Christmas/Hanukkah

Christmas Tree Lightings in New York City This Holiday Season

Good news for the crowd-averse: You don't have to brave the commotion at Rockefeller Center to witness a fabulous Christmas tree lighting in New York City.

We've rounded up some tree lightings that are much less crowded and every bit as lovely, from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx and everywhere in between. These community holiday celebrations are festive and (mostly) FREE, and there’s no need to stand on your car to glimpse the goings-on. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and cozy up to one of these holiday illuminations in New York City. Find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

Click through to our listings for all the details, including addresses, times, recommended ages, and rain (or snow!) dates. Note: Tree lightings are organized by date.

Christmas Tree Lighting Festivities Around Boston

Boston lights it up with dazzling Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in and around town. By late November lights are aglow in Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, and Christopher Columbus Park, and the free festivities continue through early December with tree lighting ceremonies in neighborhoods throughout the city.

It's not only about flipping the switch, of course. Tree lighting ceremonies are treasured annual community celebrations with live performances, activities for kids, holiday giving, and appearances by Santa (and sometimes even Mayor Walsh).

Guide to Viewing Houston's Annual Thanksgiving Parade With Kids

Houston's annual Thanksgiving is back with its larger-than-life floats and entertainment. The 2018 69th Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Parade begins at 9 a.m. in Downtown Houston on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22, 2018) with two grand marshalls who own our hearts: Jose Altuve and James Harden. Plan on joining the thousands of Houstonians and visitors who will line the streets on parade day? We have you covered with everything you need to know. But before getting into all of that, know that despite the large crowd, it's not as stressful as you might think to grab a good spot and enjoy the festivities.

20 Best Holiday Events in NYC for Toddlers and Preschoolers

New York City's annual transformation into a wonderland of holiday magic never gets old, especially with kids in tow. For younger kids, however, the Christmas crowds can be daunting—and the average toddler or preschooler tends to have limited patience for lines and lots of noise.

But there are still plenty of amazing seasonal spectacles just right for the 2-to-5 year-old set—including holiday lights, Christmas trains, and Santa visits. We've rounded up some stellar events that cater to toddlers and preschoolers, from abridged performances of holiday shows to gingerbread mania, plus interactive events and workshops, there's plenty of holiday wonder to go around.

18 Hanukkah Celebrations for Kids in LA and Orange County

However you spell it—Hanukkah, Hanukka, Hannukah, Chanukah, or Channuka—SoCal is a great place to be for the Festival of Lights. Home to a Jewish population larger than that of Jerusalem, Los Angeles is all about "lighting candles, wearing sandals, by the sea" (at least, that's why Tom Leher spent Hanukkah in Santa Monica). Giant menorahs light up open spaces from The OC to the Valley

Some of this year's events may be affected by our recent fires (most notably the festival at the Shalom Institute, typically one of the LA's biggest). But be assured that there are plenty of celebrations to fill the 8 crazy nights, including the popular event at the Skirball Center, as well as numerous local events and candle lightings to burn the sunset oil all week long.

All Aboard! LI Holiday Model Train Exhibits

If watching a miniature train make its way around a tiny Christmas village isn’t on your family’s list of holiday traditions, why not make it one in 2018?

We guarantee children and adults alike will gaze with wide-eyed wonder at the sights and sounds of one of several model train exhibits on Long Island this holiday season. Not to mention the holiday-themed decorations of the towns through which they travel. To get you going, we’ve put together a list of some of the best displays, sure to delight the entire family.

And if all this train watching makes your family eager to climb aboard a real caboose, check out our roundup of Polar Express and other Santa trains near Long Island and NYC.

All aboard!

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree This Year: Southern California Tree Farms

Ah, childhood in New England. I remember the hip-deep snows of December, building snowmen until my fingers froze, and drying my hand-knit mittens by the fire. Fast forward to my boys’ childhoods in LA, and I wonder: What will they remember? Sand sledding at the beach and wearing shorts on Christmas day? Will they never make snow angels in their best friend’s backyard?

Thankfully, one winter tradition we can carry on here in the Southland is cutting down our own Christmas tree. If you’re willing to cross county lines, you, too, can experience this classic holiday outing. If living Christmas trees aren’t your thing, and you want something other than a pre-cut or artificial tree, get ready to set hacksaw to tree trunk, watch the tree fall gently to the ground, and smell the sap on your hands as you sing carols on the car ride home. We have compiled a list of area tree farms to help you get started.

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