What’s Happening: Santa visits Little Italy, see ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ and tour holiday landmarks

Santa Claus blowing magic snow of his hands
Jolly Old Saint Nick is planning to make some stops in the Bronx’s Little Italy between now and Christmas.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

Williamsbridge Oval

The Bardekova Ensemble performs

Dec. 7, 12-1:15 p.m.

Support local artists from the Bronx Council of the Arts in their upcoming winter ensemble. This festive concert will perform the music of legendary composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Ellington and Celia Cruz.

This event is free!


Huntington Free Library

How the Bronx Happened: An Examination into the Historical Context of Bronx Development

Dec. 19, 7 p.m.

The story of how The Bronx transformed from a rural landscape to an urban center is quite fascinating. It is a tale so interwoven with the borough’s constant change in demographics and population shifts that one concept is not so easily understood without considering the implications of the other. Join former history teacher and local historian Matthew Foglino on a presentation that puts into historical perspective the forces behind The Bronx’s massive development boom in the late 19th century, its evolution and how it continues to affect us today.

Lehman College Art Gallery

Three Short Plays by Women about Women

Dec. 8, 7 p.m.

The plays are presented by The Bronx Repertory Company as a companion piece to the current exhibit at the Gallery entitled, Framing the Female Gaze: Women Artists and the New Historicism. Featuring new work by Lehman alums Alexa Downing, Amira Mustapha and Angela Reynoso.

Admissions are free, but reservations are required.

The plays are also available: Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m.; Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.; and Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

The Van Cortlandt Jewish Center is inviting the community to join in its upcoming Chanukah celebration on Dec. 12, 2023. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Van Cortlandt Jewish Center

Festival of Lights Chanukah Celebration
Dec. 12, 7 p.m.

The Van Cortlandt Jewish Center invites the community to join in the festive spirit of Chanukah at its upcoming celebration. The event, hosted at 3880 Sedgwick Ave., promises an evening of joy, tradition and community camaraderie.

Attendees will have the opportunity to bask in the warm glow of the sixth Chanukah candle, symbolizing unity and the triumph of light over darkness. The celebration will feature delightful culinary offerings, including mouthwatering Latkes (potato pancakes) and sweet jelly donuts, adding a culinary touch to the festivities.

Musical entertainment for the evening will be provided by the talented Chaim Zadok, whose enchanting melodies will fill the venue with the spirit of the season. The event is free for all members of the community, encouraging inclusivity and shared celebration. Evweryone is invited.

Little Italy

Santa Claus visits the Bronx’s Little Italy

Dec. 8-23, Fridays noon-2 p.m.; Saturdays 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Bring your cameras while shopping in Little Italy to capture photos with Santa and his elf!


St. Barnabas Elementary School

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Musical

Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Dec. 9, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Dec. 10, 2 p.m.

Get into the holiday spirit in this musical adaptation of the 1964 television special. Featuring holiday hits like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer features classic characters like Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, the main figure, Rudolph.

Come support your local elementary school, tickets are $14 for each seat.

See St. Barnabas Elementary School’s musical adaption of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this weekend. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Lehman College

DevFest Bronx 2023

Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

DevFest returns to bring together technology leaders, developers, students and startups to share profound creativity and inspiration.

Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to learn, network, share fun and, of course, some good food.

Some of the topics to be discussed include artificial intelligence, large language models, machine learning, Chat GPT, Android Mobile, Cloud, Firebase, Flutter (Multiplatform), AMP, React JavaScript, Product Design, Startups, Tech Career Journeys and User Experience.

More information on the event’s agenda can be found here. The event is free, but you must reserve a spot.


New York Botanical Garden

Holiday Landmarks Tour (Editor’s Choice)

Dec. 9, 11 a.m.; Dec. 23, 12:30 p.m.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool for a fascinating overview of the Garden’s history and its importance as a vital NYC cultural destination since 1891. With an expert guide, explore the Tulip Tree Allee, the Fountain of Life and the Library. The tour concludes at the garden’s must-see destination — the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory.

Herbal Chocolate

Dec. 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Learn to create delicately flavored chocolates in an online setting using natural herbs and spices. A fun and sumptuous treat to make herbal chocolates. Paired with the delicate nuanced flavors of flowers, herbs and spices, these sumptuous treats delight the senses and excite the palate.

Join master herbalist Karine Gordineer as she shares the health benefits of cacao and herbs and guides you through the process of making three different flavors of herbal chocolates.


Make delicious herbal chocolates in an online class using natural herbs and spices on Dec. 13, 2023. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Evergreen Express Winter Activity Guide

Through Jan. 15

Enjoy the beauty of outdoor learning with our Evergreen Express Winter Activity Guide. Pick up a copy with a hand lens and pencil at the Ross Conifer Arboretum to explore our collections of evergreen and deciduous trees, or print it out at home before your visit! Bring your completed guide to NYBG Shop for a 10% discount.

Winter Haven at Wave Hill

Family Art Project: Peeking Into Winter Retablos

Dec. 9-10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bear witness to the magical winter landscape as you create colorful retablos with loved ones.

The event is free and no registration is required.

Forest Bathing in the Winter Landscape

Dec. 9, 12-2 p.m.  

Try this once-in-a-lifetime experience in the forest-bathing walk through the winter garden, with certified nature therapy guides Cindy Olsen and Fru Molnar. The benefits of this practice may include an improved immune system, cardiovascular strength-building, stress reduction, improvement to cognitive functioning and deepening connections to nature.

Tickets are priced at $30. Adults only. Registration online or by phone is required.

Winter Birding 

Dec. 10, 9:30-11 a.m.

The Hudson River Valley hosts a huge diversity of bird species. Voyage through calm gardens and woodlands with birder guide Paul Keim to observe birds in their winter habitat.

This event is free but registration online or by phone is required. For ages 10 and up with an adult. Please bring binoculars.

Winter Solstice Sunset Walk and Wishes

Dec. 21, 3:30-7 p.m.

Enjoy the serene winter garden on the shortest day of the year, guided by Senior Horticultural Interpreter Jess Brey. Marvel at seasonal botanical wonders like the majestic evergreens in shades of gold and green, fiery red-twig dogwoods and bedazzled shrubs with pink, purple and red berries. End the day by designing a paper lantern with your wish or intention and then float your wish lantern at the Aquatic Garden.

This event is free, but advance registration is encouraged.

South Bronx SantaCon Happy Hour

Dec. 8, beginning at 4 p.m.

This year marks the first South Bronx SantaCon — a SantaCon Happy Hour where Santas will bar crawl through Mott Haven during Happy Hour, spreading holiday cheer by donating new, unwrapped toys for a great cause. Bring a toy to participating venues and receive a complimentary drink as a thank you!

JSilva Events, Canon Strategy Group, and The Hoodspitality Group will collect toys for Rethink Food to distribute to children in NYC asylum seeking centers.

Join the South Bronx SantaCon and visit various watering holes in Mott Haven on Dec. 8, 2023. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts

Tracy Morgan 

Dec. 9, 8 p.m.

Comedian Tracy Morgan continues his comeback following his horrible, life-threatening traffic accident in 2014. Coming to fame as a stand-up, Morgan became a household name through his seven-season stint on the Tina Fey show “30 Rock,” playing a hilarious, thinly veiled version of himself named Tracy Jordan.


Bronx Zoo

Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo

Through Jan. 7

Spend your festive evenings this upcoming holiday, where the Bronx Zoo is illuminated to life with immersive light displays, custom designed animal lanterns and animated light shows sparkle all across the park. Experience all new lantern displays placing a spotlight on the wildlife of New York’s ocean waters and wetlands, and a new interactive experience showcasing bioluminescent creatures: The Enchanted Sea.

Enjoy returning lantern trails: the giraffes, ostriches, hippos and tortoises of Africa; the elephants, rhinos, cassowaries and tapirs of Asia; the jaguars, scarlet macaws, giant anteaters and peccaries of Latin America; the polar bears, walrus, wolverines and prairie dogs of North America; the other-worldly vampire squids, black sea-devils, nudibranchs and anglerfish of the deep seas; and a microscope on the colorful world of the tiniest creatures.

Aside from the lovely lights, enjoy the holiday train for only $4, ice carving demonstrations, illuminated performances, the wildlife theater, and of course, holiday treats!

For more things to do in the Bronx, visit our Bronx Times Events page.