We’ve given thanks and feasted on turkey, so now it’s officially time to light up the city and start the holiday season. Santa is officially in town so pay him a visit at Macy’s Santaland, get dazzled by the nutcracker or start working on that holiday shopping list at the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar. Tis the season, so get out there and start celebrating.

For the Classic Santa: Macy's

Photo: Macy’s Santaland 


Opening Weekend: New York Ballet’s The Nutcracker
This 2-hour show is the gold standard, with 90 dancers, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands and two casts of young students (50 per show) from the School of American Ballet. While some kids won’t be able to sit through this ballet, if you’re little ones are old enough to appreciate a good show, the scenery is breathtaking (a Christmas tree grows from 12 feet to 40 feet in front of your eyes), and the costumes are opulent (including one that weighs 85 pounds and still requires the dancer playing Mother Ginger to stay on her toes). Fri. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun. at 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Upper West Side. $65/person and up. All ages. Event details.

Passion for Fashion Jewelry Swap
Set out on a bejeweled journey back to the life of New York’s 19th century elite in the exhibition Gilded New York. Explore antique jewelry from this time period and create your own bedazzled piece to take home— or swap with a new friend! Sat. 11 a.m.-noon. Upper East Side. Free with museum admission ($14/adult; children 19 and under are free). Ages 6-12. Event details.  


Seeing is Believing: Visit Macy’s Santaland
Santa Claus has come to town! If you have any good little girls or boys in your house, bring them to meet the man in the red suit at the Miracle on 34th St. (also known as Macy’s). Santaland will wow your little elves while they wait in line with decorations, lights, animatronic toys and a train display. If your kiddos are just too restless (or excited) to wait in a long line, skip the decorations and book a reservation with Macy’s express pass. That’s right skip the line! Download Macy’s app and you can make an appointment 48 hours in advance. Nov. 27-Dec. 24. Various times. Herald Square. Free. All ages. Event details.  

Santa, Breakfast and Skating!
Do you know some little ones that have been extra good this year? The Rockefeller tree may not be up yet, but Santa is officially in town and we hear he loves a good brunch. Treat the whole family to a delicious meal with a view of the iconic Rockefeller Center skating rink where the guest of honor is Santa himself. We’re willing to bet that your kiddos will be on their very very best behavior when they find out that Mr. Claus and his elves will be swinging by their table to drop off some gifts (chocolates and mittens) and take a photo. After your meal, take a spin on the skating rink, you’ll even get to cut the line like VIPs. Nov. 28-Dec. 24. 7:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m. & 9:15 a.m. Rockefeller Center. $55-$95/child; $85-$150/adult; children under 2 are free. All ages. Event details


Learn to Make Fresh Pasta 
Drop your little chefs off at La Scoula to learn how to prepare fresh pasta from scratch. They’ll learn how to make different shapes of pasta and of course get to sample the some tasty dishes too. While they’re busy cooking, you can kick back in the Lavazza Cafe and sip on up to two complimentary espressos. Your bambinos will take home recipes and instructions to make pasta at home, as well as a special apron, so you can even put them to work at dinner time, mangia! Sat. 2-4 p.m. Flatiron District. $65/child. Ages 8-12. Event details


Light Up the Night at the Park Slope Tree Lighting 
Kick off the holiday season at a tree lighting event in Park Slope. In addition to the magic of a brightly lit tree, this fun-filled evening will include hot chocolate and marshmallows, puppet performances, cookies, crafts, popcorn, live music and more. And keep your eyes peeled, we hear that Santa will be stopping by too! Sat. 6:30 p.m. Park Slope. Free. All ages. Event details.

Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
It’s time to get that holiday shopping started, so head to this cool bazaar where you can find unique gifts for your hardest to shop for friends and family. The Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar boasts more than forty local vendors and promises to entertain you and the kiddies while you shop with delicious food, tasty cocktails, a live DJ and fun craft projects for your little ones. Sat. & Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Gowanus. Free. All ages. Event details.


Purrfect Puppet Animations
Felix, Garfield, Tom… do your little animal lovers know that before cats took over the Internet, they were already famous, starring in many classic cartoons? Bring the whole family to the museum and make stop-motion videos inspired by famous animated cats, bringing feline puppets to life under the camera. Sat. & Sun. 12:45 p.m. and 2 p.m. Astoria. $5/child plus museum admission ($12/adult; $6/child age 3-12, children under 3 are free). Ages 5 and up. Event details.

Where will your family kick off the holiday season this weekend? Share with us in the comment section below.

—Caitlin Dowling