New York Cares

Give the gift of warmth this holiday season by simply donating that coat you haven’t used in five years or pajamas to children who have never had a pair. More volunteer opportunities in NYC and Westchester are just a click away. >>Read More

Each holiday season, many of us are consumed with decorating and shopping and trying to find the perfect gift for people. This year, spread your holiday cheer to families in need!

13 Westchester Orgs that Need You!
Check out Westchester Magazine’s list of 13 Local Charitable Organizations That Need Help During the Holidays, including the Pajama Program, which delivers new bedclothes and books to children in shelters, group homes, orphanages, and other facilities around the county; The Bridge Fund, which helps families keep their homes by providing short-term loans; Green Chimneys, a pioneer in the field of animal-assisted therapy, which helps children with emotional, behavioral, social, and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services; and more!

New York Cares’ Winter Wishes and Coat Drives
So far this year, New York Cares has fulfilled more than 34,000 Winter Wishes for children, teens, and families in need. If you still want to help, Good Shepherd Services and Episcopal Social Services are both in need of winter wishes! New York Cares also hosts their annual Coat Drive. Last year, 58,000 coats were donated to keep low-income men, women, and children warm during the winter. While this is an incredible number, 17,000 people were still left in the cold. This year, to help the 18.7 percent of NYC families living in poverty, New York Cares has upped their goal to 100,000 coats. You can donate your coats through December 31! So far, less than 7,000 coats have been donated, so help out today. You can also find more information on volunteering projects including preparing and serving holiday meals, sorting clothing and gift donations, wrapping, caroling and more here. For information about outside nonprofts that need help, visit their holiday referrals site.

Freezin’ for a Reason
Yes, it’s cold outside. And yes, people are going swimming. On January 1, the Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day Polar Dip will help raise money to send children with life-threatening illnesses to Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind retreat in Maine. You’ve just gotta take the plunge in Coney Island. Too scared to take a full plunge? Well, the Chicken Dip is for you. All you’ve got to do is get your feet wet. Literally.

Other volunteering opportunities
From serving hot meals to keeping New Yorkers healthy, Food Bank for NYC needs help in their Warehouse Repack Program, Community Kitchen and Food Pantry, CookShop Program, and more! Plus, check out City Harvest for food drives and other volunteering opportunities to help end hunger in NYC.

God’s Love We Deliver has prepared and delivered more than 12 million meals to families. How can they continue to do this without your help? Lend a hand today.

No one is ever turned away at Yorkville Common Pantry. That’s why volunteers like you are needed for everything from making sandwiches and meal programs to toy drives and Souper Bowl drives.

Make an appointment to save a life! Donate blood to the New York Blood Center. Enter your location anywhere in the state and they’ll find a blood drive or center close to you!

Give a second chance with Housing Works, an organization fighting to end AIDS and homelessness. You can tutor, become a food service volunteer, work in the Bookstore Cafe or thrift shops, etc.

And make sure to check out Idealist.org, 1-800-Volunteer, and Volunteer Match, where you can choose your hours, area of interest, location, etc., and then get matched up with an organization or assignment. It’s that easy.

Celebrate the Snow!

Our favorite S-words: sledding, skating, snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing! The great thing about the winter is even if you don’t have an athletic bone in your body, you can participate in any and all of these winter activities and there will be people falling all over the place with you! So where, oh where, can you get your snow on?

If you’re in a New York skate of mind, clearly you know all about the Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center, arguably the world’s most famous rink, which offers a gorgeous backdrop courtesy of the tree, but the line is really long and ice time may seem cramped.

That’s why there are others:

Central Park is home to two rinks: Wollman and Lasker. Lasker Rink is the more affordable of the two, but nothing beats the view and feeling you get skating at Wollman Rink. It does get crowded on the weekends, so try to make it during an off-peak time.

The Pond at Bryant Park, Manhattan’s first and only free admission ice skating rink, but don’t be fooled—skate rentals set you back $14. Don’t want to wait? Check out the FastPass and reserve a time for your skating!

The Standard Ice Rink in the Meatpacking District is one of the newer (and more chic) skate spots and offers a 3,000 square foot venue with snacks like crepes, soups, and seasonal drinks.

Open year-round, Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers is an indoor option for those who hate the cold, but make sure to check the website for dates and times, as hockey and figure skating lessons and camps sometimes take the ice time.

In Westchester, if you’re looking for some indoor skating, the Playland Ice Casino can give you that…and a whole lot more. Either play it safe at public skating sessions or get down at Party Night on Fridays with on-ice contests and giveaways and Saturday Night Grooves, where you can represent your generation as you listen to your favorite music from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today.

The Westchester Skating Academy has public sessions, as well as figure skating and hockey clinics for those of you looking to add some slapshots and subtract some toe picks.

Brewster Ice Arena has not one, not two, but three ice skating rinks where you can take to the ice for public sessions, Friday night DJ Skate, hockey lessons, and more!

For a list of some more ice skating rinks in the Hudson Valley, click here.

Prefer your skating on ponds and in parks? Us too. The Westchester Parks are open for the season and in addition to some scenic ice skating, the parks offer cross country skiing, sledding, and even ice fishing. Take a look at the more than 20 parks and ponds available to you!

For those of you want in NYC who want to go dashing through the snow on a cafeteria tray, here are almost 30 NYC parks with prime sledding slopes.

Speaking of slopes, if you’re interested in more than just cross-country skiing and want in on some downhill black diamond action, there are plenty of skiing and snowboarding spots available, but you’ll need to do a little bit of travelling. Check out TimeOut’s list of skiing and snowboarding locations around NYC as well as some daytrips offered by local shops that will shuttle you to and from the resort in a day.

Looking for just some good ‘ol traditional snowball fun? Join the NYC Snowball Fight Club and get ready to head out to their chosen meeting place the day of the first NYC snowfall for some serious childhood fun.

Think HP’s Quidditch…on ice. And with less wizardry, but just as much magic. That’s right, we’re talking about broomball and NYC Social Sports Club has both ice and floor broomball leagues. Or if you really want to take it to the next level this winter, inner tube water polo starts January 22 and will give you a change to splash, paddle, and even flip a player out of his/her tube.

Fair and Not Square

The Palisades is packed and Macy’s is mobbed. So what’s a holiday shopper to do? Fleas and markets and fairs, oh my!

NYC

Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park are back and better than ever. Check out more than 120 artisans, specialty boutiques, and food kiosks in a unique open-air location through January 8. More than 3.8 million people visit the shops each year. Will you be one of them?

Holiday Pop-Up at Chelsea Market
Artist & Fleas is bringing the best of Brooklyn to Chelsea Market with a two-week pop-up shop Holiday Market showcasing 30 artists and designers. You can also stop by the Chelsea Market shops, which include Fat Witch Bakery, Jaques Torres Chocolates, People’s Pops, and more!

Seaport Holiday Shops
Smaller than many of the other markets out there, the Seaport Holiday Shops includes 25 vendors selling crafts and food on Fulton Street. Stop by between 10:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. through December 31.

Grand Central Holiday Fair
Located in the Terminal’s historic Vanderbilt Hall, you’ll find the Grand Central Holiday Fair and one of the city’s best holiday shopping experiences featuring 76 vendors selling unique crafts, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, children’s gifts, and more. 

Columbus Circle Holiday Market
One of New York’s most elegant markets, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, brings you some unique handmade gifts including home accessories, wooden puzzles, gingerbread houses and kits, truffles, and more! Open through December 24.

Union Square Holiday Market
The annual Union Square Holiday Market, open through December 24, is a favorite of many New Yorkers. Check out 21 new vendors added to their already extensive list of shops. And make sure to download their winter coupon book here.

Brooklyn Flea
While their annual Gifted holiday market is on hiatus, the Brooklyn Flea is still open and great for holiday gift shopping. In addition to their weekend dates, the Flea will be open for holiday shopping on December 21 and 22, so stop by the Skylight One Hanson a few subway stops away from the NYC Campus.

Dekalb Market
Also in Brooklyn, the Dekalb Market is a one-of-a-kind market housed in a collection of salvaged shipping containers. With more than 50 shops and eateries, stop by this new market for some great gifts and Robicelli cupcakes. You can thank us later.  Open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day.

Harlem Arts Alliance Marketplace
On December 31, the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life will transform into a giant Kwanzaa party, as Harlem Arts Alliance hosts a marketplace featuring hand-stitched pillows, gourmet chocolates, holiday kid’s books, and other fine arts and crafts.

Westchester

Craft-Tastic
Stop by the Pelham Art Center through January 7 for Craft-Tastic, the center’s annual artisan exhibit and craft sale featuring one of a kind handmade (and affordable) gifts including ceramics, jewelry, glass, and more!

The Gift of Art
Through December 31, Mamaroneck Artists’ Guild will be holding their annual exhibit and Holiday Gift Boutique, The Gift of Art, where you’ll find affordable 2D and 3D original works of art, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Open 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day and open Thursdays until 7:00 p.m.

Clay Holiday
Give the gift of clay this holiday season! The Clay Art Center in Port Chester will host their annual studio sale through December 23, where you’ll find pottery and ceramic sculpture by almost 50 artists. The center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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!

A Wacky Winter

From caroling with boomboxes to origami trees, these are some quirky winter activities for those looking to add a little bit of oomph to their holidays.

Unsilent Night: Caroling with a Quirk
Don’t get us wrong, caroling is cool. Really cool.  But Unsilent Night New York is cooler. Join hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people armed with boomboxes  as they walk from Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park creating a  sound sculpture of many individual parts on December 18.

Creator Phil Kline says “Every year I present Unsilent Night, which is like a Christmas caroling party except we don’t sing, but rather carry boomboxes, each playing a separate tape or CD which is part of the piece.  In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system.”

Give Santa Your List…in a Castle
Forego the mall Santas for Santa in Central Park. The jolly guy will be at the historic Belvedere Castle on December 23 and 24, so bring your list and your cameras!

Take Some Tours
Nature walks and fitness hikes are all the rage, but in New York, we like to have fun.

Take an evening candlelight tour of Washington Irving’s Sunnyside on December 18 or 26. Hear about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman as you are read excerpts from Irving’s Christmas tales and family letters. Join in song while a costumed guide plays an 1830s piano and sip on some hot cider beside a fire in the kitchen yard.

Time’s Up hosts a Lights in the Heights Ride where you’ll bike to Dyker Heights’ “miracle mile” of Christmas lights and decoration. Bring your bicycle bells to ring to the tune of Jingle Bells on December 19.

Money May Not Grow on Trees, but Origami Does
See the tree! No, not the Rockefeller Center tree…you can see that one from space. We’re talking about the American Museum of Natural History’s Origami Holiday Tree, where 500 origaments (that’s origami ornaments) hang from a 13-foot tree. This year’s theme is Discovery, featuring ornaments relate to a dinosaur dig, the Race to the End of the Earth exhibition, and the 10th anniversary of the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Head to the Carnival…in a Bowling Alley
What?! A carnival in the dead of winter? That’s right and in a bowling alley, no less. Bowlmor Lanes presents Carnival, a 16,000 square foot wonderland of wire-walkers, sword-swallowers, cotton candy, and carnival games, all in a bowling alley/nightclub. Fun for the whole family!

Snowball Fight Club
Everybody loves a good snowball fight. In NYC, during the first large snowfall of the season, snowballers meet at a selected location and battle it out, with or without forts. Check out the NYC Snowball Fight Club on Facebook. Last year, a spontaneous snowball fight broke out in Times Square at 1:00 a.m. making headlines everywhere. Tweet it, people!

Spend New Year’s in New York
Anybody can head to Times Square and watch the ball drop. But how about you complete your night of dancing, costume parades, and fireworks with a four-mile midnight run? The New York Road Runners host the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run on December 31-January 1. If you’re more of a biker or a skater, the 12th Annual New Year’s Eve Bike Ride is for you. Now that’s really getting a jump on your New Year’s resolutions!

Be Freezin’ for  Reason
Yes, it’s cold outside. And yes, people are going swimming. On January 1, the Polar Bear Club’s New Year’s Day Polar Dip will help raise money to send children with life-threatening illnesses to Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind retreat in Maine. You’ve just gotta take the plunge at Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island.

Too scared to take a full plunge? Well, the Chicken Dip is for you. All you’ve got to do is get your feet wet.

Coney Island too far for you Westchesterites? Fret not. Take the Colin’s Crew Plunge in West Haven, CT on February 11, to help them raise $10,000 to send families to Camp Sunshine!

No Time Like the Present at the Zoo

Apparently, the zoo animals have not been naughty because Santa Claus is paying them a visit this holiday season. Check out all the wild parties happening at the Bronx, Central Park, Prospect, and Queens zoos.

What’s more entertaining than a baboon unwrapping a present? How about several baboons, polar bears, penguins, and a dozen other wild animals doing the same? Yes, that’s right. It’s Presents to the Animals time at the NYC zoos.

The Bronx Zoo has a whole Holiday Glee planned December 18-30, featuring bears, turtles, monkeys, and more tearing into presents, an ice-carved wonderland with a  Polar Express ice train, an arctic play area with a polar bear ice slide, wildlife-themed ice sculpting demonstrations, horse-drawn carriage rides, the first-ever SING! for Wildlife competition, and more!

Winterfest at the Central Park Zoo ends on December 17 and 18, so stop in for presents to the penguins, polar bears, and snow leopards; crafts; roasted marshmallows and hot apple cider; shopping at the Zootique; and more!

Ever see a meerkat tear through a wrapped box full of mealworms? Catch them and other critters unwrapping presents at the Prospect Park Zoo through December 26.

Puma parties, coyotes, and Andean bears at the Queens Zoo.

If you’re still wary, click here to watch this video of a baboon unwrapping a present. Seriously.

All Aboard

Whether you’re a train or a New York enthusiast, here are some shows to choo choo choose this holiday season. And they’re leaving the station in a few weeks, so make sure to hurry up and stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Wondering what NYC would look like if made completely out of natural materials? Well, concrete jungle no more! Head to the New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show with Gingerbread Adventures through January 9 in the Bronx. See the Statue of Liberty 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.

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 located in the New York Transit Museum Gallery at Grand Central Station.

Through December 19, check out Trains: Your Ticket to the Great Outdoors, a special holiday season exhibit of model trains at the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale.

If you can wait the extra month, the Northeast’s largest toy/train show returns to White Plains on January 30. The Great Westchester Train & Toy Show will feature 350 tables of new and antique toys and trains, toy soldiers, and more!

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

These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

We’re sorry to tell you this isn’t Oprah’s Favorite Things and you won’t be walking away with an iPad or a 2012 VW Beetle. In fact, we’re regifting you last year’s winter issue: Things to Do Around Pace: Having a Snow Ball.

This will be our last issue for 2010. We’ll be back to our weekly issues beginning Thursday, January 20, 2011. We know, it’s a long while away, so in the meantime, for those of you sticking around NYC or Westchester this holiday season, here’s a Pulse full of fun things to keep you off the couch.

Happy Holidays and New Year!

In a New York Skate of Mind

If you’re interested in lacing up the skates and rocking around the rink, here are some options for you to pond-er…

The Ice Rink at Rockefeller Center, arguably the world’s most famous rink, offers a gorgeous backdrop courtesy of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, but the line is really long and ice time may seem cramped.

That’s why there are others:

The Pond at Bryant Park, Manhattan’s first and only free admission ice skating rink, but don’t be fooled. Skate rentals set you back $13.

Central Park is home to two rinks: Wollman and Lasker. Lasker Rink is the more affordable of the two, but nothing beats the view and feeling you get skating at Wollman Rink. It does get crowded on the weekends, so try to make it during an off-peak time.

Open year-round, Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers is an indoor option for those who hate the cold. Check out their Holiday on the Hudson on December 17 featuring performances by champion figure skaters, the Skyliners Synchronized Skating Team, and more!

Seaport Ice, located at the South Street Seaport, is a hop skip and a jump away. It may not be the most beautifully crafted rink in NYC, but the views are pretty amazing.

The White Plains Recreation and Parks hosts the Holiday Ice Show at Ebersole Ice Rink on December 18. The session costs $1, and there will be performances by students from the figure skating program as well as appearances by Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman.

Santa’s pretty busy this season and will be lacing up his skates again on December 19 for Skate with Santa at Playland Ice Casino. Head to the Ice Casino for Friday Party Night, Saturday Night Grooves, and Sunday Family Skating Day.

Brewster Ice Arena has not one, not two, but three ice skating rinks where you can take to the ice for public sessions, Friday night DJ Skate, hockey lessons, and more! For a list of some more ice skating rinks in the Hudson Valley, click here.

More interested in snow than ice? Westchester Magazine gives you a Sledders Shangri-Las. If you want to go dashing through the snow on a cafeteria tray, here are some sled-friendly NYC Parks.

There’s No Business Like Show Business

School may almost be out, but the shows must go on! Whether its the traditional Rockettes or Nutcracker or the mashed up A Sleepy Hollow Christmas Carol, there’s a show for everyone this holiday season.

Get your kicks on with the Rockettes through December 30. The world famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been running for more than 75 years. To put that in perspective, Clint Eastwood was three and Betty White was a tween when the Rockettes first started a rocking.

If you’re nuts about the Sugar Plum Fairy, see George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker performed by the New York Ballet for just $20 through January 2; the American Ballet Theatre performs it at BAM on December 22-January 2; and the Westchester County Ballet does their production in White Plains on December 17-19.

Wintuk, a Cirque de Soleil show about a boy’s quest to find snow, is in its final season and ends January 2.

SANTAAAA. Discover your inner Elf through January 2 on Broadway.

No holiday would be complete without Charlie, Lucy, Linus, and the gang. See A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Brooklyn Lyceum through December 19 for just $10.

Did you miss A Christmas Carol at Pace? See the Westchester Sandbox Theatre production on weekends beginning December 18. If you’d like a little spice, then Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge will surely do that.

Want things even more twisted? Ebenezer Scrooge meets Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle, and the Headless Horseman in A Sleepy Hollow Christmas Carol at the Westchester County Theatre through December 26.

Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Center presents Winter in NYC holiday spectacular, the story of a family who travels to New York City for a magical holiday season on December 17, 18, and 19.

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Stress-mas

Still hunting for that perfect gift for someone? Step away from the department store and head to one of the dozens of holiday markets and fairs that have popped up all over New York for something unique and maybe even handmade.

Whether you’re on a budget or just looking for something special, holiday markets are the way to go. And boy, are there a ton of them around. In no specific order, here are some of the season’s great holiday markets:

The Jingle Festival has returned to Chelsea Market and includes more than just your outstanding designers: music, theater, revolving art exhibits, poetry, and dance make this holiday festival a happening one through December 23.

More than 125 unique boutiques from around the world set up shop in Bryant Park through January 2, 2011. Pick up some Max Brenner chocolate, eco-friendly gifts, and much more.

Forget the Time Warner Center! Right across the street, you’ll find the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, where you can pick up gingerbread houses, handmade wooden puzzles, and more through December 24.

The Union Square Holiday Market, open until 8:00 p.m. through December 24, is a favorite of many New Yorkers.  Make sure to download their winter coupon book here.

The creators of the Hester Street Fair bring you The Big Social Holiday Market on December 17-23 on Mulberry Street. Pick up art, jewelry, handmade and vintage gifts, and snack on some delicious foods from staples like The Meatball Shop and Melt Bakery.

The Grand Central Holiday Fair presented by The New York Times is open every day through December 24 and features 76 hand-picked vendors that include everything from jewelry to handmade crafts.

If you’re able to Carpe Brooklyn, we recommend that you do so, because where the Slope meets the Swamp you’ll find the best holiday markets around. The Third Annual Lyceum Holiday Marketplace opens its doors on December 18 and 19 to a world of handmade holiday gifts, crafts, food, arts, music, photos with Santa, and even some batting cage action. There will also be a $1 raffle for an iPad. While you’re there, walk a few blocks to catch the Brooklyn Craft Central Holiday Craft Market III also on December 18 and 19 at two venues this year: Littlefield Performance Space and Textile Arts Center. For a list of vendors, click here.

And there’s more. Walk a few blocks toward Atlantic Terminal and into the Skylight One Hanson as Brooklyn Flea presents Gifted: A Holiday Market. More than 100 vendors on three floors include one-of-a-kind items like recycled vinyl record jewelry and delicious foods you will not want to miss. Gifted will run through December 23.

Also in Brooklyn, but over the Williamsburg Bridge, you’ll find the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, a holiday hang-out and shopping wonderland, on December 18 and 19.

In Westchester, support the arts at the second annual New Rochelle BID Holiday Arts & Crafts Market on December 18 and 19. Local artisans sell handcrafted jewelry, art, ceramics, clothes, and more. You can also check out this handy dandy Hudson Valley anti-mall shopping guide courtesy of Metromix.

Also, make sure to check out Pace student Jordan Veilleux’s holiday market pick and other favorite things here.

Jordan’s Favorite Things

We’ve given you some of our favorite things. It’s only fair we hear from one of you. So these are a few of Pace student Jordan Veilleux’s favorite things!

Once the holidays arrive it seems everyone has their own routine, but as we get older and spend those fateful days before December 25 cramming for finals, tradition seems to be put on hold until we’re back at home. In the meantime, here are a few fun ways to spend time celebrating the season, as well as take a break from finals!

Baby, it’s cold outside (and in)

  • As temperatures outside continue to drop, and we begin to risk looking like that kid from A Christmas Story, one of the best ways to warm up is with a mug full of something warm. But why not put a little spin on a classic drink like hot chocolate? That’s right, folks, I went there. So stop by Serendipity 3 with some friends for its cozy atmosphere and a bite to eat. Finals taking up too much your time? Strapped for cash because you’ve just gone Christmas shopping? Just want to stay in? No problem, their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate mix is also sold online here. So relax and enjoy!

“Rare” Window

  • Going back to tradition, a personal tradition is for my family to come into the city for the holidays and “see the tree” which is really an excuse to stop by Fifth and “see the windows,” which is usually just an excuse to go Christmas shopping, or so I thought. About once a month every year, stores attract millions just to look inside their dazzling window displays. So swing by the tree and head towards Fifth Avenue to see window displays for stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor, and Macy’s infamous reenactment of “Miracle on 34th Street.”

A Gingerbread Gallery

  • After checking out the windows on Fifth Ave., be sure to check out Central Park’s The Arsenal Gallery where, from December 9 to January 9, a collection of handmade wreaths will be on display. Similarly, Le Parker Meridien will be featuring a Gingerbread Extravaganza in their 56th Street atrium where for $1 you can vote for your favorite gingerbread house and help the City Harvest charity feed the city’s hungry. Your dollar will also enter you to win a five night stay at their hotel in Palm Springs!

All’s “Fair”

  • A holiday favorite for visitors and natives alike are the holiday markets. Typically held every Saturday and Sunday in the usual places (for more information check out this article in The Pulse!) these markets offer something for everyone on your shopping list (or maybe just yourself.) Looking for somewhere new? No problem, Brooklyn Flea is hosting Gifted: A Holiday Market. Follow the link to their blog for a sneak peek on what vendors will be offering which ranges from everything like vintage clothes to gift wrapping lessons!

In the Heights

  • Dyker Heights, that is! You probably remember your family driving around at some point and checking out the neighborhood lights. Remember how lame it was? Yup. Remember how much you miss it? Yup. Well, we’ve got a solution. Check out Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights, where every year residents go all out offering viewers something just as magical as the windows on Fifth.

–Jordan Veilleux ’13

Tis the Season to Be Jolly…to Someone Else

New York Cares…a lot. But they can’t do it without you. This winter, spread some holiday cheer to someone less fortunate than you.


New York Cares has special holiday volunteering opportunities that include Winter Wishes for Children and Families and their annual Coat Drive.

With Food Bank of New York City, you can give back without even leaving your home. Learn more about their Virtual Food Drives.

No one is ever turned away at Yorkville Common Pantry. That’s why volunteers like you are needed for everything from making sandwiches and meal programs to toy drives and Souper Bowl drives.

Make an appointment to save a life! Donate blood to the New York Blood Center. Enter your location anyhere in the state and they’ll find a blood drive or center close to you!

Give a second chance with Housing Works, an organization fighting to end AIDS and homelessness. You can tutor, become a food service volunteer, work in the Bookstore Cafe or thrift shops, etc.

God’s Love We Deliver has prepared and delivered almost a million meals this year. How can they continue to do this without your help? Lend a hand today.

Don’t forget: Our very own Jumpstart at Pace is holding an orientation session on December 16 for special gift-wrapping events on December 17, 20, 21, and 23.

The White Plains Salvation Army is seeking the donation of holiday hams to be included in Christmas meal packages for needy families, along with other foods and toys.

The Rotary Club of Bedford-Armonk is collecting for critters, sponsoring a combination adoption and item collection drive to benefit the SPCA of Westchester. You can also be a volunteer dogwalker or trainer at the SPCA of Westchester.

Bring diapers or make cash donations for local babies in need. Diaper Drive donations will be accepted through December 31  by the Junior League of Bronxville.

And make sure to check out Idealist.org, 1-800-Volunteer, and Volunteer Match, where you can choose your hours, area of interest, location, etc., and then get matched up with an organization or assignment. It’s that easy.

Things to Do Around Pace: Holy Halloween

You may think you have a little over a week to get a costume and carve a pumpkin, but if you want to head to any of these events, you’ve got 48 hours. GO!

The Central Park Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail is this weekend! Come decked out in your Halloween finery (or not) and bring your best dressed pumpkin to the northern part of Central Park to participate in the Great Pumpkin Sail! The pumpkin must be carved and gutted, and it cannot be more than 10lbs (no bigger than a soccer ball). Any larger than this and it will sink the flotation device they use! Also, please know that you will not be getting your pumpkin back.

If, on the other hand, you want to be part of the 60,000 costumed folks who march in the 38th annual Village Halloween Parade, you have until October 31 to come up with something more creative than a Lady Gaga-inspired meat dress. I mean, 2 million people will be there looking at you, so it’s gotta be good!

Check out TimeOut‘s Halloween picks for NYC cemeteries, a Labyrinth sing-along and costume party, haunted houses, and much more! You can also read up on Halloween-centric manicures, horrow shows, and some night frights at in New York Magazine‘s guide to Halloween in the City.

But whatever you do, don’t forget to go to the Pumpkin Sail. Come on!

North of NYC? If hay mazes and haunted safaris and fun for the whole fam is for you, then you’re going to want to go Boo at the Zoo.

Word on the street is that Westchester’s Sleepy Hollow is the new Salem, Mass. Who knew? There’s Headless Horsemen, Holloween parades, guided Lantern Tours of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and Horsemen’s Hollow happenings, not to mention pumpkin decorating and 10K costume run kind of fun going on for the faint of heart.

What says Halloween better than some ghost stories and marshmallow-roasting by the campfire?  Halloween-lovers of all ages are invited to bring flashlights and their best scary stories to the Cranberry Lake Preserve in North White Plains on October 23.

Take a hike…on mischief night. Coyotes may howl, owls may hoot, and bats may swoop, but you can handle it, right? RIGHT?

Lasdon Park hosts some hair-raising events this month, including the Hogwarts Express and the Annual Halloween Hair-Raiser Costume Party and Reception on October 29.

Think pumpkin carving is heinous and prefer to stay away from all the creepy clowns and Halloween horrors? Well, all we have to say is boo on you…and cupcakes.

And if you didn’t last week, don’t forget to check out our list of some Haunted Houses in Westchester and NYC.