have a fragrant lemon-pine scent and the classic Norway Spruce. 

Hours: Open weekends, Nov. 26-Dec. 25., 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

35 Orchardside Dr.
Cranbury, NJ
609-799-1855
Online:
barclaystreefarm.com

Westchester

 

photo: Ricky O. via Yelp

Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm

Cut your own Douglas or Fraser Fir Christmas tree starting on November 27 at Wilkens Farm. The farm also offers fresh-cut Fraser firs as well. Don’t leave without stopping by the farm’s three markets for fresh baked goodies like apple cider donuts, homemade unfiltered apple cider, wreaths, gift baskets and local crafts perfect for this holiday season. Check the Harvest Calendar before visiting to confirm any changes. 

Hours:  Wed.- Mon., 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Markets are open until 5 p.m. Closed on Tues. in November except Thanksgiving week.

1335 White Hill Rd.
Yorktown Heights, NY
914-245-5111
Online:
wilkensfarm.com

Long Island

Santa's Christmas Tree Farm

Experience the spirit of the season at this one-stop shop on the North Fork of Long Island. Santa's Christmas Tree Farm carries over 8,000 Douglas Fir trees to choose from with an average tree height between 6-7 feet tall. Field-cut trees are $90 while pre-cut Frasier firs start at $90. Santa's helpers will be around to provide you with a handsaw, as well as trim and tie your tree to your car. Come for a tree and stay for the fun. The farm offers a  synthetic skating rink, a petting zoo, make-your-own s'mores and a photo op with Santa on weekends. The farm is also known for its Christmas shop with ultra festive displays and decorations. Sensory-friendly visits with Santa also take place here. 

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
30105 Main Road (Route 25)
Cutchogue, NY 11935
631-735-9242
Online: santaschristmastreefarmli.com

 

Elwood Christmas Tree Farm

This small home-run lot has more than 4,000 trees and is one of Long Island’s most westerly Christmas Tree farms. Bring your own saw and you can take home one of their many tree varieties including firs, pines and spruces. (They also sell pre-cut trees and will cut one for you with your saw.) Set on a picturesque spot on a slight hill, the farm is low frills but gets super busy. Trees are reasonably priced based on the height and species you select. Most trees are in the 6-8 ft range, but you can get a tree as tall as 30 feet here! Staff recommend arriving early on the weekend to cut wait times. Cash and check only, no credit cards.

Hours: Nov. 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 10:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Dec. 1-23 Weekdays 3 p.m. til dark for cut your own and until 7 p.m. for pre-cuts; weekends 10 a.m. til dark for cut your own and until 7 p.m. for pre-cuts.

1500 East Jericho Turnpike
Huntington, NY
631-368-8626
Online:
elwoodpumpkinfarm.com

Tilden Lane Farm

Tilden Lane Farm offers three types of spruce trees to cut yourself (a type good for holding the weight of lights and decorations) and two kinds of firs, which tend to last longer. Stock is extremely limited if you want to cut your own, so head there on Thanksgiving weekend for the best selection. The farm also offers fresh-cut Fraser fir trees. Hand saws are available or you can bring your own and staff can help with tree wrapping and securing to your vehicle. Trees are $75, wreaths are $30 or $25 if you buy a tree. Payments by cash and check only (with proper ID). Don’t miss the farm-produced honey and you may be able to see some of the bees working on a warm day. Although there are no bathroom facilities on-site, you can extend your day in the nearby villages of Huntington or Northport by visiting some great restaurants and shops.

Hours: 9 a. m.  - 3 p. m., weekends only November 27-December 12.
48 Wyckoff St.
Greenlawn, NY
631-533-596
Online:
tildenlanefarm.com

Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm 

This popular Long Island farm is asking for fans to visit during the week if at all possible to reduce crowding. (It needs to operate at 33 percent capacity this season.) Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm has Douglas firs (5-9 feet) for cut-your-own, pre-cut Fraser firs ranging from seven to 12-feet-tall, and potted Spruce trees, 4 to 11-feet tall. You can also get balled trees, ready for planting, or "Charlie Brown Christmas trees, measuring about four-feet high. The farm also provides plenty of photo ops such as the Peanuts crew rendered in plywood and festive old timey sleighs. (No Santa this year.) If you're not up for cutting down your tree, you can buy one already pre-cut, as well as wreaths, kissing balls, and more.

Hours: Open starting Nov. 27; seven days a week, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

20685 Main Rd.
Mattituck, NY
631-298-4619
Online:
shamrockchristmastreefarm.com

Pennslyvania

Beck's Christmas Trees 

It's a bit further afield in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, but people love this tree farm for its selection, service and extreme affordability. Prices for Frasir fir and Concolor firs are $60. Douglas fir and Blue spruce are $40.00. Price is for any size tree—including tax! Beck's can loan you a saw, and tree bailing and drilling is free. Bonus: there's also a train theme here, with holiday garlands, pre-order custom wreaths and train-themed gifts are available in the barn, the "Christmas Junction." 

Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekends; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays. Opening day Nov. 26

763 S. Delaware Dr.
Mount Bethel, PA
610-588-7076
Online:
beckschristmastrees.com

—Wai Sze Zara

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