The Guide’s Five 5s: Affordable options of things to do in NEPA and surrounding areas
Festival of Trees: Free! Enjoy a display of Christmas trees decorated by area businesses. Check them from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Mon.-Fri.) and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sat.-Sun.) through Dec. 20 at Luzerne County Community College, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke. Fore more info, call 570-740-0602.
Menorah Lighting in Public Square: Free!Celebrate among honored dignitaries. There will be live music, latkes, doughnuts and hot drinks. Head to Public Square around 6:30 p.m. as the celebration runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12. For more info, call 570-824-4646.
Santa in the Park: Donations. Take part in the annual holiday festivities with photo opportunities, tree-ornament decorating and more. At 2 p.m. Dec. 13 head to the Forty Fort Park to meet Santa, enjoy some cookies and hot chocolate. Donations of hats and gloves will be accepted and donated to Children’s Behavioral Health Services.
Wine Tasting: $15, $20 at the door. Meet Pierluigi Giachi, a 13th-generation winemaker from Tuscany, Italy. From 4 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 13 head to St. Anthony Center, 28 Memorial St., Exeter for samples of some of the best wine Italy has to offer. For more info call 570-885-5316.
Paint Your Own Ornament: $5.The West Pittston Library is offering two paint your own ornament events on Dec. 16 and 17. At 2 p.m. Dec. 16 enjoy coffee and tea while getting creative. At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 enjoy a glass of wine. For more info or to register call 570-654-9847.
Mix, Mingle and Jingle holiday happy hour. $25. Leadership Lackawanna’s annual fundraiser and mixer is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Ale Mary’s, 126 Franklin Ave. This year’s festivities include a “Best Of” cookie contest featuring My Mother’s Delicacies and Market Street Sweets, a mystery box raffle and a cookie eating contest with a $100 cash prize for the winner. Tickets include drinks and appetizers and can be ordered by calling 570-342-7711 or by visiting www.LeadershipLackawanna.com. Registration for the cookie eating contest is required and costs $5 in advance and $10 at the door.
Marywood University Wind Ensemble. Free! The wind ensemble will perform a concert of holiday favorites at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Holy Family Residence, 2500 Adams Ave. For more information call 570-348-6268.
String Project’s Holiday Concert. Free! Various orchestras, ensembles and solo acts comprised of students ages 4 to 18 will perform starting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at Marywood University’s Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts, 2300 Adams Ave. For more information call 570-348-6268.
Empty Stocking Benefit Concert. Admission costs one new toy, article of children’s clothing or cash donation. The University of Scranton Brass Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the University of Scranton’s Houlihan-McLean Center, Mulberry Street and Jefferson Avenue.
Holiday Farm to Table. $12. With Christmas approaching , the Menu will give participants tips on how to prepare holiday sides that will impress guests at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Scranton Cultural Center, 420 North Washington St. This month’s featured presenter is Chef Donna Vannan of Terra Preta Restaurant. Doors open at 6 p.m. There will be cocktails and music by Skip Monday.
Mifflinburg Christkindl Market: Free! Don’t miss the 27th annual authentic German-style event with more than 100 festive outdoor huts offering unique gift items and German-style foods on Dec. 11 and 12. Enjoy music and dance, Kinder World with children’s attractions, the five-foot Prune Man, St. Nicholas, the Christkindl Pub with Glow Wine and German beers, Lantern Parade and the 15-foot Christmas Pyramid. Head to downtown Mifflinburg from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 11; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 12. For more info call 888-666-0877 or visit oldchristkindl.com.
Hawley Winterfest: Free! Enjoy the annual holiday weekend with ice sculptures, beer tour, concerts, cookie walk, Victorian luncheon, Artisans Fair, Holiday House Tour, book signings, Santa and S’mores, towed tube rides, horse-drawn carriage rides, train excursions, Christmas Show at the Ritz Theater, Enchanted Christmas at Bingham Park, Living Nativity, Breakfast with Santa and more. Dec. 11 to 13 throughout downtown Hawley. Schedule at hawleywinterfest.com.
Santa Claus Special: $13. Take a train ride with Santa and enjoy some special treats. Trains leave the station, 1 Susquehanna St., Jim Thorpe at 10:30 a.m., 1 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12-13 and 19-20. For reservations or more info, call 610-562-2102.
Welcome Winter Wander: $10. Burn some pre-Christmas calories with an easy, scenic stroll along Brodhead Creek in Stroud Township from Brodhead Park to Pinebrook Park. Meet at the Brodhead Creek Park entrance on N. Fifth Street in Stroud Township. 1 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 13. For more info call 570-424-1514.
Winterfest Visit to Lacawac: $20. Enjoy a seasonal, one-mile hike to tour the field station. Bring a travel mug to fill with coffee or tea before the hike. Followed by a lunch of homemade soups. Lacawac Sanctuary, 94 Sanctuary Road, Lake Ariel. 10 a.m. Dec. 13. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 570-689-9494.
Hanukkah Party at the Museum of Art: Art After 5, the museum’s Friday night series, is celebrating Hanukkah from 5 to 8:45 p.m. Dec. 11. Relax in the Great Stair Hall and take in the Shining Stars Orchestra as they perform Yiddish and klezmer music. Starr Events will be on hand to serve light refreshments, while cocktails, wine and beer will be served. Entrance is free with admission ($20).
The Book of Mormon: Returning for the second year the Tony award winning musical is running at the Forrest Theater until Dec. 27. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the guys who brought us “South Park,” the show follows two Mormon missionaries sent to convert the people of Uganda. Ticket prices start at $67; to purchase, visit www.forrest-theatre.com.
Holiday Garden Railway: The Morris Arboretum brings back its Holiday Garden Railway. The quarter-mile miniature railroad is made entirely from natural materials. On Dec. 11 and 18, the arboretum is open late night for a special event, which showcases the railroad lit up at night. The railway exhibit runs until Jan. 3. Admission to the gardens ranges from $4-16. Friday Night Lights tickets are separate: $9 for adults, $8 for children.
Work Drugs Holiday Spectacle: Philadelphia’s music makers, Work Drugs, bring their fifth Annual Holiday Spectacle Dec. 12. Expect ugly sweaters, Santa hats, seasonally inspired beverages and classic holiday songs. The spectacle starts at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. Tickets range from $10-12 and are available at www.johnnybrendas.com.
Zoo Noel: Celebrate Christmas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20 at the Philadelphia Zoo. The day includes a scavenger hunt as you explore Santa’s journey to exotic locations around the globe. At the Treehouse, get your picture taken with the man himself. Visit the Hot Chocolate Bar and Little Elves’ Gift Shop. Kids can enjoy crafts and activities and take home a special gift. Bring a holiday card for your favorite animal, which Santa’s helpers will deliver. Zoo Noel is included with zoo admission ($16 during the winter season).
New York City
Glow-in-the-Dark Hanukkah Dinner: The 92nd Street Y invites you to bring a flashlight and enjoy an evening of music, latkes and light. The event starts at 5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Warburg Lounge. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at www.92y.org.
Christmas Village NYC: An incredible holiday exhibit, right on Fifth Avenue (530 5th Ave), allows you to explore 21 holiday scenes with animatronic figures and a guided tour, sharing the story about Santa’s village. Scenes include Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Sweet Shoppe and Rudolph’s Barn. Just blocks from Rockefeller Center, this is a destination to make a holiday tradition. The tour is on the lower level, but upstairs is a mega Christmas in NY gift shop to purchase ornaments, which can be personalized for free. Tickets are $19.99 for kids and $29.99 for adults. To purchase, and for more information, visit www.christmasvillagenyc.com.
Santa Con: The annual boozy Santa fest returns on Dec. 12. The pub crawl invites attendees to wear full on Santa costumes as they go from bar to bar, starting at 10 a.m. Make sure you bring cash for food and drinks. For more information, visit santacon.nyc.
NYC Vintage Train: Every Sunday in December, ride historic subway train cars along the M line. On Dec. 13, dress in your vintage best and head to the 2nd Avenue F train platform to hear a full day of jazz musicians and see swing dancers. Trains leave from the uptown platform at Second Avenue for hour-long round trips at 11:33 a.m., 1:03, 2:34 and 4:03 p.m. The trains stop for 20 minutes at Queens Plaza. Vintage Train Day is free with the purchase of regular subway fare. Visit bestevents.us/new-york-2015-nyc-vintage-train-jazz-music-swing-dancing/858145 for more info.
The Hard Nut: Love “The Nutcracker” but tired of the traditional George Balanchine version? Take the kids to BAM’s “The Hard Nut” for Mark Morris’ hilarious and touching interpretation of the classic. Running at the Howard Gilman Opera House of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the show runs from Dec. 12 to 20. Running time is 2 hours. Tickets start at $25. To purchase, visit www.bam.org.
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