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Holiday happenings: Winter 2017 events

As our gift to you, we’ve rounded up ten fun and festive ideas that are sure to put you in the spirit, and may just take some of the stress out of the holidays. From small business shopping to a colossal cookie exchange, try these events on for size.

Nov. 24: Elmwood Village Black Friday with Boutiques
Various shops in Elmwood Village

The busiest shopping day of the year doesn’t have to mean camping out in front of the mall or duking it out over a plasma screen TV. Keep it civilized while supporting the local small businesses and eateries that make Buffalo thrive. Shop 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to find unique gifts for all of the one-of-a-kind people in your life. (881-0707;

Nov. 29: Hotel Henry Jazz Concert Series
Hotel Henry, corner of Rockwell Road and Cleveland Circle, Buffalo

If you haven’t had the chance to immerse yourself in Buffalo’s coolest urban resort, now is the perfect opportunity. Don’t miss the last performance in this fall concert series, as the Chicago-based Joe Policastro Trio rolls into town with their eclectic sound. You may even hear the band’s own spin on movie and TV theme songs. Enjoy the show from 7-9 p.m. Menu of beverages and light foods will be available. (882-1970;

Admission: $10; students with valid ID, $5

Dec. 2: Buffalo Zoo Holiday Tree Lighting
Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave., Buffalo

Go wild this holiday season and join the Buffalo Zoo as it lights its spectacular Blue Spruce. Enjoy carolers, holiday music, hot chocolate, photo ops with Santa, animal meet and greets, crafts, treats and more. Admission gates will remain open until 6 p.m. and the tree lighting will take place in front of the elephant house at approximately 5:15 p.m. (995-6133;

Admission: $5 after 3 p.m.; members free

Dec. 2-3: Tour of Homes, Lewiston
Six homes and four bonus stops. Addresses and directions will be printed on tickets.

Giving new meaning to the phrase, "home for the holidays," this self-guided tour will provide plenty of tips for getting your house in shape for entertaining. Each home will showcase innovative Christmas décor and tablescapes, sure to impress and inspire. Attendees are also invited to Niagara Crossing Hotel and Spa between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a dessert tasting reception and signature Poinsettia Cocktail tasting. The hotel will also house a Holiday Gift Market offering jewelry, home accessories, specialty food items and more. Tour goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (not suitable for young children). (754-4214;

Admission: $25 presale (available online, at all WNY Wegmans, and in Lewiston at DiCamillo’s Bakery and Orange Cat Coffee Co.); $30 day-of at Red Brick School in Lewiston

Dec. 5: Glitter and Glamour Fashion Show
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Convention Center Plaza, Buffalo

This event to benefit the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital will showcase clothing from local retailer Annarlette, as well as runway show designs from Lucian Matis, who has appeared on several hit fashion television shows and dressed the likes of Canadian first lady Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau. The evening will also feature elegant hors d’oeuvres, a signature cocktail and basket raffle. Be dazzled from 6-9 p.m. (881-8230;

Admission: $100

Dec. 8-9: Joann’s Classical Christmas
Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle, Buffalo

Even Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn’t be able to sit through this annual favorite without getting into the holiday spirit. Joined by award-winning soprano Aundi Moore, the BPO will bring centuries of holiday classics to life, and the audience to its feet. Dec. 8 show starts at 10:30 a.m.; come at 9 a.m. for free coffee and doughnuts. Dec. 9 show begins at 8 p.m. (885-5000;

Admission: $36-$86

Dec. 9: Taste of Christmas Past
Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst

Step back in time and enjoy historically recreated Victorian Christmas dishes and drinks. Catered by Banchetti by Rizzo’s, the event’s menu includes duck with cranberry peach compote, turkey with chestnut stuffing, smoked herring, stuffed oysters, baked brie with candied pecans, plum pudding and much more. Warm your spirit with traditional cocktails like eggnog, buttered rum and wassail from the full cash bar, and enjoy a nostalgic tree lighting ceremony, the sounds of caroling and fabulous auctions. Music provided by Buffalo Schwaben Chor, historic organ grinder Dan Wilke and a live big band. Eat, drink and be merry from 6-9:30 p.m. (689-1440;

Admission: $65 non-members; $60 members

Dec. 31: First Night Buffalo
Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St., Buffalo

Usher in 2018 the safe and healthy way at this drug- and alcohol-free event. First Night draws approximately 5,000 revelers and offers plenty of family-friendly fun, including visual and performing arts, music and dance, carnival rides, jugglers, magicians, and sports and fitness-themed activities. Celebration starts at 5 p.m. and winds down at 10 p.m. Visit website in early December for pre-sale ticket locations, designated parking areas and full list of performers and entertainment. (635-4959;

Admission: $10, Dec. 1-15; $12, Dec. 16-30; $15 at the door

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