Whatever holiday you celebrate, one thing's for sure -- you'll find events for children on Long Island throughout the month of December. From holiday performances to crafts, gingerbread houses, light shows, Santa breakfasts and more, here are some of our favorites.
Tree lighting at Coe Hall
The historic Gold Coast estate gets a bit brighter for the holidays Friday, Dec. 8, when a Christmas tree will be lit on its Camellia House Lawn. The man in red pulls the switch for the tree lighting exactly at 6 p.m. followed by caroling with the Barber Shop Quartet. Santa will be available in the Hay Barn until 7:30 p.m., and scheduled live music is to include performances by Jack Kohl in the Great Hall and the House of the Red Hart singers, who will move around during the event. Price: admission, activities and parking are free. For more information, visit plantingfields.org or call 516-922-8678.
Bayville Winter Wonderland
During the holiday season, Bayville Adventure Park (8 Bayville Ave.) turns into a Winter Wonderland. Families can visit Santa's Toy Factory Funhouse, watch Captain Bay's "Yo-Ho-Holiday" light show, ride the Holiday Express train and check out the ice skating rink, among other attractions. The Winter Wonderland runs from Nov. 24 through Jan. 1 on Friday-Sunday (also open Dec. 20-21 and 26-28); kids can meet Santa daily. Price: $22.75 (includes all activities; photo with, and letter from Santa are an additional charge). More information at bayvillewinterwonderland.com.
‘A Garfield Christmas’
Garfield still needs a few more gifts for Christmas. With a little help from his friends and the audience, everyone's favorite feline learns an invaluable lesson in this delightful musical featuring "Deck the Halls," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and other evergreen holiday songs.
WHEN | WHERE Noon and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd.
INFO $35-$79.50; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
The Fire Island Lighthouse (East of Robert Moses State Park, Parking Field 5, Fire Island) is hosting its annual reenactment of the 1953 delivery of Christmas gifts to the lighthouse. Santa will arrive, and a photo opportunity will be available. Price: free. For more information, visit fireislandlighthouse.com.
‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’
This beloved TV classic about a bright nosed reindeer who saves the day comes to you live on stage. There'll be holiday crafts, story time and musical activities starting at 1 p.m.
WHEN | WHERE 2-4 p.m. Nov. 25 at Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville
INFO $38-$58; 516-299-3100, tillescenter.org
Girl Scouts Holiday Light Show
The Girl Scouts Holiday Light Show returns to Smith County Point Park at 1 William Floyd Pkwy., Shirley, offering a drive-thru program with lights and displays Dec. 1-30 (closed Dec. 24-25); each show starts at 5 p.m. Price: $20 per car, $40 for mini-buses and RVs, $70 for coach and school buses; no cash, only credit and debit cards will be accepted for payment at the gate. Ending times vary; for more information visit gssc.us or call 631-543-6622.
See how Jenny and Frosty save their town of Chillsvile from mean Ethel Pierpot, who wants to melt all the snow. They'll need everyone's help -- including yours -- to get Frosty to the North Pole.
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. Nov. 24-25, 10:30 a.m. Nov. 26, 11 a.m. Dec. 2, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 3, 11 a.m. Dec. 9, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 10, 11 a.m. Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 17, 11 a.m. Dec. 23-24, 2 p.m. Dec. 26, 11 a.m. Dec. 27, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 28, 11 a.m. Dec. 29-30 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 31, now through Dec. 31, at the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport
INFO $15; 631-261-2900, engemantheater.com
‘Jack’s Nightmare Before Christmas’
Follow the escapades of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, who, in his misguided quest to spread Christmas cheer, kidnaps Santa and almost ends up ruining the holiday for everyone.
WHEN | WHERE 1 p.m. Nov. 25 at Cultural Arts Playhouse, 170 Michael Dr., Syosset
INFO $12; 516-694-3330, culturalartsplayhouse.com
Santa at Hicks Nurseries
Santa will be at Hicks Nurseries (100 Jericho Tpke., Westbury) from Nov. 24-Dec. 23 (Mon-Fri: 1 p.m.-4 p.m., 5 p.m.-8 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2 p.m.-6 p.m.), so bring a camera for photos (no fee). Kids can also mail their letters to Santa at the North Pole Mailbox and Santa will answer them (last day for letter mailing is Dec. 15; a self-addressed, stamped envelope must be included to receive a reply). A free animated story with life-sized animatronic Christmas scenes will be open; customers are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to Long Island Cares. Weekends (Nov. 24-Dec. 17) will offer music from a brass band (noon-4 p.m.) Price: free. Visit hicksnurseries.com or call 516-272-4624 for more details.
‘Clara’s Dream: The Nutcracker’
American Dance Theater of Long Island presents a magical story set to the music by Tchaikovsky. Be spellbound as trees come to life, flowers dance, snowflakes waltz and a Christmas tree grows.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Dec. 1-2, 2 p.m. Dec. 2, 1 p.m. Dec. 3 at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main St.
INFO $20-$39; 631-207-1313, patchoguetheatre.org
In this magical musical tale, Mooseltoe pursues his improbable dream of becoming a North Pole reindeer. Narrated by Al Roker, with costumes designed by incredibly imaginative Randy Carafagno of "The Lion King" fame.
WHEN | WHERE Noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Dec. 17 at Gateway Performing Arts Center, 215 South Country Rd., Bellport
INFO $15-$25; 631-286-1133, thegateway.org
Holiday tree and crafts at Old Westbury Gardens
Head to Old Westbury Gardens (71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury) to see the period rooms decorated with wreaths, mantelpiece drapes, topiaries and other plants and more. Kids can create crafts, share their holiday wishes with Santa and enjoy hot cider and cookies on the West Porch. The lighting of the holiday tree takes place Dec. 2 from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m., featuring a visit from Santa, another tree lighting on the South Terrace (at 8:15 p.m.) and live music by members of the Bethel Concert Choir. Price: $15, $13 for members, $8 for children ages 7-17 (ages six and younger, member children: free). Advance registration is required, register online at oldwestburygardens.org.
Holiday crafts take place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23; holiday card making 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 3, 10 and 17. Price: Free with admission. More information and full event calendar at oldwestburygardens.org .
‘Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol’
The Carriage House Players present a unique perspective on the classic Dickensian Christmas tale. Forget Ebenezer Scrooge: This "Christmas Carol" is told from a decidedly different point of view in an uproariously funny and poignant play.
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 8-17, at the Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport
INFO $20 adults; $15 children 12 and under, students and seniors; 516-557-1207, carriagehouseplayers.org
Holiday fun at White Post Farms
Head to White Post Farms (250 Old Country Rd., Melville) for their Holiday Extravaganza taking place Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23. Guests can use their own cameras and take photos with Santa and the Mensch on a Bench for no charge; other features include the Monkey Exhibit, holiday singing chicken show, candy cane hunts and the bird aviary (open weather permitting). Price: TBA; trips on the holiday train and indoor pony rides will be available for an added fee. For more information, call 631-351-9373 or visit whitepostfarms.com.
‘The Nutcracker Ballet’
Choreographed by Valia Seiskaya, this perennial holiday favorite is sure to please both adults and kids. Watch the graceful pas de deux and other inspired dances set to Tchaikovsky's wonderfully romantic score.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16, 1 and 6 p.m. Dec. 17 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at Staller Center, Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Rd., Stony Brook
INFO $40 adults; $34 children and seniors, $5 off per ticket before Dec. 1; 631-632-2787, stallercenter.com
‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’
A live version of the Emmy- and Peabody-award winning TV program follows the adventures of Charlie and Peanuts gang friends Lucy, Snoopy, Linus and others as they put on a play, save a tree and discover the real meaning of Christmas.
WHEN | WHERE 4 p.m. Dec. 28, 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 29, 11 a.m., 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 30 at Madison Theatre at Molloy College, 1000 Hempstead Ave., Rockville Centre
INFO $45-$55, 10 percent off for seniors; 516-323-4444, madisontheatreny.org
‘A Christmas Carol’
This is Theatre Three's 34th annual production of Charles Dickens' timeless tale of redemption in which miserly Ebenezer Scrooge explores Christmases past, present and future to learn the true meaning of the holiday.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, except Dec. 28 and 29 (3 and 7 p.m.), 3 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (except Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 26 and Dec. 24 at 3 p.m.), 2 p.m. Dec 6 and 7 p.m. Dec. 20, now through Dec. 30, at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson
INFO $35 adults, $28 seniors/students, $20 children 5-12; 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com
‘Hansel & Gretel: A Puppet Play’
Accompany Hansel and Gretel through their woodland adventure in this charming version of the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The show includes a post-performance make-and-take puppet workshop.
WHEN | WHERE 1 p.m. Nov. 24, 3 p.m. Nov. 25 and 1 p.m. Nov. 26 at ThinkBIG! Theater Arts, 42 S. Ocean Ave., Patchogue
INFO $13, $3 for kids under 3 (must sit on lap); 631-307-4042, thinkbigtheaterarts.org
The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site (246 Old Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station) is hosting a family-friendly holiday event on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. Kids ages 1-14 can participate in a holiday sing-along, a visit with Santa, cookie decorating, face painting, ornament craft and old-time interactive games. Price: $9 per child, chaperones are free; waltwhitman.org.
The Long Island Model Railroad Engineers scale train club (3661 Horseblock Rd., Unit P, Medford) is holding its Holiday Train Display and Open House Dec. 2-3 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., featuring two prototype model railroad layouts, traveling over 2000 square feet. Price: Free, donations are accepted. Call 631-345-3415 or visit for more information.
'Barnaby Saves Christmas'
As the littlest elf, Barnaby and his reindeer friend Franklynne set off on a journey to save Christmas, and on their way, they meet new friends and learn the true meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah and the holiday season. The performance will be held 11 a.m. Nov. 24, 25, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, 24 and 28-30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main St. in Port Jefferson. Price: $10; 631-928-9100; theatrethree.com.
Take a drive through Long Island's little town of Bethlehem, where--from the comfort of your own car--you can see Christmas re-enactors in decorated nativity scenes (Don't drive? Weather permitting, an optional walk is available.) WHEN | WHERE 6 p.m., Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 8-9; Stony Brook Christian Assembly, 400 Nicolls Rd., East Setauket INFO 631-689-1127, stonybrookchristian.com Price: Free.
West End Electric Light Parade
The Electric Light Parade in Long Beach's West End lights up at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, along West Beech St. Pick a good viewing spot between Ohio and New York Aves and watch the parade of antique cars, firetrucks, floats and bikes all wrapped in holiday lights. Price: Free INFO 516-705-7414, longbeachny.gov
‘A Christmas Story’
Will Ralphie Parker get the present of his dreams for Christmas? You'll see all the wonderful scenes from the eponymous movie in this production by the Gateway Playhouse, including when Ralphie's friend Flick gets his tongue frozen to a flagpole, all set to a wonderful score ranging from soulful ballads to big ensemble numbers.
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Dec. 15, Dec. 20, Dec. 22; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16-17, Dec. 21, Dec. 23, Dec. 26-27 at the Patchogue Theater, 71 E. Main St.
INFO $59-$89, half price for children 5-16; 631-286-1133, thegateway.org or 631-207-1313, patchoguetheater.org
'Elf on the Shelf' movie nights, more holiday fun at Dees'
Dees' Nursery (69 Atlantic Ave.) in Oceanside is hosting a bunch of holiday events for kids. Santa will be available for photos 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23; families are welcome to take their own pics but photo packages will also be available.
"Elf on the Shelf" movie nights will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 13 and 20 at 6 p.m. The fee includes an elf hat, Christmas ornament craft, scavenger hunt, popcorn and refreshments. Price: $17 per child; reservations required.
Kids can also take part in a Children's Gingerbread Night (Dec. 8, 15) with a pastry chef; fee includes a chef hat, gingerbread house, icing, candy, decorations and an apron craft. Price: $39.99 per child.
Pancake Breakfast with Mrs. Claus will be on Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mrs. Claus will read a story, and kids can participate in crafts and a scavenger hunt. Pancakes for the kids, tea and coffee will be served. Price: $20 per child.
The Pajama Night with Mr. & Mrs. Claus will take place on Dec. 21-22 at 6 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will read stories; kids will also take part in crafts and get to decorate a candy gingerbread house. Children are welcome to wear their pajamas. Refreshments will be served for children and adults. Price: $20 per child. Tickets should be purchased ahead of time for all events by calling 516-678-3535; reservations are required for most events.
'Frosty' at John W. Engeman Theater
In "Frosty," the famed snowman and his friend, Jenny, must save the town of Chillsville from Ethel Pierpot's evil plan to melt all the snow. WHEN | WHERE Nov. 18-19, 24-26 and Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 26-31 (Sunday shows are at 10:30 a.m., Fri-Sat shows at 11 a.m.; a number of added shows are at 2 p.m.) at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, 250 Main St., Northport INFO $15; 631-261-2900, engemantheater.com
Santa Brunch at Long Island Aquarium
The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center (431 E. Main St.) in Riverhead is hosting its annual "Santa Brunch" on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Bring your camera for photo opportunities and enjoy a buffet brunch in the waterfront Sea Star Ballroom. Price: $49.95, $24.95 ages 3-12, free 2 and younger; fee includes all-day admission to the aquarium. Reservations are required; visit longislandaquarium.com or call 631-208-9200, Ext. 426 to purchase. (Members should call to receive discounted fees.)
Visit with Santa
Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa Claus landed his sleigh on Long Island and is ready to meet and greet kids, hear their wish lists and find out if they've been naughty or nice. Old St. Nick will be making appearances all over Nassau and Suffolk throughout the holiday season, from local malls and nurseries to more off-the-beaten-path venues. Check out our complete guide of places to see Santa.
Charles Dickens Festival
The annual Charles Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson Village (Dec. 1-3) includes costumed Dickensian characters, parades, live music, performances and museum tours, as well as a selection of holiday-inspired attractions like "Santa's Workshop" (Drowned Meadow House: 140 W. Broadway; Dec. 2-3, noon-4 p.m.) and "Tiny Tim's Train Station" (at Maple Pl. and Main St.; Saturday, Dec. 2: noon-5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3: noon-4 p.m.). Price: Fee for some activities and events. Visit portjeff.com for a full map and event breakdown.
Long Island Festival of Trees
The 28th annual Long Island Festival of Trees takes place at Cradle of Aviation Museum (Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City) features display of designer decorated trees, live entertainment, gingerbread creations, cookie decorating, costumed characters and vendors. Price: $15, $10 children ages 2 to 12, free ages 1 and younger; tickets available in advance at cradleofaviation.org WHEN | WHERE November 24-25: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 26: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Gingerbread house decorating
There are many gingerbread house-decorating events on Long Island. The annual gingerbread house decorating event at The Museum at Guild Hall in East Hampton takes place on Saturday, Dec. 9 at noon. Children ages 3-12 are invited to make their own festive displays using frosting, candy and a fully assembled, freshly baked cookie house. Register is required. Other gingerbread house decorating events will be held at various libraries in Nassau and Suffolk, at Gingerbread University at Nassau County Bar Association in Mineola on Dec. 9 and at Longwood Estate in Ridge on Dec. 13.