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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    Thousands of people crammed into Rockefeller Center on Wednesday to admire the tree lighting ceremony that’s become a staple to the kickoff of the holiday season. Mariah belted out songs of holiday cheer as 30,000 LED lights sparkled like lit gems on the 80-foot Norway Spruce.

    The best part about Wednesday’s holiday extravaganza? It kicked off a series of local tree lighting ceremonies and festivals, giving those who don’t want to travel or be overwhelmed by large crowds have the opportunity to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.

    Here are some of our favorites.

    Holiday on the Lake: What’s better than lighting one big holiday tree? Lighting 75 mini holiday trees. Holiday on the Lake along Route 52 in the Hamlet of Carmel has become a ceremony that’s looked forward to by residents across Putnam County. A fun-filled day complete with caroling, crafts and a parade, Holiday on the Lake will be hosted Dec. 1 with the tree lighting ceremony commencing at 7 p.m.

    For a full list of tree lighting ceremonies and holiday festivals in Putnam, visit Eventful Magazine.

    Sinterklass: Sometimes it’s easy to forget tradition among the holiday craze, but Rhinebeck’s Sinterklass Festival brings history and folklore front and center. On Dec. 1, thousands of Dutchess County residents will flock to the Fairgrounds for a day of readings, performances and workshops leading up to a parade and dance in the evening. Check out the festival’s online program for a more detailed schedule of events.

    For a full list of tree lighting ceremonies and holiday festivals in Dutchess, visit Dutchess County Tourism.

    City Lights Bright Holiday Nights Community Tree Lighting: Rather than import a huge holiday tree from somewhere else, Mayor Tom Roach decided last year to plant a live pine at Tibbits Park on N. Broadway that can be enjoyed by residents year round. On Dec. 2, White Plains and Westchester residents will kick off 45 days of holiday lights with a tree lighting ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. The event will include live music, an ice carving competition and refreshments.

    For a full list of tree lighting ceremonies and holiday festivals in Westchester, visit Wee Westchester.

    What’s your favorite holiday festival? Comment below.