From Kwanzaa celebrations at the American Museum of Natural History to the Three Kings Parade in East Harlem, there’s more to New York City than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Here are our five picks for the top five holiday events for kids and parents in New York City. By Holly Rosen Fink.

The Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche

The Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche


See Also: NYC Christmas Tree Guide 2011

Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree, surrounded by an 18th-century Neapolitan Nativity scene, complete with new angels and crèche figures. The tree is lit with lights, cherubs and features fifty angels. Recorded music and lighting ceremonies add to the enjoyment of the holiday display and your children will be memorized.

Concert at St. John the Divine



See Also: The 6 Best Holiday Events In NYC

If you live in NYC and haven’t been yet to St. John the Divine, this is your chance, whether you’re Christian, Jewish or Muslim, to visit one of the most famous churches in New York City and the largest church in the United States.  On Christmas Eve at 4 p.m., you can bring your children to hear the story of Christmas with live music by the Cathedral Choir of Girls, Boys and Adults. Passes are recommended and will be honored until 10:10 PM Christmas Eve.
 Call at the beginning December 1 until December 12 for passes to the service.

Klez for Kids

Eldridge Street Synagogue


If you’re Jewish and wondering what to do with your kids on Christmas Day, head to the beautiful Eldridge Street Synagogue where you can all sing and dance to Yiddish music at the Museum’s annual family concert.  Clarinetist Greg Wall and his band Klezmerfest will lead the audience on a musical tour of Eastern European Jewish culture ending with a festive audience-enacted shtetl wedding.

Kwanzaa 2011 at the American Museum of Natural History

Kwanzaa 2011 at the Museum of Natural History


On December 31st from 12-4 p.m., the Museum of Natural History is a vibrant celebration that honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa with performances of song, dance,and spoken word and an international marketplace. This year’s event will feature storyteller Linda Humes as master of ceremonies, African-Caribbean performing group Something Positive, Inc., and other presenters.

Three Kings Day Parade


For many New Yorkers with roots in Latin America or the Caribbean, the holiday season is celebrated until 12 days after Christmas. Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, is a celebration of the Biblical story of the three wise men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Every year El Museo del Barrio celebrates with a procession throughout the streets of East Harlem known as the Three Kings Day Parade, now in its 34th year. It falls on January 6th and parade viewing along the route begins at 10:30 A.M. on 106th Street and Park Avenue.

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Holly Rosen Fink is the managing editor of The Culture Mom.