Holiday events worth checking out across Long Island

The Holtsville Ecology Site will be turned into a winter wonderland. (Credit: Brookhaven Town)

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Festive holiday celebrations abound in towns and villages across Long Island this time of the year. From a holiday lights spectacular to a winter festival, these five holiday happenings will get you into the spirit of the season.

Looking for some festive fun specific to the North Fork? Our local holiday event guide has you covered.

23rd annual Charles Dickens Festival

Port Jefferson Village

The Dickens Festival. (Credit: Glenn Tinnie)

People come from far and wide come to watch “A Christmas Carol” come to life in downtown Port Jefferson. The two-day Dickens-era holiday celebration features characters such as Father Christmas, Dickens Mayor, Scrooge and the Town Crier roaming the village, plus there are plenty of activities and performances. Also be sure to catch Theater Three’s 34th annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” This year’s event is on Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2. More information at portjeffchamber.com.


Winter On The Bay

Katch Tanner Park Beach, Copiague

There will be ice skating at the festival.

Winter On The Bay attracts hundreds of people each year for a celebration of all things fun associated with the season. There is a little something for everyone at the festival on bay. Highlights include an ice rink, a beer and wine tent, a make-your-own ornament decoration station, a hot cocoa bar, food trucks, boutique shopping and more.

Winter On The Bay is scheduled for two weekends: Friday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 16 and Friday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, Dec. 23. Get tickets and check the schedule of events at eventbrite.com.


Twilight Tours of the Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion Courtyard, Centerport

See the museum displays at night. (Credit: Vanderbilt Museum/Patrick Keeffe)

See the halls of the Vanderbilt Mansion decked to the nines in holiday decor during the popular two- day only Twilight Tour. While the museum regularly hosts daytime guided visits to the fully decorated historic home throughout December, the Twilight Tours are the only time of the year the Vanderbilt family’s private living quarters can be seen at night. Cookies and hot chocolate are included. This year’s tours are Thursday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 28 starting at 5:30 p.m. Get tickets at vanderbiltmuseum.org.


Annual Holiday Light Spectacular

Holtsville Ecology Site, Holtsville

The Holtsville Ecology Site will be turned into a winter wonderland. (Credit: Brookhaven Town)

The Holtsville Ecology Site is transformed into a winter wonderland of lighted, festive displays on select dates throughout December. Don’t forget to get your photo taken with Santa in his workshop after taking the tour. The indoor, walk-through holiday light show benefits the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve, which rescues injured or non-releasable wild animals and farm animals.

The annual tree lighting will also be held there on Friday, Nov. 30 at 4 p.m. For more information on days and times, and to purchase tickets for the Holiday Light Spectacular, visit brookhavenny.gov.


Annual holiday Cookie Exchange

Rogers Mansion, Southampton

Take a break from the holiday bustle to sample and swap recipes at Southampton Historical Museum’s annual cookie exchange. This year’s host is baker, gardener and floral designer Elizabeth Yastrzemski. She’ll be demonstrating “Steps Toward Making Better Sugar Cookies.”

Guests are asked to bring two to three dozen homemade cookies, copies of their recipes, display trays and containers to take treats home. The exchange is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13. Advance registration prior to Dec. 12 is required. Call the museum at (631) 283-2494 to sign up, and find out more information at southamptonhistory.org.

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