Suffolk

Where to Donate Gently Used Toys and Baby Gear on LI

If your kids are anything like most, their holiday wish lists are filled with requests for new toys. And once the holiday comes—and they're happily playing with their gifts—what do you do with all of the old toys that are cluttering up the house? Or all of the baby equipment that the kids have outgrown?

For safety reasons, fewer and fewer places seem to be accepting gently used toys. But before you put those toys out on the curb, consider these Long Island organizations that accept preowned toys and baby items provided they are clean, undamaged and in working order.

For safety reasons, charities do not accept cribs or car seats. However, many will accept strollers, bouncers, and even baby care items such as diapers. At this busy time of year, however, contact these charities to make sure they haven't reached their donation limits. One other tip: Ask your preschool child's school director, local library or church. Often, those institutions are willing to accept used toys and books from someone they know and trust. 

Looking for more ways to help your community? There are plenty of holiday volunteer opportunities for kids and families. And for other seasonal activities, check out our Long Island Holiday Fun Guide.

7 Places to Have Afternoon Tea with Long Island Kids

Did you know that January is Hot Tea Month? We didn't either, but it makes perfect sense.

When the weather is cold, enjoying a warm cup of tea with your favorite little person is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. From sampling a variety of tea flavors to tasting yummy miniature sandwiches and scones, these Long Island tea rooms offer a warm welcome in an elegant setting. For more delicious fun with your little one, check out our guide to the best Long Island brunch destinations for families, or treat yourself to our roundup of the Island's most decadent dessert spots

Long Island Restaurants Open on Christmas Eve & Day 2017

The holidays are a joyous time ... unless you are the one cooking. It's a lot less fun if you're hustling in the kitchen while the rest of the family is celebrating.

If you’d rather enjoy a meal out than spend hours preparing one, some Long Island restaurants are open to serve dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some even have kid-friendly menus. So take a look at this list to see which spots have the right menu for you. Call ahead for reservations, and for more seasonal activities and events this month, check out our holiday guide and December GoList.

Long Island Homes with Spectacular Holiday Light Displays for 2017

Entertaining the family during the holidays can be expensive, of course. Want an inexpensive option? Travel with the family to view some of Long Island's most-decorated holiday homes.

Chances are, wherever you are on Long Island -- from Port Washington to Port Jefferson -- you'll find neighbors going all out to show off their decorating skills. These nifty displays include lights, Nativity scenes, Santas, reindeer, misfit toys, and other beloved seasonal symbols.

We’ve traveled across Nassau and Suffolk to see what’s shining on local lawns, documenting for you our favorites for 2017. So get the family going, put the snacks in a sack, and be ready for some holiday music. Yes, some of these destinations offer seasonal tunes to get you and yours into the spirit. It's still early in the decorating season, so come back often to see what has been added to our gallery.

As we remind you every year, these are all private homes. While owners expect sightseers, don't touch any displays or enter private property. Also, try to not get too noisy: Almost all of these homes are located on residential streets. And perhaps bring items or money for donation, as some homes to collect for charity.

If holiday lights are your thing, check out these other spectacular LI displays. And for more seasonal fun, see our December GoList and Guide to Holiday Fun on Long Island, where you'll find information on brunches and pictures with Santa, holiday performances, and more.

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms on Long Island

The Thanksgiving turkey has been consumed. You've completed your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. Now it’s time for the next holiday ritual—finding the perfect Christmas tree.

From Cold Spring Harbor to Montauk, Long Island has close to a dozen tree farms, where enthusiastic families can cut a super-fresh spruce (or fir, or pine) at modest cost. These farms range from simple, roadside acreage to full-fledged holiday extravaganzas. So whether you prefer a quick tree-cutting errand or a day out in Santa’s wonderland, consider a visit to one of these outdoor emporiums.

These farms are all located in Suffolk County, where farmland is more abundant, and are listed below by town. As always, find more ways to celebrate in our Holiday Fun Guide.

Top Places to See Santa on Long Island

Santa has the magical ability to be in several places at once, but often for only a few hours.

To help you pin down St. Nick, here's a sample of fun venues where he will appear on a regular basis throughout the holiday season. Remember, though, that Santa sometimes has to take a break for milk and cookies, so build a little extra time into your schedule. And while some winter wonderlands are still open after Christmas, Santa returns to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, December 24. For more seasonal month, check out our LI holiday guide for information on dining with Santa, holiday light displays, and more.

Spectacular Holiday Light Displays on Long Island

Watch your little ones' faces light up as they see the glow coming off these spectacular holiday light shows across Long Island. That's not all: Most are complete destination stops with hot cocoa, ice skating, and photo-ops with Santa.

For more seasonal fun, see our Long Island Holidays Guide. Our events calendar is packed with up-to-date holiday activities for kids of all ages, including the best places to dine with Santa this season.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids

No matter their ages, most kids (and adults) can’t help but get caught up in the gift-getting, list-making, shop-till-you-drop frenzy of the holidays. This year, why not show your children how rewarding it can be to donate to needy families or to help make a sick child’s holiday a little brighter simply by volunteering time?

From fundraising to food drives to helping make wishes come true, we’ve put together a list of organizations that are looking for volunteers this holiday season, as well as throughout the year. You can also check out the Long Island Volunteer Center, which is a great resource of nonprofits in your area. And don’t forget to check with your local houses of worship, which often need help with food pantries and soup kitchens; your child’s school or scouting group, and your local library.

The importance of giving back to those who need it most is a wonderful lesson to teach your children, especially during this time of year. 

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