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'Tis the season for celebration and song

Where to find holiday merriment around Long Island


Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. And with it, the region – post-Superstorm Sandy – is slowly coming back to life with festive cheer to warm our hearts and soothe our battered soul. The spirit of the season is alive and well this weekend and for the weeks to come.

Old Westbury Gardens’ Holiday Celebration
Old Westbury Gardens concludes its 53rd anniversary year with its annual Holiday Celebration, a popular event that is filled with holiday cheer. A visit to Westbury House, all decked out in its holiday splendor, is always a treat this time of year.
Westbury House, the 23-room Charles II-style mansion that was home to business magnate John S. Phipps, his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps and their four children, is the focal point of the festivities. Period rooms are decorated with wreaths, mantelpiece drapes, topiaries, plants and other horticultural arrangements. Antique toys and clothing from Westbury House collection are on display. The kids can have fun with holiday crafts and share their holiday wishes with Santa, with hot cider and cookies on the West Porch.
The celebration begins this weekend, Dec. 1-2, and continues Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
“During our holiday celebration in December, Westbury House really gets to shine,” said Vince Kish, Old Westbury Gardens’ Director of Public Relations and Communication. “The rooms are beautifully and imaginatively decorated by our talented staff, as much as possible using natural materials found on our grounds. From the welcoming fire in the lobby, to the festive background music, to the alluring aroma of hot cider on the West Porch, the different elements combine to exude a feeling a warmth and comfort. Mannequins, dressed to represent family members and friends celebrating the holidays a century ago, remind us that, for all its elegance, this house was very much a home. Kids can enjoy making crafts and visiting Santa.” Welcome this festive time of year at Westbury House’s First Night and Tree Lighting, on Saturday, Dec. 1 (6:30-9:30 p.m.), the much-loved sparkling kick-off to the holiday. Share the magic of the season, with a tour of Westbury House, a visit with Santa, tree lighting, and more. The Bethel Caroling Chorale performs, adding their joyous sounds to the evening.
The following day, Sunday, Dec. 2, the Long Island Flute Club returns to the estate’s Red Ballroom for the ensemble’s annual holiday concert. The ensemble, conducted by Lauren Osnato, includes Grace Michinovicz of Rockville Centre, along with Michele Aweh, Maria DiNatale Scotto, Rachel and Sarah Ferrante, Danielle Ienna, Debra Kalabza, Amy Kempton, Charlotte Loake, Frances Piazza, Christine Perri, Melanie Scalice, Deborah Schild, Danielle Schulman, Kathy Solomowitz, Edna Susman, Sarah Umstadt, and Sandra Vigliotti.
  Their program includes a variety of festive classics, such as “The Nutcracker Suite” and “A Christmas Overture” to “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” It’s a holiday celebration that will appeal all ages.
The concert begins at 1:30 p.m. and is free with general admission ($8, $5 seniors and children). Advance ticketing is required for some events during the holiday season, including First Night. Old Westbury Gardens is located at 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury. For information, contact (516) 333-0048 or

Christmas in Hawaii with Uilani’s Polynesian Review
Share some Aloha during this holiday season when Uilani’s Polynesian Review visits the Elmont Library Theatre stage, on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. The intriguing and captivating show features haunting melodies and colorful dances. It’s a musical tour of the Islands, that showcases the special Polynesian appeal of the season.
Admission is free. Elmont Memorial Library is located at 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont. For information, call (516) 354-5280.

Holiday Swing
Celebrate the holidays Big Band-style – also on the Elmont Library stage – with the Long Island “Sound” Swing Band, Sunday, Dec. 2, at 2:30 p.m. Enjoy some seasonal tunes along with standards of the Big Band era, including Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and other favorites.
The 20-piece band, led by Bill Wilkinson, delivers the full Big Band sound, familiar to fans throughout the region. The performance features vocalists Chuck Kamborian, who can be heard on WHLI, and Michele Sivori Herman, known for her delightful musical style and off-Broadway appearances.
Admission is free.

Paul Anka’s “Christmas My Way”
The singer-songwriter is ready to entertain with songs from his new album “Songs of December,” when he visits NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Dec. 1, at 7 p.m.
Anka is eager to share the season with his fans as he performs some of the tunes from the album, his first seasonal recording from in more than 50 years. It features 11 holiday classics produced by Anka, the original ‘teen idol’.   “Music has always filled my home, especially around the holidays, and when the idea of recording these seasonal standards came about, I couldn’t resist,” commented Anka.
Hear such holiday classics as “Let It Snow,” “Christmas Song,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,”  “Silver Bells, and “Silent Night/A Cradle in Bethlehem.”
Tickets are $149.50, $79.50, $59.50, and $39.50. NYCB Theatre is located at 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury. For tickets, call (800) 745-3000 or visit

Christimas with the Roosevelts
Sagamore Hill, the former home of President Theodore Roosevelt, greets the holidays in grand presidential style.
The festive program, on Saturday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. includes varied activities, with of course, a special appearance by President Roosevelt, portrayed by James Foote. Mr. Roosevelt will share his reminiscences of how the Roosevelts celebrated Christmas at Sagamore Hill and in the White House.
Entertainment includes holiday music performed on a harp and flute by Musica Dolce and Christmas carols sung by Close Enough. The kids can enjoy arts and crafts activities and learn how to create paper ornaments.
Sagamore Hill is located at 12 Sagamore Hill Rd., in Oyster Bay. For information, call (516)-922-4788 or visit