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Holiday & Seasonal

10 Things to Do in December

November 17, 2021

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and there’s nothing better than the holiday season on Long Island. From magical Christmas Tree Lightings to dazzling New Year’s Eve parties, we’ve got just what you need to keep you and your family in the holiday spirit all December long.

Things to do on Long Island this December

1) Enjoy one of the many pop-up light show festivals happening all over Long Island

LuminoCity light festival

From the original Jones Beach Lightshow to the newest addition of LuminoCity, Long Island knows how to light up for the holidays! From drive-thru events to walkable winter wonderlands, these are surely some spirited events you do not want to miss. For more information and details regarding specific light shows, please click here.

Event dates: Winter Lanter Festival (1 Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor) is open October 22nd to January 9th, LuminoCity light show (133 Valley Rd. in Manhasset) runs November 12th to January 9th, Jones Beach Holiday Light Spectacular (Ocean Parkway Southern State Parkway, Exit 18, Wantagh) is up and running from November 19th to January 2nd, Shimmering Solstice (71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury) will be open from November 20th to January 9th, and Bright Lights festival (180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport) will run from November 28th-December 20th


2) Catch live performances of holiday favorites at the John W. Engeman Theatre

John w engeman theatre

Starting November 11, the perennial favorite, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas“, will be playing at the historic John W. Engeman Theatre in Northport. Showtimes run through the beginning of January, so if you can’t make it before the holidays or want to gift tickets this season, don’t fret! Other seasonal performances include a live performance of “Frosty” (playing November 21 through January 2) and “Disney’s Frozen Jr.” (showtimes begin on January 29 and run through the end of February). Ticket prices range from $20 to $75 depending on the show.

Event dates: November 11th to February 25th


3) Join CRESLI scientists and educators for Seal Walks at Cupsogue Beach

CRESLI Seal Walks

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…CRESLI (Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island) Seal Walk season is back! Starting November 20th and running through February 25th, CRESLI invites you to join its team as they observe, photograph, and learn about Long Island’s seal population. Since these walks started in 2006, CRESLI has recorded over 28k seal encounters! The walk leaves from Cupsogue Beach County Park (975 Dune Road in Westhampton Beach; the far western end) and extends for just over 1 mile, takes roughly one to one-and-a-half hours from start to finish, and is perfect for families.  The suggested donation for entry is $5 for adults and $3 for those under the age of 18. Registration is required but donations are not, please see the CRESLI site to register or for more information.

Event dates: November 20th to May 11th 


4) Support local small businesses and get your holiday shopping done at the Gallery North’s Holiday Market

gallery north holiday market 2021

The Holiday Market at Gallery North (90 N. Country Rd, Setauket) is the place to be if you’re looking to fill your holiday gift quota. Here, the works of local artists, musicians, eateries, and other Long Island artisans will be on display and available for purchase. Shoppers will find a diverse selection of affordable and exciting, original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, glassware, artisan-created jewelry, handmade crafts, decorations, clothing, and so much more.

Event dates: November 27th to December 15th

5) Walk with wallabies at the Long Island Game Farm

On weekends in November and December, the Long Island Game Farm (489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville) invites you and your family to take a walk with a wallaby! This adorable marsupial meet-and-greet is included with the standard park admission ($14.25 to $ 18.75 per person) and is a phenomenal educational opportunity for kids, tweens, and even adults. For more information on the walk, ticket pricing, and the other wild attractions found here, please visit

Event dates: Weekends in November and December


6) Holiday House Tours at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, Great River

It’s December, which means the property at Bayard Cutting Arboretum (440 Montauk Hwy., Great River) has officially transformed into a sensational seasonal masterpiece! To tour the historical building, the grounds, and the outrageous decorations, visit the arboretum on Thursdays through Sundays in December. The hour and a half long tours will take guests through all 30 rooms and touch upon the milestones made in the 135 years of history at the manor. And on December 3rd, join Santa and his friends at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum for its annual holiday tree lighting taking place at 6 p.m.

Event dates: Thursdays-Sundays in December, tree-lighting ceremony is December 3rd


7) 23rd Annual Charles Dickens Festival, Port Jefferson

And not to be missed, the Charles Dickens 23rd Annual Festival happening the first weekend of December 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. To celebrate the cherished tradition, the joy-filled weekend of December 4–5, 2021, Santa will be at Danford’s for brunch and the festival will be bigger than ever. There will be live performances, theatrical presentations, artisan vendors, and the eye-catching Festival of Trees.

Event dates: December 4th-5th


8) Holiday Hop, Riverhead

Get into the spirit of giving with a holiday-themed bar crawl that benefits the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. Join Montauk Distilling Co., North Fork Brewing CompanyTradewinds Brewing, and Peconic County Brewery on December 3rd for craft beverages, food, live music, and holiday costumes. Participants are encouraged to deck the halls in whatever holiday garb they have (ugly sweaters, costumes, etc.) for this feel-good event that does good too. Tickets are required and can be purchased online through the Downtown Riverhead BID site, ticket purchases include a signature cocktail at Montauk Distilling Co., raffle entry, access to a digital scavenger hunt, live entertainment, and admission to the after-parties. All ticket proceeds will be donated to the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless.

Event dates: December 3rd


9) Home for the Holidays at Coe Hall, Oyster Bay

Coe Hall decorated for the holidays

If you love to reminisce about the glamour of turn-of-the-century America, come to Coe Hall’s (1395 Planting Fields Road Jericho Tpke., Oyster Bay) Home for the Holidays event taking place the weekends of Dec. 9th-12th and Dec. 16th-19th. The celebration will have you mesmerized by extraordinary holiday decorations, a roaring fireplace, live jazz performances, and enough hot cocoa to soothe the soul. Other notable events taking place here this month are the Deck the Halls 2021 Annual Benefit on December 4th that supports the restoration of the Planting Fields as a historic site as well as an insightful discussion on historic interior design titled “Conversations in Coe Hall: Interior Design Past and Present with Charlie Scheips and Hutton Wilinson” taking place on December 11th. For more information on these special events, please visit the Planting Fields website.

Event dates: Dec. 9th-12th and Dec. 16th-19th


10) Need plans for New Year’s Eve? These Long Island restaurants and hotels have you covered!

Hosting New Year’s Eve parties can be a lot of work with little reward, so why not let the pros do all the heavy lifting for you? Here are a few options for you to consider when making your NYE plans.

  • The Allegria (80 West Broadway, Long Beach): The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Atlantica on the Ocean, is offering four-course meals off of a special prix fixe menu with wine pairings ($179 per person plus tax and gratuity), live jazz entertainment, and a complimentary valet. Reservations are required, please call (516) 992-3730 to reserve a table.
  • Captain Lou Fleet & Sapphire Cruises (28 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport): For a New Year’s Eve all-inclusive dinner cruise ($75 per person), call Captain Lou! To ring in the new year, Captain Lou’s fleet will be offering a dinner buffet, open bar, dessert, champagne toast, and open-ocean dancing.
  • Chateau Briand (440 Old Country Rd., Carle Place): Ring in the New Year in style at Long Island’s perfectly elegant event venue. There’s no need to travel into Manhattan to toast the New Year, as Long Island’s Chateau Briand plays host to your celebration with award-winning cuisine, decadent drinks, an exuberant dance floor, and a champagne toast! ($160-$175 per person depending on the reservation style). All guests must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Hotel Indigo East End (1830 West Main Street Route 25, Riverhead): Celebrate the end of another year in an extraordinary way, with a special “whodunnit” murder mystery show at the Hotel Indigo. Tickets include a sit-down dinner, access to the DJ’s after-party, a champagne toast at midnight, and an open bar from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Dress to Impress! Optional but encouraged–celebrate the masquerade theme of our Murder Mystery Show!

 Event dates: December 31st


For more winter fun and family-friendly activities, click here.

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