By Alicia Dziak

If a visit with Santa is on your December to-do list, you still have plenty of chances to check out him and the Mrs. in the upcoming weeks.

On Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., Santa arrives by fire truck at the East Concord Fire Dept. recreation hall.

Head to the Community Christmas Party with Santa on Friday, Dec. 16 at Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Gifts, door prizes, snacks, games, holiday movies and even a bounce house will also be part of the fun!

Dec. 10 and 11, head to Chestnut Ridge Park and check out Santaland. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, enjoy a hayride to see Santa, arts and crafts, face painting, roasting marshmallows, woodcutting and more. Bring a new and unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, and enjoy this free family event.

Head to Buffalo’s Canalside, where festive lights and the skating rink could get even Scrooge into the spirit. Santa will be stopping by on the following dates: Friday, Dec. 9, 6-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, 4-6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, 12-2- pm., Friday, Dec. 16, 6-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, 4-6 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18, 12-2 p.m., Friday, Dec. 23, 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 24, 12-2 p.m.

Are you and your kids morning people? Enjoy Breakfast with Santa at the Buffalo Zoo. The Zoo will host its annual Breakfast with Santa events on Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18.  There will be two seatings each day, starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until 10:30 a.m., and the second time from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Prepaid, nonrefundable tickets are required due to limited seating.

The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens will host Santa’s Workshop on Dec. 10. Enjoy the beauty of the gardens and  hang out with Santa, while surrounded by poinsettias. Photo prints with Santa will be available for $5 each.

For the train fan in your life, all aboard the North Pole Express Train at the Arcade and Attica Railroad! Enjoy the countryside as you travel through Western New York farmlands that have remained untouched since the late 1860’s. Sing Christmas carols on your way to the North Pole. Bring your letter for Santa and visit with the elves and jolly St. Nick himself at Santa’s Workshop. Don’t forget to wear your PJs! Hot dogs, hot chocolate and “Curriers” Elf Cookies are available for purchase. Trains depart on weekend days and Friday, Dec. 23.

The Polar Express Train Ride will make its way to Medina this holiday season. The ride is one hour long, round trip. Enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie on board. There is a short stop at the North Pole to pick-up Santa. Departures are scheduled for Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18.

The Festival of Lights continues to run at the Hamburg Fairgrounds Dec. 9-11 and 16-23. Gates open 5 to 9 p.m. each night; grounds and building stay open until 10 p.m. Cost is $25 per carload. Guests are treated to an expanded drive through of all new light displays from North Pole Productions. Park the car and let the holiday magic begin. Stroll the illuminated street and explore each of the buildings for unique holiday activities, shows, and more. Grab a seat for the Milk for Health Kids Game Show featuring Rob Allen. Climb aboard the Express Train and take a short train ride around the Festival grounds. Kids can stop in to the TOPS Winterland Workshop to make a craft. This and more is included in your carload admission. Providing some of the most beautiful holiday photo opportunities in the area, the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights invites visitors to wander through Christmas Tree Forest where nearly one hundred trees are illuminated in thousands of twinkling lights.  The centerpiece of the Festival of Lights is the North Pole Experience. This 10,000 square foot walk through adventure leads guests through the North Pole and right to Santa’s front porch. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be greeting guests throughout the Festival as well as posing for photos, so don’t forget your camera.  For more info, visit

Santa will make his annual appearances at the local malls. Visit him at McKinley Mall through Christmas Eve. If your babies include the furry kinds, Santa and Pet Photos Day is planned for Dec. 10. Santa will also be at the Walden Galleria through Christmas Eve, hanging out on the lower level between the Apple Store and Clarks.

Be sure to get on the nice list and celebrate the season with a visit (or two!) with Santa!