Nov 20, 2017

'Tis the season of joy

New York City is often featured as the most iconic place to usher in the Christmas season. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Rockefeller Plaza with the huge tree and ice skating is a must-do at least once. The stress-free way to get to NYC is by train or book a bus trip. 

However, there are many places in Central New York to get in the holiday spirit that are less expensive. In fact, many of the activities are free. Start on November 25 at Oswego Christmas, a daylong event featuring a variety of Christmas-themed activities, music, horse and carriage rides, live reindeer, visits with Santa, the lighting of the city tree, and fireworks. There is a Christmas scavenger hunt for the youngsters.

Not to be outdone Mexico will present its popular Christmas in Mexico on December 2. The all-day event will include church bazaars perfect for gift shopping, roasted chestnuts (when was the last time you had street-roasted chestnut?), and caroling. The library will host a Gingerbread House workshop. The tree lighting ceremony complete with music will follow the Main Street
Christmas parade and visits with Santa. There will be free horse-drawn carriage rides running throughout the day between local businesses many of whom have decorated their windows in anticipation of winning the Storefront Decorating Contest. Check out the Oswego Valley Railroad Association Holiday Train Exhibit in Washington Hall, and make sure you stop at the Starr Clark Tin Shop and Underground Railroad Museum. Get your picture taken in the Victorian cutout - the perfect Christmas card.

If you haven’t been to Skaneateles’ Dickens Christmas then put it on your calendar. Wander through an 1842 Victorian-style village starting the Friday after Thanksgiving and continuing noon to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 24. Shake hands with Mayor Fezzwig, Scrooge, the Cratchits, Tiny Tim, and the Ghost of Jacob Marley. Wish the costumed villages a “Merry Christmas.”  Join in the Christmas carol sing-along at the gazebo. Hop on a horse-drawn wagon for $2 or take a carriage ride for a $20 donation. Skaneateles’ Dickens Christmas draws more than 20,000 visitors each year.

Central New York’s on-going Christmastime celebrations include the yearly family-favorite Lights on the Lake at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool. For many it has become a family tradition to start the holiday season with the two-mile drive.  It is magical.

If you haven’t decorated your tree and are looking for new ideas then the Everson Museum’s Festival of Trees.  They have other holiday-related activities planned such as a Teddy Bear Tea Party and Santa Afternoon.  I have found museums a
great place to buy unique gifts. Syracuse has many events planned including, new this year, a store front window decoration, along with the tree lighting ceremony and a weekend (December 16 and 17) with real reindeer, street carolers, meeting Santa. Check out Santa’s elves who will help young and old to send a text of their Christmas wishes to Santa.  

For something a bit different visit historic Sacketts Harbor’s “Whooville in the Harbor” on December 2 and 9 between 10 am and 6 pm with Whovillers singing “Welcome Christmas” around the tree. There will be a Cindy Lou contest, sleigh/wagon rides, food, games, and more Who fun.  Find Grinch Rocks which can be turned in for prizes. 

There is no excuse not to feel the joy of the season.