Home for the Holidays

Got relatives flying in this month and no idea how to entertain them? Already dreading anything cheery, warm and bright? Whatever your mood, here are eight ways to enjoy and escape the holidays, Brooklyn-style. For ideas beyond our fair borough, see the links below for the most comprehensive, bloggarific guide to December in New York.

Handmade Gifts
It’s hard to walk a block right now without seeing a sign for a craft fair. But one of the borough’s most creative is the PS 29/PS 8 Holiday Gift Fair and Pie Social this Saturday in Cobble Hill, where staffers at Food & Wine will judge a fundraising pie contest and Rooftop Films will screen children’s films while mom and dad shop. For an even more eclectic, hands-on fair, check out 3rd Ward’s Handmade Holiday fair Dec. 12 at 195 Morgan Ave. Along with over 120 vendors, there are free workshops like DIY Printing and freebie-filled totes for the first 300 in the door. (We’ll be there too, selling our bargain-filled coupon books in our curated corner). At the Brooklyn Indie Market Dec. 12 & 13, designers will donate 10-15% of their sales to Brooklyn Community Housing, and The Brooklyn Lyceum’s Holiday Craft Market Dec. 19 & 20 promises original gifts for the last-minute shopper.

Holiday Lights
For holiday lights, the premier neighborhood to schlep to is Dyker Heights, especially along the “miracle mile” on 84th Street between 10th and 12th Avenues (wait till a weekend in mid-December for optimal animatronics displays). Work in a Bay Ridge Day Trip while you’re at it–or skip the subway and sign up for the “Christmas Lights & Cannoli Tour,” a three-and-a-half hour bus tour that departs from Union Square and ends at the Mona Lisa Pastry Shop. If the $55 ticket price is too steep, you could just watch the Dyker Lights documentary (it airs Dec. 24 & 25 on PBS), or stroll through Carroll Gardens along 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place between Court and Henry.

Art of the Soup Kitchen
Two long-running soup kitchens worth your time and donations include Bread and Life in Bed-Stuy and the Greenpoint Reformed Church (find details on them and other volunteering opportunities here). But Open Source Gallery in the South Slope offers its own version of the soup kitchen this month by inviting artists/cooks to make one-pot meals for anyone and everyone from 6-8pm every night through Dec. 24. You can volunteer to help or cook here.

Something to Believe In
Pete’s Candy Store puts a holiday twist on their often brilliant Open City Dialogue (OCD) lecture series with Beyond Belief: A Philosophical Proof of Santa Claus, on Dec. 14. Series curator Jamie Hook has gathered a number of speakers who will use philosophical arguments to reintroduce the joy of Santa into the lives of jaded Brooklynites. Holiday magic guaranteed to ensue, especially if aided by a Candy Store cocktail (we recommend the Maple Leaf: bourbon, maple syrup and lemon).

How the Cookie Crumbles
Instead of baking cookies for Santa, you could just pocket a few at the Holiday Cookie Takedown Dec. 20 at the Bell House, where organizer Matt Timms (wildly) claims that “cookies will ride on the wings of eagles to the mountain of our love!” Translation: for $10, you can dunk as many cookies you like, in as much spiked eggnog as you can stomach. Or, if you’re more into giving than competing, head to the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs on Saturday Dec. 12 and 19 for drop-in cookie decorating. For $10 you get a baker’s dozen of fresh-baked Christmas cookies and all the sprinkles, colored frosting and other decorations you can fit on your batch. Give as gifts or eat immediately, it’s up to you.

Naughty Holiday Office Party
If you’re single, and dreading your own holiday office party (or lack thereof), Brooklyn Based and FIPS are throwing a corporate bash for the fictitious Home Base Supply Co. (We Make it Easy to Score!) complete with hot Santas and gifts for the naughty and the nice.

Tickle Me Elmo
To celebrate Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary, BAMcinematek is showcasing rare footage and favorite clips of the beloved puppets we grew up with Dec. 12 & 13. A Special Sesame Street Christmas is a compilation of the show’s best holiday moments, but films like Big Bird Goes to China and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland are perfect for anyone in need of a pick me up.

Brooklyn Musical
Skip the Broadway tourist madness and get tickets to “A Brief Encounter,” a musical adaptation of the Noel Coward film, with a breezy romantic storyline and characters who step in and out of the silver screen. Through Jan. 3 at St. Ann’s.

We’re among the 13 “NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays” who compiled the season’s best around New York. For more holiday treats, visit Give and Get NYC (Tis the Season to Volunteer), the improvised life (unwrapping the holidays), Manhattan User’s Guide (The Gift Guide: 21 over $21), Mommy Poppins (Offbeat and Multicultural Family Holiday Events), NY Barfly (It’s the Holidays, Time to Drink), NewYorkology (Big-ticket holiday shows), offManhattan (Ten Holiday Getaways Near NYC), Patell & Waterman’s History of New York (A little history with your holidays), the skint (30 days of skintmas), The Strong Buzz (Holiday Eats Old and New), WFMU Beware of the Blog (Happy Freakin’ Holidays Playlist), and Walking Off the Big Apple (The Thin Man Walk).

Sent by Nicole & Annaliese. Photos from top by Adam Kuban, northpolemama, and courtesy Theo Wargo.

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