Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Hanukkah, CicLAvia, and Santa Breakfasts

Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah. And another. And another. It's no surprise that a holiday that extends over eight crazy nights has an abundance of menorah lighting festivals. You're going to need a lot of matches, a few LEGO bricks, napkins, and maybe some Dramamine

Christmas-celebrating kids are getting plenty of action of their own this weekend. Since it's, say what now, December, those advent calendars are officially fair game. Plus, we are launching into the month-long lead-up to the big day, starting with more Santa breakfasts than you can shake a stick (or break a leg) at. And tree lightings. Also Christmas trains. And ships. Lotsa Christmas going on out there.

Fear not parents: you're not getting left out in the cold. Besides getting to foot the bill for all of the above (yay!) there is fun to be had this weekend that will definitely appeal to you. No word on whether Santa's putting a new SUV under the tree for you, but a Momma can dream, and maybe test drive a few favored models at the LA Auto Show. You can push the limits of reality at the latest VR experience and pummel your friends and family with pancakes. You can pet a snow leopard... no, scratch that. No snow leopard petting at the Snow Leopard Festival. (Mildly disappointing but all things considered probably for the best.)

Keep reading for our best picks for the weekend, whatever you are celebrating.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Christmas on Commerce, Dickens on the Strand, Dec. 1-2

Thanksgiving has passed, December is almost here, and it's beginning to look a lot like the Christmas season in Houston! Hopefully, you snagged some awesome Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and your Christmas list is in good shape as we head into the holiday month. 

To help you fully get into the Christmas spirit Santa is making his rounds to all the local malls and holiday hotspots, and we've gathered all the places he's stopping and compiled them into a neat little list so you can easily check off where you want to take pictures with Santa. We also rounded up the best public holiday light displays in the city, so you can cruise around town checking out the festivities. 

Our event calendar is your #1 resource for planning daily activities and is currently chock full of awesome holiday happenings. And did you know that you can submit your own event to our calendar?! Make sure you also sneak a peek at our December GoList for all the events happening this month that you don't want to miss and subscribe to our weekly newsletter to have all of the content on Mommy Poppins delivered to your inbox in one or two emails per week. 

Now bust out those calendars, because it's time to start planning out the first weekend of December!

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Hanukkah, Candlelight, and Worldwide Holidays, Dec 1-2

Now that it's December, the holiday season is fully upon us with Hanukkah falling on the early side this year. There are several ways to celebrate the Festival of Lights, from this annual menorah lighting with live music to this Chanukah cantata to not one but two Hanukkah parties featuring Vanessa Trien. Kids and parents can learn about holidays from around the world and create art together. History buffs can also have their holiday wishes come true at this candlelight stroll, Christmas by candlelight in Sturbridge, and holidays (plus crafting!) at Hale House.  

Weekend Fun: Free Nutcracker, Santa Rescue, Tree Lightings, Hanukkah

Just like that, it's December, and dozens of versions of The Nutcracker are dancing into town, including this weekend's free Nutcracker in Battery Park City. Meanwhile, Peter and the Wolf (narrated by Isaac Mizrahi) returns to the Guggenheim, and, of course, Santa is already on the scene. While you might think he'd know better by now, he needs to be rescued from a roof in Soho again, in time to trot into Brooklyn on a horse, among other sightings. We've got the full 411 on Santa's whereabouts, from brunches and teas to photo ops.

The gray weekend forecast should be brightened by holiday tree lighting events all over town, from Fort Greene Park to Astoria Park. The Queens Botanical Garden hosts a tree lighting with crafts and caroling, while in Manhattan, the Park Avenue Mall and Carl Shurz Park light up those dark, early-winter skies.

Plus, Hanukkah comes early this year! First lights get lit on Sunday on the High Line and the Lower East Side, while the Grand Army Plazas in Brooklyn and Manhattan continue to vie for "world's biggest Menorah" bragging rights (spoiler alert—they're both huge). Sutton Place's Bright Lights, Big Menorah might win the title for "most fun," though, since it includes a carousel ride, face painting, and a chocolate gelt drop.

We've got more holiday guides, too—see our rundown of the best holiday events in NYC for preschoolers, and our look at the best holiday shows for NYC kids. The December GoList is jam-packed, and don't forget to check out our foolproof Holiday Fun Guide and our bursting-with-holiday-havoc Event Calendar.

Weekend Fun for Connecticut Kids: Santa, Spirits, and Ice on Fire

So you survived the annual Thanksgiving gatherings with your sanity (if not your waistline) mostly intact. Now we begin the holiday season in earnest, and what a wonderful season it is for families. Start off with breakfast with Santa while exploring historic aircraft in Windsor Locks. Then head over to Hartford for some free ice skating in the park...skate rentals included. If you need help getting into the spirit, let the spirits help you in Shelton with a production of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Finally, when night falls, head out to one of the many light displays in the state, our favorites are the ones in New Haven and Danbury.

To make sure that you don't miss any of the fun, subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Read on for our highlights of events happening this weekend, and check our frequently updated daily event calendar for even more ideas.

Weekend Events: Hanukkah, Holiday Lights, Dickens Fest

Glow all weekend with these holiday light show spectaculars across Long Island. Celebrate Hanukkah with a Menoracade or bash at Nassau Coliseum. Stay connected to nature this weekend at the Holtsville Ecology Site or Sunken Meadow State Park.

See our Holiday Family Fun Guide for the best in seasonal entertainment, including our Christmas tree cutting guide, breakfast with Santa events, Hanukkah fun guideice skating rinks and plenty of FREE events and activities. As always, our Event Calendar and November and December GoLists are loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids.

Where To Donate Toys for the Holidays: Toys for Tots, Spark of Love, and More

The holidays can be a particularly rough time to be in need, and this year's terrible fire season has put far more families in this position than usual. Showing our kids how the community rallies is important. We can make time to volunteer with our kids—a great holiday tradition—and kids can also experience the joy of giving by passing along some of last year's gifts, sharing the old with someone new before finding out what Santa delivers this season. When we pursue the parental thrill of buying super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making our kids' day on Christmas or Hanukkah, maybe we could add just one more for a child in need. We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations—new and gently used—to spread around some of that holiday joy.

Weekend Fun: Sinterklaas Festival, Hanukkah, Laurie Berkner

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and you’ve come to the right place for kicking off a season of holiday fun for Westchester and Hudson Valley families. Incredibly, most of our top picks for the weekend are FREE!

Town charm is tangible at the elaborate Sinterklaas Family Day—which is produced by the same organizer as the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, to give a sense of scope—while New Paltz glows with its two-day Holiday on Huguenot Street. Among the standout holiday performances we’ve rounded up is a concert by kiddie-bop icon Laurie Berkner. The St. Nicholas Day Celebration features reflections of a traditional Dutch holiday (spoiler alert: kids used to be happy to receive an orange in their stocking!). And with the Festival of Lights kicking off this weekend, several noteworthy celebrations are planned, among them the multifaceted Hanukkah Village.

With so many exciting events happening this weekend, we couldn’t include them all in our top picks below. Also refer to our roundup of must-do holiday events and tree- and menorah-lighting celebrations, many of which take place this weekend as well. Event Calendar for numerous options happening daily, and rely on our newsletters to organize and prioritize the whole holiday season!

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Lucia Fest, Narberth Festival, Hanukkah December 1-2

A December weekend is often filled with holiday to-do's. Philly families can bake delicious goodies, select the perfect tree, untangle strands of lights to decorate the house, and try to capture the perfect picture for holiday cards to send to loved ones. Once these tasks are complete, turn your attention to our amazing event calendar, which is filled with lots of seasonal fun.

Learn about the Swedish culture with a visit to American Swedish Historical Museum for its annual Lucia Fest, complete with music, food, and special procession. Step back in time to 1840s London for the annual Narberth Dickens Festival or colonial times with a trip to Elfreth's Alley. Celebrate with a holiday parade in Coatesville, Yardley, Philadelphia or attend a musical parade recognizing The Cat's Pajamas.  In addition, Hanukkah begins this weekend so, as expected, there are plenty of menorah lightings and celebrations throughout the Delaware Valley.

Continue reading for our top picks for the weekend.

Beloved Bear Corduroy Stars in New Must-See Exhibit

All three of my kids have been fans of Corduroy since they were toddlers, possibly because I was a fan way before they were even born. It’s impossible not to fall for the endearing, mild-mannered stuffed bear created by prolific author, illustrator, and painter Don Freeman. His two books starring the lovable bear—Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy—are among the author’s best-known works.

Naturally, when I learned that The Museum of the City of New York, one of my family’s favorite NYC destinations, was opening a new exhibit dedicated to Corduroy and a curated collection of Don Freeman’s other works celebrating NYC, I knew I’d be first in line. The exhibit is a loving tribute to Freeman, whose affection for New York City is evident in masterful works that display the intricacies and liveliness of a city like no other. A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman’s New York is an engaging, colorful display and makes for a wonderful outing for little ones and grownups alike—a fitting tribute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Corduroy.


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