Christmas/Hanukkah

Where to Donate Gently Used Toys and Baby Gear on LI

If your kids are anything like most, their holiday wish lists are filled with requests for new toys. And once the holiday comes—and they're happily playing with their gifts—what do you do with all of the old toys that are cluttering up the house? Or all of the baby equipment that the kids have outgrown?

For safety reasons, fewer and fewer places seem to be accepting gently used toys. But before you put those toys out on the curb, consider these Long Island organizations that accept preowned toys and baby items provided they are clean, undamaged, and in working order.

For safety reasons, most charities do not accept cribs or car seats. However, many will accept strollers, bouncers, and even baby care items such as diapers. At this busy time of year, however, contact these charities to make sure they haven't reached their donation limits. One other tip: Ask your preschool child's school director, local library, or church. Often, those institutions are willing to accept used toys and books from someone they know and trust. 

Looking for more ways to help your community? There are plenty of holiday volunteer opportunities for kids and families. And for other seasonal activities, check out our Long Island holiday fun guide or these 30 things to do over holiday break with Long Island kids.

Outrageous Holiday Light Displays in the Lower Hudson Valley

‘Tis the season for checking out all the awesome holiday light displays in the area. And we’ve got some great ones for you: Along with a some decked-out houses in Westchester, the Lower Hudson Valley has its own share of festive light shows—including a house with more than half a million (!) lights, a drive-through Christmas Wonderland, and even some brightly lit bugs.   

For more holiday fun, be sure to check our Holiday Fun Guide and Event Calendar, and follow us on Facebook.

Know of any other light displays we should check out? Drop us an email, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters to stay in the loop. 

Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in Connecticut

Generally speaking, the streets of Connecticut empty out for the Christmas holiday, with most restaurants and shops staying closed for the day, but in case you're looking for a home cooked meal alternative or just an excuse to get out of the house for a few hours (did I say that?), we've rounded up some of our favorite Christmas Day meals in Fairfield County. And we've listed restaurants open in the Hartford area as well as Litchfield County.

You'll want to make reservations soon, particularly if you have a large group, and take note that not all prix fixe menus offer a lower-priced children's alternative. And maybe after dinner, plan to check out the Christmas lights in one of these areas.

Bon appetit!

50 Awesome Santa Activities for Houston Kids

Santa Claus is comin' to town... Santa Claus is comin' to town... you know you're humming along right now, and boy is he coming! Santa is making stops all over Houston and has all sorts of fun activities planned along the way. From traditional breakfasts, brunches, and super fun lunches to attending holiday and Christmas events around town, the big guy is ready to party with all the good little girls and boys in Houston. 

Polar Express 4-D: A Movie with Train Ride Thrills at the MOS

Each of the past five years, I've planned to bring my Polar Express-obsessed boys to a Christmas-themed train ride down the Cape or Rhode Island. But packed sports schedules and school calendars have caused me to lose steam on the idea of even a slightly far-flung locomotive journey. Luckily, I found out about a new, Polar Express-themed adventure that's right in Boston, lasts all of 20 minutes, costs just $6, and packs real charm and excitement into almost all of that time. New this year, the Museum of Science is running the Polar Express 4-D Experience in its specialty theater space through January 6, 2019. As a bonus: All Aboard! Trains at Science Park, featuring model trains and interactive train tables, is on exhibit, too. Do your kids have trains on the brain? Here's what to expect with a train-themed visit to MOS.

25 Christmas Movies to Fill Your Family with Holiday Cheer

 Is your house brimming with the magic of Christmas and the holiday season? When the tree has been trimmed, and all the gifts have been wrapped, it's time to put the kids into those Christmas jammies to snuggle up with the perfect family Christmas movie. Don’t let picking the wrong festive flick turn you into a Grinch.

Unlike the naughty list, this holiday movie list is filled with positive messages, classic tales, and just the right amount of seasonal cheer. So, pop some popcorn and enjoy a family movie night with one of these Christmas classics perfect for kids. 

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Worth Paying or Driving for this Christmas

An after-dinner drive to take in one of LA's classic neighborhood holiday light displays is a treat all families should indulge in. It's an easy, cheap way to get in the Christmas spirit (or just enjoy someone else's). Of course, counting on other people to decorate their lawns is only so reliable. To be sure of a full evening of light and good cheer, sometimes it's worth splurging on a pay-to-play light display. Several local destinations indulge us in our desire to see grand-scale holiday lights, from Zoo Lights to walks in the woods. The bigger the group you can round up, the more festive—but also the more expensive it can get. It helps to know which of LA's big public light shows are worth the ticket price this holiday season.

50+ Awesome Santa Activities in New Jersey

December is here, and that means Santa is here, too! Your kids are sure to want to meet St. Nick, and you’re sure to want to snap a pic or two for a keepsake.

From photo ops to breakfasts and brunches, train rides, and even special holiday shows, we’ve rounded up more than 50 of the best places to see Santa across the state this year. They include some old classics as well as a few new favorites.

Whether you want to take in the holiday lights, have your preschooler mingle with Kris Kringle, or hear a token ho-ho-ho at a free event, there’s something for everybody.

Read on for where to catch up with the jolly jet-setter all over New Jersey this holiday season. 

You'll find even more ways to get the yuletide party started in our Holiday Fun Guide and Dozen Holiday Must-Dos.

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