Let’s face it, last year’s holiday season was kind of a bust. As parents, we all did our best to keep the holiday magic alive, but with limited resources, it was tough. This year (much to my husband’s exhaustion), I’ve decided we’ll be going all out for this holiday season!
Here is our Holiday Bucket List. I hope it gives you some inspiration!
Get a Christmas Tree
Fairfield County has so many great Christmas tree farms to choose from. For the whole experience, check out Jones Family Farms, Maple Row Tree Farm, Fairview Tree Farm, or Silverman’s Farm. They all offer “cut your own” or “pre-cut” trees as well as holiday shops, refreshments, and other entertainment. The Connecticut Audubon Society H. Smith Richardson Tree Farm, Sabia Tree Farm, and Castle Hill Tree Farm are highly recommended.
Town Tree Lighting
One of my favorite traditions is our town’s (Fairfield) annual tree lighting. There are carols, hot cocoa, and even Santa arrives on a fire truck. It is always a sweet and festive way to kick off the holiday season. Check your town hall’s website to see if your town hosts a tree lighting. (I bet it does).
Christmas in NYC
There is nothing like the holiday season in New York City. The stores, lights, tree…it is truly magical. This year we will be attending the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. While in the city, we will make sure to get a cup of hot chocolate at Bryant Park, see the tree and ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, and watch the window light show on Saks Fifth Avenue.
This light show blew me away last year, requiring it now to be an annual tradition for our family. “During the evenings, the park comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. The outdoor celebration is complete with festive entertainment, seasonal treats, and classic holiday music.” A quick drive outside of Fairfield County, this is a must-see, in my opinion!
My five-year-olds absolutely love musical theatre. It was such a bummer when everything shut down, as they were just starting to get into it. Fortunately, many holiday shows are back this year. We will be attending Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at the Palace Theatre in Stamford. Check it out here for information and tickets.
Drive Through Light Shows
One thing COVID helped out with was the emergence of drive-through activities. Holiday light shows are no exception. The new Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater has a Holiday Lights Spectacular drive-through experience. Here is a list from a fellow FCM of the “Best Christmas Light Displays” in the area.
I’ll admit, I am not the biggest fan of crafting. The art gene definitely belongs to my husband and daughters. However, even the biggest anti-crafter can have fun at some of our local art studios. Check out Hands on Pottery, AR Workshop, The Giggling Pig, and Happy Hands Art & Pottery to enjoy some festive crafting.
Watch Holiday Movies
My twin daughters are finally able to sit and appreciate a good movie! I am so excited to share with them all the classic holiday movies I loved as a child. Here is a fun list that a fellow FCM contributor shared last year.
This infamous “Christmas Train” is a 90-minute train ride out of the Essex train station. It includes singing, dancing, and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus! The whole experience is truly magical for little ones (and even their parents) and is a holiday tradition for many. Unfortunately, tickets went on sale in September and tend to go extremely fast, so it may be tough to snag for this year. However, with a touch of Christmas magic, maybe you’ll find some, and if not, you can put it on your radar for next year!
Last but certainly not least, our family will be giving to those in need this holiday season. As I tell my children (and often need to remind myself), the true holiday spirit is about giving, sharing, and caring for others besides yourself. Here are some organizations you can check out for donation and volunteer opportunities. Here too!