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Weekend Events: Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and Everything Else!

December 22, 2011

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, we have pulled together some fun events for you to do this weekend. For additional events, please see our post on Hanukkah Events, and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Family Services. Kwanzaa starts on Monday, December 26th. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has a great week of programmed events to celebrate it. See their calendar for specifics. This weekend is also the perfect time to see the fantastic holiday lights around Brooklyn. On where to find them and our tips on seeing them, go here.


Christmas Lights in Brooklyn (most continue through Jan. 1st)
This weekend is the perfect time to see the fantastic holiday lights around Brooklyn. On where to find them and our tips on seeing them, go here.

Through Saturday, December 24th 2011
Santa at Kings Plaza
Santa will arrive at Kings Plaza where you can say “hello” and share your Holiday “wish list”. Santa will be available for Photos Monday-Saturday 11am to 9:00pm and Sunday 11am to 7pm. Tips: Easy parking and the Santa and photos are reportedly good.  Reports have come back that the wait has been nothing to 20 minutes.  You can get some of your holiday shopping done too while you are here. Details: Kings Plaza Shopping Center is at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U; just one mile from Exit 11N off the Belt Parkway. Parking at Kings Plaza is easily accessible from Flatbush Avenue, Avenue U or East 55th Street. There is a flat rate of $3.00 to park.

Through Saturday December 24th from 11 am – 5 pm
On weekends the 11:00am – 4:00 pm
Sant-A-Box at the DeKalb Market
Santa will be holding court in a specially decorated shipping container at the DeKalb Market where he will be wearing a suit designed by Sylvia Heisel and Scott Taylor of Post Modern Production Kids can take their picture with him on the weekends and during the week, you can take your own photos at the SANT-A-BOX photo booth, complete with costumes. The market recommends to use hashtag #SANTABOX on Twitter and Instagram when posting pictures. Details: Market is located on the corner of Willoughby and Flatbush, next to Juniors).

Through Sunday, December 25th
South Street Seaport Santa
This beautiful tree adorned with bows and thousands of tiny lights feels quaint on the cobblestoned Water Street.  Santa is at the Seaport to hear kids’ wish lists, take photos and be jolly. He makes appearances in the holiday seating area located on the 3rd floor of Pier 17 from 12 pm to 2 pm every Saturday and Sunday with a kick-off at the Tree Lighting Spectacular on Friday, November 25th. Tips: All visits with Santa are free, but bring your own camera. 4 choruses perform classic holiday songs, including their jovial rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December 19th. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday to see Santa, stick around for the choruses performing beneath the large tree at 3 pm and 4 pm.  Please click here to view the performance schedules. There are some big box shops down at the Seaport too- so you can get your shopping in too. The public restrooms are plentiful and nice and the whole area has a nice holiday feel. Details: For additional information, please visit: South Street Seaport.com. By Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, J, Z, or M to Fulton Street A or C trains to Broadway-Nassau; or E train towards Fulton Street. Walk East on Fulton Street to Water Street.

Through December 24 from 9:00am -5:30pm
Santa and Puppet Show at Macy’s
This is the most famous Santa in New York complete with gorgeous train displays, lights, trees, bags of toys and of course Jolly Old Saint Nick. Funny enough, Karen (founder of A Child Grows in Brooklyn) meet him one year on the subway. He told her that one weekend over 3,000 visitors came to visit and take pictures. Tips: Though this is a beautiful winter wonderland, the wait can be unpleasant. Those willing to brave the lines will have a festive backdrop and a beautiful photo with Santa but we suggest that you go early and try to visit Santa on a weekday so that you will be in and out in an hour. Make sure to bring your own camera as the photo options that Macy’s offers aren’t cheap with prices starting at $18.99 for a 6×8 picture. Details: Visit Santa at Macy’s Santaland on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square. Santaland is open daily from 9:00am-9:00pm from November 27th through Saturday, December 24th, 2011. Macy’s notes: Santa will return to the North Pole promptly at 5:30 P.M. on December 24th so he can load up his sleigh. Admission is free and digital photographs of your child with Santa will be available for purchase. For additional information, please call (212) 494-4495 or visit: Macy’s.com.

Through January 16, 2012 (Open on Dec. 24th, closed on Dec. 25th)
The New York Botanical Gardens Holiday Train Show
The beloved Holiday Train Show at The New York Botanical Garden is back for it’s 20th season and we are so excited to check out this year’s display of replicas of model trains featuring New York landmarks from the Garden’s collection of more than 140 New York landmarks such as Penn Station, Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall – all of which are created from leaves, twigs, bark, berries, seeds, pine cones, nuts, and pods. For the full post with info on tips and review go here. Details: The New York Botanical Garden

Through January 2nd 2012 (shows on Dec. 24th and 25th)
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
This show is quite simply dazzling complete with gorgeous trees, ornamental chandeliers and the friendliest staff you have ever met. The Rockettes are incredible to watch as they dance and move their magical gams. The costumes are also amazing as well as the festive music. This show also features an amazing digital backdrop where they switch from grand manor to the streets of New York City. Karen’s son, Birch, (who saw the show last year) hasn’t stopped talking about the bus moving through the (digital) streets of New York. He thought we were traveling too. And we were in a way: we were totally entertained. Yes, the show is somewhat nostalgic and sentimental, and a bit kitschy at times, but it is rich in entertainment, excellent choreography (I always love that Tin Solider piece) and thrill. Details: Show times are at 11am, 2pm, 5:00pm, 7:30pm and 8:00pm (depending on the day). Tickets range from $45 (non-peak – third mezz) to $110 (peak – orchestra). For additional information or to purchase tickets, call (888) 858- 0007 or visit: http://www.radiocitychristmas.com/

Through December 24th 2011 (performances at 12 and 2 pm and Little Rascals showing at 4 pm)
A Christmas Carol,” as told by Charles Dickens (himself)
Based on the Dickens’ own material from his historic reading tours throughout the US, this classic tale is given new life with physical comedy, festive magic through Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey. Presented at the Canal Park Playhouse, this play is designed for kids 7 and up. Details: The regular ticket price is $18. A Pre Fixe brunch is available for an additional $6.95 in advance or $8.95 at the door.  Shows are held at 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Canal Park Playhouse, 508 Canal Street, New York, United States For tickets or more information, call OvationTix on 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.canalparkplayhouse.com.

Through December 24th, 2011 (performances at 12 and 2 pm)
Manhattan Children’s Theatre presents A Christmas Carol
Based on the classic holiday tale, this version of A Christmas Carol features traditional and original music as audience members see as Scrooge through his past, present and future. Details: Shows are on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00 & 2:00pm. There is also a special performance on Dec 23, 2011 at 12:00 & 2:00pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for kids; $20 at the door. Manhattan Children’s Theatre, 380 Broadway, fourth floor, Broadway and White, NYC. For reservations please call (212) 352-3101 or visit www.mctny.org

Through December 31st, 2011
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
A child receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift—which turns out to be magical—in this iconic ballet performed by the New York City Ballet. The nutcracker leads Clara into adventures that include a mouse king, toy soldiers, a land of sweets and waltzing snowflakes. Set to a classic score by Tchaikovsky, the ballet debuted in 1954 and has been a holiday tradition ever since. Details: Show times for The Nutcracker are at 1pm, 2pm, 5pm or 8pm – depending on the day. Tickets range from $55-$135. The Nutcracker is playing at Lincoln Center Plaza, David H. Koch Theater (63rd Street and Columbus Avenue), New York, NY 10023. For additional information, please call (212) 870-5570 or click here.

Through Sunday, January 8th: various times (shows on Dec. 24th and 25th)
The Big Apple Circus: Dream Big
The Big Apple Circus at Lincoln Center is back again and we loved it! Grandma Clown (the emcee) is hilarious as she guides you through the Big Apple’s acts and set changes. The thread of the show’s theme, “Dream Big,” begins with a little girl who appears to have been plucked from the audience. She proclaims her desires to be a trapeze performer, which by the end of the show, she does become. Apparently, dreaming big does work! Fabulous international circus artists perform under an intimate tent with varying acts from acrobats to clowns. People seemed to especially respond to the animals, which include horses, dogs, and a porcupine. The acrobats were particularly enthralling to watch as they were jumping around as a human pyramid. The kids were doing acrobatics in their seats during the intermission. This is probably because they could totally relate it to their own experiences on the monkeybars. The show is perfect for ages 2.5 years and up. Both our children were totally engaged by it, and honestly, we were too. Runs Oct 20 – Jan 8.
Details: Tickets start at $15, children under 3 years are free on the lap of a paid adult.

All weekend
Prospect Park Zoo

See animal feedings all weekend from 11 am to 4 pm. Yes, they are open on Christmas Day! The Aquarium is also open.


Saturday, December 24th: 1:30 pm (the museum closes early at 3 pm today)
Brooklyn Children’s Museum hosts Light of Our Lives
Join a class that explores how the theme of light, especially when provided by candle, figures into the stories and traditions of Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Diwali. Children will hear stories about religious holidays and create a light-inspired craft. Details: $7.50  Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Avenue, Crown Heights. 718-735-4400. www.brooklynkids.org.

Saturday, Dec. 24, 10:30 – 11:15 a.m.
Jingle Bell Jam with Bonga

This special yearly event is for the whole family. Bring your jingle bells!!! Bonga comes to Gumbo with his bag of percussion toys for children, from infants on up, to make their own music.   Using percussion instruments such as handmade drums; tcha-tchas, and wooden blocks, Bonga leads a rhythm workshop for all to tune into and enjoy their own rhythm and voice. Appropriate for children (and adults!) of all ages.
Details: $10, siblings and adults $5.00. For all events see: http://www.gumbobrooklyn.blogspot.com Gumbo, 493 Atlantic Ave., (bet. Nevins & Third) 718-855-7808.


Sunday, December 25th, 1pm
Klez for Kids Family Concert at the Museum at Eldridge Street
If you’re Jewish and wondering what to do with your kids on Christmas Day, head to the beautiful Eldridge Street Synagogue where you can all sing and dance to Yiddish music at the Museum’s annual family concert.  Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest will lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture ending with a festive audience-enacted shtetl wedding. Details: 12 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 219-0888 $12 adults; $8 students and seniors; $6 children under 12

Sunday, December 25 at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm
Family Concert: The Macaroons
Enjoy the big harmonies, irresistible melodies and a guitar-based sound that recalls everything from the Kinks, to Queens, to the Shins. Tickets required. Details: The Jewish Museum. Full details here including ticket prices.

Sunday, December 25 from 2-5 pm
Chanukah Celebration at West End Synagogue
When I lived on the UWS, this synagogue was steps away and I was always amazed at how many people came to their services. When I finally got around to looking at their programming, I realized why. Their Chanukah celebration is a big hit live music with Michelle Citrin, crafts and candle lighting. Details: The suggested donation is $5. $18 max per family. For more info, go to their site. 190 Amsterdam at 69th Street. NY, NY 10023.