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Winter Wonderland: A Guide to Holiday Events 

click to enlarge Sinterklaas in Rhinebeck. - DOUGLAS BAZ

Christmas music is playing in stores, kids are waking up to listen for school closings and delays, and you have to budget 15 minutes to thaw out your car. The holiday season is upon us. You don't have to look too far to find something to do. Whether you just want to see some pretty lights or fully immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, the Hudson Valley has something for you.

Frozendale

At the 7th annual Frozendale Festival in Rosendale, music lovers can hear tunes of folk-rocker Andrea Maddox and singer-songwriter Shabbat Rusciolelli at the Rosendale Cafe. Two free singalong showings of The Sound of Music will be screened at the Rosendale Theatre. Kids can enjoy the "Animals of Winter" puppet show between the film screenings. Hayrides with Santa and his elves, parade, mac and cheese bake off, handmade gift crawl, raffles, and hot cider and cookies will pack the day with festive fun. December 15, 11am to 6 pm. www.facebook.com/FrozendaleDaze

Holiday Events at Wilderstein

Wilderstein in Rhinebeck will host its winter house tours from 1 to 4pm on weekends until the end of Decemeber. Drink and eat in Victorian style at the annual Yuletide Tea on December 8 at 1pm, Cynthia Owen Philip will give a talk on her book Wilderstein & the Suckleys. Margaret "Daisy" Suckley was the last resident of the house, a cousin of FDR, and will be portrayed by Laura Linney in the new movie Hyde Park on Hudson. www.wilderstein.org

Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"

"Count Your Blessings" because the musical based on the Christmas classic is coming to the Center for Perfoming Arts at Rhinebeck on November 30. There will be Friday, Saturday, and Sundays showings until December 16. Tickets are $26. www.centerforperformingarts.org

Bowfire at Eisenhower Hall

"Holiday Heart Strings" will bring a mix of classical, bluegrass, rock, and Celtic music from the lively string ensemble to Eisenhower Hall on December 9 at 3pm. Hear holiday favorites such as "Sleigh Ride" and "Dreydl, Dreydl, Dreydl." Tickets are $40. www.ikehall.com

Locust Grove Twilight Tour & Historic Holiday Dinner

Taking a tour around the Italian villa-style mansion estate by candlelight can build up an appetite. Luckily, an early 1900s dinner menu from the Locust Grove archives will be presented by Chef Charles Fells from Poughkeepsie's Artist's Palate. The tour and dinner cost $110 per person and $800 for a table of eight. December 7 and 8. (845) 454-4500.

Cold Spring by Candlelight

Treat yourself to a self-guided walking tour (or trolley ride for those who get chilly) of the historic houses of Cold Spring. Stores will be open late for holiday shopping and restaurants will be offering specials. Caroling, holiday music concerts, storytelling, and even a visit from Mr. Claus himself will round out the day. And the holidays are all about giving right? All proceeds from the event will go to Partners with PARC, to help fund programs and services for people with developmental disabilities in Putnam County. www.coldspringbycandlelight.com

Hawthorne Yuletide Fair

This year's Hawthorne Yuletide Fair will feature "gnomes," parents who build wooden toys for sale, a gingerbread "house" (or landscape, animal, or anything else you can create) contest, a BBQ, children's crafts, candle dipping, and a stained glass class. Local crafts such as toys, pottery, and jewelry will be for sale. Free Admission. 330 County Route 21C, Ghent. www.hawthornevalleyschool.org

Polar Express

Who needs Rudolph when you have a train? Bundle up and take a ride to Kingston Point with Santa and his elves on the Polar Express at the Trolley Museum of New York. Rides on December 1 and 2 from noon to 4 pm. All rides are $2 and kids under 5 ride free. www.tmny.org

Unison Annual Holiday Crafts Fair

Unison Arts Center will be holding its 22nd annual Holiday Crafts fair on December 1 to 2 from 10am to 5pm. Affordable handmade crafts such as ceramics, children's clothing, woodwork, leatherwork, jewelry, and blown glass allow you to do your holiday shopping without gutting your piggy bank. Admission is $3 and free for children 16 and under. www.unisonarts.org

Winter Walk on Warren Street

Is that Santa Claus playing the sax? Yes, the 400 block is his usual spot in the annual Winter Walk on Warren Street. On December 1 from 5 to 8pm the Hudson street will be void of cars for the Santa Parade with the man himself and the missus. Stilt walkers, horse drawn carriages, bagpipers, and live reindeer will all be joining the fun. And if you're hungry after all that walking, don't worry, food vendors will line the street. Fireworks will conclude the evening. www.hudsonoperahouse.org

"The Nutcracker"

Tchaikovsky's iconic ballet "The Nutcracker," about a little girl and her larger than life toys, is coming to the Bardavon. The New Paltz Ballet Theatre will perform their rendition for the 15th year from December 6 through 9 and for the 30th year the Catskill Ballet will also perform at the theater from December 7 through 9. www.bardavon.org

A Gilded Age Christmas

Take a tour of the lavish 79-room, Beaux-Arts style Mills Mansion. Learn the family history and see the turn-of-the century decorations. Tours until the end of December, closed on Christmas day. www.straatsburgh.org

Happy Traum & Friends Winter Solstice Concert

The eminence grise of Woodstock folk music gathers his friends for the annual Winter Solstice Concert at the Bearsville Theater on December 14 at 8pm. Performers include John Sebastian, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Amy Helm, Byron Isaacs, Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, with more Woodstock musical royalty to be announced. The show benefits the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. www.woodstockguild.org

"A Christmas Carol"

Charles Dickens's classic has been retold by everyone from Mickey Mouse to Bill Murray. This season some Hudson Valley theaters will put their spin on the tale. The Performing Arts Center at Rhinebeck will have The Puppet People's "A Christmas Carol" on December 22 at 11am and CENTERstage Productions' version on December 21 to 23. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's production will be at Boscobel on December 1, 7, 8, 14, 15. Ulster Ballet will also present the play at UPAC. The Old Dutch Church will have storyteller Jonathan Kruk recount the play on December 1, 8, 15, 22. www.centerforperformingarts.org; www.boscobel.org; www.bardavon.org; www.hudsonvalley.org

Sinterklaas

When the Dutch explorers came over to the New World they brought Sinterklaas: a bishop who gave presents to good children and scared the naughty with his half-man, half-beast servant Grumpus. A kid-lead parade in Rhinebeck will celebrate the bishop's day. Music, plays, storytellings, dance performances and a merry go-round are just some of the fun throughout the day-long festival. December 1 at 10:30am. www.sinterklaasrhinebeck.com

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  • Festivals, candlelight tours, and performances—what to do this holiday season.

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