December 2006 Archives
By Linda McClain, CTA
Nearly a century ago, many of our ancestors arrived on Ellis Island and brought with them the customs of their homelands. Because of the many different nationalities, Christmas celebrations, including music and food, vary between regions of the country. For example, many Italian families sit down to a seven fish dinner on Christmas Eve, while the Polish celebrate “Wigilia” a 12-course dinner that includes different fish, fruits, breads, etc.
But, do you ever wonder how people in other countries celebrate Christmas, or if they even have a Christmas? Below are a few customs from around the world. Do any of them seem familiar? Read the descriptions and check the answers at the bottom of the page to see if you’ve guessed the correct country.
Unlike the red and green seen in American décor during the holidays, bright, tropical flowers are the decorations for Christmas in this country. Special trips are made to gather the wild orchids that bloom in the jungle areas. The manger scene is called a “portal” and is decorated with brilliant flowers and colorful fresh fruit. Wreaths of cypress leaves and red coffee berries are also very popular. The supper after Midnight Mass consists of tamales and other local dishes. Children leave their shoes out for Baby Jesus to fill the night before Christmas, called “La Noche Buena”, while they are sleeping. The same time Baby Jesus appears at the portal, the gifts appear under the tree on December 25 in the morning. Everyone in the house gathers around the tree and prays, thanking Baby Jesus for the good year that has passed, followed by the opening of the gifts. During Christmas week everything shuts down so that people can attend religious services and spend time with their families.
Christmas in this country lasts several days, giving them something warm to celebrate in the cold, dark mid-winter. Celebrations last until January 6th, the celebration of the Three Kings. The most celebrated day, however, is December 24. Gift exchanges could be a pair of tusks or even a sealskin mitt wrapped in bright colors. On Christmas Day everybody gets Mattak, which is whale skin with a strip of blubber inside. In villages, children go from hut to hut singing songs. Christmas trees are imported and decorated with candles and bright ornaments. People dance all night long and sing carols. Mattak tastes like coconut, but is tougher to chew and is sometimes swallowed whole. The traditional Christmas food is Kiviak, the raw flesh of an auk, (sea bird) buried whole in sealskin for several months. On this day, tradition has it that men have to wait upon women! “Juullimi Pilluaritsi” means Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
Feliz Natal! Christmas is on December 25 and most of the celebrations are on Christmas Eve. Traditions in this country include the Christmas Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of the Holy Innocents that involve sharing of gifts. After attending Midnight Mass, families gather for the Christmas Eve feast called ‘Consoda’, consisting of codfish with boiled potatoes and cabbage. Traditional fried desserts are served, such as “filhoses or filhós” which are made of fried pumpkin dough and “rabanadas”, similar to french toast and “azevias”, round cakes made of a crust filled with a mixture of chick peas, sugar and orange peel. Another traditional dessert is “Bolo Rei”, a fruitcake that is typically a New Year’s cake, but is becoming popular during Christmas holidays. Inside the cake are two surprises: one is a little present like a fake ring, a little doll or a medal. The other is not as welcomed – it is a raw broad bean. Whoever gets this bean has to buy the “Bolo Rei” the following year. Extra places are set at the table for the souls of the dead. It is believed that gifting food to ancestor’s souls will make them bless the household with good fortune for the coming year.
Traditional burning of Cepo de Natal (the Christmas log) is also custom. On Epiphany Eve (January 5th), children keep their shoes along windowsills and doorways and fill them with carrots and straw to lure the horses of the Three Wise Men to their household during the night. The Three Kings (not Santa) then leave gifts and treats for the children in their shoes (candied fruits and sweet breads), which they find in the morning. (Portugal)
It was in the late 18th century, when Father Christmas came here with the English settlers. In the last two or three decades, traditions have changed to resemble American or Irish Santa customs. Dinner is usually roast turkey, vegetables and sauces. Desserts consist of rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce, mince pies and pavlova, the national dessert. The Maori, the indigenous people of this country, believe spirits and creatures of their culture resemble the elves and gnomes of European Christmas traditions. They influence an important role in Christmas celebrations. “Nga mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou” translates to Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Maori.
Christians decorate banana or mango trees, light small oil-burning lamps to decorate their homes and use red poinsettias in their churches. Christmas gifts are purchased for friends and family and ‘baksheesh’ or charity is given to the poor. Christians here have adopted many of the Dewali traditions (a three-day festival of lights during October and November that celebrates Hindu faith) while celebrating the Christmas season, which lasts 10 days from December 24 to the New Year Day. This includes decorating rooftops and walls of houses with clay lamps.
As the holidays approach, here’s a wish for peace and prosperity in your corner of the world!
Disclaimer: Some of these traditions may vary based on the regions of each country. n
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region-based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.com.
By Judy Torel
You can’t go anywhere in America without being confronted with images of thin and ultra lean models and celebrities. Magazine covers, TV shows, Hollywood movies and even advertisements on the sides of public transportation relentlessly emit a standard that many women and men use to assess their own body.
Research has demonstrated that the culturally desirable image is becoming increasingly thinner and leaner. It is also becoming more unattainable for the majority due to genetic influences that are beyond our control. Given this environment, what can be done to maintain a healthy body image without throwing in the towel out of hopelessness and abandoning a workout program?
What is body image?
From the surface, body image would appear to be how a person views their body from a visual point of view. This is true, but body image includes much more than that.
According to Marcia Hutchinson, author of the book, Transforming Body Image, “Our body image is formed out of every experience we have ever had—parents, role models, and peers who give us an idea of what it is like to love and value a body. Image is formed from the positive and negative feedback from people whose opinions matter to us.”
Our body image is also formed by the reactions of people whom we don’t really have a relationship with, but give input, such as the trainer at the gym who gives us the visual once over and then acts dismissive towards us during a workout. We might think from this experience that we look unfit.
Other people’s feedback is part of the information we use to formulate our own body image. Proprioception, which is an internal physical awareness of ourselves, is a second and powerful part of what forms our body image. For instance, our own experience of running on a treadmill may make us feel like we have two left feet. Other people may comment that we look like a good runner, but this comment is modified by our internal proprioception. We use other people’s comments in combination with our own experiences to form, adjust and reinforce our body image every day from birth until death.
A third component of body image is how we perceive ourselves to fit or not fit the predominant cultural image and how much value we put into achieving that image. We are social creatures by nature and in being so, we create social and cultural standards that we use to evaluate personal worth. For instance, if you are tall, thin, have low body fat and look like a celebrity or model then you are a valuable and desirable person based on our cultural standards. The further from the ideal, the more negatively your body image is effected. And this is true whether you are above or below the ideal. Having a high body fat percentage is viewed as negative by a cultural standard. However, having too low of a body fat level is also undesirable as illustrated most recently by celebrities Kate Bosworth and Nicole Richie.
How does body image become a problem?
The problem in contemporary American culture and other consumer driven contemporary cultures is that the body image ideal is now being held as the standard—young, thin, lean, and tall is now projected as a norm.
Not fitting into the cultural ideal may cause body dissatisfaction, according to James Rosen, Ph.D. from the University of Vermont. Dr. Rosen has done studies indicating that women are most dissatisfied with parts of their bodies that are furthest from the cultural ideal: thighs, buttocks and hips.
And men, who have previously been more immune to this problem, are more and more affected as the cover models of Men’s Fitness and the models in advertisements for male personal hygiene products become leaner and more chiseled looking. Increasing frequencies of low self-esteem and depression are being linked to negative body image in men, and these numbers are also continuing to grow among women.
What can be done to combat negative body image?
In my opinion, the solution will not come from fighting to change the cultural standard from the current ideal, as has been suggested by many theorists and body image consultants. I believe the problem lies within the value hierarchy upon which we culturally base the worth of a person.
The solution to this dilemma lies in a conscious reformulation of our value hierarchy. It means that physical appearance needs to continue to be an important component of self-esteem, but it cannot be the number one value upon which we base ourselves.
We need to place personal characteristics like creativity, humanitarianism, consciousness/awareness and global stewardship as more highly valued then physical appearance in order to start to decrease the trend towards negative body image and self value. We need to refocus ourselves on using our efforts, talents, accomplishments and personal relationships as a measurement of self-value.
This does not mean that we should stop caring about what we look like. We should not stop going to the gym regularly to work out. What it does mean is that we must keep a perspective that body is the outward component of who we are, but that there are more valuable inner components that we must value more highly. Especially since all but a few of us will ever achieve the body image ideal and even among those lucky few, that ideal will only last a short time as being young is one of the requirements!
Judy Torel is a therapist/personal trainer with a Master’s degree in psychology. She is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a fitness trainer and works out of Planet Fitness and Deb's Sweat Shop Extension. She can be reached at JTOREL2263@yahoo.com
Divergent holidays provide opportunities for unity, understanding
By Amy E. Tucker
The countdown to Christmas has begun. Hallmark started it in July with their holiday ornament premiere and retailers nationwide have been lining shelves with merchandise since September and bombarding us with holiday ads to keep their profits in the black.
Amidst the fanfare and commercialism of Christmas, Jews in America celebrate one of their minor holidays, Hanukkah, which begins at sundown on December 15. Though the impact has “slightly” changed Hanukkah over the years, the majority of practicing Jews don’t feel like they’re missing out.
“Hanukkah was already a commercial holiday,” explained Rabbi Robert Kasman of Agudat Achim in Niskayuna. “It was never a Biblical holiday, even in its inception. The Talmud uses the Aramaic phrase ‘persumei nisa’ which describes our obligation at the holiday to ‘advertise the miracle’.”
Judaism, according to Rabbi Kasman, doesn’t have a deep history of gift-giving. Even the traditional holiday “gelt” (or coin) is a German word that probably started in medieval times. He sees the tendency to over-celebrate holidays as more a function of society.
“If you take Halloween, for example, some people had pumpkins growing up and others didn’t. Now you see homes adorned in hundreds of dollars worth of decorations, life-size figurines and front-lawn cemeteries. People are celebrating holidays in a larger, more visual way today than they did 40 years ago and Hanukkah is included in that development.”
The commercialism also extends to their Purim holiday, which always involved food and ‘mishloach manot’ (sending of gifts). Today, people send pre-printed boxes and pre-packaged foods. “I think it’s proportional to the American tendency in the twenty-first century to celebrate bigger with everything we do,” Rabbi Kasman said.
Mark Salem, a 22-year-old orthodox Jew in his second year at Albany Law School, feels that the emphasis on Christmas has made a positive impact.
“The media tends to advertise Hanukkah with Christmas and lump the two together,” said Salem. “Because Christmas is commercialized, it’s taking Hanukkah with it to an extent. But, it has brought our holiday out into the open more, so I think its good.”
American Jews growing up in the twentieth century didn’t always share such positive experiences. As a child, 41-year old Jeffrey S. Handelman, a congregant at Agudat Achim didn’t just feel alienated around Christmas, but all year long.
“It was everything,” he conceded. “Teachers would schedule tests on the Jewish holidays and my parents always had to intervene. Now, many schools are closed for Jewish holidays.”
Growing up, Handelman’s family began celebrating Christmas with a family friend, which he calls a “terrific experience”. But, before those get-togethers, there was nothing for them to do on Christmas day except go to the movies or a Chinese restaurant.
“You knew everyone else was doing great things and the rest of the world was shut down,” Handelman said.
Salem, who lives alone so he can maintain a kosher kitchen, also identified with feeling different.
“Growing up in a closed society in Brooklyn with a lot of other Jews around me, you tend to look at the outside world as something totally different from what you are. You don’t want to have to feel like you’re trying to fit in,” he said, “But, if anything is stopping you from wanting to keep your traditions or be the Jew that you are, you should think twice about it.”
“I think the people who are unhappy or dissatisfied are the ones who aren’t celebrating the Jewish holidays thoroughly,” said Rabbi Kasman. “There’s a sense with Christmas of ‘that’s what they do, this is what we do.’ But, that’s an ongoing thing with Jews all year long.
“Christians decorate a tree for Christmas and we decorate a house (hut/booth) for Sukkot each fall. I think if you’re celebrating Hanukkah, you can identify Christmas as being somebody else’s holiday, and you’re not really being left out.”
Unlike when Handelman was in school, many colleges and secondary schools today are not only educating students about different cultures, religions and holidays, they’re actually closing down for major observances and avoiding scheduling exams and events on significant dates.
“I think as the world is becoming more accepting of diversity, it’s making conscious efforts to include other religions, cultures and holidays,” said Salem. “It’s interesting to see the differences between your religion and other people’s religions,” he continued. “Instead of viewing it as a problem, it should motivate you to learn about other aspects of the world and different cultures.”
At an early age, Handelman learned that he could share in some of his friends’ holidays and they could share in his, even if they didn’t believe in exactly the same thing. As a fifth-generation conservative Jew, he hopes his children will embrace their traditions and “not feel the pressure of being part of a minority religion in a Christian society.”
“I don’t want the [Jewish] religion and traditions to end with me,” he said. “I try to instill in them pride in their Jewish heritage and explain that their non-Jewish friends have their own heritage to celebrate. Sharing in others’ religions is a great way to expose kids to different traditions and eliminate some of the misconceptions that are common.”
Perhaps Rabbi Kasman sums it up best: “When it’s someone else’s birthday, you can be happy for them. You just don’t necessarily get a slice of the cake.”
Amy E. Tucker has been contributing to local and national publications for more than a decade. She resides in Clifton Park.
Bustling city streets! Chestnuts roasting on an open fire! It’s Troy’s Victorian Stroll. This popular–free annual holiday tradition transforms the streets of historic downtown Troy into a magical stage of song, dance and family enjoyment. Now in its 24th year, the Victorian Stroll is the premier event of the holiday season in the Capital District. Within walking distance of each other, strollers can sample the music of flamenco guitarist Maria Zemantauski, Turnaround, Shaker Creek, Cliff Perez and the Broken String Band. Strollers can shop at such diverse specialty stores at Bournebrook Antiques, Some Girls, Segel Violin, Kismet and Living Room, all located in the heart of downtown. Throughout the day, the Stroll offers more than 100 free attractions, including the region’s top performers, musicians, dancers, magicians, and storytellers at venues ranging from the Bush Memorial, the First Baptist Church, HSBC Bank, Pioneer Savings Bank to Market Block Books, the Arts Center of the Capital Region, Clement Art and Frame and more.
Restaurants and cafes such as Illium Café, Daisy Bakerís and Tosca will be open and hosting entertainment ranging from string quartets to rock and roll bands. Check out the window decorations—the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsors a contest for the best-dressed windows.
Downtown light poles are decked out with wreathes donated by Jane Stewart, a generous gift for all to enjoy. The wreaths continue south along the Second Street light poles to Washington Park, adding a touch of holiday spirit.
Neighborhoods ringing the city’s heart will be donning their finest to welcome Troy’s visitors. Washington Park, south of downtown, opens several of its grand houses, as well as a crumbling structure undergoing rehabilitation, for those curious about urban living. The Park’s entertainment—pianist Elizabeth Woodbury—and dessert—Cakes by Alan— will satisfy those strolling along Historic Second Street to Washington Park. For those not inclined to brave the elements, Washington Park runs a shuttle bus from the Courthouse with stops at St. John’s Church on First Street and Green Leaf Studio at 159 Second Street.
The Little Italy neighborhood eateries will be open after the Stroll. Vanilla Bean Bakery and Flavour Cafe at 216 and 228 Fourth Street, Red Front at 71 Division, Carmen’s Café at 198 First Street, the Italian Community Center at 1450 Fifth Avenue and the Irish Mist at 285 Second Street will be open after 5pm on Stroll Sunday. A great way to relax after an event filled day. Menus vary, but all appetites will be satisfied!
Troy’s Victorian Stroll is a great opportunity to sample the best of Troy—its architecture, its specialty stores, its culinary delights, its local talent and its friendly people. As we say, enjoy Troy!
For more information contact the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce (RCRCC) at 274.7020 or visit www.troyvictorianstroll.com.
December 1 & 2
The Four Corners in Delmar Winter Fest—Strolling carolers, hot chocolate. Santa arrives by fire truck 6:30pm Friday. 10am-6pm Saturday. Take a horse and carriage ride 11am-2pm. For more info: 475.9017.
A Winter Walk on Warren Street—Enjoy the festive atmosphere in the city of Hudson. Window performances, Victorian carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, live reindeer, fireworks, the Santa parade and lots of surprises.Free. 5pm-8pm. For more info:822.1438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnstown Colonial Stroll—The annual Colonial Stroll on Main Street in Johnstown will include Santa and Mrs. Claus, lighting of the Christmas Tree, live reindeer, wagon rides, balloon art and entertainment in downtown businesses. Free. 6:30pm. Main Street, Johnstown. For more info: 762.8317.
Downtown Gloversville Victorian Stroll—Annual Christmas tree lighting and caroling festival. Entertainers, horse drawn carriage rides, Santa Claus, music performances and strollers in and out of downtown businesses. Free. 6pm. Gloversville Business Improvement District. For more info: 773.7010.
Miracle on Main Street in Middleburgh— Caroling, musicians, horse-drawn carriage rides, bell ringing, Christmas stories, pictures with Santa, refreshments, roasted chestnuts, hot pretzels, cocoa, soup, and more. Extended shop hours. Main Street. 6pm-8pm. For more info: 827.6696.
Christmastime in Schoharie—Downtown store decorations, tree lighting, caroling, children’s Christmas crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, tree decorating contest, colonial Christmas tea, bon fire, pictures with Santa, chicken barbecue, church breakfasts and more. Fun for the whole family! Village of Schoharie. For more info: www.christmastimeinschoharie.com.
Enjoy a winter weekend of shopping, entertainment and just pure holiday cheer at nearby Williamstown’s Annual Holiday Walk Weekend on December 9 & 10.
The 2006 Holiday Walk will begin with the ever-popular “Reindog Parade” on Spring Street, followed by holiday music throughout the town, classic holiday films at Images, the chicken and biscuit dinner at the Methodist Church, live entertainment at The Log, a theatrical performance by Roger Reese, a reading by Robert Campanile, Santa’s Workshop at the Williamstown Savings Bank, the Penny Social held in Lasell Gym and much more.
Enjoy a holiday weekend in “The Village Beautiful”. Hours: Dec. 9 1pm-7pm; Dec. 10 9am-4pm.
For a full calendar of events call 413.458.9077 or visit www.williamstownchamber.com.
The town of Stockbridge, made famous by Norman Rockwell’s painting of the village during the holidays, becomes a magical New England setting decorated with holiday wreaths and festive lights, as the town celebrates the 17th annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas,
The holiday celebration offers a full range of activities, with highlights including a holiday reading at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, house tours, caroling, and a holiday concert
Capping off the weekend is a recreation on Sunday of the scene depicted in Main Street at Christmas, complete with vintage automobiles parked in the spots occupied in the painting. The day’s activities include horse drawn rides, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Roger the Jester, lunch at the Christmas Food Booth and much more.
The festivities celebrate Rockwell’s popular depiction of what for many is the quintessential small New England Town, with all the longing for a simpler time that it represents. Rockwell began painting the popular image in 1956, but did not complete it until December 1967.
The image and character of Stockbridge has changed little over the years, thanks to the great care and affection of its residents, and it is that special ambience which draws so many visitors to this gala celebration.
Holiday Reading—Actors from the Berkshire Theatre Festival present a holiday reading, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. A Ghost Story of Christmas adapted by Eric Hill, directed by Eric Hill and E. Gray Simons III. 7:30pm. $20.
Caroling Luminaria Walk—Meet in front of The Red Lion Inn, Main Street with your candle or flashlight and join the festive caroling followed by a Luminaria walk to the First Congregational Church. Stockbridge Main Street. 6:30pm-7:30pm.
Holiday Concert —Celebrate the magic of the season with a joyful holiday musical program held at the First Congregational Church. Featuring the Berkshire Lyric Theatre Chorus, the Blafield Children’s Chorus and Gisella Montanez. Admission. 7:30pm. Advance tickets $20; $25 at door. Stockbridge Main Street.
Holiday House Tour
Visit some of the area’s Historic Homes, Bed & Breakfasts and Inns. This self-guided tour is one of the most popular events. $15. 11am-4pm. Stockbridge Main Street.
December 2 & 3
Holiday Marketplace—Exhibition and sale of handcrafted wreaths and holiday decorations, seasonal blooms and greens, herb products, crafts and gift items. Part of Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas celebration. Free. Berkshire Botanical Gardens.
Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas Recreation—Commemorative Buttons offering admittance to Sunday’s Main St. activities are $4 per person. Children under 12 free. Noon-2pm.
For more information on these events contact the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce at 413.298.5200 or visit www.stockbridgechamber.org.
Visit one of the many historic homes decorated in their holiday glory.
Holiday Reception at Barnett Homestead—Welcome in the holidays by strolling through this historic homestead decorated with lovely greens and holiday decorations of the Victorian era, including holiday tunes and refreshments. 7pm-9pm. Town of Hoosick Visitor Center at historic Barnett Homestead at New York State Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site. For more info: 279.1155.
Holiday Trolley Tour—Tour three historic house museums, refreshments, music, shopping. 12pm-3pm. Chapman Historical Museum, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.2826; www.chapmanmuseum.org.
December 2 & 3
Holidays at Pruyn House: Greens Show and Open House—Free. Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12:30-4:30pm. Pruyn House, Newtonville. For more info: 783.1435; www.colonie.org/pruyn.
December 2 & 3
Christmas in Warrensburg—Celebration featuring Candlelight House Tour, caroling, holiday storytelling, tree lighting ceremony, craft fair & demonstrations, church bazaars, luncheons, concerts. 9am-6pm. Downtown Warrensburg. For more info: 466.5497.
December 2 & 3
Mayfield Historical Society Christmas Open House—Tours of the homestead, entertainment, and refreshments. Free. 11:30am. Riceville Homestead, Mayfield.
December 2 & 3
Fort Plain Museum Holiday Open House— Come visit the museum in all of its holiday glory! 1pm-5pm. Fort Plain Museum. For more info: 933.2527.
Holiday House Tour in the Village of Kinderhook—Tickets available at the Columbia County Museum, Kinderhook Village. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
December 8, 9, 10
Greens Show at James Vanderpoel House—Friday 5pm-8:30pm, Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm. Broad Street, Kinderhook Village. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
3rd Annual Holiday House Tour—Take a self-guided tour of private homes in and around Center Square, Hudson Park, Washington Park and Pine Hills that are dressed up for the season. Also open are The Harmanus Bleeker Building, 74 State Street and the Fort Orange Club. At 1:30pm, visit the Israel AME Church to hear its choir perform. The Albany Institute of History & Art offers free admission to its exhibits with the purchase of a Tour ticket, a book signing with Assemblyman Jack McEneny from 1:30pm-3pm, and a “Trunk Sale” by craft and jewelry makers. Restaurants on Lark and Hamilton Streets will offer discounts, wine tastings and prizes to those with a Tour Ticket. Take a trolley tour through Capital Holiday Lights in the Park in Washington Park. Cap off the celebration with music and refreshments. Historic Albany Foundation and Albany Institute of History and Art members $20; non-members $25. Tour hours 12pm-5pm. For more info: 465.0876; www.historic-albany.org.
December 9 & 10
Christmas at Clermont Open House: A Currier & Ives Christmas—Tour the mansion decorated for the holidays. Free. 11am-4pm. Clermont State Historic Site One Clermont Avenue, Germantown. 537.4240; www.friendsofclermont.org.
Holiday House Tour—Self-guided tour of homes decorated for the holidays. Advance ticket $20; day of tour $25. 12pm-4pm. Chapman Historical Museum, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.2826; www.chapmanmuseum.org.
December 16 & 17
Candlelight Tours of Clermont—Adults $5; seniors $4; children under 14 free. 11am-6pm; bonfire and carols at 3pm. Clermont State Historic Site, Clermont. 537-4240; www.friendsofclermont.org.
Under two hours from Albany: Historic homes downstate
The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site was established as a monument to an era rather than a tribute to any one person or family. The estate illustrates a way of life modeled on the English country house and is only unusual today because so few examples survive in the 21st century. More than a place to discuss the lifestyles of the rich and famous, the park offers a window into the philosophy of the American country house, the lives of its domestic staff, and its relationship to the surrounding community.
The 211 acres of park land boast centuries old tree plantings, stunning Hudson River and Catskill Mountain views and Italian Gardens maintained by the volunteers of the Frederick William Vanderbilt Garden Association.
Evening Open House—See the mansion decorated for the holidays. Free. 6pm-9pm.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site is located in Hyde Park. For more information call 845.229.7770 or visit www.nps.gov/vama.
The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site contains “Springwood”, the lifelong home of America’s only four-term President. Also on the site is the Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Archives.
A Roosevelt Christmas Special Open House—Roosevelt’s home is decorated for Christmas during the entire month ofDecember. Experience a typicalRoosevelt Christmas. There is a reading of excerpts from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” by an FDR impersonator. Free. 6pm-8pm. Springwood, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park. For more info: 845.229.6214; www.nps.gov/hofr.
The only National Historic Site dedicated to a First Lady, Val-Kill welcomes you as Eleanor Roosevelt welcomed her many guests.
A Roosevelt Christmas—Eleanor Roosevelt loved Christmas and this is reflected in the decorations that will be on display throughout the month of December at her home, Val-Kill. Open during the day for regular scheduled tours of the house. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.On December 9 there will be an evening open house from 6pm-9pm.Free and open to the public. For more info: 845.229.6214; www.nps.gov/enro.
Widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the country, Boscobel sits on a bluff on the east bank of the Hudson River opposite West Point. It was completed in 1808 for the State’s Dyckman family and contains one of the nation’s leading collections of furniture and decorative arts from that period.
Daytime Holiday Tours: Enjoy the mansion decorated with fresh greens, fruit and flowers as Boscobel’s docents discuss holiday traditions and entertaining during the Federal period. Cider and fruitcake will be served at the end of the tour. Everyday but Tuesdays and Christmas Day. Adults $10; seniors $9; children 6-14 $7; under 6 free. 10am-3:15pm.
Boscobel is located at 1601 Route 9D, Garrison. For more information call 845.265.3638 or visit www.boscobel.org.
Mills Mansion at Staatsburgh State Historic Site is a 79-room Greek Revival country estate structure built in 1832 by Morgan Lewis and his wife, Gertrude Livingston, replacing an earlier house that had burned down. It is an elegant example of the great estates built by America’s financial and industrial leaders during the Gilded Age. This second house was inherited by Ruth Livingston Mills, wife of noted financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills. Formerly known as the Mills Mansion, it is located in the hamlet of Staatsburg, between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park.
It has been lavishly decorated for the holiday season with turn of the century decorations, numerous Christmas trees, floral arrangements and spectacular dining room decorations based on historical themes. Guided tours will be offered Wednesdays-Saturdays through December 30 from noon-5pm. The last tour will begin at 4:30pm. Self-guided tours will be offered on Sundays through December 31 from noon-5pm with the last tour starting at 4:30pm and also on December 22 from 6pm-8pm.Visitors who tour on December 22 & 24 will be able to converse with costumed interpreters situated throughout the mansion. Both guided and self-guided tour fees: Adults $5; seniors/students $4; free for those under 12.
There will be a special children’s holiday program on December 3, 10, 17 & 31 from 12:30pm-4pm. In this year’s Holiday Whodunit children will be asked to solve The Case of the Pilfered Pantry. Who is responsible for the disappearance of a variety of items from the Mills’ home? Children may ask questions and use clues provided by our costumed first-person interpreters to discover if the thief is a mysterious stranger, a trusted servant or an outsider. Those who correctly solve the mystery will be entered in a drawing for additional prizes. All children will also make a holiday craft to take home. Free for those ages 12 and under. Adults $5; seniors/students $4.
Staatsburgh State Historic Site is located off of Route 9 on Old Post Road in the hamlet of Staatsburg, between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. The site is one of 13 parks and six historic sites administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – Taconic Region. For more information about New York State parks, please visit www.nysparks.com.
The Park-McCullough Historic Site is a 35-room Victorian mansion completed in 1865 for Trenor and Laura Park. Trenor Park, a Bennington lawyer, had made a fortune in California successfully managing John C. Fremont’s Mariposa gold mines. Returning East, he commissioned architects Diaper and Dudley to design this “summer home,” a classic example of French Second Empire Style.
The beautiful grounds feature a playhouse, rose gardens, and a Carriage Barn, which houses a fine collection of horse-drawn carriages, buggies, sleighs and fire-fighting equipment.
Santa Arrives at Park McCullough—Take your picture with Kris Kringle. Free to members and guests. 1pm-3pm.
December 3, 9, 16
Victorian Tea—Members $10; guests $15. 1pm & 3pm.
New Year’s Eve in the Carriage Barn—Swing into 2007 with our second New Year’s Eve Party. Eat, drink and dance the night away to the sounds of live big band music!
Park McCullough Historic Site is located at Park and West Streets, North Bennington. For more information call 802.442.5441 or visit www.parkmccullough.org.
Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive adulthood built his Georgian Revival mansion in the scenic Vermont village of Manchester in 1905 and it became home to only Lincoln descendants until 1975.
It is an example of the “Great American Story” and the story of the Lincoln family’s love affair with Vermont. An historic home, gardens, trails, woods and farm set on 412 preserved acres of quintessential Vermont landscape.
One generation later, Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, became Chairman of the largest corporation in America at the turn of the 20th century. He built his Georgian Revival mansion in the scenic Vermont village of Manchester in 1905 and it became home to only Lincoln descendants until 1975.
Uncle Vova’s Tree—Children 5-8 years. 10:30am. Beckwith Room.
December 27 & 28
Hildene Holiday Evenings—Self-guided tours through the mansion decorated for the holidays. Cider, carolers and a bonfire on the front lawn. Adults $15; children under 14 $10; members free. 4pm-7pm. Hildene is located at 1005 Hildene Road, Manchester. For more information call 800.578.1788 or visit www.hildene.org.
Wilderstein Historic Site was the home of Thomas Holy Suckley and his wife Catherine Murray Bowne. Suckley purchased the land in 1852 with the fortune he made through the family export trade and real estate investments. He was a descendant of the Beekman and Livingston families whose estate houses were prominent landmarks in this region of the Hudson River Valley from the 17th through the late 19th centuries.
Suckley named the property “Wilderstein” (wild man’s stone) in reference to a nearby Indian petroglyph. Until 1991 three generations of Suckleys occupied Wilderstein.
December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23
Victorian Holiday Tours—Seasonal decorations by well-known Hudson Valley and New York City florists, artists and designers. An annual tradition for over 20 years.1pm-4pm.
Wilderstein Historic Site is located at 330 Morton Road, Rhinebeck. For more information call 845.876.4818 or visit www.wilderstein.org.
Throwing the perfect holiday bash
As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to hang the lights, dust off the china, pull out your favorite recipes and get set to throw the perfect bash.
Although nearly half of Americans report experiencing stress during the holidays, according to a recent Gallup survey, holiday entertaining should be an enjoyable form of self-expression.
“Whether you’re having the in-laws over for brunch or hosting an elaborate cocktail party with co-workers, entertaining can be simple and fun if you plan ahead and take inventory of your belongings,” said Robert Zollweg, creative director for Libbey Inc., a leading provider of tableware products.
“Everyday household items, such as martini and wine glasses as well as forgotten dishes, can be transformed into elegant conversation pieces, making it quick and easy to make a lasting impression on your guests.”
For your next holiday gathering, try one of these simple tips from Libbey:
• Cut down on the holiday chores by throwing a themed holiday pre-party with friends, such as a bake-off, tree decorating or gift wrapping party.
• To engage your guests, set up a do-it-yourself bar. Instead of the old standby, make it a hot cocoa or eggnog bar. Offer different liquors, toppings and recipe starters.
• Take photos of guests throughout the night. Use them for a holiday scrapbook or send them to your guests in their holiday card.
• Set up a station where guests can make their own wine charm. Have on hand a variety of charms, ornaments, stones and beads. It also makes a great keepsake.
• Play old holiday movies on a projector or flat screen with the sound muted. This makes for a simple and fun backdrop.
• For an easy centerpiece, fill a clear bowl with greens, kumquats, oranges, crab apples or multicolored glass ornaments. Finish with holiday greenery or seasonal white flowers.
• Fill drinking glasses—stemless wine glasses work great—with decorative stones, then place a tea light inside. Or, turn traditional wine glasses upside down and use them as candleholders. Use different heights and group them together for an elegant look.
• Use clear martini glasses or margarita glasses to serve eggnog, desserts, sorbets, condiments or other side dishes.
• Fill beer pilsners with nuts, mints and other candy and use ribbon to tie a bow at the stem. Place glasses throughout the house so guests can munch while mingling.
• Broke a saucer? Missing a plate? Create a festive look by mixing and matching patterns.
• Create custom glassware by painting a simple pattern onto a plain wine glass, using egg whites and a small paintbrush—immediately sprinkle fine sugar over the egg-white pattern.
• An inexpensive way to dress up your party is to pick up some specialty barware like unusual martini glasses or stemless wine glasses.
• Invite early, at least four to six weeks in advance, since calendars tend to book up fast during the holidays.
For more information about tableware products, visit www.libbey.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information, contact Michelle Vocaire, Marcus Thomas, for Libbey at (216) 514-4567 or email@example.com.
Tradition: It’s a family affair
By Kristen Tibbitts
What better way to start a new tradition than during the holiday season when families come together? This year, gather up your family to continue old traditions and begin a few new ones.
Decorate together—Your traditions can begin the moment everyone has arrived. If your celebration involves trimming a tree, assign each person a job that can be continued each year. For instance, men can string the lights, women can place the ornaments and the youngest member puts the angel or star on top.
Remember relatives that have passed on—Create a holiday recipe book to honor those who have passed. If your favorite aunt had a very special Christmas cake recipe that you were fortunate enough to inherit, include it. Have your relatives submit any recipes or anecdotes that they are particularly fond of. Make a copy of the book for other family members.
Make a memory book —Who doesnít want to see the baby enjoying her first Christmas? Though we tend to take more photos during the holiday season, many times they wind up in a box or drawer. This year, take the time to compile your holiday photos into an album. Each year, take a new family picture and add it in. Leave the album on the coffee table each holiday season so your family and friends can enjoy reliving the memories year after year.
A special dinner—If you plan to stay at home with the family for a big holiday dinner, include some of the recipes you collected for the recipe book you made. If your dinner revolves around a religious event, include traditional food items, ceremonies and stories in the meal. If your dinner will be on the non-religious side, or if your family has taken a year off from intense holiday food preparation, try taking a trip to a restaurant or even a diner. If this is easier or more enjoyable, it could become the tradition, rather than a break from tradition.
Fun family breakfast—When families get larger, finding something that everyone will eat becomes tricky. Therefore, make one thing that is likely to be a hit with everyone, and then let each person top it with whatever he or she chooses. Try making a do-it-yourself waffle/pancake bar. Make a big pile of fluffy waffles or pancakes and set out different types of syrups, jams and spreads. For the kids, include some sweet treats like chocolate chips and sprinkles. Throw in some baked goods, fruit and flavored coffee and this meal will surely be a hit.
Religious services—If you will be attending a religious service as part of your holiday celebration, try to gather the whole family, even those from out of town. If some choose not to attend, give them a task to accomplish while the rest of the family is out. Have them get started on the cooking, or tidy up the extra bedding if there are relatives staying overnight.
Watch a holiday special—There are entire blocks of programming during December devoted to holiday fare. From the brand new to the old classics to the religious and streamlined to the whimsical and animated, there is something for absolutely everyone.
Pop the corn, make the hot chocolate and gather a group around the television to enjoy one movie or watch a little of everything.
Enjoy the weather—Playing in the snow is not just for children. Everyone can join in the fun of an annual trip to the sledding hill or skating rink.
When planning your holiday itinerary, remember that not everyone may be as open to carrying on traditions. If there are old rifts still being healed, or new spouses who aren’t familiar with the whole family, try to get everyone involved. Making everyone feel welcome may be the most important tradition of all.
Through December 21
Shaker Christmas Craft Fair—Tuesday-Saturday 9:30am-4:30pm. Shaker Heritage Society, Colonie. For more info: 456.7890.
Through January 1
Symphony of Lights—Magnificent three-dimensional illuminated holiday display glowing with over 10,000 lights on State & Pearl Street. A 17´ animated gold glittered trumpet glows brilliantly as the centerpiece of downtown Albany. For more info: 465.2143; www.downtownalbany.org.
Through January 1
Capital Holiday Lights in the Park—$12/car; $15/limousine or 15-passenger van; $75/bus. Monday – Thursday 6-9pm, Friday & Saturday 6-10pm. Washington Park, Albany. For more info: www.capitalholidaylights.com.
Holiday House Preview Party Fundraiser—Join us for a “sneak peek” at the historic Mansion in its holiday grandeur! Delicious buffet with wine; silent auction & holiday shop. Please reserve. $40. 5:30pm-8:30pm. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
December 1 & 2
8th Annual Four Corners Winterfest—Santa arrives by fire truck at 6:30pm on 12/1! Bring the kids for horse and buggy rides on 12/2 from 11am-2pm. Free refreshments afterwards at the Delmar Reformed Church. Many stores will be open until 8pm. For more information call 475.9017.
December 2 & 3
Country Holiday Gift Bazaar—Local artisans and crafters selling original handcrafted items and wares. Stroll around the nature center. 10am-4pm. The Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, Voorheesville (Past Thacher Park). For more info: 872.0800.
A Christmas Concert—The Festival Celebration Choir, the Capital District’s premiere ecumenical choir, presents a program of Advent and Christmas Music Sunday. Led by Wm. Glenn Osborne, the 70-member choir will perform a program entitled “Go And Tell It!” including “Fantasia on Christmas Carols,” R.V.Williams; “Glory To God,” Handel; “Dixit Maria,” Hassler; “O Magnum Mysterium,” Poulenc; “White Christmas,” Berlin and many others. 3pm. $17; $10 for students/seniors. St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham. For more info: 356.0793.
The New York Chocolate Expo and Holiday Gift Market— Sample the best chocolate and specialty foods the Capital Region has to offer. Dozens of exhibitors with something special for everyone on your holiday gift list. Music, chocolate demonstrations, fine crafts, kid’s activities and more throughout the Museum! Free admission. 11am-5pm. Also visit Chocolate: the Exhibition on the main floor. Adults $4; children 6-12 $2; free under 6. Chocolate Wednesdays will feature complimentary chocolate for everyone with a ticket to the exhibition. Tickets are on sale daily until 4pm. Tours of the chocolate exhibition will be held Saturdays through January 6th. New York State Museum, Albany. For more info: 473.7154.
Holiday Craft Workshop—Learn the Legend of the Silver Pine Cone and celebrate the season of Yule by creating handmade items. Pinecone swags, scented pinecone firestarters, potpourri and light decorations, hand-painted pine cone welcome slates and balsam pillows. Bring quart size mason jar and extra pine cones. $2-$5 for each craft. Ages 8+. 10am-1pm.If inclement weather, workshop will be on 12/10. Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, Voorheesville. For more info: 872.1237.
Albany WinterFestival—Will include a children’s fun run, the popular 5k Last Run and fireworks. WinterFestival will host a myriad of outdoor and indoor activities focusing on a family audience. Unique and interactive attractions, as well as a spectacular assortment of acclaimed musical performances, will fill the public spaces in downtown as Albany celebrates a winter afternoon in the northeast. Free. 12pm-6pm. Downtown Albany. For more info: 434-2032; www.albanyevents.org.
Empire State Plaza
Albany, 473.0559; www.ogs.state.ny
Holiday Tree Lighting Festival—Outside enjoy ice-skating, fireworks, performances, the official tree lighting ceremony and seasonal food specialties. Inside there will be stories of the season with special guest storyteller, holiday arts and crafts projects for the kids. Make this event part of your holiday tradition and spend the day with friends, family and neighbors! 2pm-6pm.
December 6 & 7
Senior Holiday Sale—Hand crafted items. South Concourse.
December 13 & 14
Community Holiday Group Sale—Do your holiday shopping while supporting your favorite not-for-profit organization. 10am-2pm. South Concourse.
December 7, 8, 14, 15, 20-22
Santa Sidewalk Sale—Commercial products. South Concourse.
Delancey Street Foundation Holiday Fundraiser—Hand crafted terrariums and sand paintings. 9am-3pm. South Concourse. For more info: 278.6181.
Lunchtime Holiday Concert Series
Iroquois Middle School
Coxackie-Athens Senior High School
Lisha Kill Middle School
Goff Middle School
Voorheesville High School
Caledonia Mumford Central School
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School
Lincoln Elementary School
19 Clinton Avenue, Albany, 465.3334; www.palacealbany.com
The Albany Symphony Orchestra Presents: The Magic of Christmas—Every December, as the holidays draw near, there’s an excitement that fills the air. This year, the ASO has created a special concert reflecting the joy and spirit of the season. David Allan Miller has fashioned a warm and entertaining concert with holiday favorites, community music groups and a special visit by a well-known couple. Guaranteed to lift the spirits of the young and the young at heart! Adults and seniors $22; under 17 and under 12 $10. 7:30pm.
ASO Sunday Symphony for Families Presents: The Magic of Christmas—Adults and seniors $22; under 17 and under 12 $10. 3pm.
Kenny Rogers: Greatest Hits and Holiday Classics—$55; $42. 7:30pm.
The Andy Williams Christmas Show—$59.50; $54.50; $49.50. 7:30pm.
It’s a Wonderful Life—Part of the Certified Angus Beef Movie Series. $5. 1pm and 7pm.
A Christmas Carol—Part of the Certified Angus Beef Movie Series. $5. 1pm and 7pm.
University at Albany Performing Arts Center
Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany
8th Annual Holiday Concert—Several University ensembles - the Chorale, Chamber Singers, Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra—are joined by student groups—Acchords, Serendipity, Earth Tones and Angelic Voices of Praise - for a concert celebrating the season. $8; students $4. 3pm. Main Theatre.
51 South Pearl Street, Albany, 487.2000; www.pepsiarena.com
Trans-Siberian Orchestra. $50; $40. 4pm.
The Egg Center for the Performing Arts
Empire State Plaza, Albany,473.1845; www.theegg.org
Irish Christmas in America—Irish music and dancing featuring County Sligo’s “Teada”, who were recently voted Ireland’s “Best Traditional Newcomers,” and Cathie Ryan formerly of Cherish the Ladies. Benefits the Irish American Heritage Museum. $20 donation; $18 early bird tickets available by December 1. 7:30pm. For more info: 432.6598.
Mendelssohn Club Holiday Concert—The colors and carols of Christmas featuring the Mendelssohn Club with the Capital District Youth Chorale. 8pm .
142 Maple Avenue, Altamont, 765.2815; www.oldsongs.org
Nowell Sing We Clear: a Mid-winter Pageant of Carols —John, Tony, Fred and Andy return for the 32nd touring season of their delightful and spirited program of unusual songs, carols, stories and customs. The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration, commingling ancient pagan observances of the winter solstice with the rites and folklore of the Christmas story. It’s all done with much panache, good humor and great music. Adults $17; children 12 and under $5. 3pm. St. John’s Lutheran Church, Altamont. For more info: 765.2815; www.oldsongs.org.
Gallery of Wreaths and Holiday Crafts—Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm. Columbia County Museum, Kinderhook Village. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
Candlelight Night in the Town of Kinderhook—Businesses open with refreshments, music, wagon rides, Santa, carolers and the Greens Show at the Vanderpoel House. 6pm-8:30pm. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
Holiday Bonfire—A winter walk or snowshoe around the lake will be followed by a 4pm bonfire with traditional carolers. 3pm-5pm. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson. For more info: 828.0135; www.olana.org.
Opening Reception: Holiday Crafts Show—4pm-6pm. Spencertown Academy Arts Center, Spencertown. For more info: 392.3693; www.spencertownacademy.org.
Santa is Coming to Valatie—Party and parade for Santa Claus at the Village Square. 2pm. For more info: 758.9806.
Clermont State Historic Site
One Clermont Avenue, Germantown
December 2 & 3
A Child’s Christmas—Holiday program and party. Clermont. Reservations required. 10am.
December 4-8, 11-15
Winters Remembered—School Tour Program. Program geared to grades 3-6. Public, parochial and home-school students welcome. $2 per child.
Friends of Clermont Holiday Reception— Friends members free; guests $10 each. 5pm-7pm.
December 9 & 10
Christmas at Clermont Open House: A Currier & Ives Christmas—Tour the mansion decorated for the holidays. Free. 11am-4pm.
A Christmas Carol—Charles Dicken’s classic holiday story. Fridays and Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 2pm. Adults $12; students and seniors $10. One Colonial Court, Johnstown. For more info: 762.4325.
Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony—Help celebrate with a tree decorating contest, Santa and more. Free. 5pm. Village Park, Northville. For more info: 863.4211.
Van’s Harley Davidson Christmas Party—Van’s Harley Davidson Christmas Open House, games and prizes, plenty of sale items. Free. Gloversville. For more info: 725.3698.
Hollywood Christmas —Starring Laura Roth With Perthshire in all it’s holiday glory, celebrate the Christmas season with some of the silver screen’s most brilliant stars such as Mae West, Carmen Miranda, Judy Garland, & more! $34.50 pp inclusive. 11:30am. Perthshire, Route 30N, Perth. For more info: 883.5123.
First Night Fulton County: Love at First Night —Enjoy over 25 venues of live entertainment for the whole family: bands, magicians, comic hypnotist, clowns, interactive theater and children’s programs. Before Christmas $5; after Christmas $10. Evening. For more info: 800.676.3858.
42 North Main Street, Gloversville, 773.8255
Holiday Concert—Featuring Johnstown chamber Choir, Gloversville High select Choir and the Gloversville Civic Band. Donation. 6pm.
Phantom of the Glove Concert—Featuring Marilyn Rhinehart performing holiday music. Free. 12:15pm-12:45pm.
Country Christmas with Rick Barnes and Heather Richards—Mayfield Elementary School Choir, the Dance Company and others. Presale $15; $17 at the door; students $6.
Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center
139 Lapland Lake Road, Northville
Lapland Lake Annual Reindeer Roundup Pursuit Race—Features a 10am start for a 5km classic event immediately followed by a pursuit start 5km freestyle event (total 10km). Empire State Games Qualifier. Registration 8am-9:30am, includes all-day facility use pass. Bill Koch Youth Race (ages 13 & younger) held following the Pursuit Race. NYSSRA members $20; non-members $25 by 12/13, additional $5 after this date. 10am.
Christmas at Lapland Lake—Visit the reindeer, ski & snowshoe trails, junior tubing hill & ice-skating open 11am-4:30pm. Rental and retail shops open but no food service or lessons. Weekend facility use fees in effect today through Monday, January 1st. Adults $15; juniors ages 6-15 $7; free under age 6. 11am.
Holiday in the Mountains—Annual non-juried member group craft exhibition and sale. Artisans fill the gallery with holiday gifts, including pottery, glass, quilts, toys, clothing, jewelry wreaths, ornaments and more. All works are for sale. Friday-Tuesday 10am-5pm until further notice. Greene County Council on the Arts, Windham. For more info: 734.3104; www.greenearts.org.
Eastern Star Christmas Bazaar—10am-4pm. Windham Masonic Lodge, Windham. For more info: 734.4560.
Catskill Holiday Festival: Celebrate the Holidays—Games, refreshments and visit from Santa at the Catskill Community Center, live entertainment at the Community Theater with Steve Charney & the Zucchini Brothers followed by an all-age appropriate film. Stores will be open for parents to browse while kids enjoy the festivities. Free. 11am-4pm. Main Street, Catskill. For more info: 943.0989.
Elves Night Out
Festival of Trees—Century Club, Amsterdam. For more info: 842.2031.
St. Nicholas Day Celebration—Celebration of special day for children as observed by early Dutch and Palatine pioneers. Militia drills, storyteller, roaring fires. Children will receive homemade wooden ornament. 12pm-4:30pm. Fort Klock, St. Johnsville. For more info: 568.7779.
Christmas Tree Lighting—5pm. Village of St. Johnsville. For more info: 568.2421.
Community Christmas Concert—United Presbyterian Hand Bell Choir from Amsterdam will perform a selection of secular and seasonal favorites. 2pm. Charleston Historical Society. For more info: 868 2144.
“A Billy Elviz Holiday” starring Bill McGrath—$34.50 lunch and show. 11:30am. Perthshire Dinner Theatre, Amsterdam. For more info: 883.5123.
Community Caroling and Performers—Free. 7pm. Noteworthy Christmas Center. For more info: 842.2660.
Children’s Morning—Puppet show and Santa refreshments. 10am. Noteworthy Christmas Center. For more info: 842.2660.
Through December 17
Wassailing Weekends—The Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard will offer demonstrations on how to make Wassail, the traditional holiday drink. Weekends only. Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard, Fly Creek. For more info: 607.547.9692; www.flycreekcidermill.com.
December 2 & 3
Holiday Gift Basket Workshop—Bring your own basket or buy one here to create a memorable holiday gift basket from the Mill’s wide array of Fly Creek Cider Mill products. Basketing experts will be assisting in creating a gift that is sure to please by adding just the right ingredients for everyone on your list. 10am-2pm. Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard, Fly Creek. For more info: 607.547.9692; www.flycreekcidermill.com.
December 2 & 3, 9 & 10
Santa Express Trains—Santa and his helpers will be on board our beautifully decorated trains to hand out gifts and goodies to all the children on board. Refreshments provided. 2pm. Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad, Milford. For more info: 607.432.2429; www.lrhs.com.
Teada: An Irish Christmas in America—The latest hot Celtic music sensation showcasing Ireland’s wider cultural history and holiday lore. Also featuring luminous vocalist Cathie Ryan, formerly of the group Cherish the Ladies, several guest instrumentalists, and local Irish step-dancers. 7pm. Sterling Auditorium, Cooperstown High School, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.1812; www.cooperstownconcertseries.org.
Sint Niklaas visits Brewery Ommegang—St. Nik makes his annual visit to the brewery loaded down with stories and treats for the tots. Beer sampling, hot chocolate and cider. Belgian spiced cookies, and sleigh or wagon rides. 12pm-3pm. Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown. For more info: 800.544.1809; www.ommegang.com.
The village of Cooperstown will be glowing with hundreds of luminaries, Santa snug in his cottage, carolers around wood fires, Victorian Strollers and horse drawn rides. Stores open. 4pm-7pm For information www.cooperstownchamber.org
December 15-April 15
Winter Fun at Glimmerglass Skate Park—Winter visitors can go tubing (we supply the tubes!), cross-country skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and winter hiking! A warming shed is on premises and hot chocolate will be served! Weather permitting. County Hwy 31, Springfield, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.8662.
The Farmers’ Museum
State Route 80, Cooperstown, 888.547.1450; www.nysha.org
December 1, 8 & 9
Holiday Lantern Tours—Come and enjoy the festive candlelit setting of the Museum and learn about trades of Christmas Past by visiting historic buildings in our village. Walk by lantern with costumed interpreters and stop at selected historic buildings. Music and dancing at Bump Tavern. 5pm-8pm.
Candlelight Evening at the Farmers’ Museum—One of central New York’s brightest holiday traditions, the Museum takes on a magical appearance, decorated in greenery and illuminated by hundreds of candles and lamplight. 3pm-7pm.
24th Annual Troy Victorian Stroll—This annual event attracts visitors from near and far to enjoy a day of old-fashioned fun, food, shopping, and activities for all ages. Over 100 venues offering live music, dancing, storytelling, theatre, and costumed performers, set against a backdrop of unique shops, storefronts and restaurants, the stroll brings back Victorian holiday tradition. 11am-5pm. Downtown Troy. For more info: 274.7020; www.troyvictorianstroll.com.
A Wonderful Life—Catherine LaValle as Mary Hatch and Tim Booth as George Bailey will reprise their roles from the 1998 NYSTI production. Schact Fine Arts Center, Russell Sage College, Troy. For more info: 274.3256; www.nysti.org.
December 3, 10, 15, 17
G.F. Handel’s “Messiah”—Presented by Christian Arts Choir and Orchestra with Sand Lake Chorale. Donations accepted. December 3 6pm, Loudonville Community Church, Loudonville. 12/10 3pm, St Pius X Church, Loudonville; 12/15 7pm, St Henry’s Church, Averill Park; 12/17 3pm, St Peter’s Armenian Church, Watervliet. For more info: 283.6819.
December 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17
“Inspecting Carol”—$14. December 8, 9, 15 and 16 8pm, December 10 and 17 2:30pm. Sand Lake Center for the Arts, Averill Park. For more info: www.slca-ctp.org.
Farmhouse Breakfast with Santa—Adults $7; children 4-11 $4.50; under 3 free. Goold Orchards, Castleton. For more info: www.goold.com.
Holiday Tea Party for Mothers and Daughters—Come dressed in your holiday best, and start the holiday season off with a cup of tea with your child. 2pm-4pm. Town of Hoosick Visitor Center at historic Barnett Homestead at New York State Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site. For more info: www.rensco.com.
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Second and State Street, Troy, 273.0038; www.troymusichall.org
Sister’s Christmas Catechism: A Music at the Hall Event—From the author of Late Nite Catechism comes Sister’s own Christmas story where she asks, “Whatever happened to the Magi’s gold?” It’s CSI: BETHLEHEM when Sister invites her audience up on stage to be characters in a living nativity/crime scene. $31; $28; $20. 8pm.
Albany Pro Musica: Messiah and More—Part I of Handel’s most famous oratorio plus a cappella Christmas music in the second half. With orchestra and soloists. Adults $30; seniors 62+ $28; students under 24 $10. 8pm.
Music at Noon: Holiday Concert—Donald Ingram, piano and organ; Leslie Boyer, soprano. Free; no ticket required. 12pm.
Judy Collins—A Music at the Hall Event- A holiday tradition at The Hall, America’s beloved songstress returns with songs of the season and timeless gems about peace and protest from a career spanning four decades. Joining is Albany Pro Musica. $38; $35; $25. 8pm.
Canadian Brass Holiday Concert: A Music at the Hall Event—A genuine crowd-pleaser, Canadian Brass continues to take daring leaps (in sneakers) from classical music into jazz, contemporary concert music and popular songs. It’s an evening of pure entertainment for the whole family. $32; $29; $20. 8pm.
Holiday Open House—Wine and cheese tasting. 1pm-4pm. Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center. For more info: 238.0809.
Corinth Hometown Christmas—Parade, followed by Christmas program, caroling, tree lighting, Santa and fireworks. Free. 4pm. parade, 8:15pm.fireworks. Corinth Public Beach. For more info: 654.6752.
Through December 3
Festival of Trees—Trees, wreaths, centerpieces and other holiday items available for viewing and sale. Benefits Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties. Adults $5; seniors and children over 10 $3; children under 10 free. Call for hours. Saratoga Springs City Center. For more info: 587.5000.
Festival of Trees: Ballston Spa—Donated decorated trees, wreaths and other holiday decorative items will be auctioned off in silent auctions with proceeds to go to community events and village beautification. Free. 10am-2pm, 6pm-9pm. Saturday 4pm-9pm. Ballston Area Community Center. For more info: 885.3650.
Breakfast with Santa—In conjunction with Festival of Trees. $8, adults must accompany children. Seatings at 8am, 9:30am, 11am. Saratoga Springs City Center. For more info: 587.5000.
Santa’s Workshop—In conjunction with Festival of Trees, join Santa & Mrs. Claus, Frosty, Rudolph, and other costumed characters in a variety of holiday crafts and goodies. Free. Photos with Santa 8am-2pm. Saratoga Springs City Center. For more info: 587.5000.
The McKrells Christmas Concert—$15. 7:30pm. Home Made Theatre at the Spa Little Theatre, Saratoga Springs. For more info: 587.4427; www.homemadetheater.org.
Christmas with Santa—Santa, children’s activities, music and singing. Free. 1pm-3pm. Corinth Central School Cafeteria. For more info: 654.6752.
Learn to Make A Holiday Candle Votive—Instructors are owners & experts of Experience and Creative Design, LTD. 2pm-3pm. $35. Seating is limited. Call to register. Clifton Park Center, Clifton Park. For more info: 374.6885.
Holiday Gala—Sponsored by Saratoga Historical Society. Music by the Joey Thomas Big Band. 7pm-11pm. Canfield Casino, Saratoga Springs. For more info: 584.6920.
Nutcracker—Performed by Saratoga City Ballet. Adults $15; children 10 and under $10. Friday 7pm, Saturday 2pm and 7pm, Sunday 12pm and 3pm. Skidmore Dance Theatre, Saratoga Springs. For more info: 448.5049.
First Night Saratoga—This year’s theme is “A Midwinter Night’s Dream,” and the night will include an opening ceremony, art, music, dance, comedy, improv, children’s activities, a 5k run and a 5:30pm mini-fireworks display. The McKrells and Kate Taylor (sister of James) and her band will perform at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Alcohol free. Children’s venue at 4:30 pm. Admission buttons $12; kids under 5 free. 4pm-12am. Over 40 venues, downtown Saratoga. Presented by the YMCA of Saratoga. For more info: 584.8262; www.ymcasaratoga.org.
Thomas Nast: Creating Christmas—Thomas Nast created the modern image of Santa Claus. M-F 1pm-5pm; Sat. 10am-4pm. Schenectady County Historical Society. For more info: 374.0263.
Breakfast with Santa—Pancakes, coloring, face painting, and a visit from Santa. $5. Benefits St. Clare’s Hospital Foundation. 8am-10am. St. Clare’s Hospital Cafeteria, Schenectady. For more info: 347.5601.
Holiday Train Comes to Delanson!—Gather trackside at depots, railroad crossings and other venues along Canadian Pacific Railway’s route to enjoy the arrival of the brightly decorated trains lighting up the winter nights. Musicians hop out and climb aboard a boxcar in the middle of the train that opens to reveal a stage where they perform live holiday concerts and invite crowds to sing along. Crowds donate money and non-perishable food and the railroad presents a check at each stop. 9pm-9:30pm. Main Street railroad crossing, Delanson. For more info: 514.395.7265.
Holiday on the Avenue—Music, Santa arrives at 4pm by firetruck, tree lighting ceremony in the Village Green, carols, pony rides, bouncey bounce, and more! Main Street, Scotia. 4pm-7pm. For more info: 370.7200.
Holiday Craft Fair—11:30am-6pm. Schenectady County Community College, Elston Hall, Van Curler & Lally Mohawk rooms. For more info: 381.1250.
The Forgotten Holidays—Talk includes the changes that took place, not only in the present-day celebration of Christmas, but also in the festivities surrounding New Year’s, Pinkster and other events that are cause for celebration. Bakery items used during these celebrations available for guests to sample. Donations appreciated. 1:30pm-2pm. Schenectady County Historical Society. For more info: 374.0263.
Victorian Holiday Craft Workshops—Prepare your home for the holidays with seasonally elegant touches. Create your own festive wreath, decorative table centerpiece or evergreen kissing b