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Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Dickens on the Strand, Parade of Lights, Dec 2-3

With Thanksgiving officially behind us, we can start looking forward to the biggest holiday-filled month of the year! For the month of December we are your official stop for all holiday happenings in and around Houston. 

If you're new in town or looking for new holiday activities to do with the family, be sure to take a look at our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Events for Houston families, where you'll find everything you need for a successful holiday season. A few favorites from the guide include the best public holiday light displays and the best Houston neighborhoods and homes for viewing holiday lights

We also have an event calendar that is always stocked with events happening throughout Houston and all of its surrounding areas, as well as a list of 26 FREE Christmas and holiday events in the area, our ever popular December GoList, and our free weekly newsletter

Have an event worth sharing? Share it with us by submitting your own event to our calendar, and we'll share it with all of our loyal readers.

Now, without further ado, let's get on to this weekend's events!

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.

Macy's Santaland NYC: When and How to See Santa at Herald Square

Few places to see Santa in New York City compare with Macy's Santaland. It's a magical experience for tourists and natives, so why not take your kids for the holidays?

'Tis the season for Macy's to open its 13,000-square-foot winter wonderland, which overflows with holiday cheer from its live "elves," to an enchanted forest, animatronic toys, and a train display. Santa holds court from Friday, November 24 (the day after Thanksgiving and the parade) through Sunday, December 24, aka Christmas Eve.

This year visitors are treated to a brand-new reservation system to hopefully foil those pesky long lines of the past. A major bonus: There are great photo-ops all along the way, so the kids barely have time to squirm or fuss.

Birthday Freebies for Long Island Kids on Their Big Day

What kid doesn’t like special treats on his or her birthday? There are plenty of places on Long Island that offer free meals and other goodies for your child on that special day. Many of these birthday treats can be cashed in anytime during the child’s birthday month, so the fun can be enjoyed before or after the birthday itself.

We love to support local small businesses when we can, but some of these chain-store birthday clubs are pretty sweet, and many have locations across Long Island so there's bound to be an outpost near you. Be sure to check out our Long Island Party Guide for more on how to make your child's birthday a day to remember, including information on venues, entertainers, and more.

All Aboard! LI Holiday Model Train Exhibits

If watching a miniature train make its way around a tiny Christmas village isn’t on your family’s list of holiday traditions, why not make it one this year?

We guarantee children and adults alike will gaze with wide-eyed wonder at the sights and sounds of the trains and the holiday-themed decorations of the towns through which they travel at one of the many model train exhibits on Long Island this holiday season. To get you going, we’ve put together a list of some of the best displays, sure to delight the entire family.

And if all this train watching makes your family eager to climb aboard a real caboose, check out our roundup of Polar Expresses and Santa Trains near NYC.

All aboard!

Best Places To Visit Santa Claus with Westchester Kids

For those who celebrate Christmas, the holiday season is hardly complete without a trip to visit Santa. Lucky for us, there's no shortage of places in Westchester where kids can have a meet-and-greet with the big guy, and we’ve rounded them up for you here. If you’re looking for a photo opp for your little ones (and your pets!), these Santa sightings are sure to delight you and your little ones this holiday season.

Want an even more relaxed environment? Check out some of the breakfasts with Santa occurring throughout Westchester. 

For even more holiday activities, see our coverage on holiday tree lightings and performances of the The Nutcracker, all happening in Westchester.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Zoo Lights, Winter Wonderland Kids Festival, Pecan Harvest Festival, Nov. 18-19

If you're anything like us, then your calendar is probably filling up at an alarming rate right now with seasonal favorites like breakfast with Santa, The Nutcracker, and other kid-friendly holiday shows. With so many great events happening, it can be hard to pick which ones to attend! To help ease the stress of sifting through the overwhelming number of events coming up, we put together a handy little list of the top things to do with preschoolers during the holidays.

Or maybe that just made your calendar even fuller. Even so, you'll thank us when you see those great big smiles, promise. 

Suddenly feel like you need to get away? A family camping trip to Bastrop State Park might be just what you need. We're positive you'll come back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the holidays.

Don't forget: there's still time to vote for your favorite local businesses during this year's Houston Besties; voting puts you in the running to win some awesome prizes!

Find your calendar looking a little light this month? In need of ways to entertain visiting family and friends? Check out our fall bucket listevent calendar, and November GoList for even more family events and activities. You can also subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to make sure you're always in the loop with everything happening around Houston. 

Have an event worth sharing? Share it with us by submitting your own event to our calendar, and we'll share it with all of our loyal readers.

Now, let's get on to this weekend's events!

20 Things To Do with NYC Babies Before They Turn 1

The whole "New York City is a terrible place to raise babies" debate seems to continue, especially in conversations on local parenting groups. But as a mom of three who had all my babies right here in NYC, I disagree. Yes, it can be a nuisance to find subway stations with working elevators and contend with tiny spaces and noisy neighbors, but there are so many enriching first-time experiences to share with your baby in the city that make it worth muddling through the inconveniences.

So stock your diaper bag, strap your infant into a stroller or carrier and try these 20 things to do with your baby before age 1.

10 Best Activities for Toddlers in Connecticut This Week, November 13-17

My kids are older now so while the arrival of colder weather elicits some moans and groans, it doesn't cause quite the same stir that it did when they were younger and wrestling them into winter coats and boots required what often felt like superhuman strength. So this week, we're focusing on activities specifically for toddlers that are worth the extra effort, whether for a special nature walk, a visit to the zoo, or Thanksgiving themed story and craft activities.

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