Tags Posts tagged with "Christmas"


Jeffrey Sanzel returns as Ebenezer Scrooge for the 39th annual production of 'A Christmas Carol' at Theatre Three Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Melissa Arnold

Sure, it’s freezing outside and there’s probably a million things you need to do before the holidays arrive. But here’s a thought: before hunkering down to binge watch the newest Hallmark movies, why not enjoy some live entertainment?

Whether it’s an old classic or something new, local theaters have plenty of options for spreading holiday cheer. Here are just a few.

Community Playhouse of Northport presents ‘Elf’

Perhaps no modern character embodies the Christmas spirit more than Buddy Hobbs, famously played by Will Ferrell in the 2003 blockbuster Elf. The musical adaptation has all of the zany antics from the original film, along with fun music and some plot differences that make for a fresh experience even if you’ve seen the film.  

Life at the North Pole is all Buddy the Elf has ever known. He doesn’t know that he’s really human, raised by elves far away from his birth family. When he learns the truth, hyperactive Buddy sets out on an epic journey to find his father in New York City. Elf is a heartwarming and hilarious tale of self-discovery and family ties.

Budd (Gage Deoquino) and Jovie (Maeve Barth-Dwyer) star in ‘Elf.’ photo by Suzie Lustig

“There’s a timelessness to Elf, and Buddy has a way of charming people and making everyone feel good. Even though there’s a Christmas theme, it’s really about coming together as a family and I think everyone can relate to that,” said producer Suzie Lustig. 

Now in its 2nd season, the Community Playhouse was founded by a group of theater families who wanted to keep those traditions alive in Northport. The cast of Elf is comprised of 50 actors, giving as many people as possible the chance to get involved.

“Our youngest performer is 6 and the oldest is around 75, so there are opportunities for everyone. The relationships and connections that we’ve made are so important — we’re intentional about mentoring young performers and making everyone feel like they have a chance to grow here,” Lustig said. “Elf really fits into what we try to do with all of our shows — a multi-generational cast and a story that you can bring the entire family to. Live theater is fueled by the interaction between the performers and the audience; their enthusiasm and their laughter is what makes it such a fun and magical experience for everyone. We may be a streaming generation now, but there’s no replacement for being with a group of people and being entertained in person.”

If you go: Elf show dates are Nov. 9, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at the Brosnan Theater, 158 Laurel Avenue, Northport. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. An opportunity to meet the cast, including Santa, will precede Sunday performances at 1:30 p.m. Visit www.communityplayhousenorthport.org or call 631-683-8444 for tickets.

The Minstrel Players of Northport present  ‘A Christmas Carol’

Ask five people about their favorite version of A Christmas Carol and you’ll probably get just as many answers. Charles Dickens’ classic novella has spun off countless adaptations for the stage and screen, and it’s even common for small-town productions to add their own special touches.

Money-hungry Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t care less about the Christmas season — he’s got no family and it hurts his business. But then he’s visited by three ghosts who show him how his bad attitude affected him and others in the past, present and potential future. It’s a deeply moving story about the choices we make, facing consequences and seeking forgiveness.

At The Minstrel Players, siblings Ray and Tara Palen were inspired to combine elements from their favorite versions of A Christmas Carol while writing their adaptation. This year’s narrator role will be split into two parts, with a male and female actor each taking a turn to tell the tale.

“In our show, we run the whole gamut of Scrooge’s life. We take a close look at his time in boarding school, including his falling in love for the first time and the end of that relationship. Ultimately, Scrooge falls in love with money instead,” said director Tricia Ieronimo. “I think the general message of hope and redemption, and seeing the change of heart for someone as crotchety as Scrooge, really resonates with audiences.”

The production has run successfully for nearly 20 years, with both audiences and actors returning regularly.

“The cast is up to 33 people now, with new adults and new children getting involved. We love welcoming new faces, whether they’re acting or helping out at the theater, and watching our audiences grow as well,” Ieronimo said. “We’ve really become a family over the years and that comes through in our productions.”

If you go: A Christmas Carol will be held at 8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 10. Minstrel Players perform at the Houghton Hall Theatre at Trinity Episcopal Church, 130 Main St., Northport. For tickets, call 516-361-7232 or email [email protected].

Theatre Three of Port Jefferson presents ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Barnaby Saves Christmas’

From left, Sean Amato as Fred Halliwell and Jeffrey Sanzel as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 39th annual production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Theatre Three.
Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

Theatre Three has a longstanding tradition of performing “A Christmas Carol” each year since 1984. In fact, executive artistic director Jeffrey Sanzel has played the role of Scrooge more than 1,500 times — and he’s not tired of it yet.

“I’ve said these lines literally thousands of times, but we’re always working with new people who are bringing their own readings to their roles. Sometimes a line will strike me differently than it has before, which changes my thought process,” Sanzel said. 

The full group of 28 actors is split into two casts. The 10 adult actors will appear in every show, while the younger actors will alternate. Several of the cast members have played in the show for many years, and some have even gone on to take adult roles after making their debut as children.

They have also put their own creative spin on Dickens’ storyline.

“The script is re-adapted every year, so it’s always evolving. Sometimes it can take several years for an idea to take shape and eventually work its way into the show. What’s great is we have people come year after year because they want to see what’s different. It’s always fresh and new.”

Please note, no children under 5 are permitted at this show.

If you go: A Christmas Carol runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. Tickets are $25 per person in November; $40 adults $32 seniors and students in December. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.


If you’re looking for something lighter, Barnaby Saves Christmas has become a holiday classic in its own right since its debut performance at Theatre Three in 2004. This original children’s production was written by Douglas Quattrock, the theater’s artistic associate and director of development.

In the early 2000s. Quattrock spent some time helping out in the sales office and found that they were always getting calls asking about a show for younger children.

“I play piano and I’ve always loved writing songs, so I had this idea to write about Santa’s littlest elf. It’s a story I would tell to my nieces and nephews when they were growing up,” Quattrock recalled. “After the first performance in 2004, [Theatre Three executive artistic director] Jeffrey Sanzel started working on it with me, and the script continued to evolve into what it is today. The camaraderie between Barnaby and Franklynne is really special, and there’s a powerful message about never giving up.”

Barnaby, the littlest elf, has always been told he’s too small to make a difference. But when trouble strikes at the North Pole, it’s up to Barnaby and his pal Frankie (the littlest reindeer) to stop Christmas from being canceled. The hour-long show is a sweet and magical story of self-confidence, friendship and resilience. Barnaby even gets to meet a Jewish family on his journey, who teaches him about Hanukkah and believing in miracles.

“Doug puts his whole heart into this show. It’s like Rankin and Bass caliber – beautiful, funny, heartwarming, with catchy music and a wonderful message that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference,” Sanzel said. “There are kids who have grown up seeing it and it’s one of our best-received children’s shows, which is why we bring it back year after year.”

If you go: Barnaby Saves Christmas runs from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main Street, Port Jefferson. All seats are $12. To purchase tickets, visit www.theatrethree.com or call (631) 928-9100.

Smithtown Performing Arts Center presents ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)’

Some people love classic holiday movies and make it a tradition to watch them annually. But if you’re looking for a fun twist on those old favorites, the Smithtown Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has you covered.

This year’s holiday production, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some), was actually chosen for practical reasons.  

“We’re putting on a production of Frozen Jr. [for kids] during the winter, so we also wanted to do a show for adults that could run in the evenings while using the Frozen stage and set,” explained Kelly Mucciolo, managing director of SPAC. 

Productions like these are also known as “trunk shows” because they can be performed on any stage, feature a small cast, just a few props and little to no set decoration.

This three-man show introduces the audience to three burned-out actors that are sick of repeatedly performing A Christmas Carol year after year. They vent their frustrations to the audience before deciding to take matters into their own hands, piecing together a madcap performance that includes all of your Christmas favorites, carols, seasonal traditions from around the world and more.

“This is an off the cuff-style collection of every Christmas story you’ve ever heard of, put together in a very silly and slapdash way so you get a little bit of everything,” Mucciolo said. “This is such a happy time of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. I think this show is a fun way to spend an evening and get away from some of the hustle and bustle while still being out with your family.”

Come prepared for a little audience participation and maybe even some singing. 

Please note, this performance is recommended for ages 12 and up.

If you go: Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 23 at the Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown. Tickets are $32 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. For showtimes and to purchase, visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Kris Kringle and the St. John's Ophan Asylum Band from Brooklyn lead Cheese Club down Port Jefferson's Main Street toward Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church; charitable organization; gifts for children at St. Charles

The Cheese Club was a charitable organization formed in 1915 and comprised of members of Brooklyn’s Knights of Columbus.

Considered among the leading citizens of Brooklyn, each a “big cheese,” the group’s influential founders self-mockingly referred to themselves as the Cheese Club, though other stories about the name’s origin abound.

The Cheese Club is best known in Port Jefferson for its Christmas pilgrimage to the village, which it made without interruption from 1916-58 despite stormy weather, world wars and the Great Depression.

During each annual holiday visit, the club members gave yuletide gifts to the youngsters at the Brooklyn Home for Blind, Crippled and Defective Children, known today as St. Charles Hospital, and donated money for the year-round comfort of the handicapped boys and girls and their caregivers.

The club members and their entourage typically traveled from Flatbush to Port Jefferson on a specially chartered LIRR train, the Santa Claus Express, made up of coaches and a freight car filled with Christmas presents.

After disembarking at the Port Jefferson railroad station, Kris Kringle and the St. John’s Orphan Asylum Band from Brooklyn led the group as it marched to Infant Jesus R.C. Church at Myrtle and Main to attend Mass.

Christmas postcard. Photo courtesy the Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

Numbering 400 strong during peak years, the procession then continued to St. Charles Hospital, where the sisters of the Daughters of Wisdom, who operated the hospital and looked after its disabled charges, served a welcoming luncheon.

Following the reception, children at the hospital provided two hours of entertainment, performing as singers, dancers, musicians and actors.

When the talent show ended, Santa Claus and his helpers took the stage and gave each boy and girl a Christmas stocking stuffed with toys, candy, games, clothing and fruit.

The Daughters of Wisdom also received a check to fund various projects at the hospital and on its grounds. Over the years, the money was used to purchase radios, movie projectors and physical therapy equipment for the children, build a sun shelter, defray the costs of a memorial organ, improve the sisters’ living quarters and maintain outdoor Stations of the Cross. 

Following the establishment of the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1957 out of territory once within the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Cheese Club phased out its holiday visits to Port Jefferson and concentrated on charitable work closer to home.

The Cheese Club was a pioneer in bringing Christmas cheer to the handicapped children hospitalized in Port Jefferson and spurring other religious and nonsectarian organizations to support the disabled youngsters at St. Charles — not just at the holidays but throughout the year.

Kenneth Brady has served as the Port Jefferson Village historian and president of the Port Jefferson Conservancy, as well as on the boards of the Suffolk County Historical Society, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and Port Jefferson Historical Society. He is a longtime resident of the village.

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Holiday scents

Holiday decor is as much about the sights and sounds as it is about the scents of the season. Few things evoke the holiday spirit as much as the aroma of fresh evergreen or spicy cinnamon and cloves. Incorporating inviting aromas into holiday decor can make homes feel even more special.

Filling a home with fragrant decor takes a little ingenuity and planning. Here are some ideas to incorporate the scents of the holiday season into your decor.

Scented ornament sticks. An easy way to create a pine-like scent indoors is to select a real Christmas tree. Ask the tree farm which varieties are the most fragrant. If using an artificial tree, hang  scented ornament sticks on the tree or fill a decorative basket with pine cones and evergreen boughs for that woodsy appeal.

Experiment with scented candles. Scented candles can be found at various stores during the holiday season. Select among popular holiday aromas like pine, cinnamon, apples, and Christmas cookie varieties. 

Make holiday sachets. Some of the same ingredients for the holiday simmer can be dried and sewn into sachets. Add ribbon and hang on real or artificial trees. Or tuck the pouches into various areas around the house.

Utilize essential oils. Natural food stores and other retailers may sell essential oils, which can be diluted and sprayed on surfaces or into the air. Exercise caution around upholstery, or test for staining before use. 

Spend more time in the kitchen. Add delicious scents to the home by way of freshly baked goods or holiday meals. Nothing beats the smell of cookies right out of the oven, and the scents can linger for hours.

Make beeswax ornaments. Add scented oils to melted beeswax and pour into molds. Hang these creations as ornaments on trees or in other areas of the home.

Craft some ‘gingerbread’ ornaments. A mixture of cinnamon, applesauce and glue can be used to make ornaments or gift tags that resemble gingerbread cookies, and these ornaments have more staying power than actual cookies.

Create a seasonal scented simmer. Take to the stove to make a homemade air infusion from ingredients in and around the house. Simmer pine branches, citrus peels, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whatever else can be placed in a pot or slow cooker with water. The scents will permeate the house for hours if enough water is added to the mixture.

Design a pretty pomander. Stud an orange with cloves. Cut off the top of the orange and hollow out a place for a small tea light. The warmth of the flame will produce more scent.

Rich and inviting aromas can fill a home with the holiday spirit.

Stock photo

Here we are in the midst of the holiday season.

In the Dec. 1 TBR News Media article, “Check in with each other, yourself before approaching holidays, local doctors urge” by Daniel Dunaief, medical professionals stressed the importance of people visiting or calling loved ones and taking note of their moods.

The doctors had additional excellent advice: Check in with yourself during this busy season, too.

The last few weeks may have been overwhelming for many people with preparing the house for company, decorating and ensuring there’s a special gift for everyone.

While stressing about how clean the house is or if it’s decorated enough, sometimes what gets lost in the mayhem is that this is the season when people make more of an effort to gather, to stop for a bit and to catch up. In the grand scheme, our home doesn’t need to look like it’s ready for a photo shoot with Homes & Gardens to spend quality time with our loved ones.

It’s the time of year when we tend to reach out to those who don’t live near us, too. Whether it’s a call, text, letter or card, it is wonderful when we reconnect and take a trip down memory lane.

As for the stress of gift giving, it doesn’t have to get out of control. Following a budget and avoiding charging presents can go a long way regarding our bank balances. In addition to exchanging presents, there are so many ways to show we care. 

People can also share their talents or skills by gifting a picture they painted or a poem they wrote. A loved one may need help painting a room or raking the leaves. Why not offer the gift of time?

Sometimes the gift of time is the most cherished present of all, and many people, especially parents and grandparents, would appreciate some one-on-one time put aside for them, whether it involves a free or inexpensive activity or just talking over hot beverages.

There’s a sacred side of this season, too, that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle. Just sitting and thinking of the miracles represented by Christmas and Hanukkah can bring much-needed stress relief.

This time of year should be about hope and starting fresh in the new year. The holidays are a time for joy and laughter, a moment to celebrate the many blessings in life. Materialism and commercialization of the holidays and competing with our neighbors over holiday displays may create unnecessary pressures for us, perverting the meaning of the season.

Here’s to a relaxing holiday season filled with family and friends, from TBR News Media.

By Heidi Sutton

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. While Scrooge undergoes a transformation on the Main Stage with A Christmas Carol, Barnaby the Elf is busy making sure all the Christmas presents are delivered on time in the adorable children’s musical, Barnaby Saves Christmas. The show opened last Saturday and runs through Dec. 30. 

Written over 18 years ago by Douglas Quattrock and Jeffrey Sanzel with music and lyrics by Quattrock, it remains  as relevant as ever with the ultimate message that “every day is a golden opportunity to be better than you used to be.”

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s workshop at the North Pole is a flurry of activity. Head elf Sam (Josie McSwane) and fellow elves Blizzard (Michelle LaBozzetta) and Crystal (Kaitlyn Jehle) are busy putting the final touches on the Christmas presents and loading them on the sleigh. A fourth elf, Barnaby (Ryan Worrell), is the newest trainee and has been given one task by Santa (Sean Amato) — to make a little stuffed bear with dark blue pants, buckles on his shoes and a bright yellow vest. 

When it’s time to deliver the presents to all the good little girls and boys, Barnaby is left behind with Mrs. Claus (Danielle Pafundi). He soon realizes that Santa has left the stuffed bear behind and convinces Blizzard’s fawn Franklynne (Samantha Fierro) to find Santa and “save Christmas.”   

On their adventure they crash land on the roof of the house of Sarah (Danielle Pafundi) and her nephew Andrew (Sean Amato) and learn all about Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights. They also come across S.B. (spoiled brat) Dombulbury (Steven Uihlein), a Scrooge in his own right who has stuffed up all the chimneys with coal with his partner in crime Irving (Jason Furnari), in order to ruin Christmas and has hypnotized Crystal and Blizzard to help him. With the help of his friends, Barnaby will save the day but just wait until you see how!

Directed by Sanzel, the entire cast does an incredible job telling this heartwarming story. The wonderful songs, accompanied on piano by Quattrock, are just lovely, with special mention to Worrell’s solo “Still With a Ribbon on Top,” Pafundi’s solo “Miracles” and Amato’s solo “Within Our Hearts.”

Gorgeous costumes that sparkle and shine for the holidays by Jason Allyn, the incredible lighting by Steven Uihlein and the great choreography by Sari Feldman tie it all together with a beautiful holiday bow. I can think of 100 reasons to go see this show but I will only give the first — it is an unforgettable experience the entire family will love. Elf and reindeer souvenirs will be sold before the show and during intermission and the entire cast will be in the lobby after the show for photos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Barnaby Saves Christmas on Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24, 28, 29 and 20 at 11 a.m. Children’s theater continues with The House That Jack Built from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4, 2023 and Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz from Feb. 22 to March 18, 2023. All seats are only $10. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society hosted its annual Visit with Mailman Mark event on the grounds of the historic 1720 William Miller House on Dec. 5. 

Children eagerly lined up in front of the building that once served as the area’s original post office to greet Mailman Mark and give him their letter to Santa who promised that they would all receive letters back from the North Pole before Christmas.

The well-attended event also featured a vintage fire truck complete with a Dalmatian mascot named Sparky, holiday crafts, story time, raffle baskets and delicious holiday cookies. 

Proceeds from the event will be used for the preservation and restoration of the William Miller House, the oldest home in Miller Place. 

—­ All photos by Heidi Sutton 

To help maintain social distancing, but still with the holiday spirit, the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce hosted their second drive-thru Santa visit and letter drop off on Saturday, Dec. 4.

President Jennifer Dzvonar said that for decades, the chamber has hosted Santa at the Port Jefferson Station Train Car. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 they opted for a drive-thru visit, instead. 

During the free event, kids were able to unroll their car windows, say hello to the man in red — who waited in his sleigh— and then pull their cars to a mailbox where they drooped letters to the North Pole. 

“Last year everyone raved about the drive-thru, and everyone seems to enjoy it,” Dzvonar said. 

Raffle tickets were also sold to help the chamber’s flag fund.

— All photos by Julianne Mosher

The tree at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai will be lit on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. File photo by Kyle Barr

By Heidi Sutton

Enjoy caroling, treats, tree lightings, special visits from Santa, and more on the North Shore this weekend. Check next week’s TIMES … and dates for tree lightings taking place on Dec. 11 and 12.

Cold Spring Harbor

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will host a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will light the hatchery’s Christmas Tree at 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Suggested donation of $10 per family. 516- 692-6768.


The Greenlawn Civic Association hosts a will host a “Meet at the Tree” Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at the Harborfields Public Library Front Circle. Join them for a celebration that includes holiday music, hot cocoa and treats, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus with the Greenlawn Fire Department. A food/gift card drive will also take place to benefit HACO. www.greenlawncivic.org.

Kings Park

The Kings Park Chamber of Commerce hosts a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Veterans Plaza, King Park on Dec. 4 at 4:15 p.m. Enjoy holiday music selections followed by invocation and welcome remarks from the chamber with hot chocolate and cookies for all. 631-269-7678

Mount Sinai

Join the Heritage Trust and the Mount Sinai Fire Department for a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Heritage Park, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road, Mount Sinai on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. Listen to carols, enjoy hot chocolate and visit with Santa. 631-509-0882.

St. James

The St. James Chamber of Commerce invites the community to a Christmas Tree Lighting at Deepwells Farm County Park, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James on Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. with holiday music, pictures with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate. 631-584-8510.

Stony Brook

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts a Holiday Tree Lighting at the Stony Brook Village Center Green, 111 Main St., Stony Brook on Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the WMHO’s 42nd annual Holiday Festival. 631-751-2244.

Wading River

Join The Shoppes at East Wind, 5768 Route 25A, Wading River for a Holiday Tree Lighting on Dec. 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. Stop by to put a letter in Santa’s mailbox, enjoy music and dancing, and more holiday fun including holiday shopping at their Winter Fest. Santa arrives on a Fire Truck to light the tree and take free photo with families. Santa will also be at the Shoppes on Dec. 11 and 18 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. 631-929-3500

Toys collected by Exit Realty Island Elite
Photo from EXIT Eealty Island Elite

In gratitude for the support shown to EXIT Realty Island Elite by the local community, the real estate brokerage recently started collecting toys for the RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE and GIVE KIDS HOPE INC. charities for Jackson’s Toys Drive.

Before he lost his fight to cancer, Jackson asked his mother about whether the children spending their holidays in the hospital received gifts. He believed that no child should go without… that gift-giving was part of the healing process, a way to brighten up their stay and give them hope. Ever since, his mother has worked tirelessly to give throughout Long Island.

“We are proud to be partnered again with JACKSON’S TOY DRIVE, so that we can keep Jackson’s dream alive. The  support of the  local community has been phenonemal.  This year we  will have collected hundreds of toys! That will make a big difference during these challenging times ,” says Jason Furnari, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Island Elite located at 4699 Nesconset Highway, Suite 2, in Port Jefferson Station.  For more information, call 631-331-4000 or visit  www.EXITRealtyIslandElite.com.

Town of Brookhaven's Youth Bureau head Josephine Lunde, along with Centereach resident and matriarch of the donation drive EJ's PJs Patricia Poggi stand among the hundreds of pajamas donated for children who need them. Photo from Poggi

Ten years on, and a Centereach family and friends are still donating pajamas for kids to warm themselves during the holiday months. This year, despite the pandemic, has been their biggest drive yet.

Hundreds of pajamas were donated to the Town of Brookhaven’s INTERFACE program to help give kids that warm holiday feeling on these cold nights. Photo from Patricia Poggi

The Centereach Poggi family, which includes mom Patricia and her three sons, started EJ’s PJs in 2011 when the mother’s brother asked her two older sons, Edward and Jeremy, to find a charity to donate to instead of giving them gifts. 

“Because we always wore ‘Poggi plaid’ pajamas on Christmas morning, we came up with the concept to start our own pajama drive so that clouds would be able to feel warm, comfy and cozy and have a fresh pair or brand new pajamas feeling,” Patricia Poggi said.

Her youngest son, Patrick, was 1-years-old when it got started, and now he is 11, having grown up participating in the drive.

At first, their drive included just a single bin on the front porch of the Poggi residence, but now with the support of many local shops throughout Brookhaven, EJ’s PJs has ramped up to include 22 drop off boxes all throughout the town. 

Last year, I started getting into a few businesses to help us in hopes that our 10th year would get us to our highest and it did,” Patricia Poggi said.

Jeremy Poggi, a student at Centereach High School, helped facilitate work with one of the school clubs to generate extra donations. 

“This year was easily our biggest year,” he said. 

And in a year of COVID, when more and more people are struggling financially, such generosity is felt even moreso.

“We are thankful for the support of our new and existing partners who are committed to make this 10th year our biggest pajama drive yet,” Messina wrote in an email. “In a year where the world has been turned upside down, we are grateful to be able to do our small part with the community’s assistance to provide a warm and cozy pair of pajamas to children and teens in need.”