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Best Bets For The Holiday Season: Music, Shopping And Santa

There’s nothing like a little snow in November to announce the arrival of the holiday season. And let’s face it: snow during the holidays is the most tolerated of any snowfall of the year. It’s February snow that gets to you, not to mention April, the most unwelcome snowfall ever.

It’s time for Christmas craft sales, tree cutting, holiday concerts and sleigh rides. I know people are guarding their wallets more than usual, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan a few festive events to help make the holiday bright. Here are my holiday picks, with an eye on keeping it real this year:

This weekend, “Light Up The Point” looks like a promising holiday outing in Bemus Point. Local shops have special sales, there’s a real parade you can join in by decorating your car or golf cart, and a tree lighting with Santa at the end of the day. The festivities run from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. Look for “Light Up The Point” on Facebook for more information.

The City of Jamestown has a similar event on the same day, beginning at noon. There’s a parade, a holiday movie at the Reg, and a tree lighting with fireworks. If you’re really gung-ho, split your time between both. Look for the “Jingle & Mingle” event on Facebook for more information.

Next weekend, Mayville is hosting a holiday market — the first annual event. The soiree runs both Saturday and Sunday and you’ll find local vendors set up around the Town of Chautauqua offices on Academy St. In addition to shopping, they’ll have all the good stuff–music and food and a 50-50 raffle. Call 716-269-4129 for more information.

I really like events held at Chautauqua Institution because it makes for a scenic, festive setting — especially if there’s snow. They’re setting up a winter village, and between the holiday choir, sleigh rides, great snacks and Santa, you won’t find a more Christmas-like setting in America. Events are set for Dec. 16 beginning at 9 a.m. Check out the CHQ.org website for more information.

For children and parents who are tightening the wallet this holiday season, breakfast with Santa at Chautauqua Suites is a great bet all around. The kids can decorate cookies and ornaments and hang with Santa for a picture. Breakfast is on offer and the event is free to the public. Early birds should get there at 8 a.m. Dec. 16. The event runs until noon. They’ve got a Facebook page, too, under “Breakfast With Santa” for more information.

Santa, as always, is quite popular this year, and thankfully, he’s decided to hang around our lovely towns and villages this year. What did we do to deserve it?

He’ll be making appearances in Falconer, Peak ‘N Peek, and at Lakeside Park in Mayville in the month of December. Tour Chautauqua is a great online resource for holiday events and dates.

If the Trans Siberian Orchestra has always provided your favorite holiday music, you might want to check out this very cool performance at the Reg Lenna Center on Dec. 8. Former members of the TSO will be showcasing “The Wizards Of Winter.” But wow, members of Blue Oyster Cult, Rainbow, Trixter, Ted Nugent Band, along with a handful of Broadway veterans, will be performing, too, in their Holiday rock opera titled “The Christmas Dream.” From rock and pop, to ballads, and even a visit from Mrs. Claus, it seems like they have the holiday music covered. Tickets range from $24.50 to $44.50 and if I had to pick and choose, I’d try to fit this in. Head over to the Reg website for tickets and more information.

Farther out of town, I’ve always liked suggesting the lovely, scenic town of East Aurora. They bring an old world, nostalgic vibe to the season with light displays and decor. But the shops there are really worth a visit during the holidays. The hands down highlight is Vidler’s 5 & 10 Variety Store, which has been called “America’s Department Store” and it makes for a special day when you visit. Some New Yorkers claim that Christmas shopping is not complete without a stop to the village and its famous sprawling store. Vidler’s was named Family Owned Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2020. It’s not a big drive — about halfway to Buffalo.

It’s a stretch — but those looking for magic beyond our county border should look into the Southern Finger Lakes region, which transports visitors back to a different world during the holidays.Hornell is transformed into Whoville, with a Grinch-themed parade and townsfolk dressing as their favorite Dr. Seuss characters. Also, the nearby town of Corning, hosts an event called Sparkle, with carolers, fireworks, and photos with Santa in a Crystal House.

I hope you find a holiday event for your family this season that brings out the Christmas spirit in you. Part of taking care of ourselves in difficult times is paying attention to what’s important to us and making time for ourselves and our families.

Enjoy.

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