December GoList: Things to Do with Long Island Kids This Month

Activities and Events for Kids and Families on Long Island in December

No need to remind you of all that is going on this month. In fact, among our 12 monthly GoLists, it’s unlikely you’ll find one with more entertainment possibilities than December, assuming, of course that between shopping, and surfing (the Web), traveling, and organizing you have time to take advantage of them.

Our gift to you this holiday season is a month’s worth of opportunities. From light shows to train shows, tree and menorah lightings, Santa brunches, and more, we are committed this month to being your source for seasonal entertainment.

With so much to do, what’s the point of an extended introduction? Let’s move headfirst into the month’s must-do events. And for more great seasonal happenings, why not head to our Long Island guide to the holiday season or Long Island events calendar.  As always, best to you and all those who matter to you from your friends at Mommy Poppins. 


Thrill to this drive-through holiday light show at Jones Beach. Photo courtesy of Magic of Lights

Magic of Lights — Jones Beach State Park
Daily through December 31
Enjoy this luminescent holiday light show and tour the Christmas village at Long Island’s most popular state park. The show returns after a one-year absence. 

Girls Scouts of Long Island Holiday Light Show — Shirley
Daily though December 30 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Another drive-through display, the Girl Scouts promise even more holiday illuminations this season. Credit or debit cards only; no advance ticket sales.

Community tree and menorah lightings — Islandwide
Beginning Friday, Dec. 1
Join your neighbors and fellow residents in ushering in the season. There are lightings in Floral Park, Long Beach, Holtsville, the East End, well, just about anywhere on Long Island.

Cut your own Christmas tree — Islandwide, mostly in Suffolk County
Through Christmas Eve
Make the search for your family’s holiday tree an outdoors event at one of these many cut-your-own tree farms on Long Island.

RELATED: The top 12 things to do with kids on Long Island during the holidays

Take the Polar Express on the East End for a visit with Santa. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

Polar Express trolley rides — East End
Through Saturday, December 23
Depart from Riverhead or Southampton on a ride to the “North Pole,” where kids can share share hot cocoa and stories with Santa.

Holiday theater — Islandwide
All month long
Children’s drama comes alive in December. Kids can enjoy Annie in Northport, Barnaby Saves Christmas in Port Jefferson, Clara’s Dream in Patchogue, Frosty in Northport, Mrs. Claus Saves the Day in East Islip, and more.

Dickens Festival — Port Jefferson
Friday, December 1-Sunday, December 3
The village turns back the clock to the 19th century, bringing to life some of Charles Dickens’ immortal characters, including Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s one of LI’s most charming holiday spectacles. FREE

Train shows — Islandwide
Friday, December 1-Sunday, December 3; Friday, December 8-Sunday, December 10; some thereafter
Young train enthusiasts will marvel at the variety of engines and layouts on display. Enjoy shows in Babylon, Farmingdale, LevittownSayville, and elsewhere.

Holiday magic awaits across Long Island this month. Don't miss Bayville's Winter Wonderland. Photo by Lisa Fogarty

Winter Wonderland — Bayville
Through New Year’s Day, Monday, January 1
Enjoy holiday express train rides, Santa’s toy workshop, ice skating, holiday stories, and more at this pop-up display at Bayville Adventure Park.

Gingerbread houses await decoration at the Children's Museum of the East End. Photo courtesy of the museum

Gingerbread House Decorating — Bridgehampton
Saturday, December 2; Saturday, December 9
Unleash your child’s culinary creativity as he or she decorates pre-made gingerbread houses at the Children’s Museum of the East End.

Holiday Festival at Coe Hall — Oyster Bay
Saturday, December 9-Sunday, December 10; Saturday, December 16-Sunday, December 17
Kids can meet Santa, enjoy face painting, decorate holiday cookies, listen to holiday music, and more at Planting Fields Arboretum. 

Breakfast with Santa — Glen Cove
Saturdays, December 2 and 9
Join St. Nick for a feast at the Glen Cove Mansion, where he will distribute candy canes, small toys, and holiday best wishes.

Santa’s Workshop — Port Jefferson
Saturdays, December 2 and 9; Sunday, December 3
Santa and his elves welcome visitors to the famous Drowned Meadow Cottage in Port Jefferson’s downtown. Help bring the magic of the holiday season to life.

Ugly Sweater Workshop — Port Washington
Mondays, November 27, December 4, and 11
Kids can have a little fun with holiday tradition as they sketch and design their own sweaters at The Dolphin Bookshop. Kids are welcome to drop in for a single session, but more than one lesson might be required to complete their designs.

RELATED: Holiday volunteering opportunities for Long Island kids

Meet the enduring characters of The Nutcracker in the timeless classic. Photo courtesy of Tilles Center

The Nutcracker as performed by the Eglevsky Ballet — Brookville
Saturday, December 16-Sunday, December 17
The heralded Eglevsky Ballet brings its version of the holiday classic to Tilles Center. The one-hour length is ideal for children new to performing arts. Note: The performance on Friday, December 15 is sold out. Follow our link here for other Nutcracker performances.

Trollstice Express: A Celebration of Light and Spirit — Port Washington
Saturday, December 16
Trolls guide youngsters on a magical nighttime journey that departs from the town dock on Lower Main Street. The trip climaxes at the Long Island Science Museum in Manhasset with a campfire, cocoa, and music.

Candlelight Evenings Holiday Show — Old Bethpage
Tuesday, December 26-Saturday, December 30
Head to the Village Restoration for a 19th-century holidays celebration featuring a model train show, period songs and storytelling, and more.

New Year’s Eve family parties — Islandwide
Sunday, December 31
Parents can share some New Year’s Eve best wishes with their kids before the countdown to midnight and 2018 begins. Family events are planned during the day in Bayville, Cold Spring Harbor, Long Beach, Port Jefferson, and elsewhere.