The holidays are here again, and whether it's Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some winter pagan festival your family celebrates, chances are you're tired of doing the same old stuff. This year, you could try not supporting the capitalist overlords who cram seasonal merchandise down your throat. Or, better yet, try drinking too much eggnog and building an anatomically correct snowman on your neighbor's lawn.
Or, perhaps more appropriately, check out this guide to Rochester's holiday happenings. There are plenty of events planned to get you and your holiday guests out of the house and into the spirit.
For example, you can check out the George Eastman House's Gingerbread House display --- but please, don't rip off the Werther's Original satellite dishes. If you're tired of watching film versions of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life, check out one of the local theatrical productions: some even have fog machines to make you feel colder. And then there's breakfast with Santa --- who can resist trying to wolf down more cheap pancakes than the fat man himself?
Once you've baked enough cookies to last until Easter, spent three weeks worth of paychecks, and played all your Christmas albums backwards, break out those wool socks and long underwear and hit the town for something new.
A Christmas Carol Fri., Nov. 29 through Sun., Dec. 29. Geva Theatre presents Charles Dickens's classic tale of one man's ghostly journey to redemption. At Geva Theatre, 75 Woodbury Blvd. Opening night Wed., Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. Show runs Tues.-Wed. at 6:30 p.m., Fri. at 7:30 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sun. at 12 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Exceptions include Thurs., Dec. 26 at 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 27 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sat., Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Audio-described performance, Sun., Dec. 15, at 12 p.m., and sign-interpreted performance, Thurs. Dec. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Tix: $12.50-$46.50. 232-Geva(4382).
Hansel and Gretel Sat.-Sun., Nov. 30-Dec. 8. Rochester Children's Theatre presents Brothers Grimm's story of two children left in the woods with a witch you lets them eat her gingerbread house in order to fatten them up and eat them for dinner. At the School of the Arts, 45 Prince St. Sat., Nov. 30 at 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 1 at 2 p.m., Sat., Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Sun., Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. (interpreted for hearing impaired) and 4 p.m. Tix: $12/ children $10. 271-7870.
The Journey From Nazareth to Bethlehem Sat., Dec. 7. Children's activities, including a nativity play, carol singing, a visit from Santa, and refreshments. At Grace United Methodist Church, 121 Driving Park Ave., at 1 p.m. Free. 458-5927 or 254-7098.
Merry Christmas, George Bailey Thurs.-Sun., Dec. 5-8. Seneca Community Players presents an old fashioned radio broadcast production of Frank Capra's holiday classic, It's A Wonderful Life. At Seneca Falls Visitor Center, Fall St., Thurs.-Sat., at 7:30 p.m. At Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St., Geneva, Sat., at 2 p.m. Tix: $6. 315-539-9613 or 315-781-LIVE(5483).
Miracle on 34th Street Sat.-Sun., Dec. 14-15. The Gates Community Theater presents the story of Kris Kringle's effect on the hearts and minds of the citizens of New York City. At Hale Auditorium, Roberts Wesleyan College, 2301 Westside Dr., Sat. at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Tix: $8. 594-6008.
Twas the Night Before Columbus Day...Whoops, Christmas" Fri., Dec. 20. Holiday kiddie cabaret, at the Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus St., at 7 p.m. Free. 428-6769.
Hawaiian Christmas Celebration Sat., Dec. 14. An evening of professional Hawaiian dance, music and poetry. At Gallery Kauai, Tiki Cabaret Theatre, 2851 Clover St., Pittsford, at 7 p.m. Tix: $17.50. 385-8735.
Thanksgiving Weekend Dance Festival Fri.-Sat., Nov. 29-10. A weekend of learning contra dancing, English country dancing, swing 'n blues cabaret and more. At Salem United Church of Christ, 60 Bittner St. Call for times. Tix: evenings $10, day workshops $15. 244-2815.
Candlelight Messiah Fri.-Sat., Dec. 13-14. Handel's Messiah performed by candlelight by the Rochester Oratorio Society, and the Rochester Oratorio Society Orchestra. At Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave., at 8 p.m. Tix: $20, seniors $14, students $10. 473-2234.
A Cup of Good Cheer Wed., Dec. 11. Celebration of the season in words and music, performed by Madrigalia, part of Rochester's Chamber Singers. At Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave., at 12:10 p.m. Free. 454-4596.
Eastman Holiday Musicals Sundays through Dec. 15. Live music at the George Eastman House, 900 East Ave., from 3-4 p.m. Sun., Nov. 24, pianist Mitch Bush. Sun., Dec. 1, pianist Armenta Hummings. Sun., Dec. 8, vocalist Nadine Earl Carey and pianist Norman Carey. Sun., Dec. 15, vocalist Ruth Fleischmann and pianist Kevin Nitsch. Included in museum admission: $3-$8. 271-3361 x218.
Gala Holiday Pops Fri.-Sun., Dec. 20-22. A selection of holiday favorites, performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Festival High School Chorale. At the Eastman Theatre, 26 Gibbs St. Fri. at 8 p.m., Sat. at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Tix: $18-$48.454-2100.
Here We Come A-Caroling Sun., Dec. 15 and Fri., Dec. 20. Holiday music performed by Madrigalia, part of Rochester's Chamber Singers with Richard Volpe and Alisa Curlee, piano four-hands. At St. John's Episcopal Church, 183 North Main St., Canandaigua, Sun., at 4 p.m., and at St. Anne Church, 1600 Mt. Hope Ave., Fri., at 8 p.m. Sunday tix: $10, Friday tix: $8-$15. 234-4283.
A Holiday Concert of Advent and Christmas Music Tues., Dec. 3. Holiday music performed by Colleen Liggett, soprano, Kinloch Nelson, guitar, and Debbi Ponello, cello. At Dansville Presbyterian Church, 3 School St., Dansville, at 7:30 p.m. Free. 335-3965.
A Holiday Keepsake Sun., Dec. 8. Classic, contemporary, and holiday music performed by Michael Feinstein. At the Eastman Theater, 26 Gibbs St., at 7 p.m. Tix: $30-$45. 232-1900.
Holiday Music for Horns Wed., Dec. 4. A selection of holiday music performed by the Eastman Horn Choir. At Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave., at 12:10 p.m. Free. 454-4596.
Holiday Treats Mon., Dec. 9. Featuring Dvorák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World," Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A Minor, performed by the Penfield Symphony Orchestra. Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on "Greensleeves," and Anderson's A Christmas Festival, performed by the Penfield Suzuki Strings, and selections from the Penfield Brass Choir. At Browncroft Community Church, 2530 Browncroft Blvd., at 7:30 p.m. Tix: $10/seniors and students $8/children $2. 872-0774.
The Messiah Fri., Dec. 6 and Sun., Dec. 8. Handel's Messiah, performed by the Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus. Friday, at Corpus Christi Church, Main and Prince St., at 8 p.m. and Sunday at St. John of Rochester Church, Fairport, at 4 p.m. Tix: $15/students and seniors $10. 233-9006.
The Messiah Sun., Dec. 8. Handel's Messiah, performed by the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, the Festival Singers, and the Bach Children's Chorus. At Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave., at 3:30 p.m. Tix: $1-$12. 663-4693.
New Years Eve Concert Tues., Dec. 31. Featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. At the Eastman Theater, 26 Gibbs St., at 2 p.m. Tickets can be obtained by clipping a coupon from the living section of the Democrat and Chronicle. Any empty seats will be filled by non-ticket holders by 2 p.m. 428-6697.
The Nutcracker Fri.-Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Performed by the Rochester City Ballet, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Bach Children's Chorus. At the Eastman Theater, 26 Gibbs St., at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tix: $18-$48. 454-2100.
Season in Song Sun., Dec. 8. A musical journey through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, performed by the Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church Sanctuary Choir and Festival Orchestra. At Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church, 1200 South Winton Rd., at 10:30 a.m. Free. 244-8585.
Winter Dance Gala Fri., Dec. 20. Music and dance with the Hochstein Dance Department. At Hochstein Performance Hall, 50 N. Plymouth Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Free. 454-4596.
Wolcum Yole! A Festive Holiday Concert Fri., Dec. 6. Holiday music featuring and handbell and vocal music of the Rochester Boys Choir, Concentus Women's Chorale, and the Asbury Ringers Handbell Ensemble. At Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Free. 271-1050 x116.
Museums and historical sites
Breakfast with Santa Sat.-Sun., Dec. 7-8 and 14-15. Children's craft activities and buffet breakfast. At Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul St., at 8:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Tix: $2-$5. Call for reservations at 467-WILD(9453).
Festival of Lights Tues.-Sun., Nov. 22-Jan. 4. An evening walk through the Sonnenberg Gardens with holiday lights. At the Sonnenberg Gardens, 151 Charlotte St., Canadaigua, from 5-7:30 p.m. Also open Mon., Dec. 23 and Thurs., Nov. 28. Closed Tues. and Wed., Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Tix: $5, Fri.-Sun., $5-$7.50. 394-4922.
Gingerbread House Display Through Sun., Dec. 15. Sweet Creations, exhibit of over 60 gingerbread houses. At the George Eastman House, 900 East Ave. Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun. 1-5 p.m. Tix: $3-$8. 271-3361 x218.
Granger Homestead Festival of Trees Through Sun., Dec. 8. Festival of tree, wreaths, mantel displays, table decorations and ornamental fabric on display, includes carriage rides and holiday music. At the 1816 Granger Homestead mansion, 295 North Main St., Canandaigua. Carriage rides Saturdays and Sundays, Nov. 16 and 23, and Dec. 1 and 8, from 1-3 p.m. Hours: Mon.-Wed. from 1-5 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. from 1-7 p.m., and Sat., Sun., and Mon. from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $1-$4, under 6 free. 394-1472.
A Hanukkah Happening Tues., Dec. 3. Children activities including sing-along, scavenger hunt, kosher treats, co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation. At the Strong Museum, 1 Manhattan Square. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun. 12-5 p.m. Tix: $4-$6. 263-2700.
Holiday Homecoming Thurs., Dec. 12. An evening of special music and activates for the family. At the George Eastman House, 900 East Ave., from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun. 1-5 p.m. Tix: $3-$8. 271-3361 x218.
Holiday Open House Sun., Dec. 1. Opening house at the Wayne County Historical Society, includes various family activities. At the Wayne County Old Jail Museum, 21 Butternut St., from 12-5 p.m. Free. 946-4943.
Holiday Songs and Skies with Mr. Jack Frost Sat.-Sun., Nov. 30-Dec. 29 and Mon.-Wed., Dec. 23-Jan.1. A program that explores the skies and constellations of winter, including songs and jokes. At the Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave. Call for show times. Tix: $4-$5. 271-1880.
Plymouth Rock(s) and Fossils Fri.-Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1. A program about the Pilgrim's first stepping stone to a new land, and activities to identify rocks and fossils. At the Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave. Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880.
Toy Train Holiday Open House Sat., Dec. 23 and Mon.-Sat., Dec. 23-28. An exhibit of model trains traveling the layouts of Rochester in all four seasons. At the Edgerton Model Train Exhibit, Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus St.. Saturdays from 1-2:30 p.m. and Mon.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 428-6769.
Winter School Break Week Thurs.-Wed., Dec. 26-Jan. 1. Winter Wonderland for children, includes games and activities for family, and theatre performance of The Three Little Pigs performed by Strong Museum's Play-Along Players. At the Strong Museum, 1 Manhattan Square. Performances are weekdays at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., except for Wednesday, January 1. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun. 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$6. 263-2700.
Yuletide in the Country: Tours Through Holidays Past Fri.-Sun., Dec. 6-22. Guides of 19th century holiday traditions, including various Christmas pageant performances and Cool Yule for Kids, activities for children. At the Genesee Country Village, 1410 Flint Hill Rd, Mumford. Tour times are Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tix: $9-$13. 538-6822.
Arts, crafts, hobbies
Alternative Craft Fair Fri.-Sat., Dec. 6-7. A fair featuring local and third world crafts, includes exhibits on social justice, stories times and music. At the First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd. Friday from 5-9:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tix: $2, children free. 325-2560.
Christmas Craft Show Sat., Dec. 7. Featuring over 100 crafters, at Wayne Central High School, Rt. 350, Ontario Center, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 315-524-5886.
Holiday Art Walk Fri., Nov. 22. A self-guided tour through downtown Canandaigua's artist's studios and galleries, includes music, wine, and refreshments. From 4-9 p.m. Free. 396-0087 or 394-2780.
Holiday Bazaar Sat., Dec. 7. Handcrafted items, wreaths, and quilts, presented by the Geneseo United Methodist Women. At the Geneseo United Methodist Church, 4520 State Rt. 63, Geneseo, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. 243-3160.
Holiday Craft Sale Sat., Nov. 23. Handcrafted items including wreaths, decorations and ornaments, created by Rochester Civic Garden Center Craft Room Volunteers. At the Rochester Civic Garden Center, 5 Castle park, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. 473-5130.
Holidays at the Market Sundays, Dec. 1, 8, and 15. Holiday vendors, entertainment and music at the Rochester Public Market, 280 N. Union St., from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. 428-6770.
Holiday Show and Sale Sat.-Sun., Dec. 7-8. Studio show featuring glass, ceramic, and bead art from local artist. At More Fire Glass Studio, 80 Rockwood Pl., from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Proceeds to benefit local artists, studio scholarships and equipment. Special preview Fri., Nov. 29, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 242-0450.
Red Cross Craft Show Sat., Nov. 30. Holiday show featuring 85 crafters, includes music and entertainment. To benefit the American Red Cross. At the Geneseo Armory, Rt. 39, Geneseo, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tix: $1. 243-7029.
Rochester Christmas Classic Arts and Crafts Show Fri.-Sun., Nov. 29-Dec. 1. At the Dome Center, 2695 East Henrietta Rd., from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $3.50. 334-4000.
Rochester Holiday Show of Antiques and Collectibles Sat.-Sun., Dec. 7-8. Includes exhibits from the 19th and 20th century and appraisals Sunday from 1-3 p.m. At the Dome Center, 2695 East Henrietta Rd., at 10 a.m. Tix: $4. 334-4000.
Breakfast with Santa Sat., Dec. 7. At the Cobbs Hill Recreation Center, Cobbs Hill Park, Norris Dr., from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Ages 1-10. Tix: $1. Reservations by Tues., Dec. 3. 428-6015.
Breakfast with Santa Sat., Dec. 14. At the Campbell Street Recreation Center, 542 Campbell St., from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Ages 6-12. Tix: $2, children $1. Call for reservations. 428-7860.
Breakfast with Santa Sat., Dec. 21. At the Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus St., from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Children under 12 welcome. Tix: $1. Call for reservations. 428-6769.
Bristol Valley Theater's Annual Holiday House Tour Sat., Dec. 7. Tours of the historic village and town of Naples, a backstage tour, a lighting and caroling evening and live Nativity and bonfire, includes a wassail bowl and a pickle ornament hunt. At Bristol Valley Theater, 151 South Main St.. Tours at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tix: $12. 374-9032.
Fairport Village Christmas Party Fri., Dec. 6. Includes various family activities, at the Green Lantern Inn, 1 East Church St., Fairport, at 6:30 p.m. Tix: $25. 388-1064 or 223-2098.
Holiday Laser, Light, and Fireworks Fri.-Sat., Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, and Tues., Dec. 31. Featuring musical holiday favorites, at High Falls, 60 Browns Race, at 8 p.m. Tuesday at 11:30 p.m. Free. 325-2030.
Holidays On Ice Sun., Dec. 15. Featuring the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Genesee Figure Skating Club and vocalists Elizabeth Phillips and Derrick Smith. At the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Sq., at 2 p.m. Tix: $3.50-$4. 428-6697.
Irondequoit Tree-Lighting Ceremony Sun., Dec. 1. A tree-lighting ceremony, including various family activities. At Irondequoit Town Hall, 1280 Titus Ave., Irondequoit, at 4 p.m. Free. 336-6070.
Kawanzaa Celebration Fri., Dec. 20. At the Adams Street Community Center, 85 Adams St., from 6-9 p.m. Free. Call for information and tickets. 428-7266.
Town of Henrietta Family New Years Eve Celebration Tues., Dec. 31. At the Dome Center, 2695 East Henrietta Rd., from 6-10 p.m. Tix: $2. 334-4000.
View the rest of the City Holiday Guide here