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During the Annual Holiday Family Day, it’s A Storybook Christmas at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum with Christmas trees inspired by children’s holiday stories displayed throughout the 19th-century mansion December 1 from 10am to 1pm. Activities include a shadow-puppet show, holiday crafts, photos with Santa, holiday shopping and more. Reservations are requested; call 718-885-1461 or email (

A cherished New York City holiday tradition, the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden features model trains that ride through more than 100 replicas of NYC landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge. Handcrafted by award-winning designers, the set is made from natural supplies such as orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bark and pinecones. The exhibition will be on display between November 17, 2012 and January 13, 2013 (

During the holidays at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center, visitors can create one-of-a-kind gifts and holiday decorations inspired by the gardens and galleries during the Holiday Craft Weekend on December 8 and 9, 11am-3pm (

Van Cortlandt by Candlelight allows visitors to experience the house decked out in the finest 18th-century holiday decorations bathed in the warm glow of candlelight. Held on two consecutive weekends in mid-December, the tour includes a display of confections, explanations of holiday-themed legends and a glass of warm cider at the conclusion of the tour (


For over 25 years, Brooklyn has been coming alive for the holidays with the Christmas lights of Dyker Heights. Truly a sight to behold, the spectacle attracts thousands of visitors during the holiday season. The best displays can be seen on the blocks between 83rd and 86th Streets from 11th to 13th Avenue in this small neighborhood between Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. Enjoy the holiday light displays and sample desserts from an authentic Brooklyn neighborhood pastry shop with A Slice of Brooklyn’s Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour. Prices for the tour are $55, adults; $45, children (

Visitors can celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. There will be a Christmas Tree Lighting at Borough Hall Plaza on December 6. Join Brooklyn Borough Hall President Marty Markowitz in a lighting ceremony of the Menorah of Brooklyn at Borough Hall Plaza with refreshments and entertainment on December 10.

The annual candlelight tours at Wyckoff Farmhouse, New York City’s oldest house allow visitors to experience winter evenings as generations of Colonial and Early Americans would have done. Tickets start at $10 (

Disney on Ice: Rockin’ Ever After, at the Barclays Center gives a new twist on fairy tale fun. Performances run from November 27 to December 2 ( 


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, when the department store’s employees wished to celebrate Thanksgiving with a parade similar to the European festivals. Eighty-six years later, New York City’s holiday season officially begins when balloons take off above the streets of Manhattan, crafted floats and of course Santa Claus himself arrive in Herald Square during the parade on November 22. Following a new route this year, the parade kicks off at 9am on 77th Street and Central Park West, and then marches down to Columbus Circle where it will turn on to Central Park South. At 6th Avenue, the Parade veers south and marches from 59th Street to 34th Street, where it will make its final turn and stop in front of Macy’s Herald Square (

The City is full of with holiday spirit, particularly as its famed stores and iconic hotels strive to outdo the previous year’s celebration. Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s spruce up their window displays with elaborate holiday-themed décor that continues to attract visitors year after year. The shops at Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, Union Square and Grand Central Terminal are a must-go for shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind gifts created by local artists and venders.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting is one of the most popular draws for holiday visitors from around the world. The annual tree-lighting ceremony has been a tradition for decades, and has evolved from an effort to celebrate the holidays during the Great Depression to a star-studded televised event. The lighting takes place on November 28 at Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th and West 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues (

Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular continues to amaze both visitors and residents alike. This year, the Christmas Spectacular will be celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Rockettes performing in New York City From November 9 to December 30, experience the joy of Christmas with outstanding performances by the world-famous Rockettes. Ticket prices start at $46 (

Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday story as it comes to life on stage in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at The Theater of Madison Square Garden. From December 13 to December 30, audiences will have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with this classic tale that will entertain the whole family. Tickets go on-sale to the general public on Monday, August 13th at 12pm (

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker presented by the New York City Ballet will perform one of the season’s favorite annual productions. Featuring marching toy soldiers, a glowing one-ton Christmas tree, crystalline snowflakes and some of the most glorious dancing the City has to offer, the show is truly a magical experience—whether it’s a family tradition or once-in-a-lifetime event. The show runs from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30; tickets will be available in September (

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be offering a variety of Christmas concerts, presented in front of the museum’s Christmas tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche, on display November 20, 2012 – January 6, 2013. A Chanticleer Christmas, performed by the renowned vocal ensemble, celebrates the mystery and wonder of Christmas with traditional carols, Medieval and Renaissance sacred works, and new holiday music, will take place November 27 and December 2, at 6:30 and 8:30pm. The Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine led by Kent Tritle will perform O Magnum Mysterium: O Great Mystery, on December 9 at 6:30 and 8:30pm (

Visitors will have the chance to relive the favorite Christmas movie on Broadway in A Christmas Story, The Musical! Enjoy Ralphie on Broadway as he makes his debut on November 19 with a holiday engagement running through December 30 (

An annual Museum tradition, the Origami Holiday Tree at the American Museum of Natural History has marked the start of the holiday season at the Museum for more than 30 years. Volunteers begin folding in July to complete the 500 creations that will be displayed on the tree, November 19-January 6, 2013 (

Twelve 14-foot color-lighted stars will “dance” to holiday music in the Great Room with 150-foot ceilings at the Time Warner Center. Not only is the show enchanting, but it is also the largest specialty crafted display of illuminated color in the world. For that extra special holiday experience, be sure to join Inside the Circle for free information about culinary and fashion events, special promotions, giveaways and prizes (

On Klez for Kids, a popular annual family concert at the Museum of Eldridge Street Synagogue will take place this year on December 25. Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture while children sing, dance and learn Yiddish. The program ends with an audience-enacted shtetl wedding with children taking on the roles of bride, groom and wedding guests (

Le Parker Meridien will host its fourth annual Gingerbread Extravaganza. This year, local pastry chefs will create large-scale confectionary creations highlighting monuments from around the world, on display from December 1 to January 3, 2013. For $1, visitors can vote for the best gingerbread design and enter to win a prize. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest, an organization that rescues food to feed hungry New Yorkers ( 

Finally, do not miss the lighting the World’s Largest Menorah at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, right in front of The Plaza.


The Queens Historical Society presents the annual Historic Holiday House Tour on Sunday, December 9, from 1 to 5pm. This guided trolley tour includes stops at five festively decorated museums and historical sites, including the Queens Historical Society at the Kingsland Homestead, the Flushing Quaker Meeting House, Flushing Town Hall, the Voelker Orth Museum and Lewis H. Latimer House. A local historian will narrate the tour, and visitors will have access to all exhibits at each site, which will also feature holiday refreshments and family activities. Tickets cost $10 for adults, with children under 12 free, and can be purchased in advance from the Queens Historical Society or from any of the participating sites the day of the event (   

Also in Queens, the Queens County Farmhouse will be offering free tours of the decorated farmhouse, a craft activity and mulled cider at the Holiday Open House on December 26, 27, and 28 from 12 to 2pm. (


In Staten Island, visitors can see the sights and sounds of Historic Richmond Town at its festive best. On December 2, from 10am to 5pm, Historic Richmond Town will host Christmas in Richmond Town, sponsored by the Women’s Auxiliary. The day’s activities will close with a tree lighting at 5pm. Get more of Richmond Town with the annual Candlelight Tours, December 14 and 15, when the town will be lit by candles, oil lamps and blazing fireplaces. Prepaid reservations are required; call 718-351-1611, ext 281, for tour times and reservations (

Celebrate the holiday season with a variety of events at the Alice Austen House Museum, one of New York City’s oldest houses. At the Artisan Market on November 23, 24 and 25 from 11am to 5pm, visitors can enjoy the items from local vendors, refreshments and music. The Alice Austin House Museum is also offering a Victorian Tree Ornament Making Workshop where attendees will learn to make paper holiday ornaments, a tradition brought to this country by German immigrants in the 1860s and 1870s (

Also in Staten Island, St. George Theater celebrates the holiday season the Christmas Show, December 13-16. Ticket prices start at $10 (

EDITOR’S NOTE:  For imagery of the City’s holiday season, go to, and click on “Holidays and Seasonal Events.”

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