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Mark your calendar for holiday-themed events in December

Imagine you're curled up in bed with a cup of hot cocoa and then glance over at your fun-sized Christmas tree. Suddenly, the stressful thought that the holiday season is flying by rushes over you.

You start to think of all the fun things you could do. Pretty much the whole holiday season is stuffed into four short weeks in December, from music to family parties to cheesy Hallmark movies. There are a lot of events squeezed into those weeks, too.

Here's a calendar of some holiday events to enjoy.

PJ Skate

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 30 at The Ice at Canalside (44 Prime St.).

Wear your comfiest (and warmest) PJs to skate, curl or ride in a bumper car in. Children 10 and younger who are wearing pajamas receive a free hot chocolate at the drink kiosk. There's also a Onesie Skate on Dec. 13 where you can don your onesie in a socially acceptable environment and receive $1 off admission.

Gingerbread Wonderland Activities

5 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 22 at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, 28 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls.

Take a walk through the life-size, 7,000 pound gingerbread neighborhood created by the students and chefs at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. There's also cookie decorating, crafts, story time, live entertainment and chef demos, too.

[Related: Gingerbread Wonderland announces opening at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute]

Fountain Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting

5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza, 40 Fountain Plaza

Once the tree has been lit, skating for the season begins. Rotary Rink is the free, picturesque ice rink where the loops are small but the backdrop includes some of the city's greatest architecture, including the Gold Dome. There will be amusement rides and Santa Claus, too.

Cookies and Cocoa with Santa at the Buffalo Zoo

3 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Dec. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at The Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave.

This event is made up of the stuff children dream of: Santa Claus, the zoo, cookies and a hot chocolate bar. You'll also get a commemorative mug for hot chocolate. Tickets $1o for adult members, $5 for child members, $15 for non-member adults and $10 for non-member children. Ages 23 months and younger are free.

Santa returns on Dec. 8 for breakfast. A ticket includes a breakfast buffet, arts and crafts and a visit from Santa, plus zoo admission.

Santa returns to Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls. (Robert Kirkham/News file photo)

Horse and Carriage Rides on Old Falls Street

2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 8 and 15 at 101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls

Enjoy a free horse-drawn carriage ride with a hot chocolate in one hand and a camera phone in the other. On Dec. 8, Santa and his live reindeer will be stopping by, too. You can take free photos with Santa inside his sleigh.

Holidays on the Avenue

Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2 along Delaware Avenue.

Get a look inside the intricately beautiful mansions on this self-guided tour which includes a stretch of buildings between Allen and Barker streets, such as the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, the former Clement Mansion, the Twentieth Century Club and the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Start at the Theodore Roosevelt Site, pick up a tour booklet, which doubles as an admission ticket, and enjoy complimentary hot cider and cookies. Tickets are $25; $20 for members of the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site.

Christmas Tree Lighting and Concert at Albright-Knox

3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1285 Elmwood Ave.

The Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus will croon holiday tunes while the gallery lights its Christmas tree. Afterward, stop by AK Cafe for a reception.

Festival of Trees

10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 4 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St.

Shimmy your Christmas sweater and jingle bell earrings downtown to "ooh" and "ah" at adorned Christmas trees, and whip out your Martha Stewart skills to frost and sprinkle holiday cookies, during the brief window of time the Festival of Trees is open to the public for free.

Daily Planet Coffee is a cozy spot to warm up with hot chocolate. (Valerie Sauers/Special to The News)

Hertel Holidays

6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 and 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 8

Lucky for 9-to-5ers, stores along Hertel Avenue will be open later than usual for this annual event. Take the kids to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at North Park Academy.

The Polar Express Pajama Storytime

7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Barnes & Noble, 1565 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst

Kids can join in for story time in their pajamas, then have free hot chocolate and a cookie at the bookstore's cafe. Santa will make an appearance, too.

Wizardfest Yule Ball

7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 7 at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St.

Maybe you never received your Hogwarts letter, but aren't the holidays about believing? Well, it's not a Hogwarts letter, but it is a Yule Ball ticket, so you can attend Hogwarts for one night.

Don your dress robes and head over to DBGB's for Quidditch pong, trivia, a costume contest, themed drinks and a DJ. The event is 21 and older. Tickets are $10 for the first 30 sales, then they increase to $15. VIP packages include a wand and/or front-of-line priority.

Christmas PJ Party and Strawberry PBJ Release

7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 7 at 810 Meadworks, 113 W Center St., Medina

Enjoying peanut butter and jelly in your Christmas pajamas might make you feel like a child, until you realize it's actually peanut butter and jelly-flavored mead and the pajama party is at a bar instead of your parent's house.

Never had mead? Never had peanut butter and jelly-flavored alcohol? Sounds like a good time to try both.

Thin Man Brewery Christmas Street Party

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Thin Man Brewery, 492 Elmwood Ave.

Thin Man hosts its holiday street bash with music, a logo-emblazoned stein, lots of beer and a heated tent. Tickets are $15 and include a stein and first drink. A $60 VIP ticket includes all-you-can-drink-and-eat beer and food all day.

[Related: Smiles at Thin Man's Oktoberfest street party]

"It's a Wonderful Life" will be shown at the North Park Theatre.

'It's a Wonderful Life'

11:30 a.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at the North Park Theatre, 1428 Hertel Ave.

You've probably seen the holiday classic before, but have you seen it on the big screen while eating real movie theater popcorn? It has to be a better experience. North Park is also showing the documentary "North Pole, NY"  at 7 p.m. Dec. 14. Aurora Theater in East Aurora has free holiday matinees every weekend through Christmas. Toni Ruberto wrote about Aurora Theater's full holiday schedule.

Platter’s Christmas Bash 2018

Noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at Platter's Chocolate in The Wurlitzer Building, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda

It's a day of horse-drawn carriages, Santa Claus, balloon animals, magic and Christmas carolers. Oh, and chocolate.

Proceeds benefit Olivia's Bears, a non-profit that brings Build-a-Bears to children in need. The event is $3 for adults, $2 for children 12 and younger; ages  one and younger are admitted free.

Vegan Winter Holiday Bazaar

Noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at Como Lake Park, 2220 Como Lake Park Blvd., Lancaster

We all have that vegan in our lives we know and love, but find very hard to shop for. Buy them a vegan gift here, while drinking a vegan alcoholic libation and eating vegan surf n' turf. Live like they do for an afternoon, which is maybe one of the best gifts you could give them.

Castle by Candlelight at Old Fort Niagara

6:30 to 8:15 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15 at Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown

Enjoy a tranquil, candlelit night in the French Castle -- complete with musket and canon firings and cornhusk doll-making --  in the company of 18th-century historical characters. Tickets are $15; free for children 5 and younger.

NYBP Santa Drop

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at New York Beer Project, 6933 South Transit Road, South Lockport

Yes, Santa is dropping out of an airplane at the New York Beer Project. If you've been to the brewery, you would expect nothing less. Once he's arrived, you can take free photos with him. NYBP will be selling hot chocolate and spiked hot chocolate with Jameson.

[Related: Smiles at New York Beer Project's third anniversary]

Gypsy Parlor Christmas Party

8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 12 at the Gypsy Parlor, 376 Grant St.

Spend your Christmas with Zoltar, the fortune-telling machine at Gypsy Parlor, and DJ West Side Willy. Enjoy a complimentary buffet to soak up all of the Gypsy Juice (apricot, ginger, lemon, black currant and choose-your-own-booze) you'll be drinking.

Bad Santa Holiday Party

7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 13 at Burning Buffalo Bar & Grill, 1504 Hertel Ave.

It's a fitting name for a bar's holiday party, really. There will be drink specials and free food. And try not to be too bad of a Santa.

The Terrace Presents Cookie Fest 2018

Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Terrace at Delaware Park, 199 Lincoln Parkway

Sample baked goods and cookies from Buffalo bakeries while drinking a spirited beverage. Kids admitted free; adult admission includes a holiday mug and one of those spirited beverages.

Happy Trees Painting Night Buffalo Edition at EXPO Market

7 p.m. Dec. 20 at EXPO Market, 617 Main St.

The entire night is dedicated to Bob Ross, America's favorite painter-with-a-TV-show, from his TV episodes playing on the market's projectors to painting breaks for Bob Ross-themed trivia.

Tickets are $40 and include paint and supplies. You provide the painting skills and Bob Ross adoration.

A few partiers pose for a photo at Pearl Street Grill's Christmas party in 2015. (Chuck Alaimo/Special to The News)

The Christmas Party at Pearl Street Grill

9 to 3 p.m. Dec. 25 at Pearl Street Grill, 76 Pearl St.

The party takes up all three floors of the bar and restaurant, featuring different DJs on each floor. Plus, it's somewhere to party on Christmas night.

Tickets are $20 for general admission; $30 for VIP, which includes two drinks, a hand-mailed card, skipping the entrance line, a poster and silent disco. It's 21 and older.

DBGB XMAS with Christmas Ham Buffet

8 p.m. until 4 a.m. Dec. 25 at Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St.

A late-night Allen Street bar probably isn't the first place you'd imagine eating a Christmas ham dinner.

But every Christmas, DBGB's puts together together a ham dinner for old friends and patrons, to thank them for their wing-eating, shot-taking and dancing. And then, of course, party until 4 a.m. with stomachs full of ham and vodka.

[Related: Smiles at Duke's eighth anniversary party]

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