Holiday Hoopla

Get your kicks with the Rockettes. Watch the river otters ravage holiday presents. All aboard the train shows. From shows to films to recitals and more, check out what’s hot this winter.

The Shows Must Go On!
Whether it’s the traditional Rockettes or Nutcracker or Mrs. Cratchit’s Binge, there’s a show for everyone this holiday season.

Get your kicks on with the Rockettes through January 2. The world famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been running for more than 75 years. But this year, the tradition is transformed with a new 3DLIVE scene, dazzling special effects, new Rockette numbers and beloved favorites, and more!

If you’re nuts about the Sugar Plum Fairy, see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker performed by the New York Ballet through December 31. The American Ballet Theatre performs it at BAM through December 31.

With a son hoping to return home from Afghanistan for Christmas, a daughter on the West Coast finishing final exams, and younger children preparing for a Christmas pageant, a family rediscovers the true meaning of the season in Westchester Broadway Theatre’s production of Home for the Holidays. The show, which features all of your favorite holiday classics, runs through December 23.

Goldilocks wants to spread some holiday cheer, but will she wake the hibernating bears to do it. Check out Goldilocks and the Christmas Bears at the Westchester Sandbox Theatre. Looking for something a little more grown-up? How about Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge? Upcoming shows on December 23, 29, and 30.

New World Stages presents Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Charol, a holiday show which forces Hoffman to examine her life when she’s visited by the Ghosts of Chanukah Past, Present, and Future, and more. Performance on January 2.

Canal Park Playhouse presents A Christmas Carol As Told by Charles Dickens (Himself). Hear the famous story told and acted out by the man through December 24.

Family Films for the Holidays
The Museum of Jewish Heritage, downtown’s living memorial to the Holocaust, will host I Lift My Lamp: A Statue-esque Hannukah, on Sunday, December 25. Enjoy a day of festivities for the whole family! I Lift My Lamp: A Statue-esque Hanukkah will pay homage to Emma Lazarus and the Lady of the Harbor, featuring Statue-inspired crafts, tours, and films! Films include our friend Fievel in An American Tail, Hitchcock’s Saboteur, and the guys you’re gonna call if there’s something strange in the neighborhood, Ghostbusters (part 2).

It’s not the holidays without our favorite unlucky fellow, Charlie Brown. Stop by the Jacob Burns Film Center in PLV for A Boy Named Charlie Brown on December 24-28. The first Peanuts feature presents perennial loser Charlie Brown not only volunteering for the class spelling bee but even winning, against all odds! Now he’s making his way to the national spelling bee in New York City, and Snoopy and Linus come along to offer moral support.

Music for Your Ears and Light Shows for Your Eyes

Tis the season to go caroling! Stop by Washington Square Park on December 24 for some Christmas Eve Caroling. St. Bart’s Church will host Caroling on the Steps on December 20.

How cool would it be to tell your friends that you sang at Avery Fisher Hall? Be a part of the audience-chorus of nearly 3,000 and celebrate choral music at the National Chorale’s Messiah Sing-In on December 20.

If traditional is what you want, check out organist Preston Smith, who’s shared the stage with the likes of Josh Groban and Patti LaBelle, at a holiday recital on December 21 at the Guibault Therien organ at Grace Church in White Plains.

Just a few blocks away from the NYC Campus is the #26 most-visited attraction in the world…and no, we’re not talking about Rosella’s Pizzeria. Ranking higher than the Louvre Museum in Travel + Leisure’s list is the South Street Seaport, and they’ve got a whole lot going on around the holidays. Even if you missed their annual tree-lighting spectacular last month, the fun goes on! On December 23 and 24, the Big Apple Chorus will perform and every hour on the hour from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on weeknights, the “Sparkle at the Seaport” Light Show will light up the area.

More than 100,000 lights (and palm trees) make up the Winter Garden Holiday Lights at the World Financial Center. Check it through January 1.

And last, but certainly not least, stop by the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn to see Dyker Lights, their over-the-top light displays and decorations which have been a local spectacle since the 1980s.

Presents to the Animals
We may have missed the Central Park and Bronx Zoos’ annual Presents to the Animals, but the Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo still have a few holiday treats left. On December 24 and 25, stop by the Prospect Park Zoo to watch the meerkats and North American river otters tear into treat-filled bags and boxes or make your way over to the Queens Zoo to watch the coyotes, pumas, and Andean bears get in on the action! Confused? Check out this clip.

Choo-Choo Choose Train Shows
Wondering what NYC would look like if made completely out of natural materials? Head to the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show with Gingerbread Adventures through January 16 in the Bronx. See the Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium, and other landmarks all made entirely out of plants as large-scale trains navigate the city. Enjoy some hot chocolate, gingersnap decorating, and check out the handcrafted gingerbread houses and miniature JFK Airport exhibit. This year, stop by the new Artist’s Studio to get an insider’s look at how the replicas are constructed. Plus, bring your younger siblings or kids to The Little Engine That Could puppet show and a sing-along with Thomas and Friends January 2-16.  All aboard!

Next stop: The North Pole. The MTA showcases their miniature (and uncrowded) trains as they travel from mini-Manhattan to the North Pole at the free 9th Annual Grand Central Holiday Train Show in the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex at Grand Central through January 16.

For a little bit more trains, trains, trains, head to the Bronx Zoo for The Polar Express 4-D Experience through January 2.

If you can wait the extra month, the Northeast’s largest toy/train show returns to White Plains on January 29. The Great Westchester Train & Toy Show will feature 350 tables of new and antique toys and trains, toy soldiers, and more!