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.

Weekend Fun: PAW Patrol Live, A Christmas Carol, Santa Express

We are right in the middle of the holiday season, and this weekend is jam-packed with seasonal cheer.

There are tons of opportunities to have breakfast with Santa—including one on the Battleship New Jersey!—and plenty of ways to have some gingerbread fun. Train lovers can take a ride on the Santa Express or check out exhibits like the Holiday Model Train Show

It's also the perfect weekend to see a show: Ryder and the rescue dogs of Adventure Bay come to NJPAC in PAW Patrol Live; Scrooge takes the stage in McCarter Theatre's celebrated production of A Christmas Carol; and The Nutcracker continues to spread sweet holiday magic at venues across the state, including including performances by NJ Ballet at Mayo Performing Arts Center and American Repertory Ballet at South Orange Performing Arts Center. History buffs won't want to miss the dress rehearsal of Washington crossing the Delaware.

Find many more ideas for fun this weekend and throughout the season in our December GoList and Holiday Guide, including where to see the best holiday light displays and must-do holiday activities for NJ kids.

Read on for some of this weekend's highlights—and be sure to check our Event Calendar for a full listing of activities this weekend and beyond!

Free and Cheap Kids' Ski Programs in the Northeast This Winter

Let's face facts: No matter how exhilarating skiing and snowboarding are, they are also among the most expensive activities in which a family can participate—especially if your kids take a single run and spend the rest of the day sipping cocoa.

Thankfully, many nearby state ski associations offer free or mostly free lift tickets to grade-schoolers, even if you're not a resident of that state. Of course, there are hurdles to clear to get those benefits—kids need to be the appropriate age, apply online and, in some cases, be accompanied by a paying adult. There are also "processing fees" attached to several, but it breaks down to a very discounted ticket if you use it more than once. But for avid skiers and riders, or those who merely want to try out the sports, these programs can save you plenty of cash when skiing with the kids.

Read on for more information on how to ski for free in New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. (Note: Connecticut has a residents-only program for free ski passes for kids at Mohawk Mountain.)

Check our Ski and Snow Sports Guide for more fun on local hills and mountains.

Where to Donate Kids' Clothes, Toys, and Gear Across NYC

With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.

We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough that accept children's items.

The Museum of Selfies Pops Up in Glendale This Winter

Wondering what could possibly connect cavemen, Vincent Van Gogh, the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikokaevna, and Kim Kardashian? No idea? Selfies may not come to mind for most (or almost any) people, but a new museum is suggesting otherwise. The Museum of Selfies is making the case that all of those 2.4 million daily duck-pout pictures gunking up social media (many snapped at selfie-producing watering holes like The Museum of Ice Cream and Happy Place) are just the latest twist on a trend that's been hot, hot, hot for the last 40,000 years.

Boston-Area Restaurants Open on Christmas Day

As cozy as it is at home during the end of December, there's something about the idea of someone else doing the cooking and clean-up for the family that is just so appealing—no matter what holiday you celebrate. As it turns out, not only are there a bunch of amazing restaurants open in Boston on Christmas Day, but they have all kinds of special holiday plans for guests as well.

Hanukkah Celebrations and Menorah Lightings for NYC Families

New York City knows how to celebrate the holidays, and Hanukkah is no different. The Festival of Lights arrives early in 2017, with the first night on Tuesday, December 12. But have no fear: we've rounded up nearly two dozen ways to celebrate this wonderful Jewish holiday, and most of them are free.

Some cool new and newish events this year! There's the first-ever Menorah on the High Line, and the Chabad of DUMBO has transformed its yearly Hanukkah celebration into Fire and Ice at Jane's Carousel. We also have the annual mainstays, from the World's Largest Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, to Chanukah on Ice and Hanukkah Family Day at the Jewish Museum

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