Holidays

Best Christmas Lights on Connecticut Homes

Ah, the cheerful glow of holiday lights; few things make a season brighter. And while there are lots of pro light shows you can take in around the state, let's not forget those neighborhoods where some houses go over the top when it comes to putting on a holiday light show. If you know where to look, you can find some truly dazzling displays. So pile in the car, fire up the GPS, and get your holiday light fix with these spectacular home holiday light displays around Connecticut.

Homes with Awesome Holiday Lights and Decor Around Boston

For some of us, it's a struggle to string our own little Christmas trees without losing a bulb (or our tempers). Others—including some of our Boston neighbors—are veritable pros at decking out their homes for the holidays. All over Boston and the 'burbs, there are spectacular public holiday light displays, but also families who've made a tradition of creating special sparkle on their own properties. So next time you have a free evening, pack some hot chocolate in a thermos, buckle up the kids, and take a road trip to see some of these joyful dwellings. It's sure to inspire holiday spirit (and maybe some ideas for your own abode). Note that some homes and neighborhoods might be still finalizing displays or take periodic days off...drop us a tip at boston@mommypoppins.com if you have any updates.

Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in New Jersey

Too pooped to put on Christmas this year? Not to fret! There are plenty of restaurants in New Jersey where you can pull up a chair on Christmas Day. So, once all the presents under your Christmas tree have been unwrapped and the stockings scavenged, you can lounge in your PJs, sip your coffee, and watch the kids play with their gifts and goodies without having to worry about cooking and cleaning before guests arrive.

We’ve rounded up 11 of New Jersey’s best haunts to feast on festive fare. Call ahead to secure your spots at the table, and then start mapping out the holiday light displays you can catch after dinner. You won’t have to build in extra travel time, because chances are you’ll have the roads all to yourselves. Merry Christmas!

Queen Mary Christmas: A New Holiday Tradition To Chill with this Year

Christmas at the Queen Mary is a great place for a family to chill. That said, if you're looking for Chill with a capital C, the ship's hitherto popular holiday extravaganza, well, that is just so last year. This year, the vintage ocean liner debuts an all-new Christmas event, based entirely on board The Queen Mary. While in previous years the entertainment was spread out on the adjacent tarmac, featured against the backdrop of the photogenic floating monument at the heart of Long Beach, this year all the festive action is located right on the art deco decks of the beloved ship.

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.

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!

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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