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Where to Enjoy Amazing 2018 Christmas Holiday Events in New England

Enchanted Village Christmas display at Jordan's Furniture, Avon MA

A Christmas display at Enchanted Village, Jordan's Furnture, Avon, Mass.

Article and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 10/20/17

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New England is truly a special place to celebrate Christmas. With a chill in the air, community gatherings and special commercial events (and hopefully a little snow on the ground), New England is the perfect place to enjoy Christmas. Be sure to experience these amazing New England 2018 Christmas events, festivals, light displays, and family attractions.

Christmas Prelude, Kennebunkport, Maine

Nov. 29-Dec. 9, 2018 See 2018 schedule

Kennebunkport, Maine, goes all out during the holiday season with a fabulous tree-lighting ceremony, a nativity scene, dinners, arts and crafts shows, holiday dinners, tours, parades, and plenty of hot cider and chocolate. The Kennebunkport and Lower Village (Kennebunk) Christmas scenes are one of New England's best -- along with the sparkling lighted Christmas trees you'll view many seashell decorated wreaths, and garlands of greenery and ribbon. There's even a Christmas tree made out of lobster traps! For those more interested in the actual lobster, you'll find plenty of dinners to go around (check schedule by clicking link below). It's all certainly a tourist attraction, but, more importantly, the Christmas celebrations of a community full of pride, hard-working people making the events happen, and a rich sense of seasonal tradition.

Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, Maine. Photo credit: Robert Dennis
Celebrating Christmas, lobster-style, during Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude. Photo credit: Robert Dennis

Edaville Railroad Annual Christmas Festival of Lights, Carver, Mass.

November 18 thru November 30
Sundays: 2pm to 8pm
Mondays thru Thursdays: 4pm to 8pm
Fridays & Saturdays: 2pm to 9pm
Starting December 1 thru Jan 1
Sundays: 2pm to 8pm (starting 12/26 4pm-9pm)
Mondays thru Thursdays: 4pm to 8pm (starting 12/26 4pm-9pm)
  Fridays & Saturdays: 2pm to 9:30pm
*Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

See full 2018 schedule

Enjoy the Christmas train rides passing by the seven million lights, 30 displays and 90+ overall attractions at this 1,800-acre Cranberry plantation. Here, visitors can enjoy hot chocolate, apple cider, caroling, and a visit with Santa. 
Book a room in nearby Plymouth

Christmas at Santa's Village, Jefferson, N.H.

See 2018 schedule
It's mighty cold in New Hampshire at this time of the year, but Mr. and Mrs. Claus help warm up this special New Hampshire theme park at Christmas that features beautiful lighting, holiday-themed amusement rides (including the Skyway Sleigh Monorail and the Merry Christmas Ferris Wheel), holiday shopping at the Snowball Mall and Stocking Stuffer Shop,  and a 3-D show entitled "A Tinkerdoodle Christmas."  Santa's Village is, without a doubt, one of New England's most revered holiday destinations! Book a room in North Conway

Christmas at the Farm Featured at Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock, Vt.

December Weekends and Dec. 22-Jan. 1 (excluding Christmas day) See 2018 schedule
Billings Farm and Museum celebrates the traditions of a 19th century Vermont village on weekends including arts and crafts projects and horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides. Book a room at the Woodstock Inn and Resort

Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass.

Friday, November 30; Saturday, December 1; Sunday, December 2; Friday, December 7; Saturday, December 8; Sunday, December 9; Friday, December 14; Saturday, December 15; Sunday, December 16; Thursday, December 20; Friday, December 21; Saturday, December 22; Sunday, December 23 See full 2018 schedule
What a fun way to experience the history of Christmas traditions at Old Strubridge Village (OSV) -- this beautiful Sturbridge, Mass., living museum recreates rural New England life during the 1790s through the 1830s. Caroling around the illuminated 19th-century village and sounds of the season from visiting performers from local schools and churches will surely get you in the Christmas spirit. The event will also feature an evening of gingergbread, roasted chestnuts, music, dance, and a sleigh ride (weather permitting). You'll also get to meet Father Christmas and  Santa Claus. According to the OSV Web Site, you'll also get to "discover the history of Christmas cards, exchanging gifts, hanging stockings, Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and candy canes. You'll learn about these traditions and more in the enchanting setting of Old Sturbridge Village by candlelight. You'll also have an opportunity to taste samples of several foods long associated with the holiday." Book a room in Sturbridge

Christmas at Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass. Photo credit OSV web site.
Christmas at Old Sturbridge Village. Photo credit: Old Sturbridge Village.

The North Pole Express at the Essex Steam Train, Essex, Conn.

See full 2018 schedule
This imaginative journey to the "North Pole" is sure to please the kids by celebrating  the spirit of the season with Santa and Mrs. Claus, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate and sugar cookies -- all powered by a  locomotive-powered sleigh!  Full details on the North Pole Express at the Essex Steam Train, including specific December hours of operation. Book a room in nearby Old Saybrook

Enchanted Village, Jordan's Furniture, Avon, Mass. 

Opens Nov. 18! See 2018 schedule
Jordan's has brought back to life a revered holiday event made famous by the former Jordan Marsh department store in Boston and then the City of Boston. In its heyday (the 1960s and 1970s and then 1990-2005), Enchanted Village was a household name with its finely detailed holiday scenes and "magically" animated figures. Thanks to the visionaries at Jordan's Furniture, Enchanted Village is now back at its Avon store. Here, you'll find the fully restored vintage collection of 59 mechanical figurines, and 18 vignettes. Santa will be on hand, too!
Book a room in Boston

Christmas Stroll on Nantucket Island

Nov. 30 - Dec. 2 See 2018 schedule
Nantucket Christmas Stroll traditionally takes place the first full weekend of December  As part of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce's "Nantucket Noel,"  100s of decorated seven-foot Christmas trees line the downtown streets, and illuminated in a ceremony with caroling at dusk the day after Thanksgiving. Also on Stroll Saturday, carolers in festive Christmas apparel sing entertain at various downtown locations. Live entertainment adds even more holiday joy in the middle of Main St. Craft shows, performances, special dinners at island restaurants (please book ahead), tours, and exhibitions round out one of the best Christmas celebrations in New England. According to the Nantucket Christmas Stroll web site, "Midday on Stroll Saturday, the Nantucket Town Crier, in full regalia, will ring in Christmas Stroll, and then lead everyone to the wharves to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive via Coast Guard Cutter, walk down the wharf, and then ride to the Jared Coffin House downtown to meet with children." Book a room on Nantucket Island

Christmas Stroll at Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. Photo credit: MOTT
Carolers at Nantucket Island Christmas Stroll.
Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

La Salette Festival of Lights, Attleboro, Mass.

Nov. 22, 2018 - Jan. 6, 2019
The annual National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette Festival of Lights will shine its Christmas magic with more than 300,000 lights on display over 10 acres at the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Mass. One of New England’s most famous Christmas events, the Festival of Lights is one way to surely get in the holiday spirit. This is one of those “you had to be there” Christmas light show destinations that requires attendance to fully appreciate the spectacular nature of this event. Christmas at La Salette also features Christmas displays and exhibitions, as well as gift shop items! Admission to the Festival of Lights is free, but donations are always welcome. The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is located at 947 Park Ave. For more information on this event and La Salette, in general, log onto the La Salette web site.

La Salette Festival of Lights, Attleboro, Mass. Photo credit: MOTT
La Salette Shrine Festival of Lights in Attleboro, Mass.
Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

Christmas at the Newport Mansions, Newport, R.I.

Nov. 17, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019 See 2018 schedule
The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House go all out for the holidays with spectacular decorations, music and tours. Featured are thousands of poinsettia plants, incredible evergreens, trees, wreaths and fresh flowers, as well as 19th century style ornaments. 
Book a room in Newport and get a great rate

City of Taunton Lighting of the Green, Taunton, Mass.

Dec. 1, 2018. 3-8 p.m.
Taunton's Lighting of the Green and Lights On Festival dates back to 1914 and is one of the best examples of a town green Christmas display in New England. This annual community celebration offers live entertainment, kid's activities, fireworks, and an incredible display of Christmas lights on the beautiful, historic Taunton Green. This year's theme: Christmas in Candyland! The lights and displays stay  throughout December, too, in case you can't make it to the kickoff event.

Taunton, Massachusetts -- The Christmas City

Taunton, Mass.: The Christmas City.

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Christmas fairs, festivals, celebrations in New England: It's the most wonderful time of the year.

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Books by Publisher Eric Hurwitz

Massachusetts Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions: town commons (includes chapters on Attleboro, Sturbridge and Taunton!

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