Weekday Picks: Boat Parade of Lights, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, Dec. 5-9

Celebrating the holidays around here can have a uniquely Southern California vibe. Take boat parades, for instance. There are precious few other places in the country that can offer bedecked boats parading around harbors and waterways to the delight of families watching from the shore, or taking a cruise on the water for a closer view. Dana Point launches the first parade of the season this week, promptly followed by 10 more local holiday boat parades.

Another advantage we have here is the ability to see big-name stars in local theater productions. Lythgoe Family Productions opens two shows this week featuring the traditional British holiday panto style, in which classic tales are infused with slapstick comedy, song and dance, exaggerated characters, topical humor and lots of audience participation. Joely Fisher and Cozi Zuehlsdorff open in Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight at Laguna Playhouse this week, and Lauren Taylor, Alex Newell, and Morgan Fairchild star in A Cinderella Christmas at Pasadena Playhouse. 

As always, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our monthly picks in our December GoList. Here are some of our favorite holiday and non-holiday related events this week.

Westchester's Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza: A Holiday Carnival for Families

The Westchester Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla has returned for its third year, and we recently returned to check out the full experience. We have some tips for this year's fun winter carnival, which will be open on select dates through January 2.

Check out our Event Calendar for more holiday hooplah, and be sure to sign up for our FREE newsletters to keep up with all family-friendly Westchester happenings. 

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Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Santa, Antarctica, and Clara, Dec 5-9

After an eventful weekend of seeing José Mateo Ballet Theatre's magical performance of The Nutcracker, noshing our way through the Boston Public Market, and checking out the winter wonderland that has recently popped up in City Hall Plaza (pictured), we're not sure we want to go back to the weekday routine. But go back we must, so we've picked a few happenings this week that take us out of the doldrums and drop us into Antarctica, the North Pole, and the Land of Sweets. Our Event Calendar is also bursting with festive holiday events this time of year, so we highly recommend checking it out in addition to our picks below if you're looking for a mid-week escape.

Weekday Fun in NJ: Gingerbread Wonderland, Santa, Train Show

If you look at December’s roster of events, it’s like Christmas every day. In this first full week of the month, you’ll spot Santa in some unusual places, like underwater at Adventure Aquarium’s Scuba Santa exhibition and at the Pro Bass Shop for free photos. Get immersed in the holiday scene at the 25th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland, Hoboken’s Christmas Tree Lighting and Turtle Back Zoo’s Holiday Lights.

Read on for our best children's events the week of Dec 5–9, and don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar, December GoList, and Holiday Guide for even more holiday happenings. 

Weekday Picks for Westchester Kids: Coding, STEM, Holiday Fun

You might expect a slew of holiday-related programs to dominate our top picks for the coming week, especially given the multitude of holiday activities taking place every weekend this month. And while this week's picks don't completely ignore the season, we have even more ideas for those seeking something a little different. Best of all: Most of them are FREE! 

STEM fans can learn what makes lights light and clocks tick at Electricity and Circuitry, while programming buffs can create games or stories at the Teen Coding Workshop. To introduce your kids to opera, snag a seat at the family-friendly—and holiday favorite—Amahl and the Night Visitors.

As always, there are additional details and more highlights below, plus a lot of other events to be found on our Event Calendar. And for a bigger fix of that holiday fun you might be craving, consult our Holiday Fun Guide to help you get the most out of the season with kids!

Weekday Picks for CT Kids: Sharks, Santa, and Storycraft, December 5-9, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (well, except in my house because we haven't made it out to pick out a tree yet, which makes me The Worst Mother Ever). Still, I'm making it up to my kids with all kinds of holiday fun including gingerbread house making, a Santa Claus who dives with the sharks, and a special sing-a-long with Santa.  For a complete run down on holiday fun, including where to cut your own Christmas trees (in case, like me, this is still on your holiday list), make sure to check out our CT Holiday Fun Guide! For even more suggestions take a peek at our frequently updated Event Calendar and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so you don't miss a thing!

Best High Tea Spots in NYC to Enjoy a Cup with Kids

Whether you're celebrating a special occasion or just looking for a memorable experience, afternoon tea—popularly called high tea in New York City—can be a fun outing with kids. It's an especially great winter outing and particularly fitting during the holidays.

Several places serve high tea in New York City, with varying degrees of appropriateness for children. From the fancy Eloise Tea at the Plaza Hotel to the less frilly Russian Tea Room, there are teas—and the goodies that come along with them—for children of all ages and parents of all budgets. Here's our take on some of the best spots for a tea outing in NYC.

Giving Back: Holiday Toy Drives in Houston

The holidays are in full swing, and kids everywhere are dreaming of toys they want and are counting down the days until it's time to open presents. However, the holiday season is as much about giving as it is about receiving, and during this time parents have a unique window of opportunity to teach children the importance of volunteering and giving back to those in need. One way to do this is by donating toys to a local holiday toy drive, and we've rounded up several organizations in and around Houston that are dedicated to bringing holiday cheer to families unable to afford gifts this holiday season.

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