The holiday season in New York City is like a Christmas stocking overstuffed with presents — there’s almost too much to enjoy. The old standbys are always worth the trip — the tree at Rockefeller Center, the department store windows, the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. But they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Here are 10 more seasonal activities that should keep most holiday revelers in the spirit.
‘The Christmas Story' at the Cloisters
Rejoice in the canticles of the Middle Ages performed by 13 vocal and instrumental musicians in the spare and intimate Fuentidueña Chapel. The Waverly Consort delivers hymns, processionals, antiphons and Mass compositions that transport listeners back to another era. Afterward, enjoy the unique decorations of fresh plant material associated with the medieval celebration of Christmastide, the 12 days between the Nativity and the Epiphany. The Postern Gate arch will have fragrant potted plants and candelabras going up Dec. 5; the Main Hall and St-Guilhem arches will be decorated Dec. 12. There will be other holiday programming as well.
WHEN | WHERE Dec. 10-11, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., at The Met Cloisters, 99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tryon Park
INFO $40; 212-923-3700, metmuseum.org
‘Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical'
Based on the beloved 1964 animated television special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” reminds every child of Rudolph’s adventures as a misfit reindeer who eventually saves that special foggy Christmas Day for Santa. The show features Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph. Arrive early to participate in some carnival-style reindeer-themed games promising amusement for all family members.
WHEN | WHERE Dec. 1-18 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden
INFO $39-$129; 212-465-6080, theateratmsg.com
Dia De Los Tres Reyes
Turn back time to Biblical times when three wise men were thought to have visited the baby Jesus in a manger, a day now called Epiphany, or Día de los Tres Reyes in Spanish-speaking cultures. Besides thousands of participants, the 40th annual Three Kings Parade, traveling about two dozen blocks, will feature camels, mesmerizing puppets, music, singalongs and dancing as onlookers experience how the holiday is celebrated in Latin America, the Caribbean and East Harlem. Traditional food and free admission to the museum provided.
WHEN | WHERE Jan. 6, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., at El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave.
INFO Free; 212-831-7272, elmuseo.org
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Viewing the Met’s 20-foot blue spruce tree with the elaborate Neapolitan Baroque crèche is a long-standing holiday tradition in New York. The tree is on view Nov. 22 through Jan. 8, and features 18th century Neapolitan angels and cherubs among its boughs, as well as magnificent lights illuminated each day. In 1925, the late Loretta Hines Howard began collecting figures for the tableau representing the birth of Christ and donated them. They include the three Magi, shepherds, peasants, townspeople and animals. Other museum holiday programming includes films, choral, theatrical performances and concerts.
WHEN | WHERE Nov. 22 through Jan. 8 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave.
INFO $25 suggested museum admission; 212-570-3753, metmuseum.org
Marvel at — but don’t nibble on — this collection of homemade gingerbread houses covered in royal icing and candy. Winner of the Guinness World Records title for the largest gingerbread village 2013-2015, Gingerbread Lane covers about 500 square feet and includes more than 1,020 houses. The layout and composition, designed by chef Jon Lovitch, change annually but the village always features EggNog Bay, GumDrop Row, PepperMint Central Park, CandyCane Place and Toffee Boulevard. The gingerbread treats are given away on Jan. 16 from 3-5 p.m.; bring a bag to tote away your festive trophy.
WHEN | WHERE Nov. 11 through Jan. 15 at the New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens
INFO Museum admission $18 (adults) and $12 (ages 2-17); 718-699-0005, nysci.org
The St. Regis New York
This landmark hotel with its classic elegance and storied past will join forces with the Great Republic, a Colorado Springs-based shop specializing in historical memorabilia and handcrafted, American-made goods, to transport visitors back to the yuletide traditions of the Gilded Age — the era of the hotel’s founding family, the Astors. Besides its ongoing jazz performances and afternoon teas, the hotel will have a specially decorated lobby, and the Great Republic will have a pop-up shop featuring holiday gift items including fine jewelry, watches and home décor.
WHEN | WHERE Nov. 4 through Jan. 27 at the St. Regis New York, 2 E. 55th St.
INFO Free; 212-753-4500, stregisnewyork.com, www.great-republic.com
Winter Village at Bryant Park
Ring in the holidays with some figure-8’s on ice at the only city market to feature free ice-skating on a 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink. The Winter Village at Bryant Park also has restaurants, a big Christmas tree and an event space. The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park feature hundreds of boutique-style shops nestled in the park’s tree-lined lanes. Boutiques include locally-produced apparel, jewelry, one-of-a-kind decorative goods and lots of food. Hours vary depending on the venue. If you find yourself having to wait, take a twirl on Le Carrousel, a French-style merry-go-round with 14 animals that revolve to French cabaret music.
WHEN | WHERE Through March 5 at 40th Street and Sixth Avenue
INFO Free ($20 skate rental); 917-438-5166, wintervillage.org
Peninsula Hotel New York
This hotel’s signature glamour is even more alluring during the holidays, when two giant reindeer top its entrance. Trimmed in garlands, lights and ribbons from its crown molding to its baseboards, the hotel envelopes its guests in glittering warmth. This year, a Polar Express Children’s Holiday Tea will take kids of all ages, in their PJs, on a “journey” to the North Pole to enjoy reading alongside the conductor, and tea and cookies. The hotel will also offer a gingerbread house decorating class with its executive pastry team that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Besides a child-friendly afternoon tea and storytelling by Mrs. Claus, adults can nibble on a tea buffet and sip a glass of Champagne during decorating activities.
WHEN | WHERE Polar Express Tea, Dec. 17, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gingerbread class, Dec. 10, noon-2 p.m., at 700 Fifth Ave.
INFO $85 (tea) and $98 (class); 212-903-3941, newyork.peninsula.com
Holiday Train Show
Have whimsical winter fun at the 25th anniversary of the Botanical Garden’s holiday train show, where model trains chug along on nearly a half-mile of track winding through a display of 150 New York landmarks — all crafted of bark, leaves and other natural materials by designer Paul Busse and his team. There will be seminal standbys — the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal and Radio City Music Hall, among many others. Joining them for the first time will be Coney Island’s Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.
WHEN | WHERE Nov. 19 through Jan. 16 at The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
INFO Museum admission $20 adults, $10 children; 718-817-8700, nybg.org
Ornament Shopping in Little Italy
Despite New Yorkers’ reputation as a skeptical bunch, a festive spirit shines through at a handful of holiday-ornament stores operating year-round. One is It’s Always Christmas in New York, which used to be a quaint independently owned Christmas ornament shop in Little Italy with a homespun homage to Christmas-tree history in its basement. Now absorbed by Christmas & City, a larger group with the slightly jockish philosophy that “the Christmas spirit rules,” the enterprise instead has an audio-animatronic show with 24 different holiday scenes at its Fifth Avenue store.
WHEN | WHERE Stores open year-round. Christmas show through holidays; Christmas & City, 530 Fifth Ave.; It’s Always Christmas in New York, 133 Mulberry St.
INFO Christmas show runs through the holidays and is $5 per person; christmasandcity.com