The long winter break is upon us. While it might feel like there are so many family things to do now through the start of Christmas or Hanukkah (or whatever holiday you’re celebrating or not celebrating), the days afterward can feel like a vast wasteland of boredom.
Keep this list of local events and ideas handy as you head past the holidays and into New Year’s week.
Last chance to see holiday lights
Some of the lighting displays continue past Christmas, some stop before. You also can take kids on a Christmas light walk through your neighborhood or take your sleigh (minivan) around your area.
Emily Ann Theatre Trail of Lights. 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Dec. 28. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can walk through the trail, but there won’t be other happenings. Donations accepted. Emily Ann Theatre, 1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org
Austin Trail of Lights. Zilker Park turns into a lighted trail. 7-10 p.m. through Dec. 23 in Zilker Park. $5, children younger than 12 are free. austintrailoflights.org
Holiday Light Stroll. Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa provides a free festive trail. At sunset through Jan. 1. 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines. hyatt.com
Christmas tree shopping
If you haven’t yet chopped down your live tree, now is the time. Each farm offers additional activities for the kids. Check their website or Facebook page before you go to make sure they have not sold out of trees.
Evergreen Farms Christmas Trees. Cut your own tree, paint pine cones, play games and more. 10 a.m. to dark Saturdays, noon to dark weekdays and Sundays, noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 24. Evergreen Farms, 242 Monkey Road, Elgin. evergreen-farms.com
Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Cut your Christmas tree, explore mazes, go on a train ride and more. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Closed after Dec. 22. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Natures Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com
Sweet Eats Fruit Farm Christmas at the Farm. The trees are sold out, but you can see Santa and live reindeer. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $16 per person. Kids younger than 2 free. 14400 E. Texas 29, Georgetown. sweeteats.com
You can buy a gingerbread kit at any grocery store or big-box store and do it at home, or you can head to the Thinkery and keep your mess there. Check the site and buy your tickets in advance; some workshops are already sold out.
Four Seasons Gingerbread Village. The gingerbread village is open for viewing. Four Seasons Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com/austin
Thinkery Gingerbread Workshops. Classic. 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., Saturday-Monday, 9:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m., noon Tuesday. $5 per person, plus $20 per house kit. Seriously Sweet Structure. For ages 8 and up. 2 p.m. Saturday-Monday. $5, plus $30 per house kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Catch Santa before he and his reindeer fly away
It might be too late to get those Santa photos in your Christmas card, but if you haven’t seen the big guy yet, there’s still time. Here’s where to find him:
Pictures with Santa. Through Dec. 24, Barton Creek Square, Domain, Lakeline Mall, Round Rock Premium Outlets. Reserve your time slot ahead of time at simonsanta.com.
Hill Country Galleria Santa’s Workshop. Santa will be available for photo-ops from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday; noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Free to attend, but pictures available for a fee. Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. hillcountrygalleria.com
Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Free photos with Santa and activities. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday. Bass Pro Shops Round Rock, 200 Bass Pro Drive, Round Rock; Cabela’s Buda, 15570 S. Interstate 35, Buda. basspro.com/shop/en/santas-wonderland
See live theater
Some shows continue past Christmas, some really get going after, some don’t make it to Christmas Eve.
"A Christmas Carol." Zach Theatre’s annual show for ages 6 and up. 7:30 p.m. It’s technically sold out through Dec. 26, but tickets are available. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28-29. Tickets start at $30. Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org
Ballet Austin’s "The Nutcracker." The classic holiday ballet returns to the stage. 2 p.m. Saturday-Monday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. $20-$99. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org
Circus Chickendog, "The Mutt-Cracker (Sweet!)" See the dogs perform the classic story. 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 26-29, Jan. 2-4. 4:30 p.m. Jan. 1 and Jan. 5. $37-$15. The Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org
Circque Musica’s "Holiday Wishes." Circus performers delight to holiday music. 2 p.m. Tuesday. $35-$75. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. Hebcenter.com
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical." 3 p.m. Dec. 29. $38-$68. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. Hebcenter.com
Play around in museums
Museums are a great place to hang out during winter break. Often they have special events.
Science Mill. The Science Mill opens its new exhibit, "Masters of Disguise," about camouflage, Saturday. Plus Make Code & Create Music special activities at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 26-28. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Thinkery. Cupcake Geology. For ages 4 and up. Practice geology in pastry and learn about Earth’s core. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 2:30 p.m. Jan. 3-5. $8. Baby Bloomers. Ages birth to 3. It’s a winter wonderland, plus Small Wonders Puppet Theatre. 9 a.m. Saturday; Mi Casa Es Tu Casa introduction to French and Spanish. 9 a.m. Dec. 28 and Jan. 4. $5. Little Thinkers Club. Amazing Magnetism. Ages 1 to 4. 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Jan. 6. $8.
You can also play at Pinballz Kids Holiday Craft Event. Make crafts and get a free $5 game card. 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday. All locations. pinballzarcade.com
Go Skating at Whole Foods’ ice skating rink. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 20. Whole Foods, 525 N. Lamar Blvd. $12. wholefoods.com.
At the movies
We know you may have new movies on the list, but there are also older gems you can see for less as well as events.
Alamo Drafthouse. Kids Camp: "Paddington," 9:40 a.m. Monday, 9:55 a.m. Tuesday, 9:55 a.m. Dec. 25-26, Lakeline. 9 a.m. Dec. 30-31, Mueller. 10:50 a.m. Dec. 21, 10:45 a.m. Dec. 22- 26, Slaughter Lane. "Sing." 10 a.m. Dec. 30-Jan. 2. 10:45 a.m. Dec. 27-Jan. 2, Slaughter Lane.
Holiday Film Series at Wimberley Playhouse. The Holiday Film Series kicks off on Saturday with "The Muppet Christmas Carol" and continues on Sunday with a "White Christmas" singalong and on Dec. 28 with "Mamma Mia." 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28. $5-$10. 450 Old Kyle Road. wimberleyplayers.org
New Year’s Eve celebrating
New Year’s Eve Balloon Stomp. Celebrate New Year’s with this party. 9 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve. $20 per member/child. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
Austin’s New Year. This free family-friendly event begins at 7:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and ends with fireworks at 10 p.m. You’ll be home well before midnight. Vic Mathias Shores. austinsnewyear.com
New Years Eve: Family Barrel Bash. Crafting, dancing, karaoke and more. 1 p.m. Dec. 31, Mueller Alamo Drafthouse.
Pinballz Noon Year’s Kids. A party and a balloon drop. $10. 10 a.m. to noon, Dec. 31. pinballzarcade.com
Noon Year’s Party. 11 a.m. Dec. 31, St. John Branch, Hampton Branch.
Holiday story and craft time. 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the Domain.
Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations; "Construction Site on Christmas Night" Dec. 21. "The Kindness Book," Dec. 28. "Grumpy Monkey," Jan. 4. Baby and Me story time at all locations, 11 a.m. Sundays: "Pop-up Peekaboo: Things That Go," Dec. 29. barnesandnoble.com
BookPeople. BookPeople adds extra story times during winter break. All story times are at 10:30 a.m. A Very Merry, Dec. 21. Chanukah, Dec. 26. Drag Storytime, Dec. 27, Spread the Joy, Dec. 28, Being Unique is the Jam, Dec. 29, Snowflake, Dec. 30, Last Storytime of the Decade, Dec. 31. Check bookpeople.com for the schedule for January.
At the library
Carol Karaoke and Cocoa Sing-Along. 2 p.m. Sunday, Recycled Reads Bookstore.
Holiday Craft-a-palooza. 11 a.m. Saturday, Carver Branch. 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch.
Saturday Matinee: "Ice Age." 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.
Lego Lab. All weekend long. Dec. 21-22, Central Library. 1 p.m. Dec. 27, Central Library.
Kids Reading Lounge. 1-3 p.m. Monday, Central Library. 1 p.m. Dec. 31, Central Library.
Monday Night Movies: "Invincible." 5 p.m. Monday, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.
Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Thursday Movie Matinee: "Daddy’s Home 2." 1 p.m. Dec. 26, Terrazas Branch.
Let’s All Play: Board Game Day. 3 p.m. Dec. 26, Jan. 2, St. John Branch.
Teen and Tween Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 27, Twin Oaks Branch.
Saturday Movie Matinee: "Norm of the North." 1:30 p.m. Dec. 28, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.
Edge of Imagination Station: Make a Stop Motion Animation. 11 a.m. Dec. 30, Central Library.
Family Movie Afternoon: "Balto." 1 p.m. Dec. 30, Central Library.
Monday Night Movie: "Field of Dreams." 5 p.m. Dec. 30, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.
Family Movie Afternoon. "Mary Poppins Returns," 1 p.m. Jan. 2, Central Library.
Just for Teens: Dev Launchers Coding Lab. Noon-5 p.m. Jan. 4.
Board With Books. 1 p.m. Jan. 5, Twin Oaks Branch.
Hot Cocoa Social. 3 p.m. Jan. 6, St. John Branch.