The holiday season is in full swing! Seasonal decorations are popping up all across storefronts, helping set the festive mood for parents and children. There are a multitude of family-friendly activities and events to enjoy in New York during this time of year. Our comprehensive guide can be found below.
December 1st to December 7th:
Madeline’s Christmas: After a previous sold-out run, Madeline’s Christmas is back on Broadway, and will be playing through Sunday, December 10th at the Lion Theatre, located at 410 West 42nd Street. This musical adaption of the beloved children’s tale features Madeline and her friends at their boarding school in Paris, preparing for their trip home for the holidays. However, before they can go and spend time with their families, some of the girls catch the flu. Will they be able to make it home in time? This holiday musical features plenty of laughs, songs and thrills for the whole family.
Holiday Tea with American Girl: On Friday, December 1st, visit American Girl’s newest location at 75 Rockefeller Plaza for the opportunity to have a special teatime with the dolls and other children. There will be treats and crafts. This event will occur every Friday in December if you are unable to make this particular session. Additional events at the Rockefeller Center location include American Girl at Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular.
Tree Lighting Skate-tacular: Bryant Park is hosting its annual Tree Lighting Skate-tacular on Friday, December 1st. During the 45-minute program, internationally-acclaimed figure skaters will perform as the story’s characters from the original holiday tale, The Lights Before Christmas. After the 50-foot Norway Spruce is lit during the fireworks display, the rink will re-open to public skating. If you’re hoping to stay away from Manhattan’s crowds but still enjoy a tree lighting, you can head over and celebrate the holidays with Atlantic Avenue’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Party, as well as the Astoria, Jefferson Market Garden, and Seaport District festivities.
Rawther Fancy Tea Party: During tea time, guests will enjoy hot tea, pink lemonade, tea sandwiches, and delicious pastries. Each child goes home with a favor bag and gift card to the Eloise store. The tea party is a recurring event that takes place on Fridays, with the first one taking place on Friday, December 1st. Other events at The Plaza Hotel during December are Tea with Santa, Gingerbread House Decorating, and New Year’s Eve Dance Party. The Plaza is also hosting ‘Live Like Kevin’ in honor of the 25th anniversary of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It is located at 5th Avenue at Central Park South, New York.
Brookfield Place Presents The Nutcracker: Long-time New York Theatre Ballet choreographer, Keith Michael is presenting a one-hour version of this beloved holiday ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s cherished score. There will be three performances over Friday, December 1st and Saturday, December 2nd. While at Brookfield Place, why not have your photo taken with Santa? He will be at the venue until December 24th. Brookfield Place is located at 230 Vesey Street, New York.
The Snow Queen: The Snow Queen is a heartwarming tale about a friendship between two young children. After Kay has been taken by the Snow Queen, Gerda travels across many lands to try and rescue her friend. Performances will begin on Saturday, December 2nd and take place every Saturday and Sunday through Saturday, December 23rd.
Breakfast with Santa: On various dates through December, Stella 34 Trattoria is hosting Breakfast with Santa. The first session takes place on Saturday, December 2nd through Christmas Eve, December 24th. Participants will enjoy an Italian breakfast feast, and then meet and take a keepsake photo with Santa Claus and his elves. The venue is located on the 6th floor of Macy’s in Herald Square.
December 8th to December 14th:
Bagels from Benny: The Musical: Don’t miss your chance to see this children’s book adaptation come to life on Friday, December 8th and again on Sunday, December 10th, as well as the following Sunday, December 17th. During the one-hour interactive show, children can join Benny as he explores integral values, such as caring, sharing, and cultivating a strong sense of community. The program is best for children ages 3 to 8-years-old. The musical will take place at The 92nd Street Y, which is at 1395 Lexington Avenue, between East 91st and 92nd Streets.
Stroller Tour Through History: On Friday, December 8th, visit the New York Historical Society for a Stroller Tour Through History with your child. Adults and kids up to the age of 2-years-old are invited to learn more about America’s past, present, and future on this interactive tour, all before this museum opens for the day. The venue is located at 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York.
The Yorkville Nutcracker: Dances Patrelle, a dance company in New York City, is hosting its own version of The Nutcracker this winter season. This will be its 22nd anniversary at the Kaye Playhouse. The performance features lavish sets and costumes, a tour through Olde New York’s famous landmarks, such as Gracie Mansion, skating in Central Park, and the New York Botanical Garden, and two dancers from the New York City Ballet. The performance runs from Thursday, December 7th to Sunday, December 10th at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, located at 695 Park Avenue, New York.
Breakfast with Santa: The Broadway Comedy Club is offering a breakfast with Santa Sing-A-Long on multiple dates. During the 90-minute event, participants will have the chance to have breakfast with Santa, enjoy a family-appropriate comedy show with some of his elves, and sing-a-long to various holiday classics. It takes place on Saturdays throughout December at the Broadway Comedy Club, located at 318 West 53rd Street, New York. If your family is unable to make it to breakfast, why not aim to attend the Lunch with Santa Cruise or Brunch with Santa?
Holiday Workshop Weekend: On Saturday, December 9th and Sunday, December 10th, Wave Hill is hosting a multitude of events families that want to create their own gifts and holiday decorations. Options include miniature arrangements, natural wreaths, and mulled cider kits. The main entrance to Wave Hill is located at West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx, New York.
Ninth Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk: This year’s 9th Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk takes place on Saturday, December 9th and Sunday, December 10th. The Cookie Team at the St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church bakes over 50,000 holiday cookies – of over 75 varieties – all by hand. Participants “take a walk” around the tables hand-picking their favorites to fill up an empty box. Hot chocolate will be served and children can also create their own cookie at the Little Elves Bakery and Workshop. The cookie walk takes place at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church, located at 288 E. 10th Street, corner of East 10th St. and Ave. A. in the East Village.
A Christmas Carol: A Christmas Carol is based on the well-renowned Charles Dickens short story, following Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser, on Christmas Eve as he is visited by three ghosts: The Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. Performances will be held at the New York City Theatre, located on Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York, until Sunday, December 17th.
The Christmas Show: Featuring an all-volunteer cast of over 100 performers, the production showcases a series of songs and dances that the whole family will enjoy. The two-hour musical revolves around a grandmother reading a Christmas story to her grandchildren about the various things that make the holiday season so delightful. It is in its 14th year at the St. Georges Theater, located at 35 Hyatt Street, Staten Island, New York. Shows run the weekend of Friday, December 8th, as well as on Sunday, December 17th.
Chanukah Festival: Bring in the Light: In anticipation of Chanukah, the 92nd Street Y is hosting Chanukah Festival: Bring in the Light on Sunday, December 10th. Children can make their own holiday treats, engage in a series of arts and crafts activities, and enjoy various entertainment. The 92nd Street Y is located at 1395 Lexington Avenue, between East 91st and 92nd Streets.
December 15th to December 21st:
Elf the Musical: Fans of the popular movie will now be able to see this holiday classic brought to life. As a child, Buddy was mistakenly transported to the North Pole. With Santa’s blessing, Buddy sets off on a journey through New York City to find his birth father and learn more about his past. Elf the Musical is playing through the end of December at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, located at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York.
Glow-in-the-Dark Chanukah Dinner: On Friday, December 15th, the 92nd Street Y is hosting a community-based evening to observe a night of Chanukah. Participants must bring a flashlight in order to partake in the festivities. During the program, families will light the menorah, sing, and experience a magical evening together. The 92nd Street Y is located at 1395 Lexington Avenue, between East 91st and 92nd Streets.
The Knickerbocker Suite: The Knickerbocker Suite is a new holiday classic featuring a mixture of contemporary scenarios and characters with the traditions of the Nutcracker story. This original ballet also brings New York City to the forefront of its’ tale. Tickets are available for the weekend of Friday, December 8th, as well as the weekend of Friday, December 15th. Other productions at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center this month include The Nutcracker and Mouse King. The venue is located at 248 West 60th Street, New York.
Brunch with Santa: Aviator Sports and Events Center is holding a brunch for Santa on Sunday, December 17th. During the two-hour program, families can enjoy a full brunch buffet, decorate cupcakes, partake in various arts and crafts, and snag their own picture with Santa. The venue is located within Floyd Bennet Field.
The Polar Bears Go Up: This fun and enjoyable production is geared toward children ages 2 to 5-years-old. In it, the polar bears must step up and explore the world around them, whether it’s by climbing trees or jumping on clouds as they race each other to space. Tickets are available for the weekend of Friday, December 8th, as well as the weekend of Friday, December 15th. The Clark Studio is a part of Lincoln Center, located at 165 West 65th Street on the 7th Floor of the Rose Building.
Hansel and Gretel: This holiday presentation of Hansel and Gretel is sure to delight the whole family. The opera version was composed by 19th-century composer Engelbert Humperdinck, and is known as a clever re-telling of the Brothers Grimm story. The show is playing on select dates throughout December and January at the Metropolitan Opera House, located at 30 Lincoln Center Plaza.
December 22nd to December 28th:
Holiday Time in Paleyland: Don’t miss your last chance to meet Santa this Christmas weekend! Families can also enjoy special holiday activities like ornament making, puppet making, and other arts and crafts activities. The Paley Center is located at 25 West 52nd Street, New York.
The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular: More than 75 million people have seen the Christmas Spectacular since it first began in 1933. This landmark New York Tradition features ballet dancers who perform the iconic tap dance “12 Days of Christmas” and the cherished “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” during the 90-minute production. The Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall, located in the heart of Rockefeller Center at 1260 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue) between West 50th and West 51st Streets. They will be performing until Monday, January 1st.
The Three Bears Holiday Bash: The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a musical production celebrating the holiday season using song, dance and puppetry. It will be playing until December 30th. The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is also holding Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa themed workshops throughout the month. It is located at 830 5th Avenue, New York.
Gingerbread House Workshop: Families will have numerous opportunities throughout the month of December to participate in this Christmas Eve workshop as the final session takes place on Wednesday, December 26th. There are a variety of different decorating options to choose from, including frosted candy roofs to pretzel picket fences that help your house feel like a home. Adults and children can also sip on hot chocolate while enjoying the holiday music playing in the background. Tastebuds Kitchen is located at 109 West 27th Street, New York.
December 29th to December 31st:
New Year’s Eve in Prospect Park: Prospect Park Alliance is hosting its annual fireworks celebration on Sunday, December 31st at 11:00pm. There will be fireworks and live music all along Grand Army Plaza, the Park’s West Drive, and Prospect Park West, between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.
New Year’s Eve Cruise: Participants on the cruise can witness firsthand as the New York Harbor fills with a beautiful fireworks display. Infants to children up to the age of 12-years-old are welcome to partake in the festivities. Families will depart from Pier 81, located at West 41st Street and 12th Avenue, at 9pm on Sunday, December 31st.
New Year’s Eve Extravaganza: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is hosting an all-day affair to lead into the New Year. Children can create their own hats, glasses, and noise makers to mark the occasion. The workshops take place on Saturday, December 30th through Sunday, December 31st at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. It is inside the Tisch Building, at 212 West 83rd Street, New York.
Contact the Nanny Authority Today!
At the Nanny Authority, our nannies are familiar with age-appropriate seasonal activities and programs, so parents can feel at ease knowing that their children are engaging in a cultural, educational lifestyle when they’re not around. To learn more about how we can assist you in your search for a professional nanny, contact us via e-mail or at 973-466-2669 today! From all of us here, we wish you a happy holiday season.