Light Around the World
Light is the symbol of the season and candles become the source of light for many holiday traditions. The South Street Seaport Museum takes kids on a storytelling tour through Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, as well as other festivals that utilize candles, then teaches them how to make their own wax creations. While at the Seaport, do a meet-and-greet with the man of the season, Santa Claus.
• Candle drop-in workshop on December 17 and 18 from 1pm to 4pm.
• South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton St.; 212-748-8758 or southstseaport.org.
• Free with museum admission or $8 grown-ups; $4 kids up to 12; free for kids 4 and younger.
Kugel’s Amazing Hanukkah Adventure
Learn all about the festival of lights in Kugel’s Amazing Hanukkah Adventure, with Morey the Menorah, Kaiser the not-so-kosher Kitty, Moisha the crazy Moose. This musical includes puppets, costumed characters, and live actors.
• December 27 at 1pm and 3pm.
• Hunter College, Kaye Playhouse, 68th St., between Park and Lexington Aves.; 212-772-4448 or find-kugel.com.
A Musical Christmas Carol
In a musical nod to Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the meany who undergoes a spiritual transformation, A Christmas Carol at the Lucille Lortel Theatre finds Mr. Scrooge taking a hard look at his shortcomings, renouncing his money-hungry ways, and resolving to go the path of goodness and generosity.From Theatreworks/NYC.
• Through December 31.
• Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St., nr. Hudson St.; 212-279-4200 or twusa.org.
Joshua Nelson, a Jewish African American, also known as the Prince of Gospel, performs with his choir in a family show humorously titled, Challah-lujah. A brunch starts the day, featuring kosher soul food, followed by the performance of a spirited mix of Jewish and Gospel music.
• December 25; brunch at 1pm, show at 2:30pm.
• Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl.; 646-437-4339 or mjhnyc.org.
• $35 grown-ups, $25 seniors, $20 students, $10 kids 11 and younger. Performance only: $18 grown-ups, $12 seniors, $10 students and kids.
A Couple of Christmas Classics
Manhattan Theatre Source’s A Couple of Christmas Classics is a pair of one-man family shows that will amaze the kids. Charles Dickens tells his own story of A Christmas Carol and during the oration, becomes the very characters he created. In It’s A Wonderful Life, the actor portrays all 32 characters.
• Through December 30.
• Manhattan Theatre Source, 177 MacDougal St. nearW. 8th St.; 212-501-4751 or theatresource.org.
Ringing in The New Year at the Library
Toddlers and preschools may not quite get the whole concept of New Year’s Eve, but they can certainly get in on the celebration factor of it all. The New York Public Library’s Ottendorfer branch in the East Village throws a late afternoon party for the littlest ones with storytelling, a sing-along,and a mini countdown to get them in the mood.
• December 29 at 4:15pm.
• New YorkPublic Library, Ottendorfer branch, 135 Second Ave. near. St. Marks Pl.; 212-674-0947 ornypl.org
A Multi-Culti Visit From St. Nick
Downeast’s premiere of its original multi-culti dramatization of Clement C.Moore’s A Visit From St. Nick weaves in traditional holiday songs, a menorah lighting, some Spanglish verses, and a Kwanzaa gift. The 45-minute show teaches kids a little of everything, including the custom of leaving lettuce under the bed for the Three Kings’ camels. Pre-registration suggested. For toddlers on up.
• December 22 and 23 at 5pm, December 24 at 3pm. Followed by a party with local entertainers.
• Downeast Arts Center, 203 Ave. A, nr. 12th St.; 212-228-2886 or nyartists.org
Don your best cowpoke duds for a Hanukkah Hoedown at the 14th Street Y. Kids will love the great gelt rush treasure hunt, the Macca-cowboy obstacle course, and candle-making workshop. Along with the kids, parents can go hootenanny with real square dancing, old-fashioned family portraits, and the best latke competition. Shalom y’all.
• December 25 from 1pm to 4pm.
• 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-780-0800 or 14streety.org
• $10, free for infants.
A Czech Take on A Christmas Carol
Take A Christmas Carol and whirl it with puppets and holidays songs in Swahili, Hebrew, and Czech and you’ve got a curious presentation by the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater.
• Through January 1.
• Jan Hus Playhouse,351 E. 74th St., nr. First Ave.; 212-868-4444 or czechmarionettes.org.
• $15 grown-ups, $11 seniors and kids.
Klezmer for Kids
While some will be lifting a cup of eggnog on Christmas day, others will venture to a mock Eastern European Jewish wedding from a century ago at the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Kids from the audience will be chosen to be part of the ceremony and Klezfest plays traditional music and tells stories from the old days. We’ve done it and it’s tons of fun.
• December 25 at 12:30pm and 2:30pm.
• Eldridge Street Synagogue, 12 Eldridge St., nr. Division St.; 212-219-0888, ext. 302 or eldridgestreet.org.
• $12 grown-ups, $10 kids.
Golden Dragon Acrobats
Little kids aren’t in particular awe of most acrobatics and bodily contortions (“I can do that,” they think). But when the Golden Dragon Acrobats come to the New Victory Theater, even grown-up skeptics will become believers as the cast shows off its astonishing agility and strength.Balancing 100 glasses of water? Piece of cake.
• Through January 1; talkback performances with the cast are: December 21 at 2pm; December 27 at 7pm.
• New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St., nr. Broadway; 212-239-6200 or newvictory.org.
Big Apple Circus
The Big Apple Circus continues to up the artistic-acrobatic ante. This year’s theme, Grandma Goes To Hollywood, takes the silver screen into the one-ring show, bringing memorable movie moments to life. The gymnastic feats will amaze and the clowning around is truly funny. Watch out, a grown-up in the audience may become the target for audience humor.
• Through January 8.
• Lincoln Center, Damrosch Park, 62nd and Amsterdam Ave.;212-721-6500 or bigapplecircus.org.
Disney Live! Winnie The Pooh
If your little one has a rumblee tumblee for anything Hundred Acre Wood, then head to Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh, a new musical at the Beacon Theatre. The show features the usual suspects (Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, etc.) as they plan a surprise birthday celebration for the sometimes oblivious, always hunny-loving bear.
• Through December 28.
• Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, nr.74th St.; 212-496-7070 or disneylive.com.
Cathy Rigby, two-time Olympic gymnast and now a grandma twice over, flies into her farewell tour of Peter Pan at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
• Through December 30.
• The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Seventh Ave., between 31st and 33rd Sts.; 212-307-7171 or thegarden.com.
Kids & Yiddish
This year’s production of Kids & Yiddish is a multi-media satire that includes the Beatles’, “All You Need is Vov,” an appearance by Bubb the Builder, and a round of Wheel of Forshung (translated: exploration). The annual holiday show, from Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre, is 90 percent English, ten percent Yiddish, and 100 percent fun.
• December 25 and January 1 at 11am.
• Jewish Community Center, 334 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 76th St.; 212-213-2120 or folksbiene.org.
• $20 grownups, $17 kids 12 and younger.
The Ark, a contemporary, musical retelling of the story of Noah, tells more about family relationships than the biblical flood itself. The audience becomes an important part of the show, which starts as the crowd enters the ark-like theater. We left the theater humming the songs.
• Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Sun at 7pm; Fri and Sat at 8pm; Sat and Sun at 2pm. • 37 Arts Theatre, 450 W. 37th St., nr. Tenth Ave.; 212-307-4100 or thearkmusical.com.
This Way That Way
Billed as a “rollicking vaudevillian cross-country adventure,” This Way That Way takes the zany physicality of the silent film era, adds a bit of dance, and puts it on stage, finding two traveling conmen barely coming through narrow escapes. The score is classic American standards.
• December 14 to 31.
• 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., between Park and Madison Aves.; 212-279-4200 or 59E59.org ;.
• $35 grown-ups, $15 kids.
Our Great Garden
The Jewish Museum’s latest children’s exhibit, “Our Great Garden,” is based on the concept of repairing the world.
• Through June 18, 2006.
• Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., nr. 92nd St.; 212-423-3200 or thejewishmuseum.org.
• $10 grown-ups, $7.50 students and seniors, free for kids 11 and younger.
Gingerbread House Exhibit
It’s gingerbread season, which means its time for the New York Botanical Garden showcase of elaborate gingerbread creations, made by some of the cities star bakers. This year, Balthazar’s Mark Tasker put together a detailed gothic house which sits nearby Gail Watson’s Victorian gingerbread estate. We also love the snowy historic Brooklyn brownstone by The Cake Studio’s Jill Adams. At the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, kids will learn about the ginger plant, decorate cookies, and make scented ornaments.While there, don’t forget to visit the train show.
• Through January 8.
• New York Botanical Garden, Fordham Rd. and the Bronx River Pkwy., exit 7W; 718-817-8700 or nybg.org.
• All access pass is $13 grownups, $5 kids.
A Winter Tea Party
Madeline, kid lit’s cutest boarding-school redhead, is the draw for a daily kid-friendly teatime at Bemelmans Bar.
• Mondays through Fridays from noon to4pm. Special puppet shows on December 17 and December 25.
• The Carlyle, Bemelmans Bar, 35 E. 76th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-570-7109 or thecarlyle.com.
Yet Another Tea Party
Spend Saturday afternoon as the royals do. The Waldorf-Astoria hosts “Tea for Tots,” a traditional afternoon tea, complete with a three-course repast and live piano accompaniment. Kids will take part in a lively discussion on tea lore and etiquette from the authorities of Harney & Sons. Later, they¹ll gather around Cole Porter’s baby grand for a sing-along (“I’m a Little Teapot,” “Tea for Two,” etc.). All tea-totalers go home with a goody bag, and one lucky sipper wins a Madame Alexander doll.
• Every Saturday, from 1pm to3pm.
• Waldorf-Astoria, Cocktail Terrace, Park Avenue and 50th St.;212-872-4818.• $32 grown-ups, $22 kids.
The blizzard begins from the time one enters the Union Square Theatre. At Slava’s Snowshow, tissue-paper snow is everywhere, and more is on the way throughout the 90-minute performance, where wacky props are the name of the game. Slava, the famous Russian yellow clown who’s wowed audiences around the world, says his show is not for kids. Nyet! Bring ‘em en masse. Our little group of grade-schoolers loved it. And so did the grown-ups.
• Union Square Theatre, 100 E. 17th St., nr. Park Ave. So.; 212-307-4100 or snowshowusa.com.
Jewish Children’s Museum
The Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights is one museum that kids of any culture will not rush through. Lots of fun, hi-tech installations explain the holidays, life cycles, kashrut, and the importance of being kind. We love the crawl-through challah and tu b’shvat talking tree. Parking is iffy in the neighborhood, but the 3 train stops right in front of the museum, at the Kingston Avenue station.
• Jewish Children¹s Museum, 792 Eastern Pkwy., nr.Kingston Ave.; 718-467-0600 or jcm.museum.
If you’re a kid who dances (or a parent who wants your kid to dance), then head to the Family Disco. At its new location, Club LQ (the former Playboy Empire Club!), kids and their grown-ups can boogie down every Sunday afternoon, where a 16-video screen matrix, disco lighting, and glitter galore makes it feel like you’re back in the day. Professional dancers teach the coolest dance steps to solid-gold hits. There’s a full bar (for grown-ups only), plus inflatable shoes, disco-ball necklaces, and other wacky doodads for all comers. Kid-friendly snacks available as well.
• Holiday themes throughout the season; Sundays from 2pm to 3:30pm.
• Club LQ, 511 Lexington Ave., bet. 47th and 48th Sts.; 212-586-7425 or familydisco.com.
• $12, $7 for a multi-pass.