Best things to do in WNY for the holidays
Public ice-skating (and ice-biking) opens at Canalside on Friday, November 23
Photo by kc kratt
Ice-Skating at Canalside
If the weather cooperates, public ice-skating season opens for the season at the Ice at Canalside on Buffalo's Inner Harbor. Check the website before coming.
10 a.m–10 p.m. (Ice at Canalside, just off the Erie Canal Harbor Station on the Metro Rail; canalsidebuffalo.com)
Festival of Lights at the Fairgrounds
With shows, rides, strolls, Santa, workshops, and more, this is a family favorite.
5 p.m.-9 p.m. (Buildings open until 10 p.m.) November 23-25 & 30, December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 19-23 at Hamburg Fairgrounds (5600 McKinley Pkwy., Hamburg; the-fairgrounds.com/festival-lights/ or 649-3900)
Christmas in Ellicottville
With horse-drawn carriages and fire truck rides with Santa, the New York Times says this is like being “transported to a scene from an old black and white Christmas movie.”
Through Nov. 25 at Village of Ellicottville (Ellicottville, NY; ellicottvilleny.com or 699-5046)
Poinsettia and Railway Exhibit
This long-running, popular show features thousands of lush and colorful poinsettias, whimsical woodland scenes, an entertaining model railway, and some fun surprises.
Through Jan. 6 at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (2655 S. Park Ave.; buffalogardens.com or 827-1584)
A Christmas Story
This is a live stage adaptation of the hugely popular film, an annual holiday tradition for millions.
Through Dec. 9. at Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster; lancopera.org or 683-1776)
Activities with Santa
Join Santa for lunch, followed by picture opportunities and a carousel ride.
Through Dec. 15 at Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda; carrouselmuseum.org or 693-1885)
Around the Seasons
Work by Tanya Zabinski
Through Dec. 22, at Meibohm Fine Arts (475 Main St., East Aurora; 652-0940 or meibohmfinearts.com)
Patrons can visit with Santa Claus in the Culinary Institute’s life size gingerbread house and take part in activities, including cookie decorating for children, holiday crafts, letters to Santa, story reading, chef demos, and more.
Celtic Woman: The Best of Christmas
Get in the holiday spirit with the angelic voices of Celtic Woman when the Irish music sensation performs classic hits and Christmas favorites.
7 p.m. at Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kleinhans Music Hall (3 Symphony Cir.; bpo.org or 885-5000)
Kaleida Health: Festival of Trees
Take a stroll while getting into holiday spirit with hundreds of decorated trees celebrating] of different cultures.
Through Dec. 5 at Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.; buffaloconvention.com or 855-5555)
Nuncracker: A Nunsense Christmas Musical
The Nunsense Christmas musical, Nuncrackers is presented as the first TV special taped in the Cable Access Studio built by Reverend Mother in the convent basement.
Through Dec. 23. at O’Connell & Company (The Park School, 4625 Harlem Rd., Snyder; oconnellandcompany.com or 848-0800)
Holiday Tree Lighting and Celebration @ Canalside
This annual Holiday Celebration presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York is a free, family-oriented event. Holiday festivities kick off at 5:30pm with music, on-ice performances, and a visit from Santa.
5 p.m. (Ice at Canalside, just off the Erie Canal Harbor Station on the Metro Rail; canalsidebuffalo.com)
Dozens of events, from a pizza celebration to SantaCon, plus food, music, and everything festive over two weeks
Downtown Niagara Falls, USA, Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 8, & 15. Check website for full schedule: niagarafallsusa.com/jingle-falls-usa
Holiday Live at Larkin featuring Vitamin D and DJ Sike
Enjoy live music, a treelighting, the Thistle Creek Alpacas, plus a holiday market, hot bourbon cider, food trucks, cocktails, and free parking.
5–8 p.m. at Larkin Square (745 Seneca St.; larkinsquare.com or 362-2665)
Buffalo Opera Unlimited presents this true story of an unofficial Christmas Eve truce between French, Scottish, and German soldiers during World War I.
Nov. 30, 8 p.m. and Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m. at Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall (Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; buffalostatepac.org or 878-3005)
Art Is A Gift
More than 50 WNY artists participate in this holiday art and gift sale.
Through Dec. 2: Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.; burchfieldpenney.org or 878-6011)
CHARLIE BROWN PHOTO BY BENJAMIN RICHEY
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Charles Schulz’s classic animation comes to life in a traditional family holiday tale enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.
Through Dec. 16 at Theatre of Youth (Allendale Theatre, 203 Allen St.; theatreofyouth.org or 884-4400)
Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting
This annual tree lighting event marks the official opening of the free ice-skating season in downtown Buffalo at Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza.
5–8 p.m. at Fountain Plaza (580 Main St.; buffaloplace.com/treelighting)
Holiday in the Village
The village of Williamsville gets in the holiday spirit featuring pictures with Santa, horse & wagon rides, holiday music by the Calvary Episcopal Church Choir, local vendors, a tree lighting ceremony, and caroling.
10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. at 5565 Main Street (Village Hall, willvill.com)
Roycroft Holiday Show
Visit artists featuring a variety of media from glass, wood, fiber, paint, metal, and more to find the perfect holiday gift.
Through Dec. 2 at Roycroft Campus Corporation (31 South Grove St., East Aurora; roycroftcampuscorporation.com or 655-0261)
4th Annual Santas of Swig
Santas of Swig Homebrew Competition and fundraiser features 20+ homebrewers who donate their beers to help raise money and awareness, with all proceeds benefiting the Matt Urban Center's Hope House Homeless Shelter for Women and Children.
1 p.m.- 4 p.m. at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St., Buffalo; more info and tickets HERE)
The Ed Croft Trio’s Comfort & Jazz Holiday Show
Ease into the holidays with this show produced by Kathleen Rooney in collaboration with the Keenan Center.
7–10 p.m. at the Kenan Center Gallery (433 Locust St., Lockport; kenancenter.org or 443-2617)
Buffalo Authors’ Holiday Network Expo
Meet local authors and give the gift of literature this holiday season.
11 a.m.–3 p.m. at Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library (1324 Jefferson Ave.; justbuffalo.org or 832-5400)
A Christmas Stroll
This longtime event, created in 1987, celebrates the holiday season with a Living Nativity, complete with a camel.
All day at Monroe St., Village of Ellicottville (ellicottvilleny.com or 699-5046)
Come celebrate a very special performance of the holiday classic with American Academy’s Nutcracker. This production has become a WNY favorite, selling out performances.
1 p.m. & 5 p.m. at UB Center for the Arts (UB North Campus; aab-buffalo.com/nutcracker or 688-4774)
Victorian Holiday Tea
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village presents the Annual Victorian Holiday Tea and Basket Auction. All attendees will receive an Amherst Bicentennial commemorative ornament as a gift.
1–3 p.m. at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst; bnhv.org or 689-1440)
First Day of Christmas
A smooth jazz concert featuring Tim Bowman, Will Holton, Carlton Wilcox, and Brian Freeman
8 p.m. at Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.; tralfmusichall.com or 835-3500)
Buffalo City Ballet has a long tradition of presenting this classic.
Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. at The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (buffalocityballet.org)
Begin the Christmas season with a delightful afternoon of tea, then tour the historic house right next door.
11 a.m. or 2 p.m. at Hull Family Home (5976 Genesee St., Lancaster; hullfamilyhome.com or 681-6451)
Breakfast with Santa
Families are invited to join Santa, Mrs. Claus, and cheerful elves for a pancake breakfast in the ballroom.
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m. at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst; bnhv.org or 689-1440)
Gusto Vinyl Happy Hour: "RubberRevolver" Beatles Holiday Party
This month's installment features discussion of and live music from Rubber Soul and Revolver, as well as some holiday surprises and giveaways. Jeff Miers and Anita West host with musical guests Past Masters.
The Guns of Christmas
A stirring historical drama based on the real-life decision of war-weary soldiers to put down their guns for Christmas
6 p.m., Dec. 5 at the Historical Society; 6 p.m., Dec. 6 at the Downtown Public Library (subversivetheatre.org or 408-0499)
Kiss 98.5 presents Kissmas Bash with national recording acts including Marshmello, Sabrina Carpenter, Lauv, Cheat Codes, Bryce Vine, Madison Beer, and Loud Luxury.
6 p.m. at KeyBank Center (1 Seymour H. Knox III Plaza; keybankcenter.com or 888-223-6000)
Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley
Set two years after Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice ends, Miss Bennet continues the story, only this time with bookish middle-sister Mary as the unlikely heroine.
Through Dec. 22 at 710 Main Theatre (710 Main St.; sheas.org or 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000)
Home for the Holidays with the Kristen Smigielski Combo
Kristen is joined by Jonathan Rizzo, James Benders, John Smigielski, and featuring Steve Balisteri.
7:30 pm at PAUSA Art House (19 Wadsworth St.; pausaarthouse.com or 697-9069)
All Through The Night
A group of travelers’ lives change when they are stuck in a train station on Christmas Eve.
Through Dec. 16 at The Ghostlight Theatre (170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda; starrynighttheatre.com or 743-1614)
Winter Choral Spectacular
Various Buffalo State choral groups celebrate the winter season in song, under the direction of Dr. Victoria Furby and Mr. John Fleischman.
7:30 p.m. at Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall (Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; buffalostatepac.org or 878-3005)
Master Chorale Presents: The Reason for the Season
Celebrate the holiday season with a special program of Christmas classics and new winter favorites in the Buffalo Master Chorale’s annual winter concert.
7:30–9 p.m. at Fourteen Holy Helpers R.C. Church (1350 Indian Church Rd., West Seneca; bnchoirs.org)
A John Waters Christmas
Waters, legendary filmmaker and author, spreads Yuletide profanity and perverted piety with his critically acclaimed one-man show.
8 p.m. at Asbury Hall (Babeville, 341 Delaware Ave.; babevillebuffalo.com or 852-3835)
A Christmas Carol
Alleyway's 36th annual interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic novella, adapted and directed by Neal Radice
Through Dec. 23 at Alleyway Theatre (1 Curtain Up Alley.; alleyway.com or 852-2600)
Expect Santa, refreshments, and great gift/decor ideas at this Friday evening/Saturday morning event.
Visit hertel-ave.com for more information.
Home for the Holidays: Food and Wine
Celebrate Niagara Region wines to complement your holiday table and keep Christmas local.
5–7 p.m. at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute (28 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls; nfculinary.org or 210-2525)
Friends Helping Friends 2018
McCarthyizm's annual Christmas benefit helps Friends of Night People. Bands also on the bill include A Potter's Field, Randle & the Late Night Scandals, PA Line, The Public and Supercharger.
7:30 p.m. at Sportsmens Tavern (326 Amherst St., Buffalo; sportsmensbuffalo.com or 874-7734)
Seven bands await attendees at this lavish celebration, which also includes all-night open bar and hors d’oeuvres. Partial proceeds benefit Give for Greatness.
8 p.m.–1 a.m. at The Hotel Lafayette (391 Washington St.; kootsie.com)
Taste of Christmas Past
The 4th Annual Taste of Christmas Past features a menu of Victorian Christmas favorites, complete with caroling, tree lighting, and basket auctions.
6–10 p.m. at Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (3755 Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst; bnhv.org or 689-1440)
Charlie Brown Christmas with Ed Croft
Local jazz band The Ed Croft Trio recreates the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas.
8 p.m. at PAUSA Art House (19 Wadsworth St.; pausaarthouse.com or 697-9069)
Frankie Scinta’s Holiday Show
Scinta’s Christmas show takes the audience on a memorable holiday journey with a look back at some great iconic artists.
8 p.m. at Mainstage Theatre (Center for the Arts, UB North Campus, Amherst; ubcfa.org or 645-6915)
The Castle by Candlelight
The 18th century historic site will offer guests a unique yesteryear experience in a setting untouched by consumerism, but enhanced and accented with ribbons and homemade ornaments, courtesy of the Youngstown Garden Club.
6:30 p.m.-8:15 p.m., Dec. 8 & Dec. 15 at Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown; oldfortniagara.org or 745-7611)
Photo by JP Thimot
The Nutcracker in the City of Light
A timeless holiday classic set at the turn of the century in Buffalo. Configuration Dance Theatre and School of Ballet presents this unique production starring LeeAnn Elder, Norbert Nirewicz, and Sheila McCarthy is a traditional holiday favorite you won’t want to miss!
Two Performances on at 1pm & 5pm at the Flickinger Performing Arts Center; Student pricing available (configurationdancetheatre.org or 204-8192)
Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun Honky Tonk Holiday Show
When guitarist Bill Kirchen rolls into town, there are no ordinary Christmas carols, but rather hits like “Truckin’ Trees for Christmas” and “Reindeer Boogie”
5 p.m. at Sportsmen’s Tavern (326 Amherst St.; sportsmensbuffalo.com or 874-7734)
The Drifters Hits & Holiday Show
The Drifters have played a monumental role in the rise of R&B and shaped doo-wop and soul for years, including hits such as “White Christmas.”
2 p.m. at Seneca Niagara Casino (310 4th St., Niagara Falls; senecaniagaracasino.com or 299-1100)
The Betsy Carmichael Christmas Special
NY Theatre Guide calls it “a cross between the old Judy Garland Christmas special, and the Peewee Herman Show. Betsy is back for her adoring fans hosting an unforgettable Christmas Special at The Bingo Palace.
Through Dec. 23 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.; sheas.org or 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000)
The Night Before Christmas
The interactive, original family musical by J. Michael Landis and Jay Wollin features Santa and his friends.
Through Dec. 16 at Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster; lancopera.org or 683-1776)
Gerald Albright and Selina Albright Christmas Tour
Father-daughter jazz entertainers perform their very first Albright Family Christmas Tour.
8 p.m. at Performing Arts Center at Rockwell Hall (Buffalo State College, 1300 Elmwood Ave.; buffalostatepac.org or 878-3005)
11th Annual Last-Minute Panic Holiday Marketplace
Find those last-minute gifts among quality handmade goods, from housewares, knitwear, and jewelry to hand-printed greeting cards and posters.
Through Dec. 15 at Western New York Book Arts Center (468 Washington St.; wnybookarts.org or 348-1430)
Lindsey Sterling image courtesy of artist
Lindsey Stirling’s Wanderland Tour
The Wanderland Tour will feature a fully revamped stage production with elaborate holiday themes as well as Stirling’s signature brand of dance routines and on-stage visuals.
8 p.m. at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.; sheas.org or 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000)
This year’s 20th anniversary tour, “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” features Paul O’Neill’s timeless story of a runaway who finds her way into a mysterious abandoned theater.
3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. at KeyBank Center (1 Seymour H. Knox III Plaza; keybankcenter.com or 888-223-6000)
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. - Up, Up & Away Hits & Holidays
A musical celebration of their own iconic music, tributes to fellow music legends and some Holiday classics.
8 p.m. at Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org or 692-2413)
Shea’s Free Family Film Series presents ELF
Enjoy family-friendly activities before the movie at 2 p.m. for a fun-filled, festive afternoon.
12:30 p.m. at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.; sheas.org or 847-0850)
A Christmas Carol: A Sparkling New Musical
Featuring award-winning forty-year theater veteran Scott H. Severance, this new adaptation of Dickens’ classic fills the stage with lush costumes, stunning sets and puppetry, song and dance, and a heavy dose of humor.
7 p.m. at Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org or 692-2413)
Pat Shea Christmas with Family & Friends
Pat Shea, winner of Nashville's Star Search, returns for the 21st consecutive year with special guests, The Panfil Brothers, and more, to perform a concert filled with all of your holiday favorites!
7:30 p.m. at Lancaster Opera House (21 Central Ave., Lancaster; lancopera.org or 683-1776)
Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas
Grammy nominated songwriter and piano sensation Jim Brickman celebrates A Joyful Christmas at the Riviera.
8–10 p.m. at Riviera Theatre (67 Webster St., North Tonawanda; rivieratheatre.org or 692-2413)
Nerds Gone Wild "Merry NERDSmas 80's Bash"
Join the Nerds for a festive night with drink specials and prizes.
8 p.m. at The Cove (4701 Transit Rd., Depew; thecoveseafoodandbanquets.com or 656-7946)
Neglia’s production of The Nutcracker is presented in collaboration with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Through Dec. 23 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center (646 Main St.; sheas.org or 847-0850, for tickets 800-745-3000)
First Night Buffalo
Stay warm inside and experience an affordable night of fun for the whole family with carnival rides, bounce houses, acrobats, exotic animals, and much more.
At Buffalo Convention Center (153 Franklin St.; buffaloplace.com/specialevents)
Buffalo Ball Drop and Fireworks
Ring in the new year in Buffalo with fireworks and WNY’s very own ball drop.
Midnight at Iskalo Electric Tower (535 Washington St.; buffaloplace.com/specialevents)
Check out even more events in our full calendar here.