The crescendo of activity builds to a peak Christmas Day - but what about the week after?
The way Christmas falls this year leaves five empty weekdays to fill until school starts again in January. Here are some things the kids (and you) can do with all that free time:
FOR SPORTS ACTION
Middle School Hangout
7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 29
ALSO Open play 1 to 3 p.m. daily from Sunday through Jan. 2 (but closed New Year's Day)
575 Underhill Blvd., Syosset, 516-921-4242, ultimategaga.com
COST $20 per child for Hangout; $15 per child for open play, no reservations necessary
Middle School Hangout is a drop-off party for sixth through eighth graders with a DJ, the game of Gaga, arcade games, basketball, ping-pong and more. Open play offers Gaga, basketball and arcade games. Open play is for the whole family, though games will be organized by age. Children can be dropped off for open play if they are 12 or older. Refreshments are available for sale at all events. "It's a great way during the cold weather to be active and have fun," says manager Sherri Candel.
HOOPING IT UP
4-ON-4 BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Dec. 30
For grades 8 to 10 and 11 to 12
Mid Island Y JCC
COST $30 per person
Hit the courts and work off some energy. Each team will play every night and is guaranteed at least five games. Players can either register as a team or as an individual and be placed on a team.
FOR SOME DRAMA
11 a.m. Monday through Dec. 31
COST $10, includes popcorn and soda
Help Steve and Blue find the most spectacular place in the world. The one-hour show (no intermission) is interactive; each kid gets a handy-dandy notebook and crayon to help Steve track the clues.
10 a.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. Dec. 29 and Dec. 30
John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, 250 Main St.
COST $15 a ticket
Frosty and his human friend Jenny try to save Chillsville from the evil Ethel Pierpot's plan to melt all the snow, including Frosty.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
1 p.m. Tuesday
BroadHollow's BayWay Arts Center, 265 E. Main St., East Islip
1 p.m. Dec. 29
Follow Rudolph from a baby reindeer through the reindeer games and finally as he saves Christmas in this one-hour musical. (BayWay performance has a 15-minute intermission.)
MR. MOUSE'S HOLIDAY STAR SHOW
11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 29
Mills Pond House Gallery, 660 Rte. 25A, St. James
COST $8; reservations strongly recommended
A dragon is stealing the night stars from the sky. Can Mr. Mouse and the children get the stars back in the sky for the holidays? Make your own puppet to keep. Geared to ages pre-K to third grade.
WINNIE THE POOH'S CHRISTMAS TALE
11 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Dec. 30
THE WIZARD OF OZ
2 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and 2 p.m. Jan 2
CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Highway, Oakdale
COST: Winnie the Pooh, $9 all tickets; Wizard of Oz, $10 students, $14 65 and older; $16 adults
Make the Christmas holiday last longer by seeing Winnie the Pooh; or take in the classic starring Dorothy and Toto.
FOR SOME CULTURE
LONG ISLAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
11 Davis Ave., East Garden City
"El Magnifico!: The World's Best 'Worst' Magician" mixes slapstick with comedy in this silent act set to music, 1 and 3 p.m. Monday, $4 with museum admission, $8 theater only. Museum admission is $10 for anyone older than 1 and younger than 65; free for younger than 1, $9 for senior citizens
Boyintheshade musical performance, 2 p.m. Tuesday, $5 with museum admission, $9 theater only
Flute Sweet and Tickletoon presents "Green Golly and the Treasure of Light" holiday fable 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30, $4 with museum admission, $8 theater only
In addition to the shows, the museum has a workshop going on called "Picture Planks" during which children design a puzzle picture from Popsicle sticks and challenge friends to put the pieces back together. Drop by any time between 1 and 4 p.m. Monday through Dec. 30. Free with museum admission.
VANDERBILT MUSEUM AND PLANETARIUM
Hourly from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31
COST Museum admission fee of $7 per adult, $6 for students and senior citizens ages 62 and older; $3 for children 12 and younger; daytime planetarium shows require an added fee of $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors and $3 for children
The museum has special holiday hours and a variety of planetarium show offerings throughout each day, including "Trip to the Planets," "Journey through the Solar System" and "Laser Holiday."
THE GIZMO GUYS
2 p.m. Dec. 29
Friedberg JCC, 15 Neil Ct. Oceanside
COST $10 advance, $11 at door
The Gizmo Guys comedy juggling act has original routines, verbal repartee and juggling feats. The act has toured worldwide live and on TV since 1987, and the members have taught juggling at the French and Canadian national circus schools.
FOUNDER'S DAY CELEBRATION
1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 29
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium, 1660 Route 25A
COST Free with general admission of $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 3 to 12 and senior citizens 65 and older; 2 and younger is free
In honor of more than 125 years of operation, learn about the history of the hatchery and its role as a freshwater ecology environmental education center. Includes tour of trout ponds and feeding fish, there will be crafts for children.
BINGO FOR KIDS
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday; games start at noon. Adult must accompany child
COST $5 per person; refreshments available for purchase. No outside food allowed as building follows strict kosher food laws.
Kids will win token gifts; Bingo is the regular number bingo.
10 to 11:30 a.m. Monday to Dec. 31
COST $8 Port Jefferson residents, $10 nonresidents per child per day. Geared to ages 4 to 11; parents should stay with younger kids. Advance registration required and space is limited.
On Monday, it's an "ice skates and igloos" craft; on Tuesday bake, snowball cupcakes; on Dec. 29, try a "mittens and marshmallows" craft; on Dec. 30, make "Winter Wonderland Cakes"; and on Dec. 31, enjoy the New Year's masquerade ball.
CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL
Noon Sunday through Jan. 1.
Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington
COST $10; $4.50 children 12 and younger
Here's the lineup: Sunday and Jan. 1: "The Secret of Kells," an animated film from Ireland, recommended for ages 7 and older; Monday, "Azur & Asmar," the story of two boys raised as brothers, from France but in English, for ages 6 and older; Tuesday, "Kids Flix Mix," an assortment of animated and live-action shorts, recommended for ages 3 to 8; Dec. 29 "Party Mix," zany and funny short films for slightly older children, recommended for ages 5 to 12; Thursday, "Girls POV," a girl-powered collection of short films, for ages 9 and older; and Friday "Aardman Animation Retrospective," short films from a 25-year span, for ages 6 and older.
AT THE PARKS: NATURE SCRAPBOOKING
9:30 to 11 a.m. Dec. 30
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Sunrise Highway, Oakdale
COST $4 for adult, $3 child ages 3 and older; $8 parking; registration preferred
Create a scrapbook with provided materials such as cardboard, pages, plant and animal pictures and craft items; activity targets ages 5 to 9.
10 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 29
10 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 30
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 31
For children ages 5 and older
COST Advance registration required, $4 per child, parents free. Adult must accompany child.
Learn about the dusty deserts of the world through activities, crafts and discussion; learn about rain forests through games and crafts; explore the world of cave creatures who live in the dark.
THE NIGHT SKY
6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 30
Fire Island National Seashore, southern end of William Floyd Parkway next to Smith Point County Park, Fire Island, park in big lot
For ages: 8 to 12, but all are welcome
Dress for the weather because you'll be outside listening to stories and learning about the stars. You'll also create a craft to take home.