The PSP Guide to the Holidays: 2021 Edition

Everything you need to know for this holiday season in Brooklyn! We’re updating this page as new events cross our desk, so keep checking back.

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Where to Meet Santa

Holiday Activities:

Ongoing

Upcoming

Where to see Christmas Lights?

Where to buy a Christmas Tree

Member advice and issues explored

 

Where to Meet Santa

 

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ONGOING SANTA PHOTO OPS:

 

Macy’s Santaland

November 26th - December 24th

Macy's Herald Square, 8th Floor

He’s a busy man this time of year, so make a reservation for the kiddos to meet & take a photo with him at a Macy’s store near you. Can’t join us in person? Set off on an interactive online journey through the North Pole with Santaland At Home beginning 11/26.

Cost: Admission is free with a reservation. Professional photos are available to purchase but are optional. Photo packages start at $39.99.

Covid notes: You can expect Santa and staff to be masked, although vaccination statuses are not divulged online, nor is proof of vaccination required for guests. The photos themselves are socially distanced—you'll sit across from Santa at his desk!

What PSP members are saying:

"We went last night! Much shorter line than usual (though still 30 minutes). Masks are mandatory, even for pics - but we did see some people pulling them down for quick photos. No distancing in line, though there were marks on the floor to. Santa wears a mask and sits behind a desk, and doesn't come out for photos - the kid sits in front of the desk.

If felt safe enough and my son LOVED it!" (2021)

"I do not recommend Macy's. We made a 10am appointment for Macy's Santa and when we arrived and checked in they pointed us to the end of the line which snaked way outside of Santaland entrance, down through the cookware, and around the corner. At which point I asked somebody what the wait time was and they said about 3 hours. Which to me looked more like 4 or 5 hours because I remember the inside from last year and how it snaked around quite a bit. So we left and went to Bloomingdales. Same thing we did last year. So after 2 years of being let down by Macy's, I cancelled my Macy's card and wrote a letter explaining that young children that need naps and meals can't wait in lines that are 3 plus hours long. We have been very happy with the Bloomingdale Santa's and the fact that there were only two people in line in front of us was even better. You are totally allowed to take your own photos and Santa is very cooperative. they also have a photographer there if you would like them to do it and buy a package with printed photos and digital download for very reasonable prices."

"You can take your own pictures head on at Santa Land. I always wait until they take their pictures then ask if I can take my own. They always step aside so I can go in the middle and take my own. You just have to ask! I even carry my gigantic camera (I’m a professional photographer) and have never had anyone say anything to me about it. My pictures are always great and I never have to buy theirs. Also, the new reservation only thing worked out great this year! It was so quick and easy for us (although we did go early in the season so it might be busier later)."

"I did the same. I took my own pics after they took theirs. You just ask them if they don't mine if I take a pic. Honestly, my pics come out way better than theirs.”

 

Photos with Santa + Free Gift

November 18th – December 24th

Kings Plaza Mall in Mill Basin

The magic of the holiday season comes alive with a visit to Santa’s winter wonderland. Santa will be here starting November 18th and is located at Upper Level near Best Buy.

Cost: A visit with Santa is always free and photo packages are available for purchase. 

What PSP members are saying:

“NO LINE! He's a great looking Santa, and they took 3 'poses' this year. My fav is one of my son whispering what he wants in Santa's ear. Great pics this year.”

 

Santa Land in the Atlantic Terminal Mall

December 4th - December 24th

Santa Land has been a staple in the community for over 15 years! View the schedule and make a reservation here.

 

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ONGOING HOLIDAY EVENTS:

  

Lightscape at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

November 19th - January 9th

This holiday season, explore Brooklyn Botanic Garden like never before at the after-dark, illuminated spectacular Lightscape. Join with family and friends to celebrate the beauty of nature in winter on this enchanting trail animated by over one million dazzling lights.

Cost: $34 for adults; $18 for children 3–12; free for children under 3

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Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

November 19th through January 9th

Join us for a family holiday festival at the Bronx Zoo. During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The outdoor celebration is complete with festive entertainment, seasonal treats and classic holiday music. The walk-through experience is a beloved tradition, enchanting and fun for all ages.

Cost: $39.95 for adults; $24.95 for children 3–12

 

Illuminate the Farm

Queens County Farm Museum

November 25th - January 9th

Come join NYC Winter Lantern Festival as we night the light and transform Queens County Farm into an immersive and radiant oasis! From 11/25/21 to 1/9/22, enter an unforgettable world of color with friends and family as we Illuminate The Farm. This experience will be a dazzling display of festive holiday lights and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, tractors, your favorite farm animals, and many many more.

Cost: $24.99 for adults; $16.99 for children 3–12

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A Bug’s Night: Drive-Thru Adventure

Nassau County Museum of Art

October 22nd - January 9th

You’re invited to NYC Winter Lantern Festival’s first visually immersive drive-thru experience! Located at Nassau County Museum of Art in Long Island, New York, A Bug’s Night will dazzle your friends and family as you roll through acres of vivid lanterns and holiday lights! This luminescent experience will be an unforgettable display of festive holiday lights, and handmade lanterns in the shape of flowers, bugs, animals, and more! All ages are welcome so fit as many friends and family as you can into your car as tickets are priced per vehicle!

Cost: $34.99 on weekdays; $49.99 on weekends; $59.99 on holiday week (December 24th - January 2nd)

 

NYBG Glow

November 24th - January 22nd

5:00pm - 10:00pm

This holiday season, let it GLOW at The New York Botanical Garden. Discover the beauty of our landmark landscape and historic buildings after dark, breathtakingly illuminated with a newly expanded 1.5-mile colorful experience.

Cost: $35 for adults; $20 for children 2–12; free for children under 2.

 

Holiday Train Show

Saturday, November 20th - Sunday, January 23rd

This beloved tradition returns for its 30th year with a miniature wonderland in the warmth of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at model trains zipping through an enchanting display of more than 175 famous New York landmarks—imagine the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites—each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as pine cones, acorns, and seeds.

Cost: $32 for adults; $18 for children 2–12; free for children under 2.

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“A Wonderful, Awful Idea”: Animating the Grinch Who Stole Christmas

November 19th - February 27th

Museum of the Moving Image

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a made-for-television short by legendary animation director Chuck Jones, based on the 1957 book by Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). First aired by CBS in 1966, this 24-minute animated story of a grouchy curmudgeon who tries to ruin Christmas has become an enduring holiday classic. The sketches, animation cels, and backgrounds on exhibit—40 selections from the extensive private collection of Bill Heeter and Kristi Correa—illustrate Jones’s approach to adapting Geisel’s story for the screen. In contrast to the book’s black, white, and red palette, Jones unleashed a riotous array of vivid colors to depict the story’s settings and characters. The film showcases Jones’s unparalleled character animation and comic timing, creating an utterly believable, villainous—but ultimately redeemed—Grinch that became the standard for all subsequent adaptations.

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UPCOMING HOLIDAY EVENTS:

     

Winter Solstice Lantern Walk at Brower Park

Tuesday, December 21st

5:30pm - 7:30pm

Bring your lantern to the Brower Park Monarch Garden and enjoy a cheerful winter park walk on the longest night of the year.
Need a lantern? Any translucent container which can support a battery powered candle or flashlight or glowsticks and be carried by a child for a short walk will work. See some examples here.

 

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical

Sunday, December 26th

2:00pm and 7:00pm shows

This holiday season, the beloved tradition that has captured the hearts of families everywhere returns to the live stage!  The Elf on the Shelf: The Musical is the thrilling spectacle of music and dance that transports audiences to the North Pole to glimpse the magical lives of Santa’s Scout Elves. Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and heartfelt moments that will bring the family together, this joyous and uplifting celebration will leave audiences captivated by the splendor of the season.

 

Kids Kwanzaa Sing-Along with Annie Lee Moffett

Monday, December 27th

12:00pm and 2:30pm

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music is partnering with Brooklyn Children's Museum to present special concerts for little ones to celebrate the principles of Kwanzaa. These 25-minute performances are led by vocalist, teacher and educational content creator Annie Lee Moffett, who will present a new piece written to the poem "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.

The performance is free with the purchase of a museum ticket.

  

MEMBER ADVICE AND ISSUES EXPLORED

 

The holidays can trigger many mixed emotions around family life, concepts of materialism, and understanding and practicing religion, not to manage added stress, financial concerns, and more. PSP members share advice about: 

Interfaith Holidays: Chrismukkah

Cheap and Cheerful Things to Do With Kids During the Holidays

How to Handle Holiday Stress

Reducing Stolen Packages in the Neighborhood

Santa Claus: Is he real?

Too Many Presents/Gifts

How To Thank Teachers at the Holidays & End of the Year

 

Past Events

 

Sinterklaas

Sunday, November 28th, at Industry City

Saturday, December 4th, in Greenwich Village

10:00am - 12:00pm

Behold, the steamer is coming… again in America!

Will you help to celebrate Sinterklaas's birthday? As a helper? You can practice for Piet during the Sinterklaas party with a real PietenParcours.

Can you walk on the roof with packages? And how well can you throw packages down the chimney? And the steamer needs coal and the horse Ozosnel likes a nice carrot!

Cost: $20 per person



Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Monday, November 29th

Tuesday, November 30th

7:30pm

The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us.

Cost: $29 - $59 depending on seating location

 

DUMBO Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 2nd

4:00pm - 7:00pm - Tree Lit at 5:30 pm Sharp!

Come out for the tree lighting plus a Santa Claus photobooth, steel drumming from Jah Pan, Christmas music, cheer performances from local schools, hot cocoa and sweet treats, animated projections on the Manhattan Bridge, and the opportunity to donate toys, coats, and food to neighbors in need.

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Annual Central Park Holiday Lighting

Thursday, December 2nd

5:30pm

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Meet Santa and friends*, sing carols on the Plaza, watch an ice-carving demonstration, and take part in other seasonal festivities. The event concludes with lighting a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer.

 

Mark Morris Dance Group: Holiday Party on the Plaza

Saturday, December 4th

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Plaza at 300 Ashland

Join the Mark Morris Dance Center for a little caroling and holiday cheer!

Mark Morris Dance Group dancers Domingo Estrada Jr. and Malik Q. Williams will lead a Dance with MMDG class for the entire family. Participants will learn excerpts from The Hard Nut’s Snow variation.

Elise Gaugert, The Hard Nut Singers Choral Director, will lead a holiday sing-along. There will be hot chocolate from Coffee Project NY! 

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Photos with St. Nicholas

Saturday, December 4th

12:00pm - 4:00pm

Holiday photos with St. Nicholas at the historic Onderdonk House Museum in Queens! Sat 12/4, Adults $5 & Kids FREE.

 

Holidays on Atlantic Avenue:

 

Children's Party with Santa

Hoyt Street Garden

Saturday, December 4th

12:00pm - 3:00pm

 

PS 107 Holiday Craft Fair

Saturday, December 4th

11:00am - 4:00pm

Get ahead on your holiday shopping and also support the school and crafters! The fair is open to the public. People 12 and over will need to show proof of vaccination and everyone entering must fill out the DOE health screener.

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20th Annual Sinterklaas at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum

Saturday, December 4th

2:00pm - 4:30pm

Children will enjoy a visit from St. Nicholas as he arrives on horseback around 2:30PM. St. Nicholas will tell the traditional tale of The Bakers Dozen and children are invited to sign the Red Book. Sip hot cider, try your hand at colonial games, create a holiday pomander, decorate a Dutch clog for Sinterklaas, and dress the tree for the tree lighting that will close the day as the sun goes down.

 

Greenwood Park Holiday Tree Lighting

Saturday, December 4th

5:00pm

Santa will be at the 10th annual Holiday Tree Lighting along with the NY Choir Project Holiday Singers!

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4th Annual Holiday Market at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th

12:00pm - 5:00pm

Building 77

Find the perfect gift from Yard-based businesses and local Brooklyn makers just in time for the holidays. Check out artwork to enhance your home office, fashion to bring on some cheer, and find unique gifts for the hardest to shop for on your list. While shopping, enjoy festive food and drink, holiday music, and fun merriment from workshops to a pop-up ice skating rink. Sunday is family day with fun drop-in activities for kids.

 

Fort Greene Park Tree Lighting Ceremony

Sunday, December 5th

4:00pm - 5:00pm

FREE hot cocoa, cider & candy canes from local Myrtle Ave restaurants during the Fort Greene Park tree lighting on Sunday 12/5 from 4 to 5 pm. Selfies with Santa! Toy drive collection. Bring new, unwrapped toys to support toy drives that serve local families. Live holiday music. Lighting of the tree at 4:45pm! The lighting this year will take place at the northwest corner of Fort Greene Park, near the Myrtle Ave & St Edwards St entrance.

 

Lafayette Inspirational Ensemble Annual Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 5th

4:00pm - 6:00pm

Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church

Under the direction of Janis Russell, the concert will be live in the Sanctuary so you can either attend in-person or watch the live stream on LAPC’s YouTube channel or Facebook page, @lapcbrooklyn

There is no admission charge, a free-will offering will be collected.

Come early and browse the Wreath and Craft Sale before the concert.

 

Menorah Lighting on 5th

Sunday, December 5th

3:00 - 4:00pm

JJ Byrne Park

Giant games, Latkes and Doughnuts, music, crafts and of course the menorah lighting!

Thanks to Chabad Park Slope, Lullaby Baby, and the Old Stone House for hosting.

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Carroll Park Holiday Tree Lighting

Friday, December 3rd

4:30pm - 6:00pm

The annual holiday tree lighting at Carroll Park will take place at the Court Street end of the ball field. Music starting at 4.30 pm, lighting at 5 pm. Possible visit by a bearded gent in a red suit!

 

Lighting of Brooklyn's Largest Menorah at Grand Army Plaza

1st Night of Chanukah, Sunday, November 28 Kickoff Event begins at 4:00 pm

2nd Night of Chanukah, Monday, November 29 at 6:00 pm

3rd Night Of Chanukah, Tuesday, November 30 at 6:00 pm

4th Night Of Chanukah, Wednesday, December 1 at 6:00 pm

5th Night Of Chanukah, Thursday, December 2 at 6:00 pm

6th Night Of Chanukah, Friday, December 3 at 3:30 pm

7th Night Of Chanukah, Saturday, December 4 at 7:15 pm

8th Night Of Chanukah, Sunday, December 5 at 5:00 pm

At THE LARGEST MENORAH in Brooklyn every night of Chanukah is celebrated with live music, hot latkes and gifts for the children.

 

Spot Santa on the Avenue

Saturday, December 11th

12:00pm - 3:00pm

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Winter Sidewalk Stroll on 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge

Saturday, December 11th

Sunday, December 12th

11:00am - 2:00pm

Stroll, shop, and dine on 3rd! Bring the kids to see Santa on 83rd and 3rd.

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Santa Claus is Coming to Estuary

Sunday, December 12th

11:30am

Estuary at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina

Take a photo with Santa Claus, enjoy omplimentary hot chocolate from Ebb & Flow Bakery, and help bring holiday cheer to children in need with an optional donation Toy Drive Event!  

 

Dyker Heights Tree Lightings

Thursday, December 2, 6pm at Shore Road & 90th Street

Friday, December 3, 6pm at 7414 13th Avenue

Tuesday, December 7, 6pm at Dyker Park & 86th Street & 14th Avenue

Celebrate with Santa, NIA carolers, music, snacks, and light refreshments!

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Walk the Windows on Atlantic Avenue

Saturday, December 4th

Saturday, December 11th

Come enjoy festive holiday windows, special events, live music, free holiday treats & Santa, while you shop & dine on Atlantic Avenue.

 

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER: Merry on Myrtle Winter Fest

Saturday, December 11th 

 

BKCM Brass Holiday Play-a-long

Saturday, December 11th

2:00pm - 4:00pm

Join BKCM for a socially distanced outdoor holiday play-a-long! Bring your brass instruments to play, if you’d like, and make some joyful noise to ring in the holidays. We will provide sheet music. All levels of experience welcome!

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Park Slope Women's Shelter 25th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, December 16th

6:30pm - 7:00pm

1402 8th Ave

Friends and neighbors are welcome to join in for cookies, hot chocolate, entertainment, and spectacular lights!

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A Very Merry Brooklyn Holiday Concert

Saturday, December 18th

7:00pm

Brooklyn Chamber Orchestra presents classical carols and holiday favorites for the whole family, from Broadway to the Nutcracker. Children ages 5-12 are always free!

  

Christmas Caroling with BKCM

Saturday, December 18th

2:00pm - 4:30pm

A beloved Brooklyn Conservatory tradition — holiday caroling! Please join us as we spread cheer throughout the neighborhood, culminating in a reception in our garden. Snacks and drinks will be available to purchase in the BKCM Garden as part of a fundraiser for the Brooklyn Conservatory Chorale. All ages, voices, faiths welcome.

 

All Saints’ Christmas Pageant

Sunday, December 19th

10:00am

All Saints’ Episcopal Church

Families with children and youth, save the date! The annual Christmas Pageant will take place in-person this year on Sunday, December 19 in place of the sermon at the 10am service (with a rehearsal scheduled for the previous Sunday, December 12 after church).

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