Festivity, fun and inspiration are everywhere this holiday season in beautiful New England! Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly activity or wanting to start a new tradition, there’s a holiday event that’s just right for you — and many of them are free of cost. Check out these family friendly holiday experiences and grab your tickets before they sell out!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical — Boston
Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us.
November 24 – 26. Boch Center Shubert Theatre, Boston; www.bochcenter.org
Winterlights — Canton, North Andover, Stockbridge
This holiday season, three of the Trustees beautiful garden properties sparkle with thousands of shimmering, artfully designed holiday lights. Bring the whole family for a magical, fun, and safe outdoor experience – with food, refreshments, and more. Included in USA TODAY’s top 10 Public Holiday Light Displays in the country for 2020, experience this treasure with your friends and family.
November 25 – January 7, Eleanor Cabot Bradley House in Canton, Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in North Andover; www.thetrustees.org/winterlights
Columbus Park Trellis Lighting – Boston
Check out the 50,000 glowing blue and white LED lights along the 260-foot trellis and 14 nearby trees on at 5 pm in Christopher Columbus Park (110 Atlantic Ave), transforming the waterfront park into a magical light garden through the holiday season. The event includes music, entertainment, and refreshments.
November 20, 5 pm, Christopher Columbus Park, Boston; foccp.org/events
Massachusetts State House Tree Lighting – Boston
A giant Christmas tree in the Rotunda lights up in the annual tree lighting event ceremony at 5pm. This marks the official kick-off of the holiday season in Massachusetts.
November 22, State House, Boston.
Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo – Providence, RI
RWP Zoo turns into a sparkling Winter Wonderland! Holiday Lights Spectacular as an all-new walk-through event featuring festive, larger-than-life dazzling displays with 3.5 million illuminated lights! It’s a must-see event that should be on everyone’s holiday to-do list.
November 24 – December 31, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI; www.rwpzoo.org
Light Up Seaport – Boston
Gather on Seaport Common (85 Northern Ave) for live music, treats from nearby restaurants, and various giveaways, and then see the Christmas tree lighting.
December 1, 5 pm. Seaport Common, Boston; www.bostonseaport.xyz
Hanukkah –Menorah Lighting — Boston
Look for New England’s tallest menorah at Brewer Fountain on Boston Common. A lighting ceremony of the first branch of the candelabra takes place on December 7 – 15 at 4 pm, with special guests, live music, holiday treats, and warm beverages.
December 18 plus additional dates, Boston Common, Boston; www.chabaddowntownboston.org
Christmas Craft Fair at Old South Church — Boston
Lovers of finely crafted beeswax candles, turned wood, and sparkling blown glass know to arrive early, where 30 New England artists and artisans will offer some of their finest work on one day only.
December 2, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. Gordon Chapel in Old South Church, Boston; www.oldsouth.org
Midwinter Revels: A Solstice Celebration – Cambridge
Our 53rd Midwinter Revels drops us into the colorful medieval Feast of Fools, where everything is topsy-turvy by design. The status quo quickly becomes the status disruptus as the body politic officially lets off steam. Rulers are temporarily deposed by servants, wit triumphs over power, and a fool finds himself steering the ship of state. This musical feast will feature vibrant processionals, lively carols, delicate harmonies, vigorous dances, and a full ritual serving of the wild and the holy. Come sing favorites old and new and dance your way with us into the lobby of Sanders Theatre and out into the brand new year! On this shortest day of the year, what could possibly go wrong?
December 15–28, Sanders Theatre, Cambridge: www.revels.org
Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature – Concord
Concord’s renowned literary tradition takes a creative twist during the holiday season when the Concord Museum opens the annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature. A benefit exhibition with related programs, Family Trees fills the Museum with trees and wreaths of all shapes and sizes fancifully dressed for the occasion with charming original ornaments inspired by a dazzling selection of children’s picture books.
November 23 through January 1. Concord Museum, Concord; www.concordmuseum.org
Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker — Boston
Create an annual tradition with your family this holiday season at one of New England’s favorite celebrations. From the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to the dazzling snow scene – set to the iconic music of Tchaikovsky – The Nutcracker is a production beloved by audiences of all ages that your family will never forget.
November 24 – December 31, Citizens Bank Opera House, Boston; www.bostonballet.org
The Nutcracker — Weston
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 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. It’s the perfect start to the holiday season!
November 24 – 26 and December 15 – 17. The Eleanor Welch Casey Theatre at Regis College, Weston; www.commonwealthballet.org/nutcracker
Greater Salem Ballet Company: The Nutcracker — Lynn
Follow Clara on her magical journey. Brave the battle of the mice and soldiers led by the Nutcracker Prince and be amazed by the growing Christmas tree. Glide through the Christmas tree forest complete with falling snow and arrive at the palace of sweets where Clara is entertained by a cast of characters and dazzled by the Grand Pas de Deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.
December 9, The Lynn Auditorium, Lynn; www.TheGSBC.com
Holiday Market at Snowport — Boston
They may be small, but local businesses bring our community to life in a big way. This season Boston Seaport by WS Development teamed up with The Makers Show to create a holiday market unlike anything in New England. The Holiday Market at Snowport features more than 60+ small businesses, a tree market for all of your evergreen needs, and a festive menu from Tuscan Kitchen.
Nov.10 – Dec. 31. 88 Seaport, Boston; www.bostonseaport.xyz
SoWa Winter Festival — Boston
You’ll find the perfect handmade gifts, sip on winter cocktails, and discover the best of the SoWa Art + Design District. Shop from 100 of the region’s best makers and specialty food vendors in the SoWa Power Station which is transformed into a local and unique marketplace. While you stroll, savor favorite winter cocktails, seasonal craft brews and wines. Enjoy food and activities, as well as the galleries, artist studios, and shops that call SoWa home year ‘round. This is a family friendly event.
Select Days from November 24 – December 17. SOWA Boston, Boston; www.sowaboston.com
Holiday Pops — Boston
Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops present the beloved annual Holiday Pops concert at Boston›s Symphony Hall. You›ll get to hear and see all your favorites: the Pops’ classic “Sleigh Ride” and “Twelve Days of Christmas”, a jazzy arrangement of traditional favorites,
“O Holy Night”, “Home for the Holidays”, a virtual performance with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and a special new reading of “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”Special Kid’s matinee shows available.
December 1 – 24, Symphony Hall, Boston; www.bso.org
Bright Nights at Forest Park — Springfield
Bright Nights is a holiday drive-thru light experience includes the Winter Garden, Jurassic World, Kwanzaa, Everett Barney Mansion, Happy Holidays, Springfield, as well as the additions to Toy Land featuring Milton Bradley Company and Hasbro iconic toys and games, and the Springfield Thunderbirds display.
November 22 – January 1, Forest Park, Springfield; www.brightnights.org