Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Dickens Christmas, Skaneateles. Photo courtesy Chris Waits / Flickr
by Daniella Zelikman

As the holiday season draws nearer, there’s a lot to be excited for. Between decorating trees and buying presents, there’s no shortage of fun to be had, but what’s even more exciting is going to a holiday market or festival. There are dozens of fun and interesting holiday activities in the Finger Lakes and here are just three that will definitely get you in the holiday spirit.


Gingerbread Gallery

The Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse does more than chronicle the history of the canal system in upstate New York. For three months every year, from November to January, the National Register Weighlock Building, hosts the Gingerbread Gallery. Originally started in 1986 as a way to celebrate local architecture, amateur and professional bakers create stunning and intricate, candy-studded gingerbread recreations of famous landmarks and canal-inspired scenes. These gingerbread creations are put on display in the Weighlock Gallery, which is transformed into an 1800’s canal town street. It’s an all-around sweet way to celebrate the holidays, and maybe learn a little about history too.


Dickens Christmas

Every Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving, the village of Skaneateles is transported back in time for their annual Dickens Christmas events. A cast of characters from the author’s novels, including Charles Dickens himself, descends on the town to interact with visitors and residents alike. There are wagon and carriage rides, roasted chestnuts and eggnog, soup tastings and Trunks Shows, topped off with the whole cast of characters caroling together. There are a few special events each Saturday as well, including a snowman building contest judged by Queen Victoria and a performance of A Christmas Carol. If you’ve ever wanted to be immersed in a Dickens novel, this is your chance. 


Yuletide in the Country

The Genesee Country Village and Museum is a living history museum that seeks to preserve the rural architecture of the Finger Lakes and show a window into the past, including the way holidays may have been celebrated in the past. During their Yuletide in the Country tours, the village is decorated with holiday lights and visitors can see actors reenact holiday traditions of years past and see where our current customs come from. There are dozens of different performances and traditions explored including a Polish Christmas Eve Wigilia dinner, a Hanukkah celebration, and Watch Night festivities.


Daniella Zelikman is a senior at Ithaca College where she studies marketing and writing. When not in class, she can usually be found reading, writing, or trying to crochet. She loves supporting her local bookstores and exploring art museums.           

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