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Christmas events for NYC kids

Celebrate the season at these festive Big Apple offerings.

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden

  • Photo: Kirby Tidwell

    NYBG Gingerbread Adventures: House by Sugar and Spice Bake Shop

  • Photograph courtesy of Madison Square Park

    AudraRox at Madison Square Holiday

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    Madison Square Holiday

  • Photograph: Courtesy Scandinavia House/The American-Scandinavian Foundation

    Swedish Christmas Children's Workshop at the Scandanavian House

  • Photograph: Jeffrey D.G. Cavorley

  • Photograph: Courtesy Flushing Town Hall

    Holiday Card Making with Collage

  • Photo: Rob Reynolds

    The Colonial Nutcracker

  • Santa Rescue

  • Photograph courtesy of Photofest

    "Miracle on 34th Street" at Film Forum's Madcap Manhattan

  • Photograph by Richard Termine

    New York Theatre Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

  • Photograph by Richard Termine

    New York Theatre Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

  • Handel's Messiah Sing-in

  • Eglevsky Ballet

  • The Nutcracker Sweets and The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden


December 1-4 | December 5--11| December 12-18
December 19-25 | December 26-31

 


December 12-18



Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Mon Dec 12--Thu Dec 15 11am, 2, 5, 8pm; Fri Dec 16 10am, 1, 4, 7, 9:30pm; Sat Dec 17 9, 11:30am, 2, 4:30, 7:30, 10pm; Sun 18 9, 11:30am, 2, 5, 8pm. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (866-858-0007, radiocitychristmas.com). Subway: B, D, F, M to 47--50th Sts--Rockefeller Ctr; 1 to 50th St. $45--$125.
You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after 79 years—still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, spunky Rockettes. Expect plenty of transformations this year including six new scenes, new music, more eye-catching costumes, and advanced technology to bring audience members even closer to the performance. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, indeed. All ages.

The Three Bears Holiday Bash
Mon Dec 12--Fri Dec 16 at 10:30am, noon; Sat Dec 17, Sun Dec 18 at 1pm. Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, west side at 79th St (212-988-9093, cityparksfoundation.com). Subway: B, C to 81st St--Museum of Natural History. $8, children under 12 $5.
This seasonal offering of song, dance and, of course, puppetry comes from the talented folks at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. Tots will see a mix of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas themes incorporated into the company's take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." The plot snowballs after Baby Bear invites St. Nick to star in Mama and Papa Bear's festive spectacular. All ages.

Holiday Train Show
Tue Dec 13--Fri Dec 16 10am--6pm; Sat Dec 17 10am--7pm. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts.
Some 140 landmarks featured in NYBG's wildly popular diorama are made entirely out of plant-based materials such as twigs, acorns and berries. Little locomotives zip along their tracks against a backdrop of small sights that kids should recognize, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty among them. Tickets must be purchased in advance. All ages.

Gingerbread Adventures
Tue Dec 13--Fri Dec 16 1:30--5:30pm; Sat Dec 17 10am--5:30. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts.
Visions of gingerbread will dance in your little one's head when she enters the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, which transforms into a gingerbread town for the holidays. Families can check out gingerbread houses designed by city bakers, then decorate their own festive version. All ages.

American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker
Wed Dec 14 at 7pm; Sat Dec 17 at 2, 7pm. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St (718-636-4100, abt.org). Subway: Subway: B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Atlantic Ave--Pacific St; G to Fulton St. $25--$135.
The American Ballet Theatre is back for the second year of performing this winter favorite. With set and costume design by Richard Hudson (The Lion King) and direction and choreography from Alexei Ratmansky, the show boasts a live orchestra, a mouse king with seven heads and, of course, a growing Christmas tree. Ages 4 and up.

Literally Alive Presents A Christmas Carol

Thu Dec 15, Fri Dec 16 at 7pm; Sat Dec 17 at 11am, 3pm. Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal St at Minetta Ln (212-352-3101, literallyalive.com). Subway: A, C, E, B, D, F, M to W 4th St. $25--$40.
Literally Alive Children's Theatre presents a musical twist on the classic holiday tale about a Christmas-hating grouch whose bah-humbug life is transformed by a visit from three Christmas ghosts. During Saturday and Sunday matinees, arrive an hour early for a free preshow art workshop. Ages 5 and up.

FREE Holiday Caroling Concert
Fri Dec 16 at 5pm. St. Paul's Chapel, 209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Sts (212-602-0800, trinitywallstreet.org) Subway: A, C to Broadway--Nassau St; J, M, Z, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Fulton St.
Enjoy an evening of Benjamin Britten's festive Ceremony of Carols performed by the Trinity Youth Chorus. After the show, audience members join in the caroling. All ages.

Children's Candlelight Tours
Fri Dec 16 at 4:30pm. Wyckoff House, 5816 Clarendon Rd at Ralph Ave, Flatbush, Brooklyn (718-629-5400, wyckoffassociation.org). Travel: 2, 5 to Newkirk Ave. Then take the B8 bus at Avenue D and Nostrand Ave to Beverly Rd and E 59th St. $10, children under 15 $7.
Say goodbye to video games and TV shows for a night of colonial entertainment. The Wyckoff House invites families into the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to explore the way things used to be after sunset. Reservations required. Ages 2 to 14.

FREE Holiday on the Hudson
Fri Dec 16 at 7pm. Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, Pier 61, 23rd St at the Hudson River (212-336-6100, chelseapiers.com). Subway: C, E to 23rd St.
Your little Gretzky or Kerrigan might catch Olympics fever after this free skating show featuring synchronized skating teams. Among the participants are the Skyliners (the No. 1 junior group in the world), the Central Park Synchro Team and Gotham City Synchro. Plus, check out group performances from local budding ice masters the Tiny Tot Stars and the Junior Prep Competitors. Free tickets must be reserved in advance; limit two tickets per person. All ages.

The New York Pops
Fri Dec 16 at 8pm. Carnegie Hall, 154 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-247-7800, carnegiehall.org). Subway: B, D, E to Seventh Ave; F, N, Q, R to 57th St. $19--$108.
Let the musical duo of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey surround the concert space with the sounds of the holidays, accompanied by The New York Pops. The two talented swing singers present their own renditions of classics from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. All ages.

Winterfest
Fri Dec 16, Sat Dec 17 10am--6:30pm. Central Park Zoo, Southeast corner of Central Park, enter at Fifth Ave at 64th St (212-439-6500, centralparkzoo.com). Subway: N, R to Fifth Ave--59th St. Free with zoo admission.
It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays in the animal kingdom. For the first three weekends of December, the zoo gets a seasonally appropriate makeover. Creature sounds are met with holiday music, the grounds are lit with white lights, and the caf serves up toasted marshmallows and hot cocoa. Plus, families can catch animal enrichment activities with a penguin (3:15pm), a polar bear (5:30pm) and a snow leopard (4:45pm). For those seeking more chilly thrills, the 4-D theater will be screening Polar Express in addition to its traditional showing, Ice Worlds. All ages.

Beastly Breakfast with Santa
Sat Dec 17 8:30am--10:30pm. Staten Island Zoo, 614 Broadway between Clove Rd and Forest Ave, Staten Island (718-442-3100, statenislandzoo.org). $24.
Start your morning by sharing a little holiday cheer with the zoo's inhabitants. Pose for a complimentary photo with Santa and fill up on breakfast foods before embarking on a guided tour of the grounds. Preregistration required. All ages.

A Season of Lights: A Winter Solstice Celebration
Sat Dec 17 10am--noon. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 104 Amsterdam Ave at 112th St (212-932-7347, stjohndivine.org). Subway: 1 to 110th St--Cathedral Pkwy. $8.
In this workshop, kids learn about the uses and importance of light in festivals throughout the world. Your youngster will hear a reading of Nancy Luenn's Celebrations of Light, which features 12 light-centric fetes, then craft paper lanterns, menoras and beeswax candles. Ages 4 and up.

Christmas Tree Collage
Sat Dec 17 11am--11:15am, 1--2:30pm. Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (212-721-1223, cmom.org). Subway: B, C to 81st St--Museum of Natural History; 1 to 86th St. Free with museum admission.
Even if they're not old enough to adorn the real thing, younger kids can get into the holiday spirit by making an eye-catching paper project using glitter glue, pom-poms and material. Ages 1 to 4.

The Toymaker's Apprentice

Sat Dec 17 at 11am, 1pm. The Wild Project, 195 E 3rd St between Aves A and B (212-352-3101, phoenixtheatreensemble.org). Subway: F to Lower East Side--Second Ave. Suggested donation.
It's the season of gift-giving and The Toymaker is in search of a new helper. This production, adapted by Kathy Ferman-Menino with music by Ellen Mandel, and direction and choreography by Jeremy Williams, follows the story of two finalists from the pool of applicants—one selfish and one sweet. In the end, only one can get the job. Ages 3 and up.

FREE Super Holidays at El Museo
Sat Dec 17 11am--8:30pm. El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave between 104th and 105th Sts (212-831-7272, elmuseo.org). Free with museum admission.
Celebrate the season with a host of Latino holiday traditions. Children make maracas, join a musical story time, pose for a picture at the Three Kings photo booth and listen to the soothing sounds of harpist Celso Duarte. Ages 18 months and up

Eglevsky Ballet in The Nutcracker

Sat Dec 17 at noon, 5pm. Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus, 720 Northern Blvd, Brookville, NY (516-299-3100, eglevskyballet.com). Travel: LIRR to Hicksville, then take Long Island Bus N20 or taxi to C.W. Post Campus. $35--$80.
Renowned Long Island dance troupe the Eglevsky Ballet presents a full-length production of the family favorite. More than 50 of the burb's best children dancers play the angels and soldiers alongside the troupe's adult pros and guest principals from the Boston Ballet. Ages 3 and up.

FREE
Jim Vagias Holiday Express
Sat Dec 17 at 1pm. Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch. Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Ave (718-230-2100, brooklynpubliclibrary.org). Subway: B, Q to Seventh Ave; 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza. Hop on board for an imaginary magic train ride around the world and discover how holidays are celebrated in different cultures. Through a series of library books, children learn the celebrations behind Kwanzaa, Diwali, Solstice, Ramadan, Hanukkah and Christmas. All ages.

One-of-a-Kind Christmas Ornaments
Sat Dec 17 at 2, 3, 4pm. Children's Museum of Manhattan, 212 W 83rd St between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway (212-721-1223, cmom.org). Subway: B, C to 81st St--Museum of Natural History; 1 to 86th St. Free with museum admission.
Adorn that holiday tree with a decoration that's totally customizable. After getting the lowdown on the meaning behind Christmas, children make a colorful ornament to bring home. Ages 5 and up.

Candelight Tours

Sat Dec 17 5--8:30pm. Historic Richmond Town, 441 Clarke Ave at St. Patricks Pl, Staten Island (718-351-1611, historicrichmondtown.org). Travel: From the Staten Island Ferry, take the S74 bus to St. Patricks Pl. $22, children under 13 $10.
To really get a grasp of the holiday season's merriment, step back in time—three hundred years, to be exact. Families learn about celebrations that originated in the Netherlands, England and other countries while roaming through the festive village, lit only by candles, oil and lamps. The tour is topped off with seasonal music and sweet treats. Reservations required. Ages 6 and up.

The New York Pops

Sat Dec 17 at 8pm. Carnegie Hall, 154 W 57th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-247-7800, carnegiehall.org). Subway: B, D, E to Seventh Ave; F, N, Q, R to 57th St. $19--$108.
Let the musical duo of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey surround the concert space with the sounds of the holidays, accompanied by The New York Pops. The two talented swing singers present their own renditions of classics from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. All ages.

New York Theatre Ballet's The Nutcracker

Sat Dec 17 at 11am, 1, 3:30pm. French Institute Alliance Franaise, Florence Gould Hall 55 E 59th St between Madison and Park Aves (212-355-6160, nytb.org). Subway: N, Q, R to Fifth Ave--59th St; 4, 5, 6 to 59th St. $35, children under 12 $30.
The NYTB's production of Tchaikovsky's classic is highly polished but abridged to an hour in length for the younger set. Completely revamped this year, the show travels back to the Art Nouveau era, featuring choreography by Keith Michael, set design by Gillian Bradshaw Smith and costumes by Sylvia Nolan. Ages 3 to 10.  

Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical
Sat Dec 17, Sun Dec 18 at 11am, 1pm. McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th St, third floor (angelinaballerinathemusical.com). Subway: 1 to 79th St. $29.50.
Katherine Holabird's lovable, rosy-hued mouse dances into the holiday season in this new take on the original play. When faced with a cancelled holiday dance pageant, Angelina and her friends must get creative to save the show. All ages.

Posadas y Pastorelas
Sun Dec 18 11am--5pm. Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St (212-534-1672, mcny.org). Subway: 6 to 103rd St. Free with museum admission: $10, students and seniors $5, children under 13 free.
Enjoy a feliz Navidad as the Museum of the City of New York and Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders offer an afternoon of crafts, food, music and piatas, plus a posada (lively singing procession) and pastorela (traditional Christmas shepherd's play). All ages.

New York Theatre Ballet's The Nutcracker
Sun Dec 18 at 11am, 1, 3:30pm. French Institute Alliance Franaise, Florence Gould Hall 55 E 59th St between Madison and Park Aves (212-355-6160, nytb.org). Subway: N, Q, R to Fifth Ave--59th St; 4, 5, 6 to 59th St. $35, children under 12 $30. The NYTB's production of Tchaikovsky's classic is highly polished but abridged to an hour in length for the younger set. Completely revamped this year, the show travels back to the Art Nouveau era, featuring choreography by Keith Michael, set design by Gillian Bradshaw Smith and costumes by Sylvia Nolan. Ages 3 to 10.  

Sunday Story Hour: A Dutch-English-New York Christmas

Sun Dec 18 11:30am--12:30pm. New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Streets (212-873-3400, nyhistory.org). Subway: B, C to 81st St-Museum of Natural History. Free with admission.
Sure, city kids know that Santa arrives via sleigh and stockings are perfect for little presents, but the history behind these holiday traditions is often overlooked. During this special story hour, children discover how Washington Irving helped mesh Dutch traditions with English ones to make Christmas what it is today. All ages.

Eglevsky Ballet in The Nutcracker
Sun Dec 18 at 1, 5pm. Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus, 720 Northern Blvd, Brookville, NY (516-299-3100, eglevskyballet.com). Travel: LIRR to Hicksville, then take Long Island Bus N20 or taxi to C.W. Post Campus. $35--$80.
Renowned Long Island dance troupe the Eglevsky Ballet presents a full-length production of the family favorite. More than 50 of the burb's best children dancers play the angels and soldiers alongside the troupe's adult pros and guest principals from the Boston Ballet. Ages 3 and up.

Ukrainian Christmas Workshop

Sun Dec 18 at 1:30pm. The Ukrainian Museum, 222 E 6th St between Second and Third Aves (212-228-0110, ukrainianmuseum.org). Subway: F to Lower East Side--Second Ave, 6 to Astor Pl. $5 per family member, $3 members.
Children learn about Vertep, a Ukrainian Christmas puppet theater exhibit on display. After perusing the showcase, kids make their own puppets or ornaments to bring a little Ukrainian spirit into their own Christmas celebrations. All ages.

Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents The Nutcracker
Sun Dec 18 at 3pm. Queens College, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, 65-30 Kissena Blvd at the Long Island Expw, Flushing, Queens (718-793-8080, kupferbergcenter.org). Travel: 7 to Main St, then take the Q17 bus to LIE--Kissena Blvd. $18, $12 children 12 and under.
Dancers from the Brighton Ballet Theater bring tes classic Christmas tale to life with stunning costumes and elegant moves. All ages.

Candlelight Carol Festival

Sun Dec 18 3:30--5:30pm, 6--8:30pm. Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr between 120th and 122nd Sts (212-870-6784, theriversidechurchny.org). Subway: 1 to 125th St. $10--$25.
Riverside Church's chamber singers, inspirational choir and children's chorus perform at this annual two-hour Christmas concert. All ages.

FREE 101th Annual Reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"
Sun Dec 18 at 4pm. The Church of the Intercession, 550 W 155th St at Broadway (212-283-6200, intercessionnyc.org). Subway: B, D, C to 155th St; 1 to 157th St.
Grammy-Award-Winning jazz bassist Ron Carter leads a reading of author Clement Clark Moore's timeless holiday poem. Afterward, there will be candlelit caroling and a lantern procession to the writer's gravesite. All ages.

American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker
Sun Dec 18 at 1pm. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St (718-636-4100, abt.org). Subway: Subway: B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, 5 to Atlantic Ave--Pacific St; G to Fulton St. $25--$135.
The American Ballet Theatre is back for the second year of performing this winter favorite. With set and costume design by Richard Hudson (The Lion King) and direction and choreography from Alexei Ratmansky, the show boasts a live orchestra, a mouse king with seven heads and, of course, a growing Christmas tree. Ages 4 and up.

Holiday Train Show
Sun Dec 18 10am--7pm. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts.
Some 140 landmarks featured in NYBG's wildly popular diorama are made entirely out of plant-based materials such as twigs, acorns and berries. Little locomotives zip along their tracks against a backdrop of small sights that kids should recognize, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty among them. Tickets must be purchased in advance. All ages.

Gingerbread Adventures
Sun Dec 18 10am--5:30pm. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Travel: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd or 4 to Bedford Park Blvd--Lehman College, then take the Bx26 bus; or Metro-North to Botanical Garden. Admission varies; see nybg.org for details on prices and discounts.
Visions of gingerbread will dance in your little one's head when she enters the Everett Children's Adventure Garden, which transforms into a gingerbread town for the holidays. Families can check out gingerbread houses designed by city bakers, then decorate their own festive version. All ages.

See all events the week of December 12-18.

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