Growing up, we always knew it was Christmas in our home when we got to go to the big tree lighting in Rome. You got to watch Santa fly in on an helicopter and land right next to Fort Stanwix, then make his way to the stage. Once on stage we all watched in wonder as he flipped the switch and turned the Christmas lights on. If you're looking for Christmas memories like this, we found the Top Christmas events in Utica, and Central New York.


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    Rome Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony


    December 2nd (5:30PM-9:00PM)


    We had to start off with one of my favorite Christmas memories while growing up, the Rome Christmas Tree Lighting. Every year we would meet at my Grandma's house, and walk over to Fort Stanwix where a big tree was grown overnight every year. My parents used to have us pick the “Magic Christmas Seed” that helped the Christmas Tree grow. A lot has changed since then. The Christmas tree lighting is now at the intersection of James Street and Court Street. This year there will be live entertainment, food, fireworks, and chance to meet Santa Clause as the City Christmas Tree is lit by Mayor Brown. Make sure you dress warm, and stop out for one of the top Christmas events in Rome!


    Photo by juliaeatssweaters/flickr
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    Wonderland Of Lights


    November 23rd - January 1st (closed December 24)


    Now you can be part of the Mohawk Valley’s most celebrated holiday tradition, The Wonderland of Lights! The Resource Center for Independent Living came up with the idea in 2002 to raise funds for programs and services for people with disabilities. For a small fee, you're able to drive through and enjoy some of the most beautiful lights and decorations that Utica has to offer. Once you see it, you'll understand why it's one of the top Christmas events in Utica.


    Photo by blacklord/flickr
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    25th Annual Christmas on Main Street


    November 19th (11:00AM-6:00PM)


    Christmas on Main Street kicks off the holiday season for people in Utica at the beautiful Union Station and historic Bagg's Square. The event will feature free cookies, free hot chocolate, free popcorn, and free entertainment all day long. The main attraction of course is the arrival of Santa, who will visit with the good boys and girls of Utica from 12:30-4:30. Christmas on Main Street captures the traditions and atmosphere of an old fashioned Christmas in the city, where children dream of sugarplums and Santa come to life.


    Photo by amtrak_russ/flickr
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    New Hartford Shopping Center Holiday Stroll


    November 18th


    If you're looking for some great holiday fun close to home, how about a holiday stroll with the New Hartford Shopping Center. Some of the days events include: Horse & Trolley Rides, Nativity Petting Zoo, Face Painting at Whims N Doodles, Ornament Decorating at The Princess Shop, Wine Tasting at Lotto Liquors, Parade and of course Santa's Arrival at 7pm. Stop on out, get some of your holiday shopping done with friends and family!


    Photo by gfpeck/flickr
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    Lights On The Lake


    November 17 - January 8 (5pm – 10pm, Open Nightly except New Year's Eve)


    If you love Christmas lights and decorations, than Lights on the lake is for you! Lights on the Lake is a two mile long drive-thru in the Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool show featuring: Towering Holiday Displays, Larger-than-Life Land of Oz, Twinkling Fantasy Forest, Colorful Section Arches, a Delightful Victorian Village, a Fairytale Magic Grand Finale, and plenty of Animated Scenes. Make the drive with the family, and check out one of Central New York's great holiday displays.


    Photo by Shiny Things/flickr