Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Christmas trees and garland are up in Lewiston.
Christmas trees and garland are up in Lewiston.

Holiday season celebrations ramp up in Western New York

Tue, Dec 5th 2023 04:50 pm

By Kiara Bullard

Special to Niagara Frontier Publications

The month of December proves to be a busy one in Western New York. A range of events and activities are set to take place in the region. 

From festive, themed celebrations to workshopping new skills, the Buffalo area offers a variety of ways to ring in the holidays. Many winter holiday-themed events will take place in the month, and there are events open to people of all ages. 

Western New York has you covered for last-minute gift shopping, decorations for the house or an eventful day out. 

“Christmastime is probably my favorite time of year, because there is always so much to do. Whether it's ice skating, shopping or decorating, everyone always seems to enjoy it,” Liz Delorenzo said.

Buffalo Holiday Market

For those who put off their holiday shopping until the last moment, or need some new decorations, there are holiday markets around Buffalo. 

The Buffalo Holiday Market is one option. This market is open Thursday through Sunday for the second and third week of December. The last week leading up to Christmas, the market will be open Tuesday, Dec. 19, until Saturday, Dec. 23. 

Not only can gift shopping be done here, but visitors can also see Santa, enjoy music and indulge in drinks and snacks.

Vendors at the Buffalo Holiday Market include Buffalo Collective Studio, which has many gifts for the Bills fans in your life; plus, The Traveling Tipsy Trailer Co. and Thirteen Monkey Whiskey. The market also has many rotating vendors, such as Blacksheep Candle Co., Flint’s Maple and Eloquent Soaps. At the market, shoppers can find many unique and thoughtful gifts while supporting local businesses. 

“The markets are my favorite place to get gifts. You can always find different things that maybe you can't get anywhere else,” Delorenzo stated. 

The same market can also now be found in Hamburg. 

For a full list of vendors and hours, visit https://www.buffaloveholidaymarket.com/.

Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting

A Christmas tree-lighting celebration will take place at the Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza in Buffalo with the celebration beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. Dec. 9. 

Activities include ice skating and fireworks. The event is free for attendees. Ice skating includes fees for skate rental and costs $2 for children and $3 for adults.

At 6 p.m., the tree will be lit, but this does not mean the celebration stops. There will be activities available before and after the tree is lit. Santa will be available for visits, and a free horse-drawn carriage ride will be available. 

Tyler Harrison is among those planning to attend the event. 

“It’s a bit of a tradition to go ice skating at least once every year for me, so I’m looking forward to doing that,” Harrison said.

A horse-drawn carriage was present at the Lewiston Christmas Walk weekend on Dec. 2. 


Williamsville Holiday Lights Walk

Outdoor enthusiasts may also be interested in the Williamsville Holiday Lights Walk, which will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 15. The meeting area for the event will be the Wegmans bottle return on Sheridan Drive and Essjay Road. 

The walk covers between three and four miles over flat terrain. The walk will be done at a leisurely pace, giving participants the opportunity to take in the sights around them. It brings participants around the village, where they can see all the decorations and lights that are out for the holidays. 

“I love seeing all the decorated storefronts for the holidays, and I think the walk is a great way to do that,” Jill Bonacio said.

Santa Day at Botanical Gardens

Santa will be in town from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Botanical Gardens on Dec. 16. A festive, themed scavenger hunt will be held in the morning. The scavenger hunt will take visitors through the newly improved poinsettia exhibit.

Hot Chocolate Hike

Those searching for more active holiday celebrations can participate in the Hot Chocolate Hike. The Tifft Nature Preserve will host the event on Saturday, Dec. 16. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m., with celebrations afterward. 

The event costs $10 per person and is open to participants ages 5 and up. At this event, participants are taken on a guided walk through the woods before reconvening for the celebration. Participants will gather afterward to enjoy the warm indoors and hot chocolate. There will also be crafts and music to help participants get into the holiday spirit. 

With cold weather in the forecast, it is important for participants to properly prepare with appropriate clothing to stay warm during the outdoor portion of the event. 

To purchase tickets, visit https://www.tifft.org/event/hot-chocolate-hike-13/.

Lights and wreaths are among the decor lining the streets of Western New York communities. 


Holiday Classes & Workshops

Throughout the holiday season, businesses offer themed classes and workshops, including winter decorations, decorating cookies and even making soap bars. Workshops give participants a chance to learn new skills or create thoughtful, homemade gifts. 

“I’ve made ornaments before, and it’s nice because it gives you something to take home and keep forever,” Bonacio stated.

Holidays Around the World Cookie Decorating Class

At the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children's Museum, there will be cookie-decorating classes available on Dec. 10 and 17. The class is intended for children ages 3-7. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be found on the museum's website. The cost is $15 per child, with an accompanying adult. 

There will also be a storytime for the children and a craft station available. Children will be provided with the necessary tools to decorate their cookies. Sugar cookies will be baked and ready for decoration at the class. Toppings for decoration include frosting and sprinkles.

Winter Floral Arrangement Workshop

At the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, there will be flower-arranging workshops available from 6-7 p.m. Dec. 21. Ticket cost for this event is $58.50 for members or $65 for non-members. Materials and supplies will be provided.

This workshop gives participants the opportunity to learn the art of flower arranging. Participants will learn how to prepare the materials for arranging and gain knowledge of how to keep the arrangement looking fresh upon taking it home. Design skills will also be put to the test as participants create their festive arrangements. 

Participants are able to take home the arrangements they create to add to their holiday decor. 

Festive gatherings give the opportunity for the community to gather in celebration of the upcoming holidays. With many options available, people can choose how they would like to celebrate the holidays.


This is a Niagara University student-created piece completed as part of the course CMS 226A. For more information, contact the Niagara Frontier Publications’ managing editor.

Hometown News

View All News