It's the most wonderful -- and busiest -- time of the year.Happy December, Western New Yorkers! With so many events this time of the year -- whether it's tree lightings, market shopping, caroling or anything in between...and beyond -- it's almost impossible to keep track of all of them.

But we have done the almost impossible. Here is a (very large) list of events happening in Western New York this holiday season for you to choose from!


Holly Jolly 5K

When: December 7, 12 p.m.
Where: Orchard Park
The Holly Jolly 5K will return for its third year on Saturday, December 7 at 12 p.m. sharp. The Orchard Park race starts at the Old Jubilee Plaza parking lot on North Buffalo Road and finishes at Runner’s Roost on North Buffalo Road. Visit the webpage for more information.

Reindeer Run 5K

When: December 7, 10 a.m.
Where: Medaille College
The 19th Annual Medaille College Reindeer Run 5K will take place on Saturday, December 7 at 10 a.m. Visit the Medaille College website for more information about the run.

Freezer 5K Run

When: December 15, 11 a.m.
Where: Cobblestone District, Buffalo
The 5th Annual Freezer 5K is schedule for Sunday, December 15 at 11 a.m. in Buffalo’s Cobblestone District. View the webpage for more information.

Caroler 5K Run

When: December 21, 10 a.m.
Where: East Aurora
The 4th Annual Caroler 5K will take place on Saturday, December 21 at 10 a.m. The race starts at the 11th Frame on Main Street in East Aurora. Visit the webpage for more information.

View all the local races on the map below!

Concerts and Performances

"Holiday Music Under the Dome" Series

When: Weekdays, December 2-13, 12 p.m.
Where: One Fountain Plaza

Wurlitzer Pops Concerts featuring Mark Herman

When: December 4, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda

Sha Na Na Rockin' Christmas

When: December 4-6 and 8, 1:30 p.m. December 6-7, 7 p.m.
Where: Seneca Allegany Events Center

Miracle on South Division Street

When: December 5 and 6, 8 p.m.; December 7, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; December 8, 2 p.m.
Where: Kavinoky Theatre, Buffalo

Cheektowaga Community Chorus' Holiday Tapestry

When: December 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Infant of Prague Church, Cheektowaga

2nd Annual Holiday Live at Larkin

When: December 6, 2013, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Larkin Square
This event is combining Live at Larkin and Food Truck Friday into one festive holiday celebration in Larkin Square featuring Robot Holiday, food trucks, a holiday marketplace, heated boardwalk, beer/wine/hot chocolate and more.

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't

When: December 6, 7 p.m.
Where: Marvel Theatre at Rockefeller Arts Center (SUNY Fredonia)

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's "Classic Christmas"

When: December 6, 10:30 a.m.; December 7, 8 p.m.
Where: Kleinhans Music Hall

Buffalo Choral Arts Society Presents: A Caroling Christmas

When: December 6, 7:30 p.m.; December 8, 3 p.m.
Where: Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, Clarence

The Towne Players' "Babes in Toyland"

When: December 6-15 (check the website for performance times)
Where: Sheridan-Parkside Community Center, Tonawanda

Madeline's Christmas

When: December 6-15 -- Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Where: Theatre of Youth

Miracle on 34th Street

When: December 6-15 (check the website for performance times)
Where: Lancaster Opera House

Buffalo City Ballet's "The Nutcracker"

When: December 7, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.; December 8, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Buffalo Academy of Visual & Performing Arts

American Academy's "The Nutcracker"

When: December 7, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; December 8, 1 p.m.
Where: UB Center for the Arts Mainstage Theater

The Community Advent Chorale

When: December 7, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, East Aurora
This is the 34th anniversary performance of Handel's Messiah, with professional soloists and chamber orchestra under the direction of Mr. Gregory White. The 90-member chorale is made up of singers from across Western New York.

Southern Tier Symphony's "Winter Prelude"

When: December 7, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Allegany-Limestone High School

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

When: December 8, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Shea's Performing Arts Center

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's "Jingle Bell Jam"

When: December 8, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Kleinhans Music Hall

Dave Koz & Friends

When: December 11, 8 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda

The Buffalo Niagara Concert Band's Holiday Band Concert

When: December 11, 7:30 p.m.
Where: National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Lewiston

Tony Orlando's Great American Christmas

When: December 11 and 12, 1:30 p.m.; December 13, 7:00 p.m.; December 14, 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; December 15, 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Where: Seneca Niagara Events Center

The Hit Men in 'Tis the Season

When: December 12, 7:30 p.m.
Where: King Concert Hall at Rockefeller Arts Center (SUNY Fredonia)

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

When: December 12 and 13, 8 p.m.; December 14, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; December 15, 2 p.m.
Where: Kavinoky Theatre, Buffalo

Songs for Winter Night (A Folk in Fredonia Holiday Concert)

When: December 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Fredonia Opera House

Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus Presents: Our Favorite Things

When: December 13 and 14, 8 p.m.; December 15, 3 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, Tonawanda (Dec. 13); University Presbyterian Church, Buffalo (Dec. 14); Westminster Presbyterian Church, Buffalo (Dec. 15)

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra's Holiday Pops

When: December 13, 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.; December 14, 8 p.m.; December 15, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Kleinhans Music Hall

"Holiday Music Under the Dome" Series: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

When: December 14, 1 - 2 p.m.
Where: One Fountain Plaza

Cheektowaga Symphony's Holiday Festival

When: December 15, 3 p.m.
Where: Infant of Prague Church, Cheektowaga
The annual holiday concert features familiar Christmas music, plus a carol sing-a-long with audience participation

The Orchard Park Chorale's "Christmas Cheer and Carols"

When: December 15, 4 p.m.
Where: Orchard Park Presbyterian Church

American Legion Band's Christmas Concert

When: December 15, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda

Amherst Chamber Orchestra and Chorus' Holiday Concert

When: December 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: North Presbyterian Church, Williamsville

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

When: December 17-19, 7:30 p.m.; December 20, 8 p.m.; December 21, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; December 22, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Shea's Performing Art Center

Batavia Players Holiday Show: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carole

When: December 19-22
Where: Harvester 56 Theatre, Batavia

Linda Eder

When: December 20, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

When: December 19 and 20, 7:30 p.m.; December 21, 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; December 22, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Where: Lancaster Opera House
Continuing the LOH tradition of interactive family holiday shows comes this heartwarming holiday hit based on the famous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Goodies from Mrs. Claus' kitchen available, too!

41st Annual Carolcade

When: December 21, 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Historic Main Street, East Aurora
A holiday meet-and-greet tradition with caroling, hot chocolate, donuts and a visit from Santa on a closed portion of Historic Main Street.

"THE SCINTAS" Christmas Show

When: December 21, 8 p.m.; December 22, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

When: December 30, 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: First Niagara Center

View all the holiday concerts and performances on the map below!

View Your Very Big 2013 Guide to Holiday Events in Western New York: Concerts and Performances in a larger map

And The Rest!

Moonlight Magic

When: December 3, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Village of Warsaw
Enjoy merchants' Christmas promotions, caroling, Santa and more.

Holiday Light Up & Parade

When: December 6, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Main Street, Newfane
Enjoy cookies, hot chocolate and a visit with Santa following a parade. There's also a candy cane craft show at the Newfane United Methodist Church and a living nativity at Grace Bible Church as part of the evening's activities.

The Ellicottville Christmas Party

When: December 6, 6 p.m.
Where: Ellicottville Brewing Company

Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Christmas Parade

When: December 6, 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Downtown Jamestown

Taste of the Holidays

When: December 6, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.; December 7, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Jackson Street Parking Lot in Downtown Batavia
Experience tastings from local restaurants under a tent, walk the downtown for holiday specials and enjoy a festive atmosphere!


When: December 6 - 7
Where: Alexander Community Center, Cheektowaga

Fairgrounds Festival of Lights

When: December 6-8, 20-23, 27-29. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. each night.
Where: Hamburg Fairgrounds
Drive through light displays, visit with Santa, ride on the Midway and sip hot chocolate at this ninth annual wintertime event. Pay just $20 per carload, or buy your tickets for half price at the Fairgrounds Event Center.

Holiday Happening Wine Tasting

When: December 6 and 8, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.; December 7, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Niagara Wine Trail
Collect ornaments at participating wineries. Ticket includes tastings and commemorative wine glass.

Living Nativity

When: December 6 - 8, 13 - 15, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Grace Bible Church, Newfane

25th Annual Light-A-Life Tree Lighting Ceremony

When: December 7, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: CTG, Buffalo

Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration

When: December 7, 5 p.m.

Where: Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza

Bryant & Stratton College Holiday Extravaganza

When: December 7, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Bryant & Stratton College (Amherst, Buffalo and Orchard Park campuses)
Celebrate the holidays with free, family-friendly activities, including free pictures with Santa. Plus, you can enter to win a $1,000 holiday shopping spree, make your own holiday ornament, hand-deliver your letter to Santa and enjoy free refreshments. Donate a non-perishable food item, and you’ll get a chance to spin the wheel of holiday prizes.

Alden Christmas in the Park

When: December 7, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Alden Town Park
Enjoy business open houses, a holiday marketplace, vendors, kids crafts, wagon rides, photos with Santa and more!

Christmas Stroll

When: December 7, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Where: Village of Ellicottville

Concord Country Christmas

When: December 7, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Concord Historical Society, Springville

Breakfast with Santa

When: December 7, 8:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Conference & Event Center, Niagara Falls
Feast on a deluxe breakfast buffet, enjoy a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, get photos, do some arts & crafts and cookie decorating and watch some holiday movies. Bring a donation of new winter hats, gloves, scarves and socks for needy children for your child’s chance to win a festival holiday gift basket.

Miracle on Main Street

When: December 7, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Barker Commons and throughout the village, Fredonia

Salamanca's 2013 Silver Bells Festival

When: December 7, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Where: City of Salamanca

Santa on the Carousel

When: December 7, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Carousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda
Come join Old St. Nick on the carousel -- just make sure you’re on the “nice” list. Start the day off with lunch at 11 a.m., where you can visit with Santa and make sure he got your letters. Then there will be lots of fun, festive crafts and games, hot chocolate and treats, and plenty of opportunity to ride the carousel. A highlight of the afternoon is a special holiday storytime at 1 p.m. with the Wondermakers.

Seasons in the Village

When: December 7, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: Along Main Street, Williamsville
Stroll along Main Street for special shopping and dining in the holiday spirit while you see Santa and high school carolers.

Polar Express Train Rides

When: December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Where: Medina Railroad Museum, Medina
Read along as the train makes a magical round-trip journey to the North Pole, meet Santa, do some caroling, and enjoy hot cocoa and gift for each child. Families are encouraged to wear pajamas. Event includes museum admission.

Riverwalk Christmas Family Night

When: December 12, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Riverwalk Plaza, Wellsville

Christmas Extravaganza

When: December 13, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Stutelage Innovations, East Amherst
At this time of year, it is hard not to spread holiday cheer! Come join us for a fun-filled night of holiday games, activities, and treats at the Stutelage Christmas Extravaganza! Children will enjoy making Christmas cards for patients at Women and Children’s Hospital, creating personalized ornaments, writing letters to Santa, singing Christmas carols, playing holiday games, listening to a themed story reading, and making a special treat!

"A Christmas Story" 30th Anniversary Tour Benefit Event with Cast

When: December 14, 1 p.m.
Where: Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda
Come see Ian Petrella (Randy Parker), Yano Anya (Grover Dill), Zack Ward (Skut Faras), Patty Johnson-Lafontaine (Higbee's Elf) and Scott Schwartz (Flick), who performed in 'A Christmas Story'.

Breakfast with Santa

When: December 14, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Michael's Banquet Facility, Hamburg
Enjoy fun activities, many free and some available for purchase starting at $1. Decorate your own holiday cookie or waffle cone Christmas tree or Santa hat. Jump Bunch will be hosting a game corner, and the Glam Girlz will be doing face painting, glitter tattoos and fun hair styles. A mommy corner will also be set up with sponsors such as Tupperware, Silpada Jewelry and Mary Kay. Gift baskets and other items will be available for purchase.

Christmas in the Park

When: December 14, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Where: Main Street and Russell Park, Akron

Christmas Open House & Party in the Parking Lot

When: December 14
Where: Businesses at 586 Main St., East Aurora

Christmas at Hidden Valley

When: December 14 - 15, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, Varysburg
Enjoy breakfast with Santa, a lunch buffet, Santa’s Workshop, horse-drawn tours of the animal park by reservation and Wild Game Safari Tours!


When: December 14 - 15, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park


When: December 14 - 15
Where: Recreation Center at Cheektowaga Town Park, Cheektowaga

Holiday Tours for Groups

When: Mondays - Thursdays until December 19, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Herschell Carousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda

Santa's Vision

When: December 21, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where: Adam's Mark Hotel & Event Center
This is the fifth annual FREE event for all children of Buffalo & Erie County. Free picture with Santa, free toy, free face painting, free pony rides, a petting zoo, costume characters and local sports mascots Billy Buffalo, Buster Bison and Sabretooth. Please bring a non-perishable food item, which will be donated to the Food Bank of WNY.

Winter Solstice Walk

When: December 21, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Tifft Nature Preserve

Santa, Elf & Reindeer

When: Saturdays and Sundays until December 22, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Niagara Hobby & Craft Mart, Cheektowaga

Cool Crafts for Cold Days

When: December 26 - 30, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Herschell Carousel Factory Museum, North Tonawanda

Yuletide Tours

When: December 26 - 30 (reservations required)
Where: Frank Lloyd Wright's Graycliff Estate, Derby

Holiday Week at the Wineries

When: December 26 - January 2 (excluding New Year's Day)
Where: Lake Erie Wine Country

Christmas with the Critters

When: December 27, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Jamestown

Tree Illumination

When: Until January 1
Where: Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls
Three blocks illuminated with thousands of LED lights!


When: Until January 1
Where: Village of Lancaster
Store windows decorated with animated scenes, and holiday events through the season.

Festival of Trees

When: Until January 4, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where: New York Power Authority's Power Vista, Lewiston
As one of the stops along the Holiday Lights of Niagara Tour, the Power Vista’s glass walkway will feature a dazzling display of artificial evergreen trees adorned with energy-efficient lights. The trees are decorated for the season by local non-profit groups.

Hollywood Holidays

When: Until January 5
Where: Aurora Theatre, East Aurora
Exhibits of props and costumes from your favorite holiday films, free movies and family events each weekend.

Festival of Lights

When: Until January 6, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Where: Our Lady of Fatima Shrine, Lewiston
Over 75 beautiful lighted displays and an illuminated Shrine.

34th Annual Holiday Exhibit

When: Until January 18
Where: Fenton History Center, Jamestown

Ontario Power Generation's Winter Festival of Lights

When: Until January 31, 2014
Where: Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls (ON)
This is Canada's foremost illumination festival that captures the magic of the holiday season! Be captivated by the millions of holiday lights and 120+ illumination displays. This year’s Festival will feature decorative, hand-painted lantern displays and a 70-meter Tunnel of Wish Lanterns from the award-winning Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival in South Korea. In addition to these breathtaking illuminations and the spectacular views of the Falls, enjoy magnificent firework displays every Friday during the festival at 9 p.m., as well as on other select dates! It's a fun family event that should not be missed.

Winter Horse-Drawn Tours

When: Every Saturday and Sunday December 21 - February 23, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, Varysburg

Sleigh Rides at Chautauqua

When: Every Saturday and Sunday December 28 - February 23, 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (every half hour)
Where: Chautauqua Institution

Contributed by Ashley Steves