Suffolk

Long Island Homes with Spectacular Christmas Light Displays for 2018

Entertaining the family during the holidays can be expensive, of course. Want an inexpensive option? Travel 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 2018. 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. And come back often to Mommy Poppins to see what has been added to our gallery.

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.

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, most 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 or these 30 things to do over holiday break with Long Island kids.

Spectacular Holiday and Christmas Light Displays on Long Island

Watch your little ones' faces light up as they see the glow coming off a spectacular holiday or Christmas light show across Long Island. Is there a better way to usher in the holiday season?

We've rounded up our favorite holiday light shows in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including one new addition for 2018. Most of these destinations are complete 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 more holiday lights at private houses around Long Island.

Places to See Santa on LI During the Christmas Season

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

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, 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 remain open after Christmas, Santa returns to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, December 24.

For more seasonal adventures, check out our list of Polar Express Santa trains in the New York City and Long Island areas, and these great holiday shows in the region.

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.

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids, 2018

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. In 2018, 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 Long Island organizations 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 in need is a wonderful lesson to teach your children, especially at this time of year. 

The Best Indoor Ice Skating Rinks for Long Island Kids

As days get shorter and winter beckons, it's time for spirited schoolkids, toddlers, and teens to get active at one of Long Island's awesome indoor skating rinks. This roundup of our favorite rinks features information on open-skate times, group and private lessonsbirthday parties, and sports leagues. 

Most of these rinks offer skate rental, but note that some are run by local municipalities that offer discounted fees for residents. Fees and times are as of November 2018.

Of course, if your family prefers to do its skating outdoors, be sure to check out our guide to Long Island’s best outdoor rinks. And for more seasonal fun, check out our winter fun list and our destinations for delicious hot chocolate.

Dough Life's Edible Cookie Dough Is Catnip for Kids

There's nothing quite like taking a giant bite out of a roll of cookie dough. It's delicious, but not something you'd like to see you child doing. At least not until now.

While eating traditional raw cookie dough comes with health risks, including salmonella, Dough Life's cookie dough is completely edible. Kids, and cookie dough-loving adults, can comfortably indulge in what once was a guilty pleasure. Read on and see how the cookie dough craze has come to Long Island.

If your kids have a big sweet tooth, check out these decadent dessert spots or old-fashioned ice cream parlors on Long Island as well.

Free Indoor Play Spaces for Long Island Kids

There’s no reason to stay home just because the fall season and the colder weather is upon us.

All across Long Island, there are play spaces and indoor playgrounds to keep your kids happily occupied. In fact, some of them are hiding in plain sight. And better yet, many of these kid-friendly spots are FREE. From malls to bookstores and libraries, there is plenty of FREE fun to be had for Long Island kids.

Enjoy these unique play destinations, but remember at most venues a parent/adult must be present to supervise children.

For more indoor fun, don't forget our guide to rainy-day activities on Long Island.

Caumsett State Park: A Jewel for Kids on Suffolk's North Shore

Parents with spirited kids know the value of time spent in nature.

Besides just being an awesome experience, nature and the outdoors are known to build immunity, lower stress, and reduce symptoms of ADHD. Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve near Huntington is a spacious waterfront parkland where tots can enjoy year-round fishing, hiking, picnicking, and more on Long Island Sound.

For more great things in and around Long Island's North Shore, check out our guides to Centerport with kids and family fun in Northport. For more outdoor fun, check out our guide to LI parks and playgrounds, including 15 state parks that are absolutely worth a visit.

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