Holiday Happenings

Scroll below for events that are reoccurring.

Now through Sunday, November 30 | Hartford, CT | Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical | The original television classic comes to life! First airing in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become a beloved Christmas classic – capturing the hearts and wonder of generations of fans. Now, 50 years later, something magical is happening as the beloved classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Join us in celebrating Rudolph’s 50 years on television and come see all of your favorite characters from the special including, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, the Misfit Toys and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in the all new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful new holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Beloved heartwarming memories which last a lifetime are just waiting to be made. Based on the animated television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Friday, November 28 | Danbury, CT | Light the Lights | Lighting up Downtown is a great way to get into the holiday spirit! With children singing and dancing and of course a visit from Santa who arrives by fire truck.

Friday, November 28th | 2 pm to 6pm | Bethel, CT | Downtown Bethel Tree Lighting Ceremony Horsedrawn Carriage Rides, Hot Soup and Cocoa, Live Performances, Santa arrives by FireTruck, and more!

Now through Wednesday, December 24 | Newington, CT | Santa Claus comes to Stew’s | Santa Claus will make his first appearance of the season and will arrive at Stew’s on a truck from the Newington Fire Department, which will be decked out in holiday trim. Join Wow the Cow, Cynthia the Chick and Daphne the Duck while Santa and his helpers greet children and distribute candy canes to families. Santa will make regular appearances at the store Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Christmas Eve.

Friday-Sunday, November 28 – November 30, December 5 – 7, December 12 – 14, December 19 – 21; Friday 5-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 4-9pm | Bristol, CT | Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce | The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa!

Friday-Sunday, November 28 – November 30, December 5-28 and Monday, December 29 from 5/6-9pm | East Windsor, CT | Winterfest | That delightful and magical season of WinterFest is now upon us. The Connecticut Trolley Museum once again pushes the limits to treat you and yours to an evening of entertainment and seasonal exhilaration! Ride the antique traction through the “Tunnel of Lights” tripping on our open electrical chariot (The Montréaler) or another open car – 3 miles of cool breezes under the starlit heavens. Or cozy down in an enclosed trolley for the warmer, dashing through the snow, rail trip. Open your complimentary “Ride & Sing Along WinterFest Songbook” and belt out your favorite Christmas Carol with the Trolley Crew and fellow passengers! Stroll through the Teresalee Bertinuson Visitor Center where the functioning and enchanting model train layouts will take your mind on a flight of fancy. The “halls are decked” with the proverbial “boughs of holly” and there are enough decorations to satisfy any souls need for visual Holiday splendor. The youngsters can sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift – you may also if you desire.

Saturday, November 29 – Sunday, November 30, December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 from 12 – 3pm | Winterfest: Photos With Santa | Winterfest wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa, so visit the Pump House and have your photo taken with him for free. Each family receives 1 free 5×7 photo; additional prints may be purchased online, the day after you skate.

Saturday, November 29 | Kids: 10:30am, 5K: 11am | Norwich, CT | Norwich Winterfest 5K Run | Come check out this great new 5K, put on to benefit Reliance House, Inc. Race day activities will include face painting, a door prize drawing at the awards ceremony, and the annual Winterfest parade beginning at 1:00 pm.

Saturday, November 29 | Bethel, CT | Run Santa Run 5K | Run as Santa, an elf, a holiday tree or even a present and come kickoff the holiday season in downtown Bethel. Or just come out for a 5k in December!

Saturday, November 29 | Niantic, CT | 11th Annual Niantic Holiday Stroll | Come kick-start your holiday season in Niantic at the 11th Annual Niantic Main Street Holiday Stroll. This family-friendly day features horse-drawn carriage rides, professional holiday carolers strolling the quaint shop-lined streets of Niantic, complimentary hot cider and cocoa on the green, a “Snow-Flake Drop” featuring discounts and giveaways at local shops and restaurants, and last, but not least, the arrival of Santa on a shiny red fire truck just in time for a tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5:00 pm on Liberty Green in the heart of Niantic Village.

Saturday, November 29 | Simsbury, CT | Simsbury Celebrates | Join in the fun at Simsbury Celebrates! Simsbury’s only free town-wide family event. The festivities, with indoor and outdoor family entertainment, start at 4:30pm and continue throughout the evening. The celebration ends with a holiday-decorated Fire Truck Parade, followed immediately by a spectacular fireworks show.

Saturday, November 29 from 9am-12pm| Home Depot | How to build a Give and Save Bank Free

Saturday, November 29 – December 21 | Thomaston, CT | Holiday Santa Trains | Come ride our evening Northern Lights Limited and daytime Santa Express trains from historic Thomaston station. Santa loves to ride our Holiday Season trains and will spend time with each family during the ride. No waiting in long lines for our passengers, Santa comes to You! Northern Lights Limited to Santa’s Train Workshop is our evening Festival of Lights both inside and outside the train as we invite children of all ages on a journey to Santa’s Train Workshop where Santa will board and greet everyone during the hour and a quarter trip with a gift for each child. Mrs. Claus and our elves all join in on the fun along your journey. What a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit this December in Connecticut! Northern Lights tickets are just $25 per person, children 2 and under are free! Or take a ride aboard the daytime Santa Express with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Santa’s friendly elves along the scenic Naugatuck River, in our warm and comfortable 1920s vintage coaches. Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with each child on board the Santa Express with a gift for every child. Santa Express tickets are just $17 Adults, $15 Seniors and $15 Children. Children 2 and under are free! All our trains feature vintage passenger coaches with warm and comfy seating and free parking. At the conclusion of your train ride, visit our gift shop inside the decorated, historic 1881 Thomaston Station with time to enjoy the operating Christmas train layout and caroling with our elves. Our Holiday Schedule: Northern Lights Limited: Saturday, November 29 at 5 and 7pm Sunday, November 30 at 5pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, December 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 5 and 7pm Santa Express: Sunday, November 30 at 2pm Saturdays and Sundays, December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 at 2pm.

Saturday, November 29 – Sunday, November 30, Dec 6, Dec 13-14, Dec 20-21 | Bridgeport, CT | Santa’s Crazier Christmas | Join us this Holiday Season for a very special, interactive sequel to last year’s “Santa’s Crazy Christmas”- where guests can expect a cheerful experience from the moment they walk in! Guests will start their journey off by walking into our winter wonderland full of friendly elves, Christmas treats and refreshments – including holiday themed specialty cocktails (for the adults), cookies and milk, and even reindeer food! Their next stop will be photo in front of our 14 foot Christmas tree! After they find their way into the theatre, they will be treated to an exciting musical production and they just might find that the Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick will need their help this year – and become part of the show! The fun doesn’t stop there either! After the show is over, guests can have their photo on stage with Santa and his elves!  Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind holiday extravaganza!

Sunday, November 30 | New York City, NY | George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker | Tschaikovsky’s beloved melodies will transport you to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. Whether it’s a first-time experience or an annual treat, don’t miss the hottest holiday ticket in town.

Sunday, November 30 – December 2 | Suffield, CT | Holiday Festival: A Children’s Holiday | Ring in the holidays with a visit to the Phelps-Hatheway House! Local clubs and organizations, including the Suffield Garden Club, decorate the house with natural decorations to highlight this year’s theme: A Children’s Holiday.

Sunday, November 30 – December 2 | West Hartford, CT | Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker | The New England Jazz Ensemble Septet provides the live musical accompaniment to choreography that mixes jazz, swing, tap, ballet and ballroom dance forms.

December 1 – 25 | ABC’s 25 days of Christmas

Monday, December 1 at 4pm | Barnes & Noble | Join us in celebration of Grinch Day! Special Storytime featuring the holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Coloring and activities to follow. Free

December 1 – January 1 | Sun-Thurs 5-10pm and Fri-Sat 5-11pm | Plainville, CT | Lights on Lovely | Tune your radio to 96.1FM to hear the music synchronized to the light show. Enjoy!

December 1 at 8pm | Hartford, CT | Girls 4: A Christmas Together is a fabulously flirty, funny frolic featuring four famous females! Theatre lovers hit the jackpot when four dynamic, award-winning musical stars from Broadway, film, TV and recordings come together for one night on the same stage to celebrate the holiday season. What transpires is an evening of song, dance, laughter and memories that will leave you seeing stars.

December 4 – January 4 | Old Lyme, CT | Magic of Christmas | Visitors can enjoy Miss Florence’s Artist Trees, designer Fantasy Trees, and the Florence Griswold House decorated for a 1910 Christmas. Christmastime Teas, special events for families, hands-on crafts for children and adults, and wonderful items in The Shop are sure to bring holiday cheer! Magic of Christmas Party on Thursday, December 4 5:30-7:30pm. Sunday Holiday Arts and Crafts Sundays, December 7 through January 4 from 1-5pm, included with Museum Admission. Saturday, December 13 from 11am to 4pm included with Museum Admission join Simply Enchanted’s Snow Queen for a magic day. The Snow Queen appears at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm. Join our daylong Crafting and Tea Party and enjoy sweet treats and crafts while awaiting Snow White’s arrival. Snow Queen will share stories and song before posing for pictures. Miss Florence’s Birthday Bash Sunday, December 28 1-5pm, included with Museum Admission come to our daylong celebration of Miss Florence who was born on Christmas Day in 1850. Enjoy a piece of birthday cake while making an assortment of fun craft projects.

Thursday, December 4 from 5:30-8:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Holiday Stroll | Get into the Holiday spirit with a night at Blue Back Square that the entire family can enjoy! Sit with your family and friends aboard our horse-drawn carriage rides as they go around beautiful West Hartford. Take a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus while listening to carolers throughout Blue Back Square. Enjoy local bands and children signing groups on our stage in the center of Blue Back Square with a tree lighting, and more! Stop in Barnes & Noble for a special story time and try some holiday treats, goodies and giveaways in all of our stores! Free

Thursday, December 4; 5-7pm | Canton, CT | Give-a-Gift, Get-a-Gift | Give a new unwrapped toy for  “We Are The Children” get a $25 gift card. While supplies last. One gift per household.

Thursday, December 4 from 4-6pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited create some festive holiday greeting cards to share with family and friends. Free

Thursday, December 4; 5–8 pm December 5 – 14; 10am–5 pm (Closed Dec 8-9) | 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions | Celebrate the season at the 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions! Established in 1973 by the Women’s Committee as a museum fundraising event, Festival has become an annual holiday tradition for many visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Every year community members, artists and organizations decorate holiday trees and wreaths to be displayed in the galleries throughout the week. All items are for sale, and profits help fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Purchase a tree or wreath for your home or donate it to a local charity.

Thursday, December 4 | Old Wethersfield, CT | 5th Annual Holidays on Main | Come join us for caroling, the town tree lighting, live entertainment, craft and food vendors, plus so much more! Free

Thursday, December 4- Saturday, January 3 | New York City, NY | George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker | Tschaikovsky’s beloved melodies will transport you to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. Whether it’s a first-time experience or an annual treat, don’t miss the hottest holiday ticket in town.

Friday, December 5 at 4-8pm | Guilford, CT | Fireflight Festival | Festive luminaries, outdoor fires, popcorn, marshmallows, s’mores, hot cider, hot chocolate, tours of Connecticut’s oldest house after dark and the Holidaze exhibit, natural holiday ornaments crafts, and a reading of The Night Before Christmas.

Friday, December 5 from 5-8pm | Bristol, CT | Whoville Spectacular | Embark on a magical holiday journey as the  Imagine Nation Museum, located at One Pleasant Street in Bristol, is transformed into Dr Seuss’ Whoville!  A wacky and wonderful festival complete with crafts, sing-alongs and special visitors including the Grinch, his dog Max, Cindy-Lou Who and the Mayor of Whoville!

Friday, December 5 from 6-7:30pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited create sparkly edible snowflake! Free

Friday, December 5 at 6:30pm | Avon, CT | Holiday Festivities at Riverdale Farms | Lighting of Flame on the “Kids For Kids Candle of Hope” benefits UCONN Children’s Cancer Fund includes the Christmas tree lighting, old fashioned carol sing, Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive by horse and sleigh and hayrides.

Friday, December 5 at 7pm | Barnes & Noble | The Polar Express Storytime | The Polar Express story will be read, along with some activities. Kids can come in their PJs too! Free

Friday, December 5 at 7:30pm | Simsbury, CT | Festival of Carols and Dance

December 5; 8:30-10am | Mystic, CT | Munchkin Morning With Santa | Grab your kids and camera and join us for a fantastic aquarium holiday tradition. Your child will have a memorable morning enjoying fun seasonal and animal-themed crafts and activities, light refreshments, as well as a visit from the man in red himself, Santa! The program begins before we open to the public and is a great way to experience the aquarium without the crowds and celebrate the upcoming holidays with your little one. Older siblings are welcome to attend at the child rate; however, activities are geared for children ages 2 to 5. Don’t forget to bring your camera! Pre-registration is required and children must be accompanied by a paid adults. Cost: Members: $12 adult, $8 child; Non-members: $30 adult, $18 child. Non-member rate includes aquarium admission.

Friday, December 5 – Saturday, December, 6; Friday 5-10pm, Saturday 10am-4pm | Bethlehem, CT | Christmas Town Festival Santa Made Me Do It 5K Run/2K Walk 10am-4pm Friday only! Ride the Christmas Town Train. It is a 5K road race, a 2 mile walk, and a 1/4-mile Kids’ Fun Run! Tell your friends that “Santa made you do it” and join us for a festive spot of fun! The 5K race and 2 mile walk start together at 10am. There is a free ¼-mile Kids’ Fun Run at 9:30am. Join us for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration all around the Bethlehem Green. There will be musical performances, a tree lighting, photos with Santa, horse-drawn hayrides, shopping, a book and bake sale, crafts and gifts galore (indoors and out), food and refreshments, strolling carolers, and holiday characters, Santa’s workshop, and activities for the whole family.

Friday, December 5 – Saturday, December 6, December 12-13 at 8pm, Sunday, December 7 and December 14 at 2pm | Thomaston, CT |  A Christmas Carol | Three spirits take the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future where he learns the true meaning of Christmas and life. This traditional re-telling of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic will enchant you and your family!

Friday, December 5th and Saturday, December 6th | Milford, CT | Enjoy a Classic New England Tradition during the 13th Annual Downtown Milford Lamplight Stroll. Visitors will enjoy a nostalgic experience during this popular event that celebrates the holiday season in true festive style. Holiday-themed activities will take place from 5 pm to 9 pm on Friday, and again from 4 pm to 9 pm on Saturday.

December 6 at 8am | Breakfast with Santa | Hartford, CT | Gather your family and friends for a memorable morning at The Bushnell. Take a photo with Santa and visit with Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy breakfast, carolers, crafts and more. Christmas lists accepted!

Saturday, December 6 and Saturday, December 20 – Seatings at 8:30am and 10:30am | Canton, CT | Santa Brakfast at Dish n’ Dat.

Saturday, December 6 – 8:30am-4pm & Sunday, December 7 | Noon-4pm | Weekends through December 21 | Canton, CT | Victorian Carolers | Celebrate the season with Victorian Carolers. Free.

Saturday, December 6 from 8:30am-6pm | Bristol, CT | Free cider, popcorn and cookies at Wojtusik Nursery. Free

Saturday, December 6 from 9am-12pm | Home Depot | How to Build Holiday Yard Stakes Free

Saturday, December 6 from 10am-1pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Poppers | Come celebrate the holidays at CHS with our annual popper craft! First invented by a London pastry chef in the 1840s, poppers (or “crackers”) have become timeless favorites. Poppers make great gifts, holiday party favors, or New Year’s Eve noisemakers. Traditional fillers, like candy, paper hats, and fortunes will be provided, or you may bring your own. Free

Saturday, December 6 from 11am-1pm | Wilton, CT | Handmade for the Holidays- Crafts for Kids | Make your own felt tree ornament at Story Book hour.

Saturday, December 6 from 11am-1pm | Newington, CT | Canvas and Cupcakes Class | Children will show off their artistic talents as we paint a rosy cheeked snowman. Our host will guide you step by step thru the creation of your snowman and then we will create a Snowman Cupcake to snack on. Ages 5 and older. $30 per child.

Saturday, December 6 | Hartford, CT | Tour the decorated McCook House and enjoy a Victorian Christmas celebration! Enjoy holiday music in the North Parlor, tour the first floor of the McCook House, and sample light refreshments.

Saturday, December 6 from 5-6pm | South Windsor | Torchlight Parade | Join the South Windsor Fire Department to kickoff the holiday season. Children 12 years and under will receive a holiday themed gift. Free

Saturday, December 6 from 5-8:30pm | Farmington, CT | Candlelight Tours: Christmas in CT | Go back in time! This magical 1 1/2 hour program starts with a supper of soup, bread & cookies in the Whitman Tavern. Then follow your costumed quide to see mini-dramas in the decorated 1720 historic house. Seating is limited, so register early!

Saturday, December 6 | Windsor, CT | The Archer Memorial Mass Choir will perform a medley of gospel and holiday music at Windsor Art Center at 6pm. This performance is part of the ongoing Women Artists Collective art show and sale. plenty of free and family activities.

December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 from 9-11am | Bridgeport, CT | Breakfast with Frosty & Friends | Get in the holiday spirit and join Frosty and his friends for breakfast at the Zoo.

Saturday, December 6 from 5-8:30pm | Farmington, CT | Candlelight Tours: Christmas in CT | Go back in time! This magical 1 1/2 hour program starts with a supper of soup, bread & cookies in the Whitman Tavern. Then follow your costumed quide to see mini-dramas in the decorated 1720 historic house. Seating is limited, so register early!

Saturday, December 6 | Windsor, CT |  The Archer Memorial Mass Choir will perform a medley of gospel and holiday music at Windsor Art Center at 6pm. This performance is part of the ongoing Women Artists Collective art show and sale. plenty of free and family activities.

December 6 | Niantic, CT | The 26th Annual Niantic Light Parade & Winterfest will start with the Winterfest beginning at 2:00 pm on Main St. This prelude to the parade, typically features a popular Chowder and Chili Cook-off, Magic Shows, Face Painting, Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Ice Sculptures and much, much more! Then, starting at 6pm Fireworks are expected to once again kick off the Light Parade which features beautifully built and lighted parade floats, dance groups and Santa himself as they parade down the beautifully decorated Main St. in Niantic.

Saturday December 6, 13, or 20 from 5-9pm | New Britain, CT | Holiday Kids’ Night Out | Wondering what to do with the kids while you finish your holiday shopping? Pizza dinner, games, activities, and animals included. Pre-registration and pre-payment required for each evening. Call (860) 827-9064 for more information and to register. Fee: $24/non-members Ages: 3-10.

December 6 – December 7, 13-14, 20-21 | West Simsbury, CT | Breakfast with Santa | Breakfast Includes: a hearty breakfast with pancakes, home fries, sausage and farm fresh eggs, a memorable visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty and the Grinch, a toy from Santa, a relaxing time on a Christmas Trolley ride out to reindeer land and a free visit to the petting zoo.

December 6 – 7; 12-4pm | Suffield, CT | Ivy Home for the Holidays Tours | Experience the season’s splendor at the Phelps-Hatheway House with an English ivy and wintergreen inspired palette. Children’s activities throughout the weekend. Tickets: $15; children 6-18: $10 (under 6 Free)

Sunday, December 7 | Kids Run: 10am, 5K: 10:30am | West Hartford, CT | Blue Back Mitten Run | Celebrate the season with our holiday 5K course along the wide avenues of West Hartford, past festive shop windows and decorated neighborhoods. Start, finish and post race refreshments in Blue Back Square. Please help benefit our neighbors in need by bringing a donation of new mittens, scarves or hats.

Sunday, December 7 from 1pm-2:30pm | Wilton, CT | Handmade for the Holidays- Crafts for Kids | Make your own Menorah, registration required for this program.

Sunday, December 7 | 11am-3pm | Farmington, CT | An Old Fashioned Holiday Open House | Participants will enjoy an old fashioned horse-drawn hayride, a visit with Santa, holiday cookies, crafts and more! Please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the local food bank. This program is open to Winding Trails Members and Farmington Residents Only.

Sunday, December 7 at 2pm | Farmington, CT | The Elf on the Shelf Storytime Free

Sunday, December 7 at 3pm | Simsbury, CT | Festival of Carols and Dance

Tuesday, December 9 from 9:30–10:30am and 11:30am–12:30pm | Newington, CT | Toddler Class | Today we will roll out some gingerbread dough and use cookie cutters to create a Gingerbread Family! While the cookies bake, we will make a Gingerbread Ornament and then we will decorate our cookies to take home. Ages 2 -5. $15 per child.

December 9 – 11; 11am-3pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Shopping Fair | The Old State House will host a Holiday Shopping Fair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the courtroom of the historic building.

December 9 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Sensory friendly version of A Christmas Carol

December 10 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Handel’s Messiah | Hartford Chorale presents one of the most famous choral works ever written – Handel’s Messiah. Led by Hartford Chorale’s Music Director Richard Coffey, this performance will feature the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and four guest soloists peforming with the Chorale’s 160 members.This work has endured as one of the greatest pieces for chorus and orchestra of all time and this holiday performance will feature choruses and arias from the oratorio, including, of course, the rousing Halleluiah Chorus.

Thursday, December 11 at 8pm | Stamford, CT | Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis | Mannheim Steamroller merges traditional Christmas music with a modern sound along with dazzling multi-media effects to create a stunning visual and audio experience. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas show is perfect for all generations. Celebrate the season with dazzling multi-media effects and classic Christmas hits that only Mannheim Steamroller can bring to life. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums occupy Billboard’s Top Seasonal Chart, and have sold 28 million Christmas albums, and have 19 gold, 8 multi-platinum and 4 platinum-certified records to their credit. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Christmas Tour and the release of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, an album that revolutionized the Holiday Season music category. In celebration of the 30th Anniversary Christmas Tour, songs will include Christmas fan favorites along with selections from creator Chip Davis’ iconic Fresh Aire series and recordings by his daughter, Elyse. Start a new holiday tradition with your family with Mannheim Steamroller!

Thursday, December 11 from 4-6pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited to create Marshmallow Pops that look like Snowmen. Free

Thursday, December 11 at 7pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Sing Along | Sometimes you just want to sing with other people. Join us for our 4th Community Sing Along. The Susans will lead us. Susan Campbell – book author, college professor and community activist – joins with Susan Mazer, director of Charter Oak’s music programs, in some of your favorite holiday songs. Bring some baked goods to share and we’ll provide the beverages. Suggested donation: $5.

Friday, December 12, 2014 from 9:30-10:30am and 11:30am-12:30pm| Newington, CT | Toddler Class | Today we will roll out some gingerbread dough and use cookie cutters to create a Gingerbread Family! While the cookies bake, we will make a Gingerbread Ornament and then we will decorate our cookies to take home. Ages 2-5. $15 per child.

Friday, December 12 at 7pm | Waterbury, CT | Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis | See details above.

Friday, December 12 at 6 and 8 pm (adults only) Saturday, December 13 at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm (family-friendly) | West Hartford, CT | Gingerbread Day is an annual event which allows kids and adults alike to construct a homemade creation from homemade gingerbread, fresh icing, and delicious candies. Each cookie is handmade at the Noah Webster House and fun candy mixes offer a variety of artistic options.

December 12-28 | Milford, CT | Christmas at Santa Claus Station | Christmas is full steam ahead for the fantastical passengers on the Holiday Express. But a quick stop at Santa Claus Station brings Santa and his Elves some unexpected surprises. Can they make it back to the North Pole in time for Christmas? This enchanting and heartwarming new musical is the perfect holiday treat for the entire family.

Friday’s, December 12 and 19, from 5 to 8pm, Saturday’s, December, 13 from 10am to 4pm through Sunday’s, January 4 from 1 to 4pm | Wethersfield, CT | Each year, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum’s “Three Centuries of Christmas” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years. This year, two evening candlelight tours, with costumed guides, have been added for viewing the three elegantly appointed historic houses that comprise the museum.

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 21 | West Hartford, CT | The Nutcracker | The Hartt School Community Division has been bringing dance performances to the families and community of the Greater Hartford region for years. Each holiday season, HCD’s fully staged production of Tchaikovsky’s time-honored classic with staging again by Artistic Director Samantha Dunster, transports the audience to a magical world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see young artists perform a full-length ballet laced with humor, bravery, and sensitivity and it is guaranteed to ignite the child within all of us and invoke the warmth of the holiday season.

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 14 | Fri at 7pm, Sat at 6pm and Sun at 11am and 6pm | Tiny Tim’s Christmas

Friday, December 12 at 7:30pm | Simsbury, CT | “Christmas Angelicus – A New England Tradition” | Holiday cheer will unfurl once again as the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, of Joyful Noise, Inc. perform their annual “Christmas Angelicus” concert series across Connecticut.

Saturday, December 13 from 9:30-11:30am | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited to create a Pinecone Tree decoration, complete with pompom ornaments. Free

Saturday, December 13 | Wilton, CT | Santa Visits the Great Trains Holiday Exhibit.

Saturday, December 13 from 11am-1pm | Wilton, CT | Handmade for the Holidays- Crafts for Kids | Make your own apple or clementine pomander ball.

Saturday, December 13, or 20 from 5-9pm | New Britain, CT | Holiday Kids’ Night Out | Wondering what to do with the kids while you finish your holiday shopping? Pizza dinner, games, activities, and animals included. Pre-registration and pre-payment required for each evening. Call (860) 827-9064 for more information and to register. Fee: $24/non-members Ages: 3-10.

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14, 21 at 2pm & Saturday, December 20; 2pm and 7pm | Manchester, CT | Connecticut Concert Ballet presents the Nutcracker.

Saturday, December 13 from 12-5pm | Hartford, CT | Winterfest Ugly Sweater Stroll | Show off your ugliest sweater and stroll through downtown, stopping to sample Winterfest-inspired Onyx cocktails at downtown restaurants. Admission is $25 and includes a super awesome “Hartford Has It” scarf, drink specials at all participating restaurants and prizes. Participating restaurants will be announced in early December.

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14 from 11am-4pm | Guilford, CT | Night Before Christmas Storytime | Reading of the classic holiday tale inside the 1639 Whitfield House is offered every hour.

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14; 12:30pm & 4pm | Hartford, CT | Nutmeg’s Nutcracker | Join Clara on a magical journey to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets where nothing is impossible and a little Clara’s most whimsical dreams become reality. Meet a brave Nutcracker prince, fairies, kings and queens, and little toy soldiers who face an evil Mouse Queen in this timeless holiday classic. There is something for everyone in this charming interpretation of ETA Hoffman’s story set to the music of Tchaikovsky with choreography staged by the artistic staff of The Nutmeg Ballet. This production features The Nutmeg’s professional trainees with cameo roles performed by students from the children’s program at TSOB at The Nutmeg. This is a holiday tradition sure to enthrall audiences of all ages!

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14 & Saturday, December 20 at 4pm | Manchester, CT | Resounding Joy | With Resounding Joy, CitySingers of Hartford will sing in the holiday season with traditional carols and folksongs from Eastern and Western Europe, Celtic lands and America. Festive choral motets will include Resonent in Laudibus, The Bell Carol and Ding Dong Merrily on High in a featured arrangement for voices and suspended bells. Flutes, oboe, harp, pipe organ and percussion will add color to the musical palette while festive sounds and cherished memories will inspire our audiences to join in singing!

Saturday, December 13 from 4:30-6pm | Newington, CT | Holiday Cookie Workshop | Join us as we stamp out some of our favorite holiday cookies to decorate! As they bake, we will make some colorful chocolate bark to take home. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Sunday, December 14 from 1-3pm | Newington, CT | Bring the whole family to listen to holiday carols right in the store, courtesy of the Newington High School Carolers. Free

Sunday, December 14 at 3pm | West Hartford, CT | Holiday Concert

Monday, December 15 | Hartford, CT | Holiday Festival at the Old State House | Music will fill the halls of the Old State House!

Wednesday, December 17 from 4:30-6pm | West Hartford, CT | Latke Throwdown | Sample traditional and new potato pancake recipes from the kitchens of our favorite JCC chefs.

Thursday, December 18 – Sunday, December 21 | West Hartford, CT | Ballet Theatre Company’s 13th Annual Production of The Nutcracker

Thursday, December 18 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Winter’s Chorale | The Travelers Chorale invites you to join them for their 90th annual Holiday Concert, “Winter’s Heart” with the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Warm your heart with music of the season. The Chorale will perform a vibrant musical program featuring favorites such as Christmas Star (from Home Alone 2), Hallelujah Chorus and Winter Wonderland of Snow. Other notables include The Gift, Christmas Pipes, and a medley of traditional carols called Noel Fantasy.

Friday, December 19 – Sunday, December 21; Friday 7pm, Saturday & Sunday 1pm & 5pm | New Haven, CT | New Haven Ballet presents The Nutcracker | This holiday classic is performed by the students of New Haven Ballet, and features guest artists Savannah Lowery and Adrian Danchig-Waring from the New York City Ballet. The production includes all the costumes, scenery, and magic to bring Clara’s dream to life.

Saturday, December 20 from 11am-1pm | Wilton, CT | Handmade for the Holidays- Crafts for Kids | Decorate your own winter cookies; snowmen, gingerbread men & trains!

Saturday, December 20 | 11am-1pm | Mystic, CT | Audubon’s 115th Annual Christmas Bird Count | Exploring some of our local conservation land, we will look and listen for a wide number of birds that over-winter in our area.

Saturday, December 20 from 9-11am | Newington,  CT | Christmas Breakfast Roundup | It’s best to come hungry to this class because it will be packed with all kinds of goodies to enjoy. We will make Green Christmas Tree Pancakes, Strawberry and Banana Canes, Cinnamon Sugar Snowflakes and Snowman Donuts. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Saturday, December 20 at 2pm | Manchester, CT | As we approach the holiday season, many parents will be asked the question “Is there a Santa Claus?” We will answer that through a reading of Andrew J. Fenady’s play Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus. Please bring your family to join us as we hear the answer to the age-old question. Children are encouraged to bring with them their favorite hand-held gift from Santa, and to bring a non-perishable food item we’ll collect for MACC Charities food pantry. Recommended for 8 years and older, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $5. Children ages 8 – 12 are free.

Saturday, December 20 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Canton, CT | Chanukah Family Fun Night | Games in the gym, Chanukah stories, crafts, light the menorah and decorate your own Chanukah cookies. RSVP to Elana MacGilpin at 860-231-6327. $15 per family.

Saturday, December 20 at 6pm | Hartford, CT | “Christmas Angelicus – A New England Tradition” | Holiday cheer will unfurl once again as the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, of Joyful Noise, Inc. perform their annual “Christmas Angelicus” concert series across Connecticut.

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 from 2:30-4pm | West Hartford, CT | The 2nd Annual Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge | Back by popular demand, the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge is a fun (and yummy) way for families to enjoy the holiday season. Families are challenged to use their engineering skills to construct a Gingerbread House masterpiece. Each structure is unique and each family is a winner. Families will be supplied with miscellaneous candies, graham crackers, and special frosting-glue. The workshop will open with a brief tutorial on gingerbread house construction, including hints and ideas of how to decorate. Don’t worry– every family wins the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge, and each family will take home a special certificate of completion (as well as their creation). Up to 6 people per group. Ages 5 and up.

Friday, December 5 – Saturday, December 6, December 12-13 at 8pm, Sunday, December 7 and December 14 at 2pm | Thomaston, CT |  A Christmas Carol | Three spirits take the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future where he learns the true meaning of Christmas and life. This traditional re-telling of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic will enchant you and your family!

Sunday, December 21 at 2pm | Farmington, CT | Honeyky Hanukah Storytime Free

Sunday, December 21 at 2pm | Thomaston, CT | A Christmas Gift | It’s a Cello-bration!  A one-of-a-kind Christmas spectacular with music, dance and song! Local renowned Cellist, Thirzah Bendokas will lead a talented group of professionals for this special holiday event! A perfect holiday cello-bration to share with the whole family!

Tuesday, December 23 from 5-6:30pm | Rocky Hill, CT | Jingle Bounce | Join us for a holiday filled event, complete with complimentary cupcakes for each child who attends, along with a visit from Santa.

Friday, December 26 | Kwanzaa Day Celebration: Umoja | Join us for Hartford’s biggest Kwanzaa celebration, honoring family, community and culture, presented by Charter Oak Cultural Center and Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium. Come see performances by master dancers, musicians and drummers and have the opportunity to participate in this joyous festival.

Tuesday, December 30 from 11-1pm | How about spending a cold winter day at a Luau? We will prepare Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Pineapple Salsa, Hawaiian Spam Sliders and Tropical Cupcakes. We won’t forget to leave time to learn to Hula Dance! Children are encouraged to wear a Hawaiian Shirt if they have one. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Wednesday, December 31 | Hartford, CT | First Night Hartford | The name “First Night” symbolizes this forward look, over the technically correct “Last Night”. First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol free, family-friendly, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity. The day is a multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free New Year’s experience with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. It’s also an affordable way for everyone to ring in the New Year. The day includes two spectacular fireworks shows at 6pm and midnight in Bushnell Park that can be seen throughout the city by thousands of residents and visitors.

Now through Saturday, December 6 | Methuen, MA | Festival of Trees | The Festival of Trees has been a marvel of the Merrimack Valley for over two decades. Start the holiday season with this family celebration of the sights and sounds of the holidays. Featuring over 240 trees, wreaths and displays that you could win, the Festival of Trees has something for everyone. Make The Festival of Trees a part of your holiday season-visit us, enter to win, host an event at the Festival or volunteer and help share the magic.

Now through Saturday, December 13 | South Windsor, CT | Gingerbread Festival | The Wood will once again deck its halls and throw open its doors for one of the largest Gingerbread House Festivals in all of New England. Local artisans and bakers, experts and beginners alike show off their creative talents in a vast array of candy covered houses, trains and in some cases entire villages. Anyone is welcome to submit a gingerbread house and sign-ups are starting now. With holiday music playing in the background and the spicy aroma of gingerbread in the air, the library will provide the perfect holiday venue for showcasing the sugary artistic creations. “Ye Olde Gingerbread Shop” will also be open offering the opportunity to take home a bit of the magic with many holiday themed gifts and treats.

Now through Sunday, December 21 | Lincoln, NH | Ho-Ho-HOBO Santa Express is the same family fun entertainment we have been providing since the start up of the scenic Hobo Railroad in 1987. Santa Express trains will follow along the winding Pemigewassett River from Hobo Junction in Lincoln to Woodstock and then return to Lincoln. Our restored vintage cars are not only decorated for the season, but warm and comfortable for this family fun event.

Now through Sunday, December 21 | Jefferson, NH | Christmastime is “the most wonderful time of the year” – especially at Santa’s Village. Santa greets every child, and listens ever so attentively to all the wishes and wants of the season. Mrs. Claus joins in on the hospitality and offers some warm wassail for all their guests. If you visit, be sure to stay ’til after dark when the beautiful lighting throughout the park displays a sense of well-being and warmth on those cooler nights. Dress warmly as it gets snuggly cold on the Skyway Sleigh Monorail or the Merry Christmas Ferris Wheel.

Now through Wednesday, December 24 | West Hartford, CT | Experience the Ice Palace at West Farms Mall In celebration of the November 18 release of the Disney Frozen Sing-Along Edition on DVD & Digital HD, West Farms presents a Frozen Ice Palace experience. The Ice Palace will feature characters from the number one animated film of all time, Disney Frozen. This much-loved, interactive holiday display features the art of Anna, Elsa and their friends Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, plus a 30 foot Ice Palace with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the whole family. Interactive globes will showcase scenes such as Anna & Elsa ice skating with Olaf, plus Anna, Kristoff & Sven on their quest to find Elsa on the North Mountain. Adults & children alike will enjoy leaving their hand print in ice at The Icy Hand Print experience, seeing how they compare in size to Sven & Olaf and having their photo taken with Olaf at the Ice Throne. End your magical journey at the Ice Palace with a visit to Santa and a special Disney Frozen Look-and-Find book!

Now through Wednesday, December 24 | Greenwich, CT | Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa’s Workshop | Santa Claus and His Live Reindeer Are Coming To Town! The town tradition continues for the sixth year! Santa’s LIVE Reindeer will be in town. Join us Friday, November 28, pm to 6pm for the “We’re Back” Party at McArdle’s! 12pm Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to officially open Santa’s Workshop. Photos with Santa begin at 12pm immediately following the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and will remain open until Christmas Eve with the following hours: Monday – Friday: 12pm – 6pm, Saturday: 9am – 6pm, Sunday: 9am – 5pm. Holiday Refreshments provided by COSI will be served! Face painting and Balloon Artists for Kids! Everyone is invited! This is a memorable opportunity to meet Santa, have your photo taken and meet Santa’s Reindeer! Photo packages with Santa begin at $29.99. Pets are welcome!! With your photo purchase receive a special gift bag filled with downtown Greenwich merchant coupons and special offerings redeemable at participating stores and restaurants in downtown Greenwich with hundreds of dollars in savings!

Now through Sunday, December 28 | Hopedale, MA | The Polar Express Train Ride | Inspired by the run-away hit movie, this holiday favorite comes to life as you and your family take a ride on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, families are sure to enjoy their trip to the North Pole, complete with hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train. Passengers will then be entertained by a reading of The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa will greet the children and each child will receive their own sleigh bell, just like in the movie, to those who believe. Experience the joy of caroling and holiday entertainment that will surely become an annual holiday tradition for the whole family. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride and join in on the magic of Christmas.

Now through Sunday, December 28; 4:30–8:30pm | Sandwich, MA | Gardens Aglow | Join us for our annual holiday event, featuring more lights and decorations than ever! New this year: The Holiday Train, a festive model railway display that will travel through the Special Exhibitions Gallery along elevated tracks and over a spectacular bridge made of all-natural materials. Enjoy music and dance performances at 6:30 in the Automobile Gallery. St. Nick will hold court in the Model T. Gingerbread houses created by local companies and students will be on display. Holiday crafts, carousel rides, Hidden Hollow by moonlight, and marshmallow roasting over a fire pit all add up to a great holiday celebration.

Now through Sunday, December 28 | Hartford, CT | A Christmas Carol | A Ghost Story of Christmas The magic of Charles Dickens’ heart-warming classic returns for its 17th season. Come see Connecticut’s favorite family holiday tradition and spend some time with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they bring A Christmas Carol to life on stage. It’s perfect holiday entertainment! Open Captioned Performance is on December 6 at 2pm. For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. Market Days are on December 6, 7, 14. Come and join Hartford Stage for some shopping and a show! Local vendors will showcase unique items for purchase in our lobby. Doors will open before the show at 12:30pm and booths will be open during intermission and after the show. Sensory-Friendly Performance is on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30pm. Family Fun Night is December 18 at 6:30pm. This is the night to bring kids of all ages to see A Christmas Carol! Before the show, our spooky ghosts will greet and entertain. After the show, get autographs from all your favorite characters! Free with a ticket to the show.

Now through December 31 | Springfield, MA | Adventures in Gingerbread | Enter a realm of fanciful gingerbread houses created by local bakeries, schools, youth groups, individuals and families as part of our annual Gingerbread House Competition.  Contestants were inspired by adventure stories, historic places, and their own imaginations to create these marvelous gingerbread displays. Come take a stroll through this magical world filled with gingerbread houses, decorated holiday trees, and scenes inspired by a popular fairy tale about a fearless princess’ epic journey to find her sister whose powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. | Saturdays & Sundays, December 6-December 21 | Holiday crafts and gallery games, 11am–3pm.

Now through Thursday, January 1; Sunday-Thursday 5-9pm & Friday-Saturday 5-10pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Light Fantasia is a much loved Greater Hartford tradition and this season’s destination. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights.​Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays. Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years and Three Kings Day.

Now through Sunday, January 4 (Closed 12/1-12/2) | Springfield, MA | Bright Lights | Visit Santa’s Springfield getaway nestled in Santa’s Magical Forest.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Old Hartford, CT | Home for the Holiday’s | A Butler-McCook House Celebration! Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Hartford, CT | 44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light | Hartford Festival of Light has become a not-to-be-missed event for the thousands who turn out on Constitution Plaza each year to sing carols, enjoy musical entertainment and witness the spectacle that is the illumination of more than a quarter of a million tiny white lights.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Sun-Thurs 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm | New Haven, CT | Fantasy of Lights | Get in the holiday spirit with Easter Seals Goodwill Industries’ Fantasy of Lights! Check out over 60 attractions that include animated and LED light displays! So whether it’s your first or twentieth year enjoying the Fantasy of Lights, get ready to be dazzled by over 100,000 lights!

Friday, January 9 – Thursday, January 15 | New York, New York | Kids Night on Broadway in NYC On Kids’ Night on Broadway, young people age 6-18 can see a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult (see important info below). On Kids’ Night on Broadway in NYC, kids get to dine for free at many fabulous Times Square restaurants, and parents get discounted parking rates. Click here for details on participating restaurants.

Now through Sunday, January 11 | Kennett Square, PA | A Longwood Christmas soars this season with our bird-inspired display. From trees adorned with nests and feathered friends, to topiary swans in our Exhibition Hall, to birdhouses, owls, and bald eagles decorating our tree houses, this holiday season flies high. Our Music Room depicts a festive Peacock Masquerade Ball, featuring elegant table settings and an 18-foot rotating tree. Stroll outside where colorful fountains dance, glimmering snowflakes hang overhead, and a half- million lights illuminate more of our outdoor gardens than ever before.

Now through Monday, January 19 | Bronx, New York | Holiday Train Show | New York Botanical Garden forms into a winter wonderland. Step into this annual New York tradition where model trains zip around landmark replicas in the glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Explore 250 acres of crisp winter landscapes during tours of the Garden’s many collections, experience festive evening events, and take care of your holiday shopping list! The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory plays host to a city in miniature, featuring more than 150 New York landmarks re-created with nuts, bark, leaves, and other plant parts. Humming along between familiar sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center, large-scale model trains cover a quarter-mile of track to bring life to this traditional holiday landscape. The Artist’s Studio shows how visionary artist Paul Busse and his team create these small wonders.

Now through Monday, January 19 | Wilton, CT | An Interactive Wonderland | The Great Trains Exhibit features multiple train layouts with tiny towns and landscapes, complete with a multitude of buildings, tunnels and two working Ferris Wheels! Enchants visitors of all ages with lots of buttons to push and whistles to activate. Thomas the Tank Engine activity room for youngest guests.

Now through Sunday, February 1 | Hartford, CT | Winterfest | Enjoy free ice-skating and free skate rentals, daily, through February 1, 2015 at the Winterfest Hartford rink in Bushnell Park.

Now through Tuesday, February 17 from 10am-5pm | Essex, CT | 21st Annual Train Show | The magic returns with the 21st Annual Holiday Train Show. The family-friendly exhibit, created by train artist Steve Cryan, features more trains, new scenery, and lots of surprises to be found in the fully operational 26-foot model train layout. Visitors are challenged to complete the I SPY Scavenger Hunt of various objects hidden within the settings while the smaller visitor set can get hands-on at an American Flyer and Lionel Train layout designed for toddler size viewing. The exhibit is a true locomotive extravaganza and a perfect outing for train fans and all who are young at heart.

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