Holiday festivities kick off in Phoenicia

(Photo by Violet Snow)

On the first two weekends of December, Phoenicia puts together the series of family-friendly holiday events that the hamlet has enjoyed annually for years, including parties, tree-lighting, theater, and caroling.

Saturday, December 7, from noon to 2 p.m., the Phoenicia Library holds its Holiday Open House. Enjoy cider and cookies, music by local kids’ musician Uncle Rock, and a visit from Felicia the Library Bear, known for her graceful dancing and kindness to children.

Come back in the evening for Miracle on Main, sponsored by the Phoenicia Business Association, Ulster Savings Bank, and the Phoenicia Fire District. From 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., the tree-lighting will take place in front of the Ice Cream Station, 76 Main Street. Proprietor Robin Kirk will supply hot cocoa, cookies, and fudge, while the Onteora High School chorus performs carols, and Uncle Rock sings again. 


From 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the celebration moves down the street to the Parish Hall, across from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, with Santa arriving by fire truck at 5:30 p.m. The party includes face painting, photos with Santa, and free food and drinks donated by local eateries. Kim Houska of Mélange gift shop is decorating the hall. Heather Craig, also of Mélange, will have a craft table set up for kids to decorate cupcakes and paint wood ornaments. All the festivities are free.

A week later, on Saturday, December 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., join the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice for caroling and hot cider along Main Street. Bring a lantern.

Then at 7 p.m., pop over to the Phoenicia Playhouse at 10 Church Street for a free family show. The Christmas Spirits is a new play with classic Christmas songs, written and directed by Valentin Shauger and starring Cindy Denise, Amos Newcombe, Tabatha McMahon, Jake Cote, and Angela Galindo.  

Also on December 14, the Zen Mountain Monastery hosts a Community Holiday Dinner for people across Ulster County who may otherwise not have such an opportunity. This year marks the 31st such event for the monastery, with the community providing donations of food, gift items, holiday decorations, cash donations, and volunteer labor. Each year, approximately 400 folks come from area shelters, group homes, agencies, and local neighborhoods to receive good food, music, companionship and gift-giving. The dinner is a non-denominational event, free to all, and takes place rain or shine (or snow). 

The vegetarian Italian feast features gifts and musical entertainment in two seatings, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending this event — or donating cash, food, gifts or time — are asked to contact  Zen Mountain Monastery, at or (845) 688-2228. The monastery is located near the junction of Route 212 and Plank Road in Mt. Tremper. For information on complimentary bus service from Woodstock and Kingston, call (845) 688-2228.