During the holidays, the inclination is often to
search out the biggest, the best, the most
spectacular places and events in order to make a
memory, whether it’s a tree lighting, a performance
of “The Nutcracker,” or a chance to learn more about
the meaning of Hanukkah .
And while you might think that creating holiday
traditions like these involves a trip out of town,
chances are you can find everything you’re looking
for right in your own backyard.
So this season, plan a trip to a local landmark
you’ve never visited, or book tickets to a holiday
show or concert in town.
We’ve rounded up lots of options that will let you
spend a happy holiday at home, starting with the
annual tree lighting at Chappaqua’s Horace Greeley
House, an occasion that includes a concert, and
then, a parade, of all things.
If you’re in the mood for some old-fashioned
Christmas cheer, don’t miss the annual holiday tree
lighting Dec. 4 at the Horace Greeley House in
There’s singing, crafts, period decorations — even a
parade of sorts.
The annual event draws a crowd, says Betsy Towl,
the executive director of the New Castle Historical
“This is such a long standing tradition in
Chappaqua; it really brings the community together.
We have children of all ages, who come for the open
house, but the tree lighting is the big event,” Towl
The New Castle Historical Society, which uses the
house as its headquarters, has organized a full
afternoon of festivities, starting at 1 p.m. with an
Old-Fashioned Craft Workshop (for children) and
Docents will be on hand to lead tours of the fully
decorated historic house, which was Greeley’s
weekend and summer home from 1864 until his
death in 1872.
At 3:30 p.m., the Chappaqua Orchestra will host the
annual New Castle Community Sing, a combination
variety show-singalong, at the nearby Robert E. Bell
Then everyone walks over to the Greeley House for a
few more songs by the Madrigal Singers, a coed
choral group at Horace Greeley High School.
The switch to light the 35-foot-tall Colorado spruce
gets flipped at 4:30 p.m., followed by a visit from
Then everyone heads across the street to the New
Castle Community Center for homemade cookies and
hot chocolate, courtesy of the New Castle Teen
And when you’re finished ogling the tree, head back
The Horace Greeley House has a charming little gift
shop with holiday gifts and ornaments.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? And it’s all free and open
to the public.