45 Things to Do During December and the Holidays in the Hudson Valley

Our favorite reasons to leave the house this month.


Published:

Holiday

Nov 30 & Dec 7: Sinterklaas

This one-of-a-kind celebration transports the Dutch tradition to both sides of the Hudson, celebrating children, imagination, and creativity in festivities that bring thousands to the area. A can’t miss for families.

Kingston Waterfront; Center of Rhinebeck, www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com

 

Dec 4: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

The seasonal synth symphony returns with a barrage of ‘retro’ takes on Christmas classics. 

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

Dec 5: Made in Kingston 2019

This massive craft fair fills this Uptown ballroom with close to five dozen local businesses, artists, artisans, along with live music, local food, and more. 

BSP, Kingston, 845.481.5158, www.bspkingston.com

 

Dec 6: The Elf on the Shelf – a Christmas Musical

Boldly rising to the ‘how could they possibly make a musical out of that’ challenge, this brand-new musical transmutes the familial tradition into a story about the Christmas spirit and the fight against cynicism. Follow the top Scout Elf as he reunites a dysfunctional family just in time for December 25.

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 


Photo courtesy of Bardavon

 

Dec 6: Celebration of Light Parade and Fireworks (pictured above)

This massive holiday parade brings in organizations from throughout the Poughkeepsie community for fireworks, a tree lighting, and more. Followed by a special family screening of The Sandlot at the Bardavon, preceded by a 30-minute Wurlitzer organ concert. 

Bardavon, Poughkeepsie, 845.473.2072, www.bardavon.org

 


photo courtesy of upAC

 

Dec 6-8: A Christmas Carol (pictured above)

Choreographed by former New York City Ballet dancer Sara Miot, this special staging of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will be celebrating its 25th year. Artistic directors Scarlott Fiero and Quiedo Carbone direct a cast of dozens through a lively rendition of Ebenezer Scrooge’s dark night of the soul and his subsequent discovery of the Christmas Spirit. 

UPAC, Kingston, 845.473.2072, www.bardavon.org

 

Dec 6-22: A Christmas Carol

Diana Di Grandi’s production of the Dickens tale has been performed annually for the last 14 years in this special adaptation by Lou Trapani. The final performance will include a fundraiser for the Center. 

Center for the Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, 845.876.3080, www.centerforperformingarts.org

 


photo courtesy of Hudson Hall

 

Dec 7: Hudson Winter Walk (pictured above)

The Hudson Winter Walk began as a simple one-block get-together for Hudson businesses. Nowadays, however, it has grown considerably, with local artisans, cooks, vendors, and more lining Warren Street from end-to-end for a celebration of Hudson Valley goods, people, and culture. Stop into businesses for free music, and admire shopfronts that have been decorated as part of an annual contest. 

Warren Street, Hudson, 518.822.1438, www.hudsonhall.org

 

Dec 7: Rip the Nut

Presented as part of Winter Walk, this special and unique dance performance from choreographer Adam H. Weinart transposes the story of Rip Van Winkle into a raucous, family-friendly event set to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. Three free performances presented throughout the day. 

Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House, Hudson, 518.822.1438, www.hudsonhall.org

 

Dec 8: Jewelry Trunk Show

Shop unique jewelry made from glass, paper, and stone at this free showing. 

Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, 845.358.0877, www.rocklandartcenter.org

 


photo by fernanda witdorchic

 

Dec 8-22: Affordable Art and Pottery Show (pictured above)

For those with artsy relatives or who just want a creative work they can afford, but who don’t want to travel to the city to pick one out. There will be an opening reception from 2-5 p.m. on December 8. 

Rockland Center for the Arts, West Nyack, 845.358.0877, www.rocklandartcenter.org

 

Dec 12-13: Mamaroneck Chorus

A unique multi-genre and multi-generational concert, these special shows deploy a group of local singers ranging from age 8 to 70 for rafter-shaking jazz, rock, and funk arrangements of carols and holiday tunes. Organized and directed by Mamaroneck resident Steph Chinn. 

Emelin Theatre, Mamaroneck, 914.698.0098, www.emelin.org

 


Photo courtesy of Bardavon

 

Dec 12-15: The Nutcracker (pictured above)

The New Paltz Ballet Theater has been performing their take on The Nutcracker for 22 seasons now, bringing together some of the region’s most talented dancers, artists, and set designers for a heck of a holiday experience. 

Bardavon, Poughkeepsie, 845.473.2072, www.bardavon.org

 

Dec 14: Albany Symphony – the Magic of Christmas

Holiday, and winter tunes all take center stage at this special orchestral concert, featuring both virtuoso takes on classic carols and a visit from Santa Claus. 

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

Dec 14: Jessica Lynn – A Very Merry Country Christmas

Honky tonk your way through the holidays, as Lynn brings twang and charm to the seasonal songs you know and love. 

Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, Peekskill, 914.739.0039, www.paramounthudsonvalley.com

 

Dec 14: Newburgh Symphony Orchestra

This annual holiday show, entitled And Glory Shone Around, highlights selections from Handel’s Messiah, as well as Hanukkah songs, carols, and seasonal tunes like “Let It Snow.” 

Aquinas Hall at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, 845.913.7157, www.newburghsymphony.org

 

Dec 14: 20th Annual Sloan Wainwright and Friends Holiday Whiz-Bang Shindig

Wainwright, of the musical family, puts on a special night-long show, performing hits and deep cuts with help from friends like Hubby Jenkins. One of the season’s can’t-miss events. 

Towne Crier Café, Beacon, 845.855.1300, www.townecrier.com

 

Dec 15, 18-19: Festive Holiday Tours

Visit the historic Dutch home of the Verplanck family, decorated with period-appropriate furnishings ranging from early colonial decorations to lush Victorian table settings. For those who want a more historical take on the holiday season. 

Mount Gulian Historic Site, Beacon, 845.831.8172, www.mountgulian.org

 

Dec 15, 21-22, 28: Nutcracker Dream

This unique restaging of the classic ballet returns for its second year. Choreographer Carole Alexis recasts the works of Nureyev and Petipa in a one-hour, family-friendly format, performed by dancers from Westchester’s Ballet des Amériques. 

Emelin Theatre, Mamaroneck, 914.698.0098, www.emelin.org

 

Dec 17: The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays

Sure, we associate the season with certain holiday magic – but how about literal magic? The Illusionists must have mastered some version of this pitch before taking this special seasonal show on the road. Costumes, sets, and mind tricks all meet for a unique, once-yearly magic show. 

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

Dec 18: A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage

This all-new touring adaptation of Charles Schulz’s children’s classic tells a story about finding the reason for the season, set to Vince Guaraldi’s classic jazz piano score. 

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

 

Dec 20: It’s a Wonderful Life (pictured above)

You, too, will be wishing your moviehouse a Merry Christmas by the end of Frank Capra’s sneakily critical Christmas classic.

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

Dec 21: A Nashville Christmas

The cast of Country Jamboree adds another show to the surprisingly-popular genre of “Christmas tunes with some twang.” Call it down home for the holidays. 

The Egg, Albany, 518.473.1845, www.theegg.org

 


photo by claudia cinquegran

 

Dec 21: Umoja Community Celebration (pictured above)

Learn about Kwanzaa traditions at this special community event. Festivities include drumming, dancing, the sharing of Nguzo Saba, and more. 

Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House, Hudson, 518.822.1438, www.hudsonhall.org

 

Dec 21: A Very Slambovian Christmas

Carols and originals are performed with a cheeky, psychedelic flair by these local jam maestros. 

Towne Crier Café, Beacon, 845.855.1300, www.townecrier.com

 

Dec 21: Handel’s Messiah

The Hudson Valley Philharmonic and Cappella Festiva join forces for this massive run-through of Handel’s symphony. With a pre-concert talk featuring conductor Christine Howlett as well as selected soloists.

Bardavon, Poughkeepsie, 845.473.2072, www.bardavon.org

 

Dec 27: Holiday Comedy Banger

Comedians including Capone, Cocoa Brown, John Henton, and more present a star-packed show hosted by Hot 99.1 FM DJ Supreme. 

The Egg, Albany, 518.473.1845, www.theegg.org

 

Dec 28-29: A Day in December

Local guitar virtuoso David Temple presents a pair of special concerts, highlighting international composers whose music reflects the spirit and feel of the season, as well as his own original classical compositions. 

Center for the Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck, 845.876.3080, www.centerforperformingarts.org

 

Dec 29-Jan 1: New Year’s Camp

Any musical resolutions you still need to fulfill? Then close out 2019 with three-straight days of music and dance classes, parties, jam sessions, and more, with instructors including members of Balfa Toujours, Cindy Overstreet, and John Krumm.

Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, 845.657.8333, www.ashokancenter.org

 


photo courtesy of mount gulian historic site

 

Dec 30: Children’s Holiday Tea (pictured above)

Mount Gulian’s annual Children’s Holiday Tea provides youngsters and their parents with a taste of the Victorian tradition. Held in two rooms of the historic building, children can drink Harney & Sons teas out of fine china, as well as enjoy homemade desserts, crafts, decorations, and more. 

Mount Gulian Historic Site, Beacon, 845.831.8172, www.mountgulian.org

 

Dec 31: The First Night of Funny

Cross over into the New Year with a collection of gut-busting comics from HBO, Netflix, and Comedy Central. 

The Egg, Albany, 518.473.1845, www.theegg.org

 

Dec 31: New Year’s Eve Dance and Dinner Party

Kick off 2020 with this special New Year’s Eve Dance and Dinner Party. First, down a bountiful feast from Ashokan Center Executive Chef Bill Warnes, and follow it up with a full night of folk dancing in all styles: waltzes, swing, squares, and Cajun will be performed in both music halls on the property. Guests can book their lodging in advance to make sure the fun doesn’t have to stop.

Ashokan Center, Olivebridge, 845.657.8333, www.ashokancenter.org

 

Music

Dec 2: Thurston Moore

This Sonic Youth continues to explore the guitar well into middle age, performing a set of new songs, career highlights, and aggressive jams. 

Colony, Woodstock, 845.679.7625, www.colonywoodstock.com

 

Dec 6: Xylouris White

You might assume that a laouto-and-drum duo might not be your thing, but then you’d be dead wrong. George Xylouris and Jim White are both certified masters, and their performances, part composition and part improvisation, are frequently electrifying, even if the sounds are entirely acoustic. 

The Beverly, Kingston, 845.481.5158, www.bspkingston.com

 

Dec 9: The Goodbye Party and Guilt Mountain

New Paltz’s Guilt Mountain make DIY twee sound positively aggressive, and their mix of lo-fi and punk will have you dancing or sobbing in the corner.

Tubby’s, Kingston, www.tubbyskingston.com

 

Dec 10: Keb’ Mo’

The long-running blues guitarist will play songs from throughout his 25-year career, in addition to the two albums he released in 2019 alone. 

The Egg, Albany, 518.473.1845, www.theegg.org

 

Dec 14: Dan Tepfer – Natural Machines

Tepfer explores the intersection between programming and live performance, accompanying his own piano improvisations with a programmed Yamaha Disklavier, while a visual generator turns these comingled sounds into surprising and shocking visuals. 

Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House, Hudson, 518.822.1438, www.hudsonhall.org

 

Dec 28-29: Dark Star Orchestra More than a cover band, Dark Star Orchestra recreates not only the look and sound of the Grateful Dead, but even entire shows — setlist, drum fill, 30-minute guitar solo, and all. 

Palace Theatre, Albany, 518.465.4663, www.palacealbany.org

 

 

Our Picks

LightField

Hudson Hall’s annual exhibition of visual excellence returns. Come for outstanding photography by artists like Sarah Bird, Tanya Marcuse, and Christopher Griffith, and stay for a special display of works from 19th century artists of the Hudson River School.

Through Dec 21, Hudson Hall at the Historic Hudson Opera House, Hudson, 518.822.1438,
www.hudsonhall.org


Photos courtesy of Hudson hall

 

Film

Dec 3: The Triplets of Belleville

Sylvain Chomet’s comedy is an animation classic, a madcap musical crime comedy following the titular trio of sisters as they run, cycle, and race their way through France. As part of the Ted Sperlin selects series. 

Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, 914.773.7663, www.burnsfilmcenter.org

 

Dec 11: Brokeback Mountain

Audiences don’t know how to quit this astounding American drama, but then, how could they? With Ang Lee directing Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Larry McMurtry’s award-winning adaptation of the Annie Proulx story, this queer cinema landmark does essentially everything right. 

Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, 914.773.7663, www.burnsfilmcenter.org

 

Family

Dec 26-27: The Paper Bag Players

The long-running children’s theater troupe performs an hour of sketches, routines, and stories filled with music, painting, and, yes, the titular paper sets.  

Emelin Theatre, Mamaroneck, 914.698.0098, www.emelin.org

 

Workshops/Classes/Lectures

Fri-Sun Through Dec: Inside + Out 

Olana will be holding brand new winter tours, focusing on both Fredric Church’s iconic house and his designed landscape. Offered weekends from 11-3. 

Olana Historic Site, Hudson, 518.828.0135, www.olana.org

 

Dec 6: Stepping Out – Costume and Fashion in the City

Fashion historian Stéphane Houy-Towner leads a special tour of the HRM’s “Self in the City” exhibition as well as the historic Glenview home, and delivers a talk on the subject. 

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, 914.963.4550, www.hrm.org

 

Dec 29: The Tribe and the River with Turtle to Turtle

Members of the Ramapough Lenape Tribe perform as the troupe Turtle to Turtle, teaching about the history and relationship of the region’s indigenous residents to the Hudson River. Stories, dancing, music, and more are all part of the performance. 

Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, 914.963.4550, www.hrm.org

 

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