Thanksgiving Week Picks for CT Kids: Light Shows, Crafts, and Inflatable Fun, November 21-25, 2016

Whether you're hosting, dining out or traveling this Thanksgiving, it's a challenging week to keep the kiddos entertained. We've scoured our events calendar for the best family activities to help us all enjoy our time together. Holiday light season is getting under way, and we have two terrific events worth checking out this week: the Festival of Silver Lights, which kicks off in Meriden on Tuesday, and the Hawleyville Fire Department's Holiday Show, which opens its season on Thanksgiving Day. Stop by Pump It Up in Norwalk for a Thanksgiving-themed jump that will wear out even the most energetic of children (and as a special bonus, admission is discounted with food donations for the local food bank).

 We're thankful to have you with us here at Mommy Poppins. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so that you won't miss out on any fun this busy holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Top 25 Santa Activities in Connecticut

Shopping mall Santas have been de rigueur since store owner James Edgar donned a red suit and snowy beard to entertain children in 1890, and the tradition is alive and well in malls across Connecticut, including Stamford Town Center, Danbury Fair, and Westfarms.

But if you're looking to mix it up with a Santa outing that's a little bit different, we have rounded up our 25 favorite Santa activities across the state. Some events are free and require no preregistration, but many of those that do require advanced tickets are VERY popular and can sell out early, so you'll want to buy tickets as soon as possible. Don't forget to check our Holiday Fun Guide and events calendar often for more holiday happenings!

Viewer Guide to the Parade Spectacular in Stamford

You may have heard of that other Thanksgiving Day Parade.  You know, the one that you have to get up at the crack of dawn, wait for hours in the street, and spend your Thanksgiving smooshed against strangers trying to catch a glimpse at floats as they work their way down Broadway.  Lucky for us Nutmeggers, we have the UBS Parade Spectacular that has all of the fun with none of the hassle.  For as long as I have lived in Fairfield County, the Parade Spectacular marks the beginning of the holiday season. Featuring 16 giant balloons, marching bands, fantastic floats, clowns, and a special visit from Santa, the Stamford parade is recognized as one of the best in the country. 

From where to park, to some insider tips, this guide provides you with all the information you need to make the Parade Spectacular a highlight of your family’s holiday season. For more seasonal activities, check out our November Go List

Nutcracker Performances for LA and OC Kids at Christmas Time

Most of the year, most of us parents don't attempt to take our children to full-length ballet productions, but Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without one good Nutcracker. And if one good Nutcracker begins to make it feel a lot like Christmas, then LA, Orange, and Ventura counties are evidently hitting Uber-Christmas in the coming weeks with more than two dozen professional Nutcracker productions.

Incidentally, we've got answers to the two questions posed most often by LA parents in search of a Nutcracker Ballet for their families: Yes, there is a condensed version staged specifically for kids, offered by the Pacific Ballet down in Costa Mesa, and yes, there are local productions performed with full orchestra - at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, the Broad Stage, and the Anaheim Ballet. There is even the odd Nutcracker Tea—in case you were wondering.

10 Ways To Take Photos with Santa Claus Like an Angeleno

Mall Santas have a special place in many of our hearts (and in most Southland shopping centers), and the holidays really aren't complete without a round of Miracle on 34th Street. Still, we're not raising little Manhattanites; we're raising Southern California babies, and that calls for an outside-the-box kind of Santa Claus photo. If you're in search of quantity, Santa can be found in every mall, at every Christmas tree lighting, at any number of holiday shopping events, and even at one or two Nutcracker performances. But for some real Angeleno quality, snap a photo with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Father Christmas experiences.

The Nutcracker Ballet for Boston Area Kids and Families

The Nutcracker Ballet: It just may be the most classic of holiday traditions. And while the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker is the most traditional of them all, Boston families have numerous options to choose from—traditional performances to modern interpretations, full-length, lavish staging to less elaborate productions just right for young audiences. They all promise to bring that Nutcracker charm that will keep adults wide-eyed, too.

Below we have a list of this year's Boston-area performances of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic, coming to multiple stages in the coming weeks.

5 Houston Area Farms For Cutting Your Own Christmas Tree

While artificial or pre-cut Christmas trees are definitely convenient during an already hectic holiday season, there's something refreshing about choosing and cutting your own tree with the family. Instead of heading to the store or dusting off fake pine needles from the attic this year, start a new tradition by visiting one of the Christmas tree farms in and around Houston. Not only will you be supporting local tree growers, but you'll also be making memories with your family to last a lifetime. Here are five local tree farms ready to provide you with the perfect Christmas tree:

Christmas Tree Lightings in New York City This Holiday Season

You don't have to brave the Rockefeller Center commotion to witness a fabulous Christmas tree lighting in New York City.

We've rounded up some tree lightings that are much less crowded and every bit as hip, from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx and everywhere in between. These community holiday celebrations are festive and (mostly) FREE, and there’s no need to stand on your car to glimpse the goings-on. So grab that cup of hot chocolate and cozy up to one of these holiday illuminations in New York City. Find even more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.


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