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6 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season in Upstate NY


Now that Halloween is over, it’s officially the start of my favorite season! From the sparkling lights, festive music and sweet treats, it’s definitely a wonderful time of year. However, we all know that this season seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Take the time to plan your pre-holiday trip to Upstate New York today and get in the spirit of the season with all the exciting and majestic celebrations the region has to offer.

Get enveloped in a classic Christmas tale
Every year, the Geva Theatre puts on the most beloved holiday productions, A Christmas Carol! A local family holiday tradition, the show is on stage from November 23rd to December 24th. It’s one of my favorite things to do at Christmastime. I love to bring my kids and watch them enjoy the sights and sounds of theater, and I can remember going to the theatre when I was little too, dressed up in sparkle from head to toe. Don’t miss the magic and merriment of A Christmas Carol!

Experience holiday sweets in a whole new way
A favorite holiday tradition for Rochesterians is the Sweet Creations display at the George Eastman Museum. Now through December 14th, walk through the museum which has been turned into a gingerbread wonderland! Each creative gingerbread house is available for purchase through a silent auction. My kids get inspired by the houses, and we have fun trying to recreate our own afterwards. A truly amazing sight to behold, it’s worth the trip!

Take a step back in time
If you’ve never been to the Genesee Village Country Museum, you’re in for a real treat. This historic village, which is an amazing experience any time of year, is completely transformed into 19th century yuletide merriment every holiday season. Prepare for the holidays like it’s the 1800’s with characters that will make you feel as though you have stepped into a time machine. Before our modern-day convenient technology, families had to prepare for Christmas early enough to make sure everything got done in time. Experience soap and candle making, sausage stuffing, meat preserving, wool spinning and gift making. Get there on November 19th and take in all the festivity.

If you can’t make it to the preparations, you can still celebrate the holiday with history during Yuletide in the Country! Tour guides decked out in century clothing will lead you through snow-covered streets in 1849 – the year that Christmas was declared a New York State holiday. Enjoy time-period music and dancing, and the lighting of the Christmas tree! You can visit the museum most weekends in December. Make it part of your holiday tradition! From my personal experience, this is a unique seasonal event you don’t want to miss.

Holiday Open House at CMOG
South of Rochester is the iconic Corning Museum of Glass, which becomes even more sparkly and magnificent during the holiday season! On December 3rd and 4th, you can visit their Holiday Open House. Learn something new and make your very own glass ornament to bring home. Plus, there will be live music and even more holiday-themed crafts for the whole family to enjoy.

Learn How to make your own holiday cocktail with Black Button Distilling!
One of the most popular distilleries in Rochester is Black Button, and I just found out they are hosting a holiday cocktail class with the New York Wine & Culinary Center, nestled right on Canandaigua Lake! Perfect for a date night or a night out with friends, you can learn to liven up your holiday parties and wow your guests with delicious craft cocktails that are sure to be a hit.

‘Tis the season for celebrating! We hope you enjoy the unique Upstate New York holiday celebrations this year. You may even find a new family tradition.