Be counterpoint to the Clamor of the World.
– Jonathan Lockwood Hue
Epic-scale Christmas light display in Lagrangeville
ERDAJT is not an acronym for some super-secret government project. It’s a 2012 Guinness World Record residential light display created every year by the Gay family, and those are the initials of the family’s three children: Emily Raejean, Daniel Arthur and John Timothy. You just drive along the property’s horseshoe driveway with your radio tuned to 95.3 and enjoy the massive coordinated light and music show, which consists of 392,991 lights with 1,454 strobes, 1,000 channels and 186 songs!
This weekend, your visit can also make a positive difference to others. On Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 from 5 to 9:50 p.m., all donations will benefit the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. The ERDAJT website contains great information about what’s involved the behind the scenes, as well as a song list and music schedule.
The Nutcracker dances in Poughkeepsie, Kingston or Rhinebeck
Our family has a tradition of seeing a local production of The Nutcracker every holiday season. Here are some opportunities all weekend long:
Bardavon: The New Paltz Ballet Theatre with dancers from the New York City Ballet; Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. Seats cost $29 for adults, $26 for students, $24 for members. The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-2072 or visit www.bardavon.org. To learn more about the company, visit www.npsballet.com.
Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC): Catskill Ballet Theatre; Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. Seats cost $30 for adults, $25 for students, seniors and children age 12 and under and $17 for groups of ten or more. UPAC is located at 601 Broadway in Kingston. For tickets or more information, call (845) 339-6088 or visit https://upac.org. To learn more about the company, visit https://catskillballet.org.
The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck: Centerstage and Rhinebeck Dance Centre; Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. All seats cost $20. The Center is located at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit https://centerforperformingarts.org. To learn more about the company, visit https://rhinebeckdance.com.
Rosendale Theatre presents live “radio” version of It’s a Wonderful Life
Viewing the film It’s a Wonderful Life is a popular holiday tradition, so why not switch it up this year and experience it as a live 1940s radio play? This weekend, the Rosendale Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life onstage. The show will be performed with live sound effects and music. The show features five actors playing 50 roles. The performers are: Claudia Brown, Kimberly Kay, Brian Mathews, Jim Metzner and Doug Motel. The show will be directed by Ann Citron, with sound effects and music by Fre Atlast. This show is great for the whole family! All funds go to benefit the Rosendale Theatre.
It’s a Wonderful Life takes place on Friday and Saturday, December 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, December 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for children age 12 and under. The Rosendale Theatre is located at 408 Main Street in Rosendale. For more information, call (845) 658-8989 or visit https://rosendaletheatre.org.
A Christmas Carol reading at Woodstock Library
For a live reading of A Christmas Carol, head over to the Woodstock Library on Saturday, December 14 from 4 to 5 p.m. Seven young actors/readers will take on more than 35 characters, including narration. The performance is suitable for children ages 6 and over. The Woodstock Library is located at 5 Library Lane in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-2213 or visit ulsterpub.staging.wpengine.org.
Gingerbread house workshops at Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, Rock Tavern’s Birch School
Have you made your gingerbread house yet this year? If you’re interested in doing it anywhere other than your own kitchen, or you’re a little nervous about putting it together, or you just like doing holiday projects with a roomful of other people, you should make your reservation for the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum’s Family Gingerbread House Workshop. Spaces may still be available for Friday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 14 at 10 a.m. The cost is $20 per gingerbread house ($15 for members) and includes icing and candy for decorating. Plus, admission to the museum is included! Reservations are required. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information or to save your spot, call (845) 471-0589 or visit www.mhcm.org.
Calling all homeschoolers! The Birch School is hosting an all-ages “gingerbread” housemaking event on Wednesday, December 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $10 per house and includes graham crackers, candy, icing and decorations. Children age 6 and under need a parent helper to accompany them; ages 7 and up can be dropped off. Preregistration is requested.
The Birch School is located at 9 Vance Road in Rock Tavern. For reservations or more information, call (845) 361-2267 or e-mail email@example.com. To learn more about this homeschool center, visit www.resourcecenter.watershedlearningcenter.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watershedlearningcenterthebirchschool.
Make a “gingerbread” playhouse
Here’s a fun twist to the edible gingerbread house tradition: How about a gingerbread-style playhouse? I learned about the idea from Kerry Pilott of Pine Bush: “I decided it would be a good way to keep the boys, Liam, 4 years, and Cullen, 3 years, occupied while my Mom and I were doing our Christmas baking.”
Here’s how she did it: “You can make it with just one large box, but I had two large ones and just decided to make it bigger. I cut them open, turned them inside out and used packing tape to tape them together. Then I cut out a door and windows and folded another big piece of cardboard in half and taped it onto the top for a roof.”
How about the details? “I used striped pipecleaners and bent them like candy canes and used hot glue to attach them and used pompoms for gumdrops. I picked up different foam shapes at Michael’s for decorations and let the boys decorate it any way they wanted to, inside and out. They had so much fun and played in it all day. They even wanted to sleep in it tonight!” Thanks for the great tip, Kerry!
Pony rides for toy donations at Lucky C Stables in New Paltz
Ponies and toys: What a powerful combination! And the chance to help others? This is a win all around. This Sunday, December 15 from 1 to 4 p.m., bring an unwrapped toy and get a free pony ride in the indoor arena at Lucky C Stables. All of the toys are donated to Family of New Paltz.
Lucky C Stables are located at 31 Yankee Folly Road in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 255-3220 or visit www.luckycstables.com. To learn more about the charity, visit the New Paltz portion at www.familyofwoodstockinc.org.
Society for Creative Anachronism’s local chapter hosts Yule Feast in Highland
All of this holiday reverie can build up an appetite. That’s where the East Kingdom’s sixth annual Shire of Coill Tuar Yule Feast comes in! On Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the menu of beast, board and fowl and “more than sufficient dayboard” is the centerpiece to the day’s festivities, including an Art and Science table of exhibits, medieval games, a small stage for performances, vendors, the debut of Coill Tuar’s Shire Choir and space for fighting and fencing (weather and marshal availability permitting).
There are two separate fees for this event: Site fees are $17 for adults, $7 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for children age 5 and under, with a maximum site fee of $45 per family. Feast fees are $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for children age 5 and under, with a maximum feast fee of $27 per family. A $5 discount is available to members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
The Yule Feast takes place at the Adonai Lodge 718, located at 48 Main Street in Highland. For reservations or more information, call (845) 706-4722 or visit www.eastkingdom.org.
Adams Fairacre Farms: Adams hosts Santa at each of its four locations in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Wappinger on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Times vary according to location, so check the website for accurate schedule information. Not only do we love Poughkeepsie’s fishpond and Kingston’s model train and Santa slide, as well as the groceries and greenhouse, but the free Santa photo is also a real treat, and it’s fine to take your own pictures as well. For locations and more information, visit https://adamsfarms.com.
Hudson Valley Mall: Santa has extended hours beginning December 16 through 18 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., December 19 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., December 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., December 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The mall is located at 1300 Ulster Avenue in Kingston. For more information, visit https://shophudsonvalleymall.com.
Moxie Cupcake: On Saturday, December 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., bring a new, unwrapped toy for a free cupcake coupon and a picture with Santa or a Moxie Christmas elf while enjoying mini-cupcakes and cocoa. Photos will be e-mailed the next day. Toys will be accepted all weekend long, with donations going to Family of New Paltz. Moxie is located at 184 Main Street in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 255-2253 or visit www.facebook.com/moxiecupcake.
Newburgh Mall: Visit with Santa Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a .m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, December 14, make your own ornament from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by storytime with Santa at 3 p.m. The mall is located at 1401 Route 300 in Newburgh. For more information, visit www.newburghmall.com.
Poughkeepsie Galleria: Santa appears in lower Center Court Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Galleria is located at 2001 South Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information or to visit the interactive online Santa’s Village activity, visit www.poughkeepsiegalleriamall.com.
Poughkeepsie Plaza: Santa is in the center of the plaza from December 14 through 24 from 10 a.m. to closing. Santa has a website at https://santasimage.com. The plaza is located at 2600 South Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, visit www.poughkeepsieplaza.com.
The energy of the holidays may lead new families to reconnect with a faith community or to explore one for the first time. I am interested in sharing information about local family-friendly spiritual events, and want to thank everyone who has reached out to me with information about your special services this month. Please keep it coming!