Holidays

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.

30+ Free Holiday and Christmas Events for NJ Kids

It's the most wonderful—and expensive—time of the year. While big-budget gifts take a toll on your wallet, our gift to you is a list of holiday events that don't cost a penny. Treat the family to free and fun holiday festivities throughout the state, including Christmas lights extravaganzas, Santa visits, carriage rides, New Years Eve crafts, storytimes, and more.

Mark your calendars with these 30 no-cost events that take place nearly every day of the season. For more budget-friendly holiday fun, check out A Dozen Must-Do Holiday Events for NJ Kids and The Best Nutcracker, Christmas, and Holiday Shows for NJ Kids

Best Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and Beyond

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of the best things to do with kids in New York City during the Christmas season, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, leaves, and other botanical bits and pieces. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only holiday train show in town. Read on for more details on all the Christmas train shows the city has to offer this season (including the Botanical Garden's big spectacle). And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size Christmas train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

50 Awesome Santa Activities in Connecticut

Shopping mall Santas have been de rigueur since store owner James Edgar donned a red suit and snowy beard to entertain children in 1890. Today the tradition is alive and well in malls across Connecticut, including Stamford Town Center, Danbury Fair, and Westfarms.

If you're looking to mix it up with a Santa outing that's a little bit different, we have rounded up our 50 favorite Santa activities across the state. Some events are free and require no preregistration, but many of those that do require advanced tickets are VERY popular and can sell out early, so you'll want to buy tickets as soon as possible. In a separate post we've also rounded up where to have a yummy breakfast with Santa. Don't forget to check our Holiday Fun Guide and events calendar often for more holiday happenings!

LA's Christmas Boat Parades: Newport Beach, the Marina, and 9 More

Unlike certain other parts of the country that shall remain nameless (no need to go rubbing it in the noses of cities like, say, Boston), LA is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime - and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you is even better...

21 NYC Holiday Activities Every Kid Should Try Once

From train shows to Christmas-season theater, New York City serves up so many festive offerings there's no way one family can see and do it all in a single holiday season. Our holiday bucket list grows every year. In fact, for 2018 we found 15 must-do Christmas events for kids, and twelve picture-perfect holiday-themed day trips.

But there are a few holiday activities that are extra special, extra big, and extra over the top that can only be found in NYC, which we believe every kid ought to experience at least once in a childhood. These include ice skating under the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and walking the illuminated streets of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, among other holiday delights.

Whether you call NYC home or you're in for a holiday visit, our list of 21 once-in-a-lifetime experiences for families represents the very best of a NYC Christmas. The best part? More than half are FREE.

Where Kids Can Enjoy Breakfast with Santa on Long Island, 2018

Sitting on Santa’s lap is a holiday tradition for many families. In 2018, there are a number of places on Long Island that offer the opportunity to meet St. Nick while also enjoying a yummy breakfast or brunch.

Be sure to call your venue for reservations as many sell out. And for more seasonal fun, check out our guide to the holidays on Long Island and our events calendar.

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