Stuyvesant Plaza today announced plans to usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony and the return of its weekly Holiday Strolls. The tree-lighting will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m., one day before the return of the Holiday Stroll each Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Nov. 19 and concluding Dec. 17.

The tree-lighting ceremony will occur outside of Jean Paul Spa & Salons and will feature a welcome address by Stuyvesant Plaza General Manager Rachel Ferluge; a check presentation to the Guilderland YMCA; two performances each by acapella groups Lost In Sound from Siena College and Girls Next Door from Saint Rose; a hot cocoa cart benefitting the Guilderland YMCA; and complimentary hand warmers. Stuyvesant Plaza shops and restaurants will be open during and after the ceremony so guests can begin their holiday shopping.

Each Sunday, guests can enjoy complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides by Bowman Carriages and live music by local female artist Lennox. Santa and his Elf Helper will also greet guests each week excluding December 3. The College of Saint Rose acapella group Pitch Please will perform carols during the first Holiday Stroll on Nov. 19.

“We’re thrilled to welcome our loyal guests to our tree lighting and Holiday Stroll, and we can’t wait to celebrate this wonderful time of the year with them,” said Ferluge. “Excitement is in the air as our merchants prepare for the chance to help guests select the perfect holiday gift for everyone on their list. We are also grateful to be able to introduce sensory-friendly visits with Santa this year, thanks to a partnership with Transitions USA, Albany.”

Guests can participate in a variety of activities with Santa and his Elf Helper this year, including sensory-friendly interactions during select Strolls in partnership with Transitions USA, a program focused on building academic, career and life skills for young adults with autism and other learning differences. Sensory-friendly sessions include personalized and extended 15-minute sessions with Santa, dimmed lighting, little to no music, no flashing toys or decorations, touchable Christmas trees and sensory-friendly toys and trinkets. Sensory-friendly sessions are open to everyone but are specifically designed for youth and young adults with learning differences.

Santa and his Elf Helper will be available for photos every Sunday between Warby Parker and G. Willikers from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (excludes Dec. 3; schedule subject to change).

Santa’s schedule for the final hour of each weekly visit from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. is as follows:

  • Nov. 26 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Snowflake-making and coloring with Santa at BARE Blends for $5 per person to benefit Guilderland YMCA. Sign up at
  • Dec. 10 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Sensory-Friendly Santa Hour in partnership with Transitions USA. Select a time slot at
  • Dec. 17 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Sensory-Friendly Santa Hour in partnership with Transitions USA. Select a time slot at

Additionally, Santa’s Elves will hold an Elf Story Hour on Dec. 3. Elves will read “Elf: The Classic Illustrated Storybook” during two sessions: one at 1:15 p.m. and one at 2:15 p.m. The event is free-of-charge, but space is limited so tickets are required. Sign up at Santa will not be available this day.

A popular Stuyvesant Plaza tradition, the annual window-decorating contest featuring festive holiday displays from participating retailers, will return this year and include celebrity judges Gabby Fisher of Micropolitan Matchmaker and 518GetTogether; Head Coach Colleen Mullen of the UAlbany Women’s Basketball Team; and Chris Onorato of News Channel 13.

Participating shops and restaurants include The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Circles, Delmar Bootery, Edleez Tobacco, Felthousen’s Florist, Peaches Café, The Pottery Place, Rad Soap Co., Top Shelf Wine & Spirits and Trustco Bank.

Shoppers are invited to vote for their top three windows by listing their choices on a ballot available at the Plaza’s Little Free Library, located in the breezeway between Primal, Your Local Butcher, and Rad Soap, Co.

For more information about holiday events visit Stuyvesant Plaza’s Facebook page.

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