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BY REBECCA FIORE
It’s that time of year again, the most wonderful time of the year again, so gather your kiddies and bring them in tow to the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place for the high-end shopping center’s Christmastime attractions.
This year, they include performances of “The Nutcracker,” the return of the Luminaries, and of course the jolly ol’ elf himself, Santa Claus.
Santa’s lap is open seven days a week through Christmas Eve at Brookfield Place so your little one can ask for that long overdue Red Ryder BB gun. Santa will even have special hours on two Sundays for your four-legged friends to beg for treats — as long as they’re less than 25 lbs.
If that isn’t enough to entertain kids both naughty and nice, bring them to see Keith Michael’s rendition of the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” this weekend.
This free, one-hour version of the classic Christmas ballet features Tchaikovsky’s signature score, but is set in an Art Nouveau style circa 1907. The New York Theatre Ballet will hold three performances in the Winter Garden, with one on Friday and two on Saturday.
Audience seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis, so early arrival is encouraged — not least because kids can take pictures with the magical dancing toys two hours before each performance.
In addition to Santa and “The Nutcracker” ballet, the Luminaries, an interactive art installation, is back in the Winter Garden again this year.
This annual holiday installation is a collaboration with design firm LAB at Rockwell Group. Hundreds of color-changing, suspended lanterns immerse visitors in a warm, glowing feeling.
You can “send a wish” to the luminaries at any of the three Wishing Stations and watch the lights and colors dance above like sugarplums. For every wish sent, Brookfield Place will donate $1 to the GRAMMY Museum’s music education programs, up to $25,000.
“The Nutcracker” will show Dec. 1 at 7pm, and Dec. 2 at 1 pm and at 7 pm. Take a picture with the characters before each performance on the second level of the Winter Garden, Dec. 1 at 5 pm and Dec. 2 at 11 am and 5 pm.
Santa is available Monday through Friday 12 pm to 8 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm. But he has to leave early on Christmas Eve — for obvious reasons — so he’ll clock out at 4pm.
Special doggie-friendly hours are on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 from 6:30–7:30 pm.
To book your lap time in advance online, visit: order.ritual.co/menu/santa-brookfield-place-new-york/6ebf.
The Luminaries are hanging around until Jan. 5, with the light shows going from 8 am to 10 pm daily, with the exception of Dec. 1, which is 8 am to 3 pm, and Dec. 2 when there will be no light show.