By Deb Everts

Start off the holiday season with the annual “Christmas in Ellicottville” celebration held this year from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. Be transported to a scene from an old Victorian Christmas and enjoy old-fashioned fun activities scheduled for the whole family.

Presented by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by 

Wingate by Wyndham and SYSCO, 

the free weekend event is packed full of holiday activities from noon on Friday until the last horse-drawn carriage ride on Sunday.

“Christmas is a time we all look forward to,” said Barb Pump, project development manager for the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce. “We get to spend time with our families and savor each memory we create. ‘Christmas in Ellicottville’ allows us to help create those memories that our families will be able to cherish for years to come, and that is why we love this event. All the smiles of the children when they see Santa, or the excitement when they get to create an ornament to take home with them, is what the feeling of Christmas should be.”

Started in 2006, the event is all about kids and those who are kids at heart. It kicks off Friday at noon when kids can board a fire truck from the Ellicottville Volunteer Fire Department on the corner of Washington and Jefferson streets to ride around town with Santa or Mrs. Claus. The rides continue until 2 p.m. and take place again on Saturday, 1-3 p.m.

On Friday at 5:30 p.m., Santa, his reindeer and carolers will stroll through the village to the famous ski tree on the post office lawn on Washington Street. People will gather ‘round the tree and sing along with the Ellicottville Sound Chorus while sipping hot cocoa, compliments of Holiday Valley.

At 6:30 p.m., Santa will magically flip the switch and turn on the lights of the Village Christmas Tree. People can meet Santa’s reindeer on the post office lawn at various times all weekend.

Kids can visit the Jolly Old Elf and give him their Christmas wish list all three days at the lobby of the Wingate by Wyndham where there will also be interactive children’s activities. If they haven’t had enough cookies there, they can walk over to Cupcaked on Monroe Street for some cookie decorating. 

Owner Annie Coe said her business has hosted the cookie decorating activity every year since 2017 when she opened. She said the Chamber event is their favorite event of the year.

“I think this event is great for the community because it really allows for us business owners to give back,” she said. “I opened the bakery so I could give back and see joy on my customers’ faces, and this event truly highlights that.” 

Some new activities will take place at Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza on Bristol Lane from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. During those hours, kids can make their own Christmas slime while enjoying free hot chocolate and cookies.

Families will have several activities to choose from including “Bowling with Elves,” “Bowling with Elves and Create Your Own Holiday Pizza” and “Create Your Own Holiday Pizza.” See the schedule at for pricing.

Horse-drawn wagon rides provided by The Crosspatch horse ranch near Little Valley will delight visitors again this year. The wagon rides will leave from Katy’s Café on Washington Street and take visitors around the village 1-4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The wagon rides will be offered again on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

“We’ve been bringing our team of Percheron horses to the event for five years now,” said co-owner Dolly Little. “The kids always like the activities, and there is always a good turn out.”

Enjoy a free Pancake Breakfast with Santa at Finnerty’s Tap Room on Saturday and Villaggio on Sunday from 10 to 11 a.m., both days.

On Saturday only, a kids holiday movie will be shown at Villaggio from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Kids can pose for a photo with “Buddy the Elf” and make Christmas crafts at ERA Team VP from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

The “12 Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt” will take place all weekend at participating businesses. Each location will have a number from the 12 days of Christmas — for example, five golden rings. Visitors can go to each business to find the number and a treat for the kids.

During the event, donations to help the less fortunate will be accepted for the Ellicottville Food Pantry including non-perishable items and cash.

Come back to the village on Dec. 7 for “A Christmas Stroll” to celebrate the holiday season with a living nativity, complete with a camel. Created in 1987, the tradition has continued for the past 28 years. The event takes place at the village gazebo where children dressed as angels and shepherds meet to honor Baby Jesus as carolers sing.