There are a lot of events and festivities to get you in the holiday mood on Long Island, from not-so-traditional doo-wop, cabaret and rockabilly holiday shows at our music halls to traditional performances at local downtown theaters.
Long Island’s Gold Coast mansions also reflect the season with stunning holiday decorations and tours that bring back the feel of Long Island’s gilded era. And our parks, including most state parks, and our downtown villages come to life with festive events that usually feature a visit from Santa Claus.
And of course, events like the Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson and the Flying Santa at Fire Island Lighthouse always draw a crowd.
Irish Christmas, Rockabilly Fun and a Winter Circus
Looking for something a little different. You could get tickets for Eileen Ivers “An Nollaig” An Irish Christmas at the Boulton Center for the Arts of the Great South Bay-YMCA and see virtuoso fiddler Eileen Ivers interweave age-old Wren Day songs, beloved American carols, and even a jigging Bach in An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas. Or experience A Celtic Tenors Christmas on Dec. 16 at Adelphi University.
Or, some other more ‘rocking’ options include The Brian Setzer 13th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour on on Nov. 27 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury; the Jingle Bell Bottom Ball on Dec. 3 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury; the Holiday Doo Wop Extravaganza on Dec. 10 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury; the Rockabilly Christmas 2016 on Dec. 16 at The Suffolk Theater for DooWop versions of Christmas Carols; the Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals Holiday Show 2016 on Dec. 17 at The Suffolk Theater; or the Not Quite Christmas Cabaret on Dec. 3 at one of Long Island’s Gold Coast mansions at Sand’s Point Preserve.
Long Island has several historic theaters as well as major performance halls. You could see Frosty at the historic Engeman Theater in Northport through Dec. 31 and then stroll the quaint downtown. Or head to the spacious Staller Center in Stony Brook to see the circus spectacle, Snowkus Pocus on Dec. 4. See the Nutcracker Guard juggle snowflakes and balance icicles. Be blown away in an acrobatic blizzard. Marvel at the living snow globe and let the snow ballet melt your heart. This circus show will entertain patrons of all ages during the holiday season.
The classic A Christmas Carol will be performed at the spectacular Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 11. Twenty-six beloved traditional carols of the season are woven throughout, the perfect way to begin the holidays. Or come to the Holiday Spectacular On Ice through Jan. 1 at the Patchogue Theater and experience a musical celebration on ice set to classic holiday songs starring your favorite figure skaters, singers, and dancers.
Gold Coast Mansion Splendor
If you love to reminisce about the glamour of turn-of-the-century America, come to the Tree Lighting and Visit from Santa on Dec. 9 at Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum. Coe Hall will be decorated for the season. Visit with Santa until 7:30 p.m. in the Hay Barn.
Another spectacular mansion tour is the Holiday Celebration 2016 at Old Westbury Gardens through Dec. 18. Period rooms are beautifully and exquisitely decorated. Antique clothing and toys from the Westbury House collection will be on display. Bring the children to create crafts and share their holiday wishes with Santa.
Begin your holiday season where Hollywood stars and European royalty dined with members of one of America’s most famous families; you can do that at the Festive Holiday Dinner in Vanderbilt Mansion. The elegant home of William K. Vanderbilt II, overlooking Northport Bay will be decorated for the holidays on Dec. 3 with seats for 50 people at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $115 per person and $100 for members. Reservations must be made.
Other holiday events at Long Island’s historic homes include the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site & Interpretive Center Yuletide Family Day on Dec. 4 in Huntington. There will be face painting, cookie decorating, ornament making and old-time interactive games and period wooden toys.
And make sure to come to the 14th Annual Reenactment of the Flying Santa on Dec. 10 at the Fire Island Lighthouse to relive this historic event when Santa flies in over the lighthouse.
Holiday Legends, Flying Santa, Wood-Carving and a Magical Dickens Transformation
Long Island’s downtown villages come to life with holiday tree lightings, caroling, and other events to celebrate the season. Oyster Bay is doing a holiday tree lighting, with ice skating rink, trackless train rides and a pop-up holiday market from Dec. 9-11.
Come on a Sagtikos Manor Holiday House Tour in Bay Shore to learn about this year’s theme: “Myths and Legends of Christmas.” Christmas at Sagtikos Manor is on Dec. 10 and 11. The manor will be decorated with each room dedicated to a Christmas myth or legend. Costumed docents will tell you about the origin and history of their room’s particular story.
Another traditional celebration in Riverhead is the Carvers’ Holiday Show & Sale 6th Annual Wooden Wonderland on Dec. 3 at Suffolk County Historical Society Museum. Featuring dozens of vendors, handmade carvings, local artisan-crafted holiday gifts, and unique wooden items expertly made by Long Island craftspeople, plus live woodcarving and woodworking demonstrations.
And not to be missed, the Charles Dickens 21st Annual Festival on Dec. 3 and 4 when the Village of Port Jefferson magically transforms into the Dickensian era with streets filled with roaming characters such as Father Christmas, Dickens Mayor, Scrooge, the Town Crier and the beloved chimney sweeps.
The events are open to the public and most attractions are free of charge, so everyone—from the very young to the young at heart can join in the fun. The festivities will feature many returning favorites; ice skating at the Village Center, a cappella performance by choirs and harmony groups, Nutcracker performances, magic shows by The Great Wizard of the North, and many fine musical performances by area musicians. In addition, this year’s festival will feature Theater Three’s 33rd Annual production of A Christmas Carol.
Discover Long Island was established under the name Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau & Sports Commission in 1979 as the official tourism promotion agency for the destination’s travel and tourism industry. The organization contributes to the economic development and quality of life on Long Island by promoting the region as a world-class destination for tourism, meetings and conventions, trade shows, sporting events and related activities.
For more information, please call 631-951-3900 or visit www.discoverlongisland.com.