November 24, 25, 26, December 8, 9, 10
Commonwealth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (Weston | times vary) :: Share the merriment of the holiday season as the accomplished dancers of Commonwealth Ballet and guest artists frolic, battle, and dance through Clara’s holiday dream. Join with the family party set before a magical tree and enjoy the laughter, magic, and wonder of this holiday classic accompanied by the beloved Tchaikovsky score. This fully staged production is sure to captivate and entertain all ages.
November 24–December 31
Boston Winter at City Hall Plaza (Boston) :: Open to the public seven days a week, “Boston Winter presented by Berkshire Bank,” will feature a mix of winter activities, including a unique outdoor skating path and an expanded holiday shopping market with an array of hospitality experiences and attractions produced by Millennial Entertainment Group.
November 25–December 24
Jose Mateo Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker” (Boston and Dorchester | times vary) :: Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre honors the classical tradition by continuing what may well be New England’s longest-running interpretation of “The Nutcracker” ballet. Following its 1988 premiere in Fall River, various tours throughout the state with regular performances in Springfield, Worcester, and Lowell, and a 10-year run at Boston’s Emerson Majestic Theatre, the production quickly distinguished itself as one of the first versions anywhere to focus more on the dancing than on the usual caricatured mime, pomp, and special effects of its predecessors. Even the cast of over 100 children who play the mice, soldiers, cherubs, polichinelles, and Clara have substantial dancing roles.
November 18–January 1
Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture (Avon) :: The tradition lives on! Once called the Enchanted Village of St. Nicholas, the holiday display was created in 1958 for Jordan Marsh Downtown Crossing. It has passed through City Hall Plaza (late 90s) and the Hynes Convention Center (2006-2009), and is now at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon, where it has been restored and is on display. The surviving collection includes 59 mechanical figurines and 18 vignettes.
November 18–December 2
Methuen Festival of Trees (Methuen) :: The Festival of Trees has been a marvel of the Merrimack Valley for over two decades. Featuring over 240 trees, wreaths, and displays that you could win, this family celebration has something for everyone.
Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting Spectacular (Boston | 2–8 p.m.) :: Join thousands of Bostonians in lighting the city’s first holiday tree of the season! The stage will be filled with entertainment starting at 2 p.m. leading up to the live broadcast on WBZ-TV from 7–8 p.m.
November 29–January 1
Blink! (Boston | 4:30 p.m.) :: Blink! is the state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that transforms every inch of America’s first open marketplace, and it will return to Faneuil Hall for a fourth year this November. This magical and unforgettable light show uses over 350,000 LED lights to illuminate Boston’s skyline — to the song stylings of the Holiday Pops — in a seven-minute spectacle that runs continuously each evening. The lights dance seamlessly to the music through every inch of Faneuil Hall, including the largest Christmas tree in the northeast. The light and sound show runs every half hour beginning at 4:30 p.m. by “The Big Tree” at Marketplace Center and then runs every half hour beginning at 5 p.m. by “The Three Trees” in the North Market of Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Thanksgiving Potluck Feast (Cambridge | 5:30–7:30 p.m.) :: One of the biggest community events of the year, the annual Thanksgiving potluck feast is where old friends and new neighbors meet and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. The Agassiz Baldwin Community supplies the turkey (cooked by volunteers), cranberry sauce, and drinks, while guests bring salads, sides, and desserts inspired by their own family traditions. Hosted in the Maria L. Baldwin School cafeteria, this neighborhood tradition has continued for nearly 40 years!
November 18–January 1
Edaville Festival of Lights (Carver) :: Edaville’s Christmas Festival of Lights is one of the most-loved festivals of its kind, with generations of loyal fans. Passengers relax in warm, dry coaches while riding through a spectacular holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights. Kids of all ages will enjoy an array of vintage amusement rides, Thomas Land rides, and a visit with Santa. Enjoy a meal or seasonal treats while roaming Edaville’s sprawling and beautifully decorated grounds featuring thousands of Christmas displays.
Lowell City of Lights (Lowell | 2–6 p.m.) :: Ring in the holidays in downtown Lowell with this year’s City of Lights parade and holiday celebration! Take the afternoon to stroll the city streets and enjoy live performances, holiday shopping, photos with Santa, and the crowd favorite — a hot chocolate competition! The daytime fun leads to the nighttime extravaganza — the City of Lights parade and city hall lighting — which marks the city’s official start to the holiday season!
Charles Hotel Tree Lighting (Cambridge | 4–6 p.m.) :: Join for the lighting of the Harvard Square holiday trees! Shake Shack will be providing complimentary beverages. At 4 p.m., children can help decorate the trees with ornaments and bow ties from Vineyard Vines. Santa Claus’ jazz band will perform at 5 p.m., and the tree lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m., followed by a vista from Santa! The performances will continue until 6:30 p.m., allowing everyone a chance to visit with Santa.
Copley Square Tree Lighting (Boston | 5–6 p.m.) :: Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and The Friends of Copley Square welcome the holidays with the annual Copley Square tree lighting. The free event will feature appearances by Mayor Walsh, NECN’s Jenny Johnson, Santa Claus, and Rudolph, along with musical performances by the Boston Children’s Chorus, vocalist Marchelle Jacques-Yarde, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and Berklee College of Music student Mahamma Germain of Hyde Park. In addition, the U.S. Postal Service will unveil its new holiday stamp.
December 5–December 31
BSO Holiday Pops (Boston) :: Join the Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart, celebrating his 20th anniversary with the orchestra, in a performance filled with holiday music favorites, the traditional Pops sing-a-long, and even a visit from jolly old Santa Claus. The special kids’ matinee performances include post-concert photos with Santa and special treats. The not-to-be-missed New Year’s Eve concert with the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra and bandleader Bo Winiker will kick off the new year in style.
First Light Brookline (Brookline | 5–8 p.m.) :: First Light started 18 years ago in Brookline’s Washington Square, when several businesses came together to spread holiday cheer by hanging snowflakes in their storefront windows. These glowing flakes illuminated the square, signaling the start of the holiday season. Over the years, First Light has grown into the town’s annual winter festival, showcasing the talents of local artists, musicians, and performers at businesses and other venues throughout Brookline.
Through December 23
Teddy Bear Tea :: This favorite New England event series includes a festive afternoon tea at the iconic Bristol Restaurant and Bar, accompanied by a reading of a favorite holiday children’s book by a Boston celebrity. Four Seasons Hotel Boston’s furry resident, Truffles the Bear, makes daily appearances to the delight of families and young guests. More than a holiday event, Teddy Bear Tea is a special community benefit initiative of Four Seasons Hotel Boston, teaching young guests the spirit of charity. Guests are invited to bring a teddy bear to donate at Teddy Bear Tea, with Four Seasons gifting all collected bears to local Boston organisations that benefit children in need. Each year, Four Seasons Hotel Boston collects over 5,000 bears for Boston area children, with over 100,000 bears collected to date.
ICS’s Polar Express Ride (Newburyport | 11 a.m.–8 p.m.) :: The annual ICS North Pole Express will leave the Newburyport train station for the North Pole with a 70-minute roundtrip adventure, including cocoa and treats, a visit from Mr. C and his elves, and a silver bell presented to each child during a reading of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” by local storytellers. Come in your pajamas or as you are for a truly magical experience for children and parents alike. Remember to bring your camera!
Downtown Haverhill Christmas Stroll (Haverhill | 2–6 p.m.) :: This year’s event will start with a holiday hat parade. Businesses will host activities, including face painting, cookie decorating, and a visit to Santa’s workshop. The event will also include an opportunity to step into a life-size snow globe, a photo-op with some minions, and a holiday train ride! To promote the spirit of the season, wandering carolers and a saxophone quartet will perform holiday songs and music. And, of course, Santa will be on hand to light the Christmas tree!
Wellesley Holiday Stroll (Wellesley | 1–6 p.m.) :: Wellesley Square’s holiday stroll brings fun events all day long for the entire family!
Needham Holiday House Tour (Needham | 12–4 p.m.) :: The holiday house tour has been the grand event for the Needham Women’s Club and a beloved Needham tradition for 18 years. Needham families deck their houses to the nines with holiday finery and then open their homes to Needham residents. Funds are raised through ticket sales, and all proceeds go to a variety of Needham-based charities and organizations, benefitting all Needham residents, young and old alike. New this year is the Home Sweet Homes Gingerbread Village. Anyone interested in making their own gingerbread creation can contact [email protected].
Santa Speedo Run (Boston) :: The SSRun is a fun, unique, and crowd-pleasing fundraising event like no other you have experienced. It began in Boston in 2000 with five guys just looking to spread some holiday spirit by running through Back Bay in only Santa hats and Speedos. Since then, it has grown to include 700 men and women each year and has become an annual holiday tradition that has hosted thousands of participants who have helped to raise over $1.6 million for local children in need.
11th Annual Kendall Square Holiday on Ice (Cambridge | 2 p.m.) :: The 11th annual Holiday on Ice celebration at Community Ice Skating includes free admission all day, free food, and a free show produced by Frozen Frog Productions. The show will feature holiday numbers as well as local and international competitors and world class professional skaters. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with free admission all day, and the ice skating show begins promptly at 2 p.m. Join for a fun show that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit! Skating admission is free all day; skate rentals will be available at regular rates.
First Night Boston (Boston) :: For 40 years, Boston’s First Night has been a cherished tradition and a signature event for the city, with artistic performances, the wonders of the season, and the beginning of a new year. Entertainment and specialty attractions will be focused in Copley Square and the Boston Common. Many of the beloved traditions of First Nights past will be retained, including ice sculptures and light displays. In addition, arts and musical performances will take place in numerous inside and outside venues around the heart of the event.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]