We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Attleboro's main Christmas celebration is 61 years old and 400,000 lights strong. LaSalette Shrine's Festival of Lights is a holiday tradition that draws thousands of visitors each year. Truly a sight to see. The lights are live from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Jan 4. Don't miss Clopper the live nativity donkey!
This seaside town brings the local nautical trade into its holiday celebrations. All through the month of December you can count on candy-making demonstrations, caroling, holiday shows and pageants, and community sing-alongs. And it gets better. On Christmas morning, Santa sails into port on a lobster boat to greet the children of the town. I'm sure the reindeer appreciate the breather.
Sturbridge definitely has earned its spot on this list. The Old Sturbridge Village living history museum brings historical Christmas traditions to life. Every weekend in December you may enjoy activities like brunch with Santa, gingerbread decorating contests, Victorian caroling (of course), chestnut roasting, cider mulling (!), sleigh rides, and holiday magic shows. Check their website for a schedule of activities and definitely bring your finest top hat.
When it comes to the holidays, Marblehead brings its A-game. The Marblehead Christmas walk in early December includes a gingerbread festival and more than 80 local businesses that provide holiday activities, treats, and sales, but there are amazing Christmas events happening all through the month. Check the town's event calendar to find the perfect activity to top off your supply of holiday cheer.
This town has been putting on a huge annual holiday light show on the town green since 1914. That's 101 years! Taunton's nickname is "The Christmas City", and this place lives up to its name every single year. Check out the Lights On festival and the annual Christmas parade. This town's celebrations are great if what you're seeking is a family-friendly place to experience the spirit of the season.
This Boston-area locale may seem like an unlikely pick for a Christmas town, but hear me out. It has a great event going for it: The Illumination Trolley Tour. This 45 minute tour of the best illuminated houses in Somerville is a great way to see some holiday lights without having to lift a mittened finger. They even throw in hot chocolate, cookies, and crafts to make the whole experience even more memorable (and tasty). For those who would rather get a bit of cardio while taking in the sights, check out the Illumination Bike Tour. Cyclists are encouraged to deck out their bike with lights!
This coastal town is quaint all year round, but Christmas brings out something magical in Newburyport. The annual Santa Parade kicks off with the arrival of the merry man himself via U.S. Coast Guard boat and culminates with a town tree lighting and carols.
This is the town that inspired Norman Rockwell. The main holiday celebration (check the town's calendar of events for details and dates) includes horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday treats, and caroling. They even line the streets with vintage cars to recreate Rockwell's famous “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas”. That's as close to picture-perfect as you can get.
This historic town prides itself on giving visitors a taste of authentic old New England. With a well-preserved collection of original colonial houses and a picturesque downtown, Christmas in Deerfield feels like falling into a Dickens novel. Plus, Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield celebrates Christmas all year round!
There are so many reasons that Boston is an amazing Christmas location. Rather than list all the traditional events and activities (of which there TONS), I'd like to highlight one lighthearted holiday event: The Santa Speedo Run. It's exactly what you think, if what you're thinking is Bostonians running for charity while clad in only santa hats and Speedos. This is a fun event for (almost) all ages and ability levels and celebrates the season of giving in perfect Boston style.
If you're up for the trek to the very tippy-top of Cape Cod, you'll be rewarded with one heck of a Christmas celebration. Some highlights from the month of December: the lighting of the Lobster Pot Christmas tree (see above), holiday-themed drag bingo, a holiday champagne brunch, community gingerbread decorating, and SO much more. This town's saucy and heartfelt Christmas celebrations could cure the worst of grinches.