By Jann Wiswall

For most people, the Thanksgiving weekend is all about family, and there’s no better place for families than in the charming village of Ellicottville, where the Chamber of Commerce pulls out all the stops to welcome visitors of every age to spend some quality time and mark the start of the Christmas season.

The Chamber has been hosting “Christmas in Ellicottville” for decades and participation in has been growing in recent years. In fact, there was a record-breaking number of visitors last year, which prompted the Chamber to add even more activities to its Christmas in Ellicottville schedule of events roster this year.

Membership services and events coordinator Barbara Pump said more exciting, family-focused activities are being planned this year to accommodate even more visitors. “We expect to have the full schedule of events nailed down by the end of the week,” she said, but most activities are already set.

Christmas in Ellicottville kicks off on Friday, Nov. 25 with the “Gift of Lights,” the traditional lighting of the trees lining the village streets and the three-story tall Village Christmas tree. Santa’s in charge here, so be sure to bring the little ones!

Throughout the weekend, with the charming village as a backdrop, you’ll be treated to old-school strolling carolers, featuring the talented members of the Ellicottville Sound Chorus, horse-drawn wagon rides, breakfast and fire truck rides with Santa and loads of interactive activities for the kids: pet a real reindeer; make decorations, play some games, meet Santa!

And don’t forget that all of the Village’s shops and restaurants will be open all weekend for your shopping and dining enjoyment.

On Saturday, the village — along with the rest of the country — celebrates Small Business Saturday. This is a great way to start (or finish?) checking off your holiday shopping list while supporting one of the nation’s most important economic drivers —small businesses. As you visit the boutiques and shops throughout the village, you’ll also be able to admire some truly creative, themed holiday window displays.

Of course, Christmas in Ellicottville doesn’t last for just one weekend. Throughout the month, you’ll want to return for celebration, shopping and superb dining, as well as some more quintessential Ellicottville events.

One of Ellicottville’s most popular fundraisers of the year, Bob McCarthy’s Irish Christmas, takes place on Friday, Dec. 2 at Ellicottville Brewing Company.  The exciting pie auction and dinner event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, raises funds to purchase and provide gifts and meals for needy families.

Then on Saturday, Dec. 3, plan to take part in the village’s old-fashioned Christmas Stroll, one of Ellicottville’s most beloved, can’t-miss events. Dozens of holiday activities take place all afternoon, including the always exciting “reindog” parade and the Living Nativity featuring live camels and talented performers who take their places at the Village Gazebo. There’s also a super exciting “Goodie Hunt” involving teams and prizes galore.

Make your plans now to join in on this one-of-a-kind holiday celebration month.

For more details and announcements about additional events and activities, visit All events will be held with snow or no, but be sure to check the Holiday Valley and HoliMont websites regularly to see about maybe doing a little boarding or skiing while you’re in town!