Weekend Fun: Holiday Decorations, Santa, and Rockin' with Elvis, Dec. 3-4

With the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers made into soup and sandwiches, it's time for the final holiday countdown. It's the first weekend of December and for many that means the hunt for the perfect tree has begun. You'll find many places to pick your own in our CT Holiday Fun Guide. Also, Santa has arrived and we know where you can meet him in Stamford, Danbury and Bristol. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so that you won't miss any of the fun! As always, our event calendar is updated with the latest activities. Our top suggestions for fun this weekend are broken out below. Enjoy!

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Snowkus-Pocus, St. Nicholas Day

‘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!

Some weekend events get a boost from period charm at historic sites, including the St. Nicholas Day Celebration and Somers Holiday Celebration, while several live holiday shows and Nutcracker productions take the stage this weekend, including the eccentric Cirque-Tacular - Snowkus Pocus. But if you’re not ready for total holiday immersion, another highlight is the cultural celebration Diwali, Hindu Festival of Lights. Many of our top picks this weekend are FREE!

Read on for more details, and know that there are many more events to choose from on our Event Calendar and our brand-new December GoList. Be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletters to stay up to date on all kinds of fun—holiday and otherwise!

Weekend Fun: Santa Rescue, Nutcrackers, Video Game Expo

Lots of holiday concerts, shows, and Santa sightings are on tap this weekend in the Big Apple. Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes play in Manhattan, separately, while rap legend Kurtis Blow guest stars in The Hip Hop Nutcracker. Another GoList pick: Circus Der Sinne’s extravaganza set in Cape Town, Mother Africa: My Home opens this weekend at the New Victory Theater. Plus, on Saturday, December 10, we're partnering with the New Vic to bring you MommyPoppins Night at Mother Africa: My Home—our readers enjoy discounted tickets, a pre-show workshop, and more. Get your tickets now!

Breakfasts and brunches with Santa have also launched in NYC, and there’s a real funny one at the Broadway Comedy Club this weekend. Ready to get those Santa photographs taken care of? Check out our post on the best places to pose with the Big Guy. Loads of free tree lightings bloom this weekend, too, from the annual Fort Greene Park Holiday Tree Lighting to the Lighting of the Park Avenue Christmas Trees and the Carl Schurz Park lighting and caroling on the Upper East Side. See our full roundup of tree lightings in December for more options. Looking for your own special tree? Peruse our list of tree farms close to home.

For non-holiday fun, bring your mini coders to the Video Game Expo at the Children's Museum of the Arts, the FREE City of Science on Staten Island, or maybe the Wintercon: New York Comic and Sci-Fi Expo in Queens.

Our best weekend picks for December 3-4 are below. Don't forget to skim our Events CalendarHoliday Fun Guide, and just released December GoList for more seasonal happenings around town.

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: Gingerbread Decorating, Sea Glass Ornaments Dec. 3-4

Stay warm and toasty in Freeport while the Holiday Boat Parade floats by. Get creative with candy at the Children's Museum of the East End's gingerbread house decorating event. Step back in time and learn how the Roosevelts spent Christmas at Sagamore Hill. Create a delicate Sea Glass Ornament or bright Menorah at the Whaling Museum.

There's plenty of holiday celebrations on the calendar to explore. Dine at breakfast with Santa, take in a live performance of The Nutcracker or ooh and ahh at spectacular light shows across Long Island. 

And for the most fun per square inch, check the Mommy Poppins December Go List and the events calendar daily. 

Don't see your event listed here? Add it to our events calendar. And if you don't receive this post in your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.

December GoList: Best Holiday Events and Activities for LA and OC Kids

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the daily, backward-counting dose of chocolate known as Advent begins. Suddenly we have just three weeks left to squeeze every bit of holiday fun out of this city that we possibly can—with a week left over to decide whether we should try to celebrate New Year's Eve with our kids, or elusively without them. There are amazing holiday light displays to take in; and then there are more amazing holiday light displays. There are Santa photos to snap, trees to lightNutcrackers to see, and Hanukkah looms large on the lit horizon, too. In short, no matter how hard you try to do it all, there is more epic fun stuff going on than anyone could possibly do in a month. If you had to choose, though, below are the dozen December events we would suggest you make time for.

Small Town Christmas Celebrations in New Jersey

If you're looking for a quaint holiday experience this year, we recommend skipping the mall and heading to one of New Jersey's charming small towns. You’ll find boutiques and specialty shops that are filled with one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list. Plus, many small towns go the extra mile by sponsoring events and entertainment for the entire family. Check out our roundup below for some great small-town fun. 

December GoList: The Best Things To Do With CT Kids This Month

The holiday season is in full swing, and those in Connecticut looking for family fun don't have to look far this December.  You'll find lots of great shows, holiday festivals, Santa Claus visits, reindeer, and holiday strolls in our GoList. So many that we've rounded up 20 of our favorite events. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, where you'll find a list of each week's highlighted events as well as information for great giveaways. And for even more holiday fun, including where to find that perfect Christmas tree, be sure to check out our CT Holiday Fun Guide. Happy Holidays!

Preschool? Pfft...Why NYC High School Admissions Will Crush You

As amazing as this city is, living in NYC is not for the faint of heart. Raising kids here? Even more so. If you’ve gotten through preschool, elementary school, and even middle school admissions, you may be thinking, “I’ve got this.” Even spreadsheet-making, type-A parents who mastered the earlier grades may be shocked at how overwhelming and chaotic the high school application process is. I should know; I'm going through it with my second kid now and I'm still dizzy from the whirlwind.

Even if your kid is still a tyke, it's worth knowing what you are in for. I didn't want to just rely on my own experiences though. After addressing our mutual PTSD, I got the inside scoop on what you need to know about applying to high school in NYC from a bunch of been-there-done-that local parents.

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