As the holidays approach, the East End offers no shortage of events to get into the festive spirit.
Here are 27 holiday happenings — from Santa arriving by helicopter in Cutchogue to a shellfish celebration in Greenport to a Thanksgiving 5K Turkey Trot so you can burn calories while giving back — to keep you busy through December.
Events are still being planned, so if you know of any great ones that we missed, tell us in the comment section below.
1. The Polar Express Trolley Ride
Departing from The All Star, 96 Main Road, Riverhead
Begins Friday, Nov. 25, and runs every weekend; then runs everyday from Thursday, Dec. 15, through Friday, Dec. 23. Afternoon and evening departures.
Experience the magic of the classic “Polar Express” story with North Fork Trolley Company. Travel north while interacting with a character from the movie and listening to Liam Neeson’s reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg. When you arrive at the “North Pole,” you’ll disembark the trolley and visit with Santa, who will entertain you and your family with his elves. Santa will also present children with the first present of Christmas. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served; children and parents are encouraged to dress in pajamas and bring their camera. Event sells out every year, so make advance reservations. Restricted to children 2 and up; $50 per passenger. For schedules and reservations, visit northforktrolley.showare.com.
2. Eat, Drink and Be Sparkling
Route 48, Southold
Saturdays through Dec. 17
Sparkling Pointe in Southold is hosting a weekly holiday food and wine pairing series this season. On Saturdays from Nov. 12 through Dec. 19, take a break from your holiday shopping with decadent treats served alongside a glass of bubbly.
One week will feature chicken and waffles from First and South in Greenport paired with a glass of Cuvee Carnaval Blnc. Another will feature truffles from the Petulant Wino in Greenport paired with Sparkling Pointe’s 2006 Brut Seduction.
For the full listings, prices and reservations, visit SparklingPointe.com.
3. East End Arts Holiday Boutique
133 E. Main Street, Riverhead
Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The seasonal boutique, which opened Nov. 12, includes hundreds of beautifully handcrafted, locally made items, including ornaments, jewelry, knits, crafts, books and toys. All three of the galleries are filled from top to bottom with artistic and exclusive items.
The boutique runs Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. through December 24.
East End Arts is located at 133 E. Main Street. Visit EastEndArts.org for more info.
4. Let’s Turkey Trot
Mattituck High School, 15125 Main Road, Mattituck
Thursday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m.
The 11th annual Mattituck-Cutchogue Teachers Association Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot kicks off at 9 a.m. Nov. 24 at Mattituck High School. Proceeds will benefit Community Action Southold Town (CAST), The Learning Disabilities Association of New York and the MCTA Senior Scholarship Award (to be awarded June 2017.)
The fee to sign up the day of the race is $30 or $20 for students.
5. Southold Historical Society Candlelight Tour
Friday, Nov. 25, 3 to 6 p.m.
55200 Main Road, Southold
All buildings on the grounds of the Southold Historical Society Campus will be decorated for the holiday season and open to the public. Farm and home craft demonstrations will take place in the various buildings, strolling musicians will be on the grounds, Santa will be visiting and refreshments will be served.
Visit the new pop-up Christmas boutique.
The tour runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and the tree lighting will be held at 5 p.m.
For more information, visit Southoldhistoricalsociety.org.
6. Take the Plunge
Crescent Beach parking lot
Saturday, Nov. 26, 11 a.m.
Get ready to shiver on Nov. 26, with a frigid dip in the waters off Shelter Island. It’s all for a good cause, of course.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Shelter Island Public Library, the annual Shelter Island Turkey Plunge benefits the library.
Participants can either register online or at the library (37 N. Ferry Road). Organizers ask that you raise a minimum of $25 for a plunge.
Arrive at Crescent Beach (Sunset Beach parking lot) after 10 a.m. to check in.
7. Hallockville Country Parlor Holiday Folk Art & Gift Show
Hallockville Museum Farm, 6038 Sound Avenue, Riverhead
Saturday, Nov 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27 9 a.m.
The Country Parlor sells handmade gifts, holiday décor and treasures for everyone on your list. Find hand-carved Santas and elves, gift baskets filled with local soaps, hand-hooked rugs and ornaments, hand-woven baskets, hand-knit shawls, scarves, mittens and gloves, jewelry and trinkets, ornaments and more. Come see the historic Naugles Barn at Hallockville be transformed into a winter wonderland filled to the brim with holiday delights. Free admission to the gift show, plus holiday shopping specials at Miss Ella’s Gift Shop in the Hudson House. hallockville.com.
8. The Beach Plum Shop
1555 Village Lane, Orient
Nov. 26, 27, Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11, noon to 4 p.m.
Visit the Beach Plum Shop in Orient for unique gifts, North Fork art, traditional crafts, ornaments and more.
The store will be open at the Old Point Schoolhouse. For more information call (631) 323-2480 or click here.
9. Christmas in Mattituck
Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society grounds, Main Road and Cardinal Drive, Mattituck
Saturday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Holiday open house, tree lighting and caroling. Free refreshments; contact Dr. Edward Marlatt, (646) 248-0640.
10. Christmas Tree Lighting in Mattituck
Near the Mattituck CVS, 9870 Main Road, Mattituck
Friday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus return to Mattituck to flip the switch on the solar-powered Christmas tree at the park in front of CVS on Main Road. Free hot chocolate, cookies and candy canes, as well as Christmas donkeys and caroling by the tree.
11. Tree Lighting at Orient Beach State Park
40000, Route 25, Orient
Friday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m.
Santa will light the tree for the 2016 holiday season.Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Non-perishable food will be collected for needy families. Admission is free.
For more information call (631) 323-2440 or visit nysparks.com.
12. 6th Annual Wooden Wonderland: Carvers’ Holiday Show & Sale
Suffolk County Historical Society, 300 West Main Street, Riverhead
Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Dozens of vendors, handmade carvings, artisan-crafted holiday gifts and unique wooden items expertly made by Long Island craftspeople, plus live woodcarving and woodworking demonstrations. See historic galleries come to life in a display of holiday arts and crafts, ornaments, home décor, rustic Santas and gnomes, woodcarvings and assorted gifts. Free admission; suffolkcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
13. Cutchogue Holiday House Tour
Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Tour features six stops. Four festive bed and breakfasts’ will be decked out in holiday cheer and decorations, along with tastings from local vineyards and tantalizing tidbits from noted chefs. Local artists and merchants will also be featured at each stop with holiday gifts for sale. In addition, “Toys for Tots” donations will be collected at select stops for North Fork families in need. A portion of proceeds will be donated to local charities. Visit sanninovineyard.com or purchase tickets directly from http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2571731.
14. Greenport Shellabration
Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4, Noon to 4 p.m.
Enjoy shellfish from Peconic Bay paired with North Fork wines. Tapas-sized portions of shellfish dishes for $5 at participating restaurants. Local wineries will offer $3 pairings. Profits from wristband sales benefit Southold Project in Aquaculture Training and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s Marine Program. shellabration.li.
15. Riverhead Bonfire
Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m.
Sponsored by the Riverhead Improvement District Management Association.
16. How the Big Duck Saved Christmas
The Suffolk Theater, 118 East Main Street, Riverhead
Sunday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m.
The story of how the East End’s own Big Duck saved Christmas from a group of French fry loving, Canadian Elves. Told by Santa with original background illustrations drawn by Frosty The Snowman’s original animator, Don Duga (animator of Frosty The Snowman and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer). Tickets are $10 for children and $15 for adults. Buffet brunch is available for purchase. Beverages not included. Ticket options for this event include row seating and cabaret seating. Doors, bar and restaurant open for buffet and photos with Santa at 11:30 a.m. Show begins at 1 p.m. Visit suffolktheater.com.
17. Riverhead Santa Parade
Sunday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m.
Hosted by the Riverhead Lions Club, the parade starts on West Main Street and ends on Osborn Ave. Children may visit with Santa at parade’s end and have their picture taken with the big man in red.
18. Holiday Open House with Santa’s Workshop and Student Art Show
Haven’s House Barn, 16 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island
Saturday, Dec. 4, 1 to 4 p.m.
Celebrate the season in the decorated Havens house Museum or visit Santa’s Workshop in Havens Barn. Have your picture taken with Santa, create holiday gifts, ornaments or decorations and view the Shelter Island School Student and Faculty Art Show. Free to participate, donations accepted. shelterislandhistorical.org.
19. Harbor Bells: English Bell Choir
Peconic Landing Community Center, 1500 Brecknock Road, Greenport
Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Traditional holiday favorites performed live by a unique musical groupthat has been performing together since 1993. Hear songs, “Good King Wenceslas,” “Joy to the World,” “Jingle Bells,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” “O Little Tow of Bethlehem,” and “We Three Kings.” RSVP to peconiclanding.ticketleap.com.
20. Christmas in Cutchogue
Saturday, Dec. 10, 9:30 a.m.
Magic show at Cutchogue firehouse, followed by Santa’s arrival by helicopter. Visit and take photos with Santa at Cutchogue New Suffolk Library; children will receive small gifts. Sponsored by North Fork Chamber of Commerce, northforkchamber.org.
21. Orient Holiday House Tour
Orient Congregational Church, 23045 Route 25, Orient
Saturday, Dec. 10, noon to 4 p.m
Features old and new homes in Oysterponds dressed in their seasonal finery. Tickets are on sale online and the day of the event at the Orient Congregational Church starting at 11:30am. For event information, please call us at (631) 323.2480.
Tickets are $25 for Oysterponds Historical Society members and $30 for non-members.
Sunday, Dec. 10
The third annual Santacon pub crawl comes to downtown Riverhead. Expect drink specials at partcipating restaurants and bars.Net proceeds will benefit a to-be-determined local charity. Visit suffolktheater.com for more info.
23. 2nd Annual Tree Lighting at The Chequit
Saturday, Dec. 10, 4 to 6 p.m.
The Chequit, 23 Grand Avenue, Shelter Island
The Chequit hosts its second annual tree lighting. Cookie and ornament decorating, a Santa photo booth, Victorian dress-clad carolers, baked goods for purchase and more. Visit thechequit.com.
24. Santa Brunch at the Aquarium
Long Island Aquarium, 431 East Main Street, Riverhead
Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
Enjoy traditional brunch fare. Price includes aquarium admission. Adults: $42.95 (members, $36.95); kids: $26.95 (members: $22.95). Reserve by calling (631) 208-9200, ext. 426, or visit longislandaquarium.com.
25. Holiday Celebration at Brecknock Hall
Friday, Dec. 16, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Peconic Landing, 1500 Brecknock Road, Greenport
Visit with Santa and listen to a special reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” then enjoy hot apple cider, holiday caroling and crafts. Presented by Peconic Landing and The Brecknock Hall Foundation. RSVP to peconiclanding.ticketleap.com.
26. Menorah Lighting
Sunday, Dec. 25, 5 p.m.
Mitchell Park, Greenport
Congregation Tifereth Israel invites Jews and non-Jews to Mitchell Park to witness the lighting of Greenport’s Hanukkah menorah, which is taking place this year on Christmas night, which is also the first full day of the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah. In the spirit of ecumenism, the menorah will remain lighted throughout the holiday season, sharing the park with the Village’s Christmas tree. Traditional foods associated with Hanukkah — will be served. For more information about the menorah lighting in Mitchell Park, call the synagogue at (631) 477-0232.
27. Fishes & Wishes New Year’s Eve
Long Island Aquarium, 431 East Main Street, Riverhead
Saturday, Dec. 31, 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Ring in 2017 with your family. Includes buffet dinner, DJ and dancing, cash bar and aquarium admission. Mock midnight toast at 10:30 p.m. Cost to be determined; find out more by calling (631) 208-9200, ext. 426, or visit longislandaquarium.com.