In case you missed the onslaught of commercials, jingles, and catalogs in the mail, let me point out the obvious: the holidays are upon us. Two weeks until December, 42 days till Christmas.  Sorry about all the math.  Right about this time, the pressure starts to mount, and I start to do a mental countdown to remind myself how little time there actually is.  I try to hold it at bay until at least Thanksgiving, but with it being so late this year, I know I better get it in gear.  But, I just can’t, so I’m going to procrastinate a little longer and focus on all the fun things the Hudson Valley has to offer this season and help us get into the spirit.

1. If you are from the Hudson Valley, you are well aware that Christmas is not complete without a trip to see Eggbert.  We did it every year as a kid which left my brother with the burning question of, “How does he know my name?” I was so excited when I heard Eggbert was back and now bring my children to meet Eggbert to be bewildered by his knowledge of their name. (Free)

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2. Begin your day on December 21st at Bear Mountain making tasty treats for the bears.  Then watch as your presents are delivered and devoured by the black bears.  When that’s all done head over for some ice skating and a carousel ride.  Always a crowd pleaser for our family.

3. Ok, so this one is not for the whole family, just the parents really.  Wreath Fineries at the Wineries is a self guided tour of up to 14 area wineries.  At each one you will receive an ornament, tapas, and of course a sampling of their finest wine.  I will be adding this to my holiday tradition this year so see ya out there!

4. On December 8th, head over to the Hudson Highlands Outdoor Discovery Center and create a snow globe out of a recycled jar to keep or gift.  Recycling, crafting, and giving: 3 of my favorite things.  Seriously, just ask my husband about my obsession with recycling.

5. Watt Christmas Wonderland in Goshen is the creation of a man who loves Christmas and making people happy.  Every year he turns his property into a Christmas Wonderland.  Put on your pajamas, grab a hot chocolate, and take a ride through his display.  The kids will love it. ($5 per carload)

6. Hill Hold Museum will host their annual candlelight tour of the house complete with a traditional Christmas tree, vintage toys, an open hearth, and refreshments.  Hill Hold is a beautiful, historic home which will be even more beautiful this time of year. (Free)

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7. You know how  my kids feel about trains so the Kingston Winter Holiday Train looks like a memory in the making.  The train will be decorated with lights and ornaments, and Santa will even come along for the ride. ($6 per adult, $4 for kids)

8. What could be more festive than Beacon’s annual lighting of a recycled bicycle tree sculpture?  Maybe just the live music, carolers, and a visit from Santa.  Businesses will be open late, so you can combine a little business with pleasure and get some of those presents crossed off your list.  Don’t forget to stop by Hudson Beach Glass and blow your own ornament!

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9. I won’t deny the ease and convenience of internet shopping.  However, shopping locally can uncover some unique treasures.  Get some friends together and venture out on  a shopping expedition on Small Business Saturday.  Let us know what you uncover while supporting our local businesses!

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Madison and the presents she helped pick out for a family in need last Christmas

10. There’s a new holiday in town in addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday: it’s Giving Tuesday which is a little more of what the holidays are supposed to be about.  Visit Giving Tuesday’s website to get ideas for how you and your family can make a difference.

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