Events INSIDER: Dec 9-17, 2013

Giveaways & Features
Win: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Anthem Theatre
This version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ features traditional Victorian Hymms and carols, and remains authentic to Dickens’ intentions. You can see it for yourself, too! We have two pairs of tickets to giveaway to the 12/11 show. Win: 'A Christmas Carol' at Anthem TheatreThe Plaza Black Box Theatre Boston, MA, .
Win / Review: Boston Holiday Duck Tours
Even if you’re *from* Boston, I heartily encourage you to check out The Boston Duck boat tours. They combine history, a cool, water-faring vehicle, and a bit more humor than you’d expect to create a truly unique, boston-centric, expierence. Learn the origin of ‘Bean Town’, drive past the oldest buildings, a piece of the Berlin wall, and if you Quack nicely, they’ll even let you drive the boat. We’re giving away two tickets for this for 12/15 and 12/22, and you can enter by e-mailing Win / Review: Boston Holiday Duck Tours Boston, MA, .
Win: ‘The Nutcracker’ At Boston Ballet
Boston’s Nutcracker suite is one of the most popular events in town during the Holiday Season, and we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the 12/13 Matinee show! Enter at Win: 'The Nutcracker' At Boston BalletThe Boston Opera House Boston, MA, .
Win / Review: Not Jenny
Not Jenny’ looks to be a dramatic affair with car crashes, broken dreams, broken bones, with a darkly humorous twist. Win a pair of tickets to ‘Not Jenny’ for the 12/11, 7:30 PM show by e-mailing Win / Review: Not JennyStanford Calderwood Pavilion Boston, MA, .
Win / Review: Miracle on 34th Street
Miracle on 34th street is kind of like a kiddie version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ where a girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, well…I’lll let you find out for yourself. Win two pairs of tickets to the December 26th peformance. E-mail to win! Win / Review: Miracle on 34th StreetStoneham Theatre Stoneham, MA, .
Win / Review: ‘The Slutcracker’
Yes. The Slutcracker is a real show. Yes it’s probably what you think it is, combining the classic Nutcracker Suite with burlesque-y things, ribald humor, and zany, over-the-top antics. And of course you want to see it! Thus we’re giving two pairs of tickets to the 12/19 show. Thank me later, and enter to win via Win / Review: 'The Slutcracker'Somerville Theatre Somerville, MA, .
Win: Elvis & The Beatles: The Greatest Concert That Never Was
Elvis and The Beatles, the best concert that never was, now *is*. How zen. Thanks to the Mahoney Brothers, that dream that many thought would never come true, has via these virtuoso impersonators who are so good even Dick Clark, who met the *actual* Beatles and *actual* Elvis, thinks this concert is ‘Absolutely Incredible’. Even better? Win we have a pair of tickets for 12/14 show. E-mail to win. 8pm. Win: Elvis & The Beatles: The Greatest Concert That Never WasRegent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA, .
Win: The Mahoney Brothers’ Juke Box Heroes LIVE
Elvis. Ricky Nelson. Buddy Holly. The Beach Boys? The Beatles?! The Everly Brothers!? What is this black magic? How can you get all these legendary acts on one stage for one show? Via fancy costumes, quality production, and outstanding talent of the Mahoney Brothers, who turn musical impersonation into an artform. Win two tickets to the 12/13 show by e-mailing Win: The Mahoney Brothers' Juke Box Heroes LIVERegent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA, .
Win / Review: Boston Holiday Pops
The Boston Pops are a tradition! I went in 5th grade, fully expected to dislike it because I was, ya know, a kid, and loved every minute of it. It’s a real treat. Win / Review: Boston Holiday PopsSymphony Hall Boston, MA, .
Win / Review: Stella and Lou by Bruce Graham
Win two tickets to this play about world-weary bargoers. There are 2 pairs of tickets available to win for the 12/8 performance at 7PM! Email to win. Just don’t shot shout out ‘Shots! Shots!’ inbetween acts. 7:30pm. Win / Review: Stella and Lou by Bruce Graham Lowell, MA, .
Win: I Have a Dream: An Interfaith Choral Experience
Win two tickets to ‘I Have a Dream: An Interfaith Choral Experience’. Email to win! Win: I Have a Dream: An Interfaith Choral ExperienceBerenson Hall Hebrew Coll Newton, MA, .
Johnny’s Picks
Geminids Meteor Shower
Marvel at a free, universe-provided light show. The Geminids are one of only a few annual meteor showers, peaking just after midnight on Dec 14th. Make sure to go to a lake or big field; someplace without any street lights. Geminids Meteor ShowerGo somewhere without city lights All Over, , .
Science on Screen: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit merged Disney and Warner Brothers, and live action and animation so perfectly that it’s a fantastically entertaining film AND fascinating behind-the-scenes production story. Learn a little bit about this spectacular film, and the laws of cartoon physics at the Coolidge Corner Theater. 7:00 pm. Science on Screen: Who Framed Roger RabbitCoolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA, .
Holiday Caroling with Arlington Street Church
The 7th annual Arlington Street Church carol-along. This is at a church that’s Unitarian, so it shouldn’t be too heavy with spirituality, though pews tend to be pretty uncomfortable. 1pm. Holiday Caroling with Arlington Street ChurchChurch Boston, MA, .
Gingerbread House Decorating
Decorate gingerbread houses pre-cooked and assembled by the hotel’s pastry Chef at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, so all the hard work is done for you. What’s left is decorating them with gum drops, frosting, candy ribbons, and whatever else you can muster up, maybe even a Junior Mint driveway. Call 617-806-4250 for reservations and times. Gingerbread House DecoratingRoyal Sonesta Hotel Cambridge, MA, .
Boston Tea Party, Old South Meeting House
Happy Anniversary! It’s the 240th year since Bostonians introduced sea life to the wonders of Caffeine- or the Boston Tea Party for you history nuts. The event of the week is protesting British tax on tea! Nothing says, ‘Screw you guys,’ like turning the local harbor into a giant pot of Darjeeling, right? Re-enactors will lead you through an old towne meeting and then sort of role-play actually dumping the tea into the harbor (though you stay warm indoors). 6:30pm. Boston Tea Party, Old South Meeting HouseOld South Meeting House Boston, MA, .
Stars and Meteors at the Holidays: Geminids
Unsure about how to look for meteors? If you want some extra assistance and education, this state park has a yearly primer with an astronomer Pre-register to attend. 8:30-10:30pm. Cloud/rain date: 12/15. Stars and Meteors at the Holidays: GeminidsBroadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary Natick, MA, .
Model Train Weekend at National Heritage Museum
There are plenty of non-Xmas events this week, and thank goodness. This one is the annual display by the National Railroad Association, which is only $7, but the museum itself is free and is always free, and features revolutionary war exhibits and other New England history. Sat 10am-4:30pm, Sun 12-4pm. Model Train Weekend at National Heritage MuseumNational Heritage Museum Lexington, MA, .
Gingerbread Castle Competition
Why settle for a gingerbread house when you could build a castle? That means there’s more to eat afterwards, right? Stop by the Higgins Armory to see if anyone’s attempting a confectionery Hogwartz with an Eggnog Moat.THIS MUSEUM IS CLOSING on all HIGGINS EVENTS, so this is your last chance to see it. 10am-3pm. Gingerbread Castle CompetitionHiggins Armory Museum, 100 Barber Avenue, Worcester, MA, .
Moonlight Hike for Adults
Take *that* kids. This moonlight hike is for adults! With jobs, and cars, and 401ks, and liver spots! Mass Audubon gets that adults are super stressed this time of year, so naturally giving them a chance to get some peace, quiet, and exercise in via a moonlight walk could be just the thing they need to recharge those batteries before the Holiday chaos begins to get real. 2013:6-8pm. Moonlight Hike for AdultsWachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary Princeton, MA, .
The Fright Before Christmas
The Evil Demon ‘Krampus’ takes over Christmas, and invites haunted house fans from all over New England to experience the Holiday Fear. Mwahahahahaha! The Fright Before Christmas is a one-night only (Dec. 14th) Holiday haunted house in New Hampshire which combines Christmas and horror. I think that’s called Walmart on Black Friday. There’s also a costume contest and games! No time given on website, but the twitter has you covered. Spooky! 6pm-11pm. The Fright Before ChristmasFright Kingdom Nashua, NH, .
Full Moon Twilight Hike & Bonfire
I’m not saying a delightful 1.5 hour hike, bonfire, and wines tasting sounds like the setup for a ‘Blair Witch Project’ sequel…Okay I am saying that. Seriously though, this looks great, including Native American Traditions, and a snow-shoe component if the ground permits. 7pm (arrive early for registration). Full Moon Twilight Hike & BonfireHilltop Orchards Richmond, MA, .
Caroling at the New England Wireless and Steam Museum
Another caroling event to round off the week. Everyone’s encouraged to bake and share something yummy! Just avoid gluten, peanut butter, trans-fats, wheat, and white flour if you’d like to avoid litigation. 5:00-6:30pm. Caroling at the New England Wireless and Steam MuseumThe New England Wireless and Steam Museum East Greenwich, RI, .
Geminid Meteor Shower at Frosty Drew
Look at thousands of meteors and millions of stars in four different ways at Frosty Drew Observatory, which offers public stargazing every Friday. In this case that public stargazing syncs up perfectly with the Geminids. 6:30pm. Geminid Meteor Shower at Frosty DrewFrosty Drew Observatory, Ninigret Park Charlestown, RI, .
Get the 2013 New England Guide
Mention my website to friends and get my 2013 New England Guide, with 1,200 off-beat destinations including dinosaur footprints, zoos, ziplines, where to go stargazing, and where to find an indoor water park in December! Get the 2013 New England Guide All Over, , .
Find 16 New England Regions on Twitter
Hey! I’ve split my Twitter feed into 17 regions so that you can REALLY get just the events close to home, or pick what you like. Please check it out and add me to a ‘Twitter list’ too (google it). Find 16 New England Regions on Twitter All Over, , .
Also Fun
Wonderland: Artists’ Market
These artists don’t just want to show off their crafts, they want you to buy some of their work that is probably winter or christmas themed! They promise unique finds that will dazzle and amaze so check it out for yourself and see if they’re right. I’m pretty sure this will be outdoors in the sculpture park. 10am-5:30pm. Wonderland: Artists' MarketDeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Lincoln, MA, .
Kwanzaa Concert
Kwanzaa honors the ‘Nguzo Saba’ which contains seven principles including unity, creativity, peace, self determination, cooperative economics, and more. This Kwanzaa concert is not participatory, which is a shame, because it’s the only Kwanzaa event I’ve heard of. Friday: 7pm and Saturday: 3pm. Kwanzaa ConcertRoxbury Community College – Media Arts Center Boston, MA, .
East Meets West Fundraiser for AIC Boston
This fundraiser for the American Islamic Congress is a classy Back Bay affair honoring several Islamic men and women that did extraordinary things this year, Mediterranean Cuisine (hopefully Shwarma!), music, and a silent auction. Tickets are as little as $35, which is really reasonable for a dinner benefit. 6pm. East Meets West Fundraiser for AIC BostonBack Bay Boston, MA, .
Holiday Tea and Tours
This popular 1806 estate is holding a special high tea, followed by a guided tour. There doesn’t seem to be anything particularly Austenish about it, but I think guests dress up! Bust out your Regency finest. Tea time is 1pm. Holiday Tea and ToursGore Place Waltham, MA, .
Candy Land Tournament
The 9th annual Candy Land tournament! The board game that any 2 year old can play because it involves no skill whatsoever! And meant to get you to come shop at Faneuil Hall, of course. 10am-12pm. Candy Land TournamentFaneuil Hall Boston, MA, .
Cookie Swap for a Cause
A…cookie swap. Interesting. For every cookie swapped a dollar is donated to charity, but the rules and regulations of his event remain nebulous. However it’s popular and features cookies, some of which are free, so I doubt you’d have a bad time. There’s also a best cookie contest. 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (EST). Cookie Swap for a Cause Boston, MA, .
Belmont World Film’s The Good Man
The Good Man’ is a….’finely tuned, extremely well balanced script is bolstered by powerful yet understated performances and straightforward storytelling.’ if Film Ireland is to be believed, and I believe them. Catch the New England Debut 12/16. Trailer: 7:30pm. Belmont World Film's The Good ManStudio Cinema Belmont, MA, .
Dancing for a Cure
This looks pretty spectacular, with dozens of dancers on stage all tapping, turning, and swinging in time. Dancing for a cure benefits breast cancer and ovarian cancer research, and if you’re into dance, or helping fight cancer, this is a great event for a great cause, to check out. Sat. 2pm and 7pm, Sun: 7pm. Dancing for a CureBarnstable High School, 744 W. Main St., Hyannis, MA, .
Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature
Picture book themed Christmas trees highlight this Children’s literary wonderland that starts Nov. 27th in Concord, Ma. Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's LiteratureConcord Museum Concord, MA, .
Annual Inn-to-Inn Cookie Tour
Cookie…tour? As in, an entire tour dedicated to cookies? Am I dreaming? I feel like I’m dreaming. Visit 14 inns across New Hampshire, all offering various cookie treats, and receive a special reward (no, not XXL pants), for doing so! You’re encouraged to make a weekend out of it, with lodging rates and dinner available. 11am-4pm. Annual Inn-to-Inn Cookie Tour Albany, NH, .
Heritage Holidays Festival
ATV drawn hay rides, free gingerbread cookie decorating, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, tons of festively decorated cabins, a Christmas-themed ‘Readers Theater’, a real blacksmith, several ‘animated’ characters, and about fifteen other awesome things make ‘Heritage Holidays’ stand way, *way* out. Plus, Berlin, NH’s website features my favorite quote from ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ – ‘What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.’ So you know their heart is in the right place, too. 3-8pm. Heritage Holidays FestivalNorthern Forest Heritage Park Berlin, NH, .
Wenham Museum’s Gingerbread Contest
This is a gingerbread house contest, with all kinds of surprisingly large and intricate displays, including one with model trains. I’ve been to the Wenham Museum and it’s one of these New England-y places in the middle of nowhere with a world class attitude and is really worth a visit. 10am-4pm. Wenham Museum's Gingerbread ContestWenham Museum Wenham, MA, .
Stars and Meteors at the Holidays
I love this. It’s an outdoor event with an astronomer to teach you the night sky at a local park which I assume is gloriously beautiful in the dark. 8:30-10:30pm. Stars and Meteors at the Holidays Natick, MA, .
Prudence Island Tour and Seal Watch
Take a nature oriented buddy, and prepare for a four hour tour as Rhode Island’s Autobahn society hosts a Prudence Island expedition and seal watch, which will feature an expert educating participants on the life cycle of Seals while checking out all sorts of island locations via van! Do *not* bring a beach ball for seals to balance on their nose. They don’t like that. 9:45 am-4:30 pm. Prudence Island Tour and Seal WatchAudubon Society of Rhode Island Smithfield, RI, .
Review: Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights
All Holiday season long you can head to Edaville USA to see their light display. This might be a great thing to check out after you visit their Polar Express adventure. Plus, you get to see beautiful lights from a warm, dry train now that is ideal! Review: Edaville's Christmas Festival of LightsEdaville USA Carver, MA, .
Candlelight Walk
Take a candle light walk as you ‘delight in the smells and sounds of animals in the crisp winter air’ while you stroll through barns, explore the grounds, then partake in a post-walk bake sale and cocoa offerings. 5:30pm -8:00pm. Candlelight WalkWinslow Farm Animal Sanctuary Norton, MA, .
Review: Bright Nights in Springfield
Bright Nights appears to be a drive-through safari, but instead of wild animals, you’re checking out thousands of Holiday lights. And if the website is to be believed, there’s a ‘Dr. Seuss’ land. 11/27 is opening night, and offers over half off admission. Review: Bright Nights in SpringfieldForest Park Springfield, MA, .
Higgins Armory is Closing
The Higgins Armory is closing at the end of 2013! Come explore the weapons, suits of armor, and learn old-timey combat from re-enactors. Higgins Armory is ClosingHiggins Armory Museum, 100 Barber Avenue, Worcester, MA, .
Ho Ho Holidays
Country Christmas Open House
Country Christmas is almost always a code word for rustic decorations and delicious treats. This one has jams and mulled cider, along with a gift shop with all manner of jellies and relishes. If you or someone you know is an HGTV fanatic, this could be a fun adventure. 10am-4pm. Country Christmas Open HouseGreen Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen, 6 Discovery Hill Rd, Sandwich, MA, .
BLINK! At Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Talk about Xmas bombardment! The lights will be on through January 5th but the fun gets going on November 23rd with all day fun with various musical and dance performances. 12pm for 11/23 day long event, lights will be on every night after through 1/5. BLINK! At Faneuil Hall MarketplaceFaneuil Hall Boston, MA, .
Brighton Center Tree Lighting
Oldies 103, hot cocoa, cookies, participatory caroling, tree lighting, and Santa on a fire truck. 6pm. Brighton Center Tree LightingBrighton Center Boston, MA, .
Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along
This country fusion act is another great-looking show at Club Passim this week. 8pm. Sweetback Sisters Country Christmas Sing-Along Cambridge, MA, .
Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting
If you’re going to attend one of these merchant-driven Holiday Strolls, this is a nice place to do it. Charles Street has a lot to offer: Old-Boston charm, legendary art and antiques dealers, cool architecture, and fanciest convenience store I’ve ever seen. 6-9pm. Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll and Tree LightingBeacon Hill Boston, MA, .
Shop Inman By Moonlight
This one’s even better — I’ve been there and recommend it highly. They’ll have hot cider, wandering carolers, a scavenger hunt, and soaks in the hot tub (bring a bathing suit) at Inman Oasis. Santa will be there, too. At least, that’s what they did last year. No mention of a hot tub on this year’s website. 6pm-11:59pm. Features a walking tour. Shop Inman By MoonlightInman Square Cambridge, MA, .
Lexington Messiah’ Sing
Holy Handel! Another Messiah sing! At this one, you are free to join along, for the good or ill of the people standing next to you. 8pm both days. Lexington Messiah' SingCarey Hall Lexington, MA, .
Holiday Caroling on High Street Hill
It’s not too late for Xmas caroling! This one is always Christmas Eve at 5:45pm on the Upland Road Green. It’s been happening for 30 years at the same time – and surely some residents have gone every single year hoping once, just once, they’d do ‘Dominick The Donkey’ (eehaww eehaww). 5:45. Holiday Caroling on High Street HillPhilbrick Square Brookline, MA, .
Santa and Holiday Teas at Gore place
Tea with Santa. I guess the big guy would drink tea as opposed to coffee, and it’s nice of him to share his drink of choice with the masses. For 35 dollars you, yes *you* could sip with Santa. Santa and Holiday Teas at Gore placeGore Place Waltham, MA, .
Illuminations Tour
A trolley tour of local, holiday decorated houses? I’m listening. It ends with choral music, hot cocoa, and cookies at Somerville City Hall? I’m sold! There’s also a bike tour. 4:30pm-10:00pm. Illuminations TourSomerville City Hall Somerville, MA, .
Santa Speedo Run
This is a charity event where you race naked except for sneakers, speedos, and Santa beards & caps – and year-to-date it’s raised over a million dollars for charity. And there’s a post-run celebration that hopefully includes blankets and pants. They run east on Boylston and then west on Newbury St. 1pm run, check in starts at 10am. Santa Speedo RunLir Boston, MA, .
POSTPONED: Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride
Or perhaps you’d prefer to ride a bicycle than run in a speedo. This is a 22 mile ride from Arlington to Boston and back, while caroling, with a holiday party afterwards to combat homelessness – Costumes encouraged. POSTPONED TO SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22.Ciclismo Classico Jingle RideJam N’ Java Arlington, MA, .
The Clancy Legacy Celtic Christmas
A Celtic music-infused journey through Christmas, Pagan traditions, the solstice, and much more. This 12/13 event in Bristol, RI presents both instrumental pieces and songs sung aloud, and if you’re peckish before attending, the nearby DeWolf Tavern is offering dinner specials. Celtic music is great, and once you hear it in person, you can’t get enough. 7:30pm. The Clancy Legacy Celtic ChristmasLinden Place Museum Bristol, RI, .
Glassblowers Christmas
See the beauty of hundreds of glass ornaments all the way through christmas. Ornaments are a great way to honor memories and this event could be a great way to make some new ones! Glassblowers ChristmasSandwich Glass Museum Sandwich, MA, .
Gardens Aglow Celebration of Lights
Santa on a train, Santa on a boat, Santa in a sleigh, and now, Santa in a Ford Model T at the Heritage Museums and Gardens. A vintage carousel adds entertainment value, as does live music and dance performances. Also the crafts and decorating you’d come to expect from such events are present and accounted for. 5-9pm. Gardens Aglow Celebration of LightsHeritage Museums and Gardens Sandwich, MA, .
A Christmas Carol
A Readers’ Theatre adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ gives way to actual chestnuts roasting over an open fire and brass music. Readers’ Theatre is an interesting way to put on a show, as it normally includes a narrator and extra-textual elements. If you’re curious, check it out! 3pm, 6pm, or 7:30pm. A Christmas CarolChurch of the Transfiguration, Bay View Dr Orleans, MA, .
Pancakes with Santa
Pancakes are the best of all breakfast starches, and Santa Claus strikes me as a fellah who likes such treats, so much so that he’s eating pancakes THREE times in three hours. Plus a felt / syrup related miss-hap would be worth the price of admission alone! 7:30am, 8:30am, and 9:30am. Pancakes with SantaGrange Hall, 91 Old County Rd., Sandwich, MA, .
Holly Days Home Tour
In addition to Holiday Home Tours, ‘Holly Days’ in Sandwhich, MA, taught me a new word. ‘Docent’. Do you know what a docent is? No? Well every single home tour will have one stationed inside it. You can cheat and google, or you can actually go and find out for yourself. 12pm-4pm. Holly Days Home TourThe Fessenden House Sandwich, MA, .
Olde Mistick Village’s Festival of Lights
Over 4000 luminaries at Old Mystick Village’s festival of lights. There’s two kinds of Christmas lights, the bright and colorful ‘wow’ kind, and then those that, when done right, amaze you with simple beauty. This appears to be the latter, it’s bathed in atmosphere. They’re also offering historical decorations, ragtime music, and refreshments. 5:30-9:30pm. Olde Mistick Village's Festival of LightsOlde Mistick Village Mystic, CT, .
TubaChristmas – Ayer
Bringing 200 tubas together — and no other instruments — is both crazy fun and a real treat for those brass players who rarely (okay, never) get the limelight. It’s always those damn violinists and trumpeters. There are a TON of TubaChristmas events all over New England. Here are two. 1pm. TubaChristmas - AyerAyer Town Hall Ayer, MA, .
Santa Paws & Grinch Photos
Do police dogs need a bulletproof vest? I suppose that depends on how likely a police dog is to be shot. What do I google to learn that? Well, this Santa Claus fundraiser helps dogs that (maybe) need it. Santa Paws & Grinch PhotosCanton, Lakeville, Medway Canton, MA, .
Gingerbread House Classes
This has a chef, A CHEF – who went to school for years, teaching you to make Gingerbread houses. That’s like Tom Brady teaching 4th grade gym class, folks. If you (or your kid) have a fastidious eye for art, cooking, confections, and architecture *and* won’t eat the dang thing the moment you get home, this may be the one of the coolest craft events in town. 9am. Gingerbread House ClassesZebra’s Bistro Medfield, MA, .
Dover Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Another standard town tree-lighting event. Dover Holiday Tree Lighting CeremonyDover Town Hall Dover, MA, .
Handel’s – Messiah Community Sing-Along
Wayland Mass puts on it’s own sing-along version of Handel’s Messiah. I think if you go too four of these across New England, the fifth one is free. 7:30pm. Handel's - Messiah Community Sing-AlongWayland High School Auditorium Wayland, MA, .
The Gift of Lights
I’m not a Christian, but I do love these Xmas nighttime attractions of lights. This is one of the largest displays of holiday lights in New England. The Gift of Lights Loudon, NH, .
Christmastime at Santa’s Village
This is where Christmas memories that last a lifetime are made. They have 14 different rides including a carousel and bumper cars. This year they’ve added a 3-D movie. Christmastime at Santa's Village Jefferson, NH, .
Santa’s Holiday Express at Conway Scenic Railroad
Another Holiday train, this time offering cookies, pictures, hot chocolate, Santa, and elves. Conway railroad is a New England institution, and if you’ve never been, maybe a little ho-ho-holiday fun could be just the excuse! 2013:11:30am. Santa's Holiday Express at Conway Scenic RailroadConway Scenic Railroad, 38 Norcross Circle, North Conway, NH, .
Santa Express Trains at Hobo Railroad
The Hobo railroad is national treasure, with foilage trains being something like the leaf peeping superbowl. The holiday train is decorated for the season, and Santa and his elves are onboard for the ride, too. 1pm. Santa Express Trains at Hobo RailroadHobo RR 64 Railroad St. Lincoln, NH, .
Polar Express
This event seems pretty adamant about the fact they’re the first ever ‘Polar Express’, that they’re really going to the North Pole, and when you get there, the main character from ‘The Polar Express’ will read the book about his Christmas journey to passengers in a special North Pole theater. Wild. I appreciate the dedication – and so does everyone else, judging by the limited ticket availability. Polar ExpressJackson Village Jackson, NH, .
Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth & Candlelight Stroll
Vintage Trolleys, vintage lighting techniques (candles), vintage holiday cheer, a parade, tree lighting, and a candle light stroll with vintage Christmas carols, vintage transport (horses!), vintage craftsmen (a Tinsmith!), makes Portsmith NH’s Vintage Christmas the most post-modern event of the Holiday Season. 1:30-10:30pm. Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth & Candlelight StrollVarious Locations Portsmouth, NH, .
Wolfeboro Festival of Trees
60 uniquely decorated Christmas trees on two floors at the Wolfboro Wright museum, along with samples of local restaurant’s ‘best fare’. All you need to get me anywhere is that last part! Wolfeboro Festival of TreesWolfeboro Festival of Trees, Wright Museum Wolfeboro, NH, .
Christmas at Canterbury
Here’s a day of holiday cheer, Shaker style, with a silent film event with live organ accompaniment. I bet their shop is stocked with lots of Simple Gifts and baked goods – get it? Shake and bake? I’ll go now. 3pm-8pm. Christmas at Canterbury Canterbury, NH, .
TubaChristmas – NH
Here’s another Totally Tubular Tuba event! See the website for other events all over New Hampshire, and the rest of New England. TubaChristmas - NHAll Over Keene, NH, .
Holiday Lights at ‘The Farm’
HEAD to Chesterfield NEW HAMPSHIRE to look at THOUSANDS of holiday lights at ‘THE FARM’. Admission is FREE but cash and food donations are ACCEPTED and will go to a local FOOD PANTRY. Sorry, the website is just so enthusiastic I wanted to ensure I communicated that here, so I copied their pattern of capitalizing the fun words. Seriously though, this looks great! 6pm-9pm. Holiday Lights at 'The Farm'The Farm, Pond Brook Rd. Chesterfield, NH, .
Gilford Village Candlelight Stroll
Over 1000 candles in Gilford, NH as their Holiday Stroll tradition continues featuring elaborately decorated houses, with some of them opening and offering treats to strollers. Gilford Village Candlelight StrollGilfordVillage Gilford, NH, .
Christmas Festival at Moulton Farm
Rustic, Christmas on a farm events are fun, and there’s something kinda…back-to-nature-ish about petting a goat or two, as well. This event has the aforementioned goats for petting, crafts, hot cocoa, and Santa arrives via tractor (naturally). 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Christmas Festival at Moulton FarmMoulton Farm Meredith, NH, .
Christmas Tours at the Gables
Holiday Tours in Salem are always fun, it’s such an eerie place. This tour takes you through the holiday decorated House of Seven Gables and provides a brief history of how Christmas has changed through the years. Aside: I got stuck in this house’s secret passage once and it almost became the House of Seven gables and a chubby 8th grader who should walk sideways through tight corners. 10am-5pm. Christmas Tours at the GablesThe House of the Seven Gables Salem, MA, .
Holiday Delights
I think….Gloucester’s website is playing a trick on me. This ‘Holiday Delights’ production isn’t forthcoming with the details. A 2010 description says it’s a student-performed production featuring songs, educational elements about different holiday traditions, with Mrs. Claus injecting herself into ‘A Christmas Carol’. I don’t know what else to say other than that sounds absolutely fantastic. 3pm and 7pm. Holiday DelightsGloucester Stage, 267 East Main St., Gloucester, MA, .
Newburyport Holiday Sing-A-Long
I love opportunities for participatory caroling, especially when it involves live piano. Santa will be there too! Just $3, and get tix early, because the event sells out. 11am-12pm. Newburyport Holiday Sing-A-LongFirehouse Center for the Arts, Market Square Newburyport, MA, .
Christmas with Dickens
Dickens inspired dramatics, dances, music, carolers, and carriage rides, all to benefit charity. Makes a nice change from all these merchant events! 2013:1-3pm. Christmas with DickensPeabody Institute Library Danvers, MA, .
Santa Brunch at the Hawthorne Hotel
The website is so fancy I feel under-dressed just reading it, and I imagine this brunch with Santa is similarly done up, with things like eggs Benedict, sausage, eggs, eggnog, waffles, pancakes, and more melon types than you can count. My favorite is Cantaloupe. 11am-2pm. Santa Brunch at the Hawthorne Hotel Salem, MA, .
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
These mansions are beautiful, especially when they’re decked out in lights and thousands of decorations. Admission to all three decorated mansions is $28 for adults and $9 for kids 6 and older. Christmas at the Newport MansionsVarious Places Newport, RI, .
Pawtucket Winter Wonderland
What would *you* ask an 18 foot tall talking Frosty The Snowman? I’d ask him if he wanted a free hot cocoa, then drink mine in front of him while cackling in glee at the delicious treat he could never have. After that I’d take a ride on their historical Carousal, and squeeze myself into their miniature train while giving the big frosty dude a raspberry. He knows what he did. He knows. 4-8pm. Pawtucket Winter WonderlandPawtucket Winter Wonderland, P O Box 2411 Pawtucket, RI, .
Christmas at Blithewold
There’s a different theme every year at Christmas at Blithewood. The 18 foot tall Christmas tree and every room in this sprawling mansion is decorated with this theme in mind. What is that theme? The website doesn’t say. Maybe it’s ‘A Blithe Danner Christmas’? 11:30am – 12:30pm. Christmas at BlithewoldBlithewold Mansion Bristol, RI, .
A Very Special Christmas WaterFire
Waterfire is a recurring event where metal baskets poke up on poles from the Providence River, then are filled with wood, and lit on fire at night, but this one is Holiday-i-fied with free cookies, Christmas trees, Santa, ornament making, and ‘letter to Santa Claus’ letter drafting (That’s a new one!). Also, caroling. 5-8:30pm. A Very Special Christmas WaterFireWaterplace Park, Downtown Providence, RI, .
A Dickens Christmas Feast
An interactive dinner theater reenactment of ‘A Christmas Carol’, and grilled salmon is on the menu! This is pricey (between $115-$140) but it looks worth it. Gourmet food, quality theater, singing, dancing, and visits from three ghosts! This is the place to be in Newport this week. 7pm. A Dickens Christmas FeastNewport Art Museum Newport, RI, .
Olde World Christmas at Plimoth Grist Mill
Travel back to the simple times before electricity, modern medicine, and telecommunications via Plimouth Plantation’s Olde World Christmas, with real Sugar Plums! I’ve never had one before! Fridays and Saturdays, December 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21 4 to 8 p.m. Olde World Christmas at Plimoth Grist MillPlimoth Grist Mill Plymouth, MA, .
Holidays on the Green
Free ‘Reindog Parade’, where dogs are dressed up in costume as Reindeer. Cute overload. Earlier in the day there’s pancakes with Santa, and caroling, and a petting zoo throughout the day, too. Lots of other holiday events are happening at Pine Hills, too! 8am-5pm. Holidays on the GreenThe Pinehills Plymouth, MA, .
Wareham Community Christmas with Parade
Ooo! A parade, tree lighting, caroling, Santa, zombies. No, wait. No zombies. Also: A wreath making contest, and the opportunity to shop at Ye Olden Cumberland Farms. 3pm-4:30pm. Wareham Community Christmas with ParadeMain Street Wareham, MA, .
The Polar Express at Edaville USA
One of several Polar Express-themed train rides opens this weekend. It’s just a regular train ride where you wear pajamas, drink hot chocolate, and hear a reading and singing. But kids might really love it, especially if they’re fans of the book or movie. The Polar Express at Edaville USAEdaville USA Carver, MA, .
Edgartown Caroling Stroll and Holiday Parade
This one is my favorite Xmas celebration this week, but the catch is, you have to be on Martha’s Vineyard to participate. They’ll have tons of events all throughout the weekend, with a parade, gingerbread & wreath workshops, arts & crafts show, Santa, music, hay ride, lighthouse lighting, and contests for chowder and cookies. So this is what they do off the tourist season! 12pm Parade. Edgartown Caroling Stroll and Holiday ParadeMain Street Edgartown, MA, .
Yuletide Festival at Winslow Farm
Holiday time at a petting zoo? I’ll bite, so long as the animals don’t! This also as a candle-lit walk, and a visit not from Santa, but from his cooler, most Gandalf-esque cousin, Father Christmas. 12-3pm and 6-8pm. Yuletide Festival at Winslow FarmWinslow Farm Animal Sanctuary Norton, MA, .
Springfield’s Festival of Trees
A ‘festival of trees’ that features quite a lot of trees – some would say a forest, all decorated and donated by folks eager to support the cause. 11am -3pm. Springfield's Festival of TreesTower Square, 1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA, .
Holidays at the WAM
WAM, the Worcester Art Museum, isn’t kidding around. Expanded Cafe Hours, seasonal decorations, changing programming for the kiddies, if you’ve never been, now’s the time to go, and and if you have, why not check out what changed! Holidays at the WAMWorcester Art Museum Worcester, MA, .
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village
an enchanted evening of gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, music, dance, and a sleigh ride – Someone should write a song about that! It sounds delightful. Running throughout this month are special holiday evenings authentic to early New England in Old Sturbridge Village. Whether you want to take the kids or have a romantic dinner, there’s lots of stuff to see (and do – including ye olden games!). 4pm – 9pm. Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge VillageOld Sturbridge Village Sturbridge, MA, .
Review: A Christmas Carol at North Shore Music Theatre
There is no place is better to see A Christmas Carol than the North Shore Music Theatre. Last year we gave it 5 stars! Click for our review. There is no place is better to see A Christmas Carol than the North Shore Music Theatre. Last year we gave it 5 stars!North Shore Music Theatre Beverly, MA, .
Arabian Nights
Based on One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of folk tales from the Middle East and Asia, Arabian Nights is rich with suspense, romance and hilarity @ stories irresistible for all ages, At its heart is the power of the imagination to heal, inspire, and transform. Arabian NightsCentral Square Theater Cambridge, MA, .
From White Plains
Take an in depth look at the pasts of four male individuals – some straight, some gay, all of whom have past demons they need to face before moving forward in life. the play also becomes a thoughtful meditation on pride, shame, and the dynamics of love and sexual identity. From White PlainsChelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, .
Review: Becky’s New Car
When a wealthy suitor presumes she is a widow, she finds herself leading a double life that quickly accelerates out of her control. Becky's New CarThe Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA, .
Legally Blonde: The Musical
The enduring messages of Legally Blonde are 1) Don’t judge a book by its cover, and 2) Every good idea deserves a musical. This one has gotten good reviews, and seems to have all the glitz, glamour, and bombastic pagentry you’d want from a broadway production. 8pm 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 at 4pm. Legally Blonde: The MusicalAFD Theatre, 22 Academy Street, Arlington, MA, .
Play it Forward
Litmus is putting on a game night with classics like Mario Kart and Apples to Apples, and there’s a FIFA Tournament I’ll be winning. Yep I said it. Bring it on. Looks like Boston has an interactive entertainment scene beyond PAX East and the Harmonix guys! 6-9pm. Play it Forward Cambridge, MA, .
Black Nativity
Black Nativity isn’t any more crazy than White People Nativity, since Jesus was Middle Eastern. See this performance of theatre, singing, dancing about the baby who took over the world. (Or something like that.) Seems pretty religious. 3:30pm or 8pm. Black NativityBlackman Auditorium, Northeastern University Boston, MA, .
Handel’s Messiah with Boston Baroque
What sets apart this particular Messiah concert is its pedigree: Boston Baroque is one of New England’s finest groups, certainly for early music, and Jordan Hall is one of its most beautiful and acoustically perfect venues! Tickets are priced accordingly, though. 7:30pm. Handel's Messiah with Boston BaroqueJordan Hall Boston, MA, .
Win: The Christmas Revels
Revels puts on a fantastic annual performance, usually with a medieval bent. This year, the theme seems to be centered around Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James). Whether you enjoy more highbrow and scholarly entertainments or are happy merely to sing carols at your local town tree-lighting, Revels never disappoints. The Nutcracker is the only other annual show of such quality with such a wide appeal. If you’re under 30 you gets discounted tickets, too. Take that, AARP! 1pm, 5pm, and 7:30pm shows. We’re giving away tickets to the Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7:30pm, and Friday, Dec. 27 at 1pm show! Enter to win via Win: The Christmas RevelsSanders Theatre Cambridge, MA, .
Indie Rock Ranger’s Holiday Spectacular
Freezepop is kind of a local legend. as they had the *best* songs in that ‘Rockband’ game you may remember from years ago. The Indie Rock Ranger’s Holiday Spectacular features them and four other bands. 2013 8:00 PM. Indie Rock Ranger's Holiday Spectacular Cambridge, MA, .
Holiday Sing – Handel and Hayden Chorus
There are always lots of performances of Handel’s Messiah during the holidays, but this one’s got a pedigree: It’s performed by the Handel and Haydn Society at Symphony Hall. Dress to impress! Showing up to Symphony Hall in jeans is lame, and also no fun – you can ‘handel’ yourself better then that. 3pm and 7:30pm. Holiday Sing - Handel and Hayden Chorus Boston, MA, .
Boston Gay Men’s Chorus: Haul out the Holly
This is your last day to see this year’s holiday revue – ‘The Twelve Gays of Christmas’ (puns, I love em’!) – by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. 8pm. Kid’s show: 1pm. Boston Gay Men's Chorus: Haul out the Holly Boston, MA, .
Rock n Soul Holiday Benefit Concert
Rock N’ Soul is a great pun for a cool show, featuring a bevy of local artists and musical performers. Not much info on the style, if the music is holiday themed, or if the woman dressed up as Billy Idol is single, but it’s been going strong for five years now, and could be worth a look if you enjoy surprises. 7:30pm. Rock n Soul Holiday Benefit ConcertThe Regent Theatre, 7 Medford Street, Arlington, MA, .
A John Waters Christmas
What could make the Christmas season more insane?! Jon Waters! Mr. Waters brings a one-man, X-rated, Holiday season focused show to Boston, and if you’re looking for something that’slike nothing else on the entire planet, I’d check it out. Mature audiences with thick skin only. 8pm. A John Waters ChristmasBerklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA, .
THE EIGHT: Reindeer Monologues
Sex, lies, Antlers! Now that’s a tag line! ‘The Reindeer Monologues’ features an accusation of sexual harassment at the North Pole, and as the media gets involved, everyone starts pointing fingers…erm hooves. This has the potential to be a great satire and pretty funny too. 2pm, 4pm, and 8pm shows. THE EIGHT: Reindeer MonologuesThe Factory Theater, 791 Tremont St, Boston, MA, .
Seven Times Salt’s Solstice Celebration
Oh my gosh! Is that a lute?! Sign me up. Take my money, I’m there! This is another multi-cultural Solstice concert, by the world-class early music group Seven Times Salt. 7:30pm. Seven Times Salt's Solstice CelebrationSeven Times Salt Boston, MA, .
Life on the Mississippi: The Musical!
Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company….and go to Mark Twain House’s production of ‘Life on The Mississippi: The Musical’ which turns Mr. Twain’s autobiography into a rollicking stage show with dancing and music. Reviews have been fantastic, and Twain house kind of has a reputation for only doing awesome things. Check it out if you love Twain, love music, or love…houses? 7pm. Life on the Mississippi: The Musical!Mark Twain House & Museum Hartford, CT, .
Chorus of Westerly: Christmas Pops
Big band holiday tunes, dancing, gymnastics(!), and an acting component make this Holiday Pops concert look a little more robust than most. If you’re in Westerly and want to check out something pretty unique, give it a shot! Chorus of Westerly: Christmas PopsGeorge Kent Performance Hall, 119 High Street, Westerly, RI, .
Fantasy of Lights
Another light spectacle to start off the Holiday season. This one is cool because they give you 3-D glasses so you can better appreciate the lights. Fantasy of LightsLighthouse Point Park New Haven, CT, .
Holiday Lights
Music is great. Light is great. Music in tune with blinking Christmas Lights is sublime. Lake Compounce puts on such a show every half hour this holiday season, along with covering the whole park with lights and holiday displays. Some rides will be open too. 5-9pm. Holiday LightsLake Compounce Family Theme Park Bristol, CT, .
Gingerbread House Festival
This is a tease. FREE admission to an entire festival of totally-not-allowed-to-eat Gingerbread houses, New England’s biggest, in fact. I mean, I can just nab that there Gum Drop mailbox. No one will miss it, right? Right…? Thru December 15th, 2pm. Gingerbread House FestivalWood Memorial Library and Museum South Windsor, CT, .
Santa’s Trolley
Santa on a trolley! I mean, Santa’s always been a ‘green’ cat anyway. His sleigh uses no fossil fuel for example. Hopefully someone informs Mr. Claus that the Shore Line Trolley is actually a musuem, and not a valid form of transportation. The good news: With him stationary, you can visit, get a photo with Santa and your kids, AND your child gets get a toy out of it, too. 10:30am – 7pm. Santa's TrolleyThe Shore Line Trolley Museum East Haven, CT, .
Winterfest Hartford
Hartford features free skating and free skate rentals for a month, plus professional skating shows every Friday and Saturday, 6-7pm. (Until recently, this event was known as the Hartford Festival of Light.). Winterfest HartfordBushnell Park Hartford, CT, .
Lantern Light Tours
I don’t know what a tavern dance is, but I love it. Take a historical lantern light tour with Victorian era costumes and hundreds of lanterns, plus the promise of surprises along the way. Mystic, CT gets all the cool stuff. Santa on a tugboat, now this. 5pm. Lantern Light ToursMystic Seaport 75 Greenmanville Ave Mystic, CT, .
Holiday Movies and Mimosas at Criterion Cinemas
White Christmas’, ‘A Christmas Story’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and…’The Sound of Music’ (okay…) are playing this month at Bowtie Cinemas in New Haven CT. Wait? CT? That’s really far away from me! Ooohhhhhh…Fuuuuu….dge! Holiday Movies and Mimosas at Criterion Cinemas New Haven, CT, .
COLT: The Revolver of the American West
Learn the history of ‘The Gun that Won the West’ thanks to The Mark Twain house. They’re pretty great about these sorts of things, so hopefully this won’t be all ‘rah rah yay guns!’ but instead provide some legitimate history and context for a powerful weapon with an incredible affect on our history. 7pm. COLT: The Revolver of the American WestThe Mark Twain House & Museum Hartford, CT, .
Mystic Stroll
Another quality event from Mystic! Stroll through the village, take in the caroling, and revel in the holiday joy of a bygone era. 6pm. Mystic StrollHistoric Downtown Mystic Mystic, CT, .
Festival of Lights at Mystic Aquarium
Thousands of Christmas lights, hundreds of sea creatures, and the one and only Santa Claus in Mystic, CT. The festival of lights is at Mystic Aquarium, not the Old Mistick Village or Mystic Seaport Museum. Just two hours’ drive from Boston, this event is free with a non-perishable food item, and also has carolers, music, a visit from Santa, storytellers, hot cocoa, and the ubiquitous face-painters. 5:30-8:00pm. Festival of Lights at Mystic AquariumFestival of Lights Mystic, CT, .
Winter Solstice Thanksgiving Celebration at the Pequot Museum
Why do Rabbits turn white? How do you make a luminary? What’s a solstice? Where are my car keys? In honor of the solstice this weekend, there are a number of special educational programs on 12/13 for children at the Pequot Museum which answer the first three questions. Free with museum admission. 10am-3pm. Winter Solstice Thanksgiving Celebration at the Pequot MuseumMashantucket Pequot Museum Mashantucket, CT, .
Stowe & Twain’s Olde-Fashioned Christmas
Events at the Mark Twain House are always outstanding, and this year they’re teaming up with the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center to throw a huge, Victorian-themed, weekend open house. Tours, re-enactors, crafts, etc. 10am-4pm. Stowe & Twain's Olde-Fashioned ChristmasMark Twain House Hartford, CT, .
Storytelling with Tom Lee: PRINCE RING
Listen to a 500 year old Icelandic folk tale from Master Storyteller Tom Lee at the Mark Twain house. Seriously, Is there a better title to have than ‘Master Storyteller’? 2:00 p.m. Storytelling with Tom Lee: PRINCE RINGMark Twain House & Museum Hartford, CT, .
Polar Express
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, take your kids on Maine’s Polar Express. Hot Chocolate, Santa Claus, a good cause (see what I did there?), and a reading of the caldecott winning ‘The Polar Express’ ensure an adventure to remember. Multiple times available 4pm. Polar ExpressMaine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum Portland, ME, .
Light up the Holidays
Rick Charette and the Bubblegum band performs at this holiday tree lighting. Is his band made of bubblegum? Probably not, but don’t you want to see for yourself? 5:30 pm. Light up the HolidaysPortland’s Downtown District. 549 Congress Street Portland, ME, .
Festival of Trees at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum
I assure you Maine’s ‘Festival of Trees’ has very little (probably nothing) to do with that annual Phish concert they have there. Instead it’s dozens of professionally decorated trees, a month-long drawing contest, music, and free hot cocoa. 5pm. Festival of Trees at the Dyer Library and Saco MuseumSaco Museum, 371 Main St., Saco, ME, .
Country Christmas in Bethel
County Christmas in Bethel, ME has a living nativity. How does that work? Is there a script? Do they live the fifteen minutes before Christmas over and over again? An endless loop of receiving Gold, Frankensense, and Mir? If that ponderment doesn’t saw you, how does live music, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a Christmas tree lighting, suit you? Country Christmas in BethelBethel Inn Conference Center Bethel, ME, .
Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude
The Kennebunkport Prelude takes place this weekend and also the following two. This is a good one for a couple who want a quiet, Christmassy weekend getaway. It’s a beautiful town, but there’s nothing to do here but eat, buy useless trinkets, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. Well, there’s a historic Trolley ride on the 6th, but it’s Mister Rogers or bust with that kind of thing. Kennebunkport Christmas PreludeMain Street Kennebunkport, ME, .
Christmas by the Sea Celebration
A holiday festival with arts, crafts, AND wine and cheese tasting? Hickory Farms is gonna be so jealous. 2-6pm. Christmas by the Sea Celebration Ogunquit, ME, .
Christmas By The Sea – Ogunquit
Another great travel option! In addition to all the holiday events you might expect, it’s close and there are a lot of good restaurants and antique shops to visit along a weekend long scavenger hunt, and wine and sweets tastings. I hope there’s peanut brittle! Ogunquit is also, of course, very LGBT friendly. Thumbs up! 2pm-8pm depending on the day. Christmas By The Sea - Ogunquit Ogunquit, ME, .
Annual Christmas by the Sea at Old Orchard Beach
Another parade where Frosty and Rudolph get top billing over Santa and Mrs. Claus on a fire engine. Someone better call their agent! 1pm. This one’s pretty close to Boston, less than a 2-hour drive. Annual Christmas by the Sea at Old Orchard BeachOld Orchard Street Old Orchard Beach, ME, .
Christmas in Old Hallowell and Parade
Get your pen ready. Hallowell, ME’s Holiday festival includes: A road race, homemade gourmet donut holes, Cribbage tournament, a cotton-mill fair with Crab cakes, a library book sale, arts and crafts festival, live music, a strawberry shortcake luncehon, cupcake contest, SMOKEY THE BEAR, bike giveaway, a BOCCIE Tournament, go-karts on display, art shows, pottery demos, a parade, a citizen of the year award(!), a bounce house, kids yoga, A BUBBLE POOL, fireworks, and so much more. If you’re free this day, and you don’t go, you’re out of the family. Seriously. GO! 6am-9pm. Christmas in Old Hallowell and ParadeMain Street Hallowell, ME, .
Winterfest with Fireworks
Zip-lines that travel close to 30 miles per hour, night skiing, chainsaw carving, fireworks(!), an ugly sweater party, Santa, and something called ‘Eddy The Yeti’ makes Sunday River’s month-long ‘Winterfest’ perfect for the daredevil in us all. 4-9pm, Zip-lines 10am-1pm. Winterfest with FireworksSunday River Ski Resort Newry, ME, .
Southern Maine Christmas Parade
This ‘Storybook Christmas’ parade is a good option if you just want to make a day trip. Wells is a very easy distance from Boston.It’s not too late to sign up to be in the thing, too. If you wear an Events Insider banner, you’d have my thanks. 2pm. Southern Maine Christmas ParadeWells Plaza, Downtown Wells, ME, .
Walk to Bethlehem
Welp, this is really religious. Walk to Bethlehem? Do we need to bring our own gold, frankincense, and mir? What is Mir? I thought it was the noise an annoyed cat makes. 5:30pm. Walk to BethlehemThe Rangeley Inn Rangeley, ME, .
Manchester Merriment
Normally I’d ignore an event so far away, but this time the Santa parade is a tractor parade! Horse and wagon rides, live music. Because it’s 6 weeks long, there is plenty of time to plan a trip there! You can even travel by tractor and get there in time! Manchester MerrimentAll Over Manchester, VT, .
Lights of Christmas
A monument lighting with another live Navitiy on 11/29 in Vermont. I wonder how you audition for that gig? Lights of ChristmasJoseph Smith Birthplace Memorial Royalton, VT, .
Vermont Holiday Festival
Real beard Santa alert! This Killington, VT event offers the holiday event fixings of sleigh rides, cocoa, over 100 Christmas trees, and (naturally) a marketplace. Unique is a Santa’s workshop and storytelling hour, and, AND Santa has a real beard! Don’t pull it. Just take my word for it. 5-6pm. Vermont Holiday FestivalKillington Grand Hotel Killington, VT, .
Wassail Weekend
Why not go a wassailing at this all-weekend long festival, with a traditional horse parade, a house tour, a 19th century re-enactment at a local farm, story time, and performances. See the website to download a detailed schedule of events. 10am-5pm. Wassail WeekendDowntown Woodstock, VT, .
Victorian Holiday Open House
A Victorian open-house with a Holiday Planetarium chaser. For history nuts there’s an authentically decorated house with holiday music and holiday treats, and for science geeks a planetarium exhibit focused on night sky around this time of year – all for free, might I add. 1:30-4pm. Victorian Holiday Open HouseFairbanks Museum and Planetarium Photo St. Johnsbury, VT, , .
Christmas in Mount Holly
You know a town named Mount Holly is gonna deliver the goods, Christmas-wise, and they are with a ‘Christmas Skit’, free refreshments, and a visit from the holly jolly guy himself, Santa Claus. 4-6:30pm. Christmas in Mount HollyThe Roundhouse, 26 Maple Hill Road, Mount Holly, VT, .
Gingerbread Festival
These confectionery wonders feature themes like Santa in Hawaii (including a palm tree!), log cabins, and dozens – literally dozens, of other amazing-to-look-at creations from artisans that you can then buy for charity. 10am-4pm. Gingerbread FestivalTracy Hall, 300 Main Street, Norwich, VT, .
Coolidge Holiday Open House
Rest from the noise of the holiday season with a little ‘Silent Cal’ appreciation. This event features an open house, informative wagon rides, and a factory demonstrating how cheese curds were made via a 1890 recipe. There’s also some Holiday-related activities here, but they’re easy enough to ignore if you’d like. 10am-4pm. Coolidge Holiday Open HousePresident Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site Plymouth, VT, .
Holiday Lights & Santa Events
 Holiday Light Displays & Santa Events – click map above to set region Tue 12/10 Wed 12/11 Thu 12/12 Fri 12/13 Sat 12/14 Sun 12/15 Mon 12/16 Tue 12/17
Stone Zoo’s ZoolightsBoston, MA

Daily 5-9pm. ZooLights promises to dazzle visitors of all ages this holiday season. Enter a winter wonderland of tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Stroll through festively decorated Yukon Creek, home to bald eagles, North American porcupines, reindeer and arctic foxes. Meet Stone Zoo’s reindeer up close during nightly photo opportunities.* Visit with Santa, who awaits your arrival in Santa’s Castle. Jolly Old St. Nick will be available for photos through Dec. 23. After visiting with Santa, enter a magical holiday world filled with fairy tale characters and dancing plush animals.
149 Pond Street, 617-541-5466. more
Holiday Landscapes – The Lights at Gudzevich ResidenceStoneham, MA

It’s a private home but a really expansive lights display, with lights that flash in rhythm to music broadcast over an FM transmitter.
83 Franklin St more
The Sachs Family Light DisplayBellingham, MA

Just a private home, but they play music over FM radio. Tune in to 101.7 FM to “listen!
21 Mann Street, (617) 595-7167. more
A “New England Soldier’s” Christmas at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard HouseConcord, MA

This event includes re-enactors portraying historical characters found in “Little Women”. Reservations suggested. December 7th, 14th, & 21st: 10:00am-4:30pm. December 8nd, 15th, & 22nd: 1:00pm-4:30pm.
399 Lexington Road, 978.369.4118 x106. more
Millis WonderlandMillis, MA

This is a private home, not a commercial “attraction”, but good. Slowest nights are Tuesday-Thursday. 6-10pm.
60 Causeway Street more
Enchanted Village at Jordan’s FurnitureAvon, MA

Free! It’s a 1958 Jordan Marsh display that’s been restored to health by Jordan’s Furniture. Website is unclear for how long the display goes. Santa will be on hand every day; see the website for specific times.
Jordan’s Furniture, 100 Stockwell Dr more
Edaville Railroad’s Christmas Festival of LightsCarver, MA

The biggest and best “holiday lights” display in New England is quite non-religious, with Santa letting kids sit on his lap but also plenty of generic fare like Frosty the Snowman and a tip of the hat to Hannukah. They have a train ride, ferris wheel, carousel, and other rides, with 7 million lights. Tons of fun even for adults! Begins as early as November 22! Whoa. 2012: Mon-Fri 4-9pm, Sat-Sun 2-9pm.
Pine Street, 508-866-8190. more
La Salette Shrine Festival of LightsAttleboro, MA

5-9pm. Very religious: it’s a shrine. But I’ve been and it was nice anyway. Over 300,000 lights covering 10 acres. Trolley rides Fri-Sun.
947 Park Street, 508-222-5410. more
Holiday ZOObileeNew Bedford, MA

11-4pm Dec 7th, 14th and 21st. And many daytime visits by Santa, see Web site. Precise range of Xmas lights unknown, but here is their operating schedule.
425 Hawthorn Street, (508) 991-6178. more
Visit with Santa at Smolak FarmsNorth Andover, MA

Lots of different holiday events throughout the season, from a Roaming Railroad train and hayrides with Santa, to cookie decorating and crafts and a Santa’s workshop. Many family-oriented things to choose from. Tree lighting is November 24th this year. 2012.
Smolak Farms, 315 South Bradford St, 978-682-6332. more
Leicester ChristmasLeicester, MA

Over 50,000 lights and 53 inflatables. Santa is there on Saturdays! Nightly from 4:30pm-9pm.
Waite Street more
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge VillageSturbridge, MA

2013. Participatory caroling, Father Christmas, sleigh rides, magic shows, and more at my favorite re-enactment museum — an entire village of old-timey actors and buildings! 4-9pm. Ticket prices range from $10-$15 for non-members.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, 800-733-1830. more
A Christmas Journey at the Worcester EcotariumWorcester, MA

Trips at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30pm. Elves help you board the The Polar Express train ride, and afterwards there’s Santa and cookies. Note that tickets for this event do not include EcoTarium admission, which must be purchased separately.
222 Harrington Way, 508-929-2700. more
Springfield’s Bright Night at Forest ParkSpringfield, MA

Sunday to Thursday- 5pm to 9pm. Friday, Saturday and Holidays- 5pm to 11pm 550,000 lights. Great! 2nd best to Edaville. Check out the Springfield Museums or zoo (open during school holidays in Dec) while you’re there.
Rt 83, 413-733-3800. more
Santa’s Trains at Look ParkFlorence, MA

Model trains and locomotives whirling by displays of a whimsical wonderland of Christmas favorites and village landscapes 4-8pm, except 12/24 10-2pm.
300 North Main Street, 413.584.5457. more
Santa’s HouseWest Springfield, MA

Mon-Fri 5:30-7:30pm. Sat & Sun 2:30-4pm, 5:30-7:30pm.
West Springfield Municipal Office Building, 26 Central Street, Suite 19, 413-263-3284. more
Heritage Museum Gardens AglowSandwich, MA

2013. 1 million lights. Toast marshmallows. Carousel. Santa in a Model T Ford. New this year, the Hidden Hollow is open to visitors. Music. 5-9pm.
67 Grove Street, 508-888-3300. more
Cape Codder Enchanted VillageHyannis, MA

2013. 100,000 lights with caroling and Santa on Fri-Sat 5:30-8:30pm, Sun 5-7pm. The holiday events end on December 23rd, but the lights will remain on display until January 2nd.
1225 Iyannough Road, 855-861-4370. more
Christmas at the Newport MansionsNewport, RI

2013. The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House will be decorated in period detail for the holidays and open daily for tours. On Christmas Eve, the last tour begins at 4pm. Houses are closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Various locations more
That Crazy Christmas HouseCoventry, RI

Over 63,000 lights and 64 computerized displays. Tune in to 107.5. Every night until Christmas: Mon-Thu 5pm – 9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5-10pm, Christmas Eve: 5pm-2am, and Christmas Night: 5pm-12am.
9 Blue Spruce Drive more
The Picozzi Family ChristmasWarwick, RI

2013. Another private home light display. Tune in to 97.1 FM to “listen” to the display. Donations will be accepted for the Make a Wish Foundation. They do cancel for inclement weather, so check the website before you go.
75 Gristmill Rd more
Head Family ChristmasRumford, RI

Mon-Thu: 5-9pm, Fri-Sat: 5-9:30pm, Sun: 5- 9pm. Just a private home, but a big one! Collecting donations to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation.
Merchant Street more
Pawtucket Winter WonderlandPawtucket, RI

See 400 decorated Christmas trees, twenty Victorian buildings, and a talking snowman, and enjoy free visits and photos with Santa, train rides, hay rides, carousel rides, food court, and entertainment. Free admission and parking. 4-8pm.
Slater Park, Armistice Blvd, 401-728-0500 x251. more
Gift of Lights at New Hampshire Motor SpeedwayLoudon, NH

4:30pm-9pm daily. Drive more than two miles in your car past 2.5 million lights in 400 displays. Santa’s Village, costumed characters, free s’mores, arctic village.
1122 Route 106 North, 765-664-3918. more
Christmastime at Santa’s VillageJefferson, NH

Lights display, Santa, reindeer, rides. Friday Nov 29, 11am-7pm. Plus all Saturdays and Sundays from Dec 1st to 22nd. Saturdays 11am-7pm. Sundays 11am-6pm.
Route 2, 603-586-4445. more
Mousseau and RoyHudson, NH

Just a private home, but a big one! Mon – Sun: 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm.
75 Pelham Street more
Santa’s Holiday ExpressNorth Conway, NH

This is a more generic train ride- it’s just got Santa, elves, and hot chocolate.
38 Norcross Circle, 603-356-5251. more
Christmas Lights at La Salette Shrine & CenterEnfield, NH

Opening weekend Nov 30-Dec 1, 5-9pm.  Nightly Dec 6-Dec 31 5-9pm. 45,000 evening lights spread across 30 acres. .
410 NH Route 4A, 603-632-7087. more
Lighted Winter Wonderland & Santas Big Party at Charmingfare FarmCandia, NH

Sat 7 & Sun 8, Thur 12, Fri 13, Sat 14 & Sun 15, Thur 19 – Tues 24th (Christmas Eve). Various Check-In Times 5pm – 9pm. Thousands of lights, a 30-minute horse drawn night ride. Live reindeer, Santa, costumed characters. Petting zoo. Evenings.
774 High Street, 603-483-5623. more
Christmas at CanterburyCanterbury, NH

December 7th and 14th. 3-8pm. Candlelight strollthrough the Village, watching an old-time magic show, riding in a horse drawn wagon, and watching a silent film with live organ accompaniment by Peter Krasinski. The event will also include music performances, story telling, craft demonstrations and activities, cookie decorating, hot chocolate and cider, chats with Village characters like Dr. Seth Miller, 19th century physician and more. Attendees have the option of having dinner at The Shaker Table, where reservations are required, or enjoying lighter fare at the Shaker Box Lunch & Farm Stand.
288 Shaker Road, 603-783-9511. more
Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery BankePortsmouth, NH

Strawbery Banke is a re-enactment museum focusing on the 18th century. This event features live music, a bonfire, participatory caroling, performances on period instruments, Masonry, hundreds of candles, a gingerbread house contest, and more. Sounds really great! 2013: Saturdays 5-9pm, Sundays 4-8pm.
Marcy Street, 603-422-7514. more
Horse and Wagon Rides at the Rocks EstateBethlehem, NH

Free horse-drawn wagon rides are reserved for package customers up until Sunday at noon, and open to the general public after. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Basically a marketing ploy to get you to buy a tree.
The Rocks Estate, 4 Christmas Lane, 603-444-6228. more
Holiday Light FantasiaHartford, CT

You drive through this one. Sun-Thu 5-9pm, Fri-Sat 5-10pm. $12 per car, $25 per limousine… Wait, what? That’s a thing that happens?!
1130 Maple Ave, 860-742-2267. more
Fantasy of LightsNew Haven, CT

Sunday to Thursday- 5:00-9:00 pm, Friday to Saturday- 5:00-10:00 pm.
Light House Point Park, 2 Lighthouse Road, 203-777-2000. more
That House in MilfordMilford, CT

5:00 to 9:30 Sunday through Thursday and 5:00 to 10:00 Friday and Saturday.  Also 5:00 to 10:00 on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Years Day.
 75 Meadows End Road more
Lincoln LightsOrange, CT

The lights will be on Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-10:30pm and Sunday 5:30 pm-9:30 pm. This year they’ll also be collecting donations for the Red Cross to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Holiday Lights at Lake CompounceBristol, CT

The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs Spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa! Fridays: 5pm to 9 pm, Saturdays: 4 pm to 9 pm.
822 Lake Avenue, Bristol, CT 06010, 860-583-3300. more
WinterFest at Connecticut Trolley MuseumEast Windsor, CT

Trolley ride through holiday lights, sing-along carols and meet Santa. Friday-Sunday 5-9pm. After December 25th: 6-pm.
58 North Road, 860-627-6540. more
A Grand Holiday at the Mansion- From Victorian to ModernNorwalk, CT

A Victorian mansion, where there are holiday displays throughout the house with period rooms decorated to show the changing traditions from the 1850s-1890s. Tours Wednesday-Sunday, 1pm-3pm.
295 West Avenue more
Lantern Light ToursMystic, CT

This is a walk through a re-enactment museum portraying Christmas eve 1876! Wow!! 5pm to 8pm. Tours fill up; register in advance.
Mystic Seaport, 860-572-5365. more
Holiday Santa Trains/Northern Lights LimitedThomaston, CT

Santa visits ALL December train rides! Just pick your date. There is also a special “Northern Lights Limited to Santa’s Train Workshop” trip. Dates are as follows: Saturday, November 30 at 5 &7 PM, Sunday, December 1 at 5 PM, Saturdays & Sundays, December 7-22 at 5 & 7 PM.
242 E Main Street more
Lights On LovleyPlantsville, CT

Drive up and tune your radio to 96.1FM. Sunday-Thursday 5-10pm and Friday-Saturday 5-11pm.
14 Lovley Dr more
Limington LightsLimington, ME

30,000 lights and an 18ft “Mega Tree.” Nightly from 4:30pm-10pm.
5 Coventry Drive more
The Nubble LighthouseYork, ME

The famous Nubble lighthouse is lit up for Christmas on November 30th starting at 5pm. Shuttles running from Ellis Park at Short Sands Beach from 3:00pm to 7:00pm.
11 Sohier Park Road more
KringlevilleWaterville, ME

Visit Santa. Kicks off with Parade of Lights.
Downtown more
Waitsfield’s Grand IlluminationWaitsfield, VT

Begins daily at dusk. The whole town lights up, including the oldest, still-functioning covered bridge in VT.
Townwide more
Rutland Area Christmas and Holiday Lights TourWallingford, VT

A heated bus will take you on a two-hour tour of the area to show you all the best lights. Tours leave Rutland at 4:30, 6:30, and 8:30 each evening in December and are $15 per person. Reservations are necessary.
2788 South Main Street Rt. 7 more
Christmas at the FarmWoodstock, VT

Various events are scattered throughout the month of December, all focusing on Vermont’s 19the century heritage. Think crafts, food, and sleigh rides.
Billings Farm, Route 12 & River Road, 802.457.2355. more