Massachusetts has holiday cheer – and events – to spare


In the Hallmark holiday movies,there’s usually a quaint town with a tiny holiday festival that the locals love. It’s steeped in local tradition, and everything is familiar.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But here in the greater Boston area, we can celebrate our holidays just about any way we want. What’s better than a plethora of programs and events that form a tapestry of seasonal cheer.

Consider these options:

The Classic: Old Sturbridge Village Christmas By Candlelight:

Old Sturbridge ( brings its entire 200-acre campus up to Christmas level throughout the holiday season.

You can enjoy a lovely wander down their Christmas Tree Trail and across the Christmas Wish Bridge. There’s live music, story readings and even some magic. You can experience holiday traditions of many generations via live demonstrations of classic Christmas projects in the Bixby House, like gingerbread baking, cider mulling, knitting Christmas stockings, punching tin, and more.

You can even take home DIY kits for these projects, and there’s a new international Christmas showcase in the Richardson House.

Christmas By Candlelight runs most days from 2-8 p.m. through Dec. 30. Tickets must be purchased on line ahead of time..

Hanukkah, Boston Style:

On the evening of Dec. 15, join in on the Festival of Lights Celebration at Boston’s famed Museum of Fine Arts. Open to all (register on line at, the evening shines light (lots of light) on the sights, sounds, history and tastes of Hanukkah. Guests arrive via an illuminated traveling art exhibit through the Huntington entrance to the museum. There are inspirational talks, live music featuring top local musicians performing Hanukkah songs in Yiddish, Ladino, Hebrew and English. You can make and take art activities and even savor Hanukkah inspired tastes from local restaurants, including potato latkes with chive crème fraiche and applesauce from the New American Cafe, and raspberry rugelach from Taste.

Our nature illuminated:

We love our nature here even in the cold winter months (and in some ways, particularly then), and while the leaves have fallen from the trees, holiday season is a great time to get out in the fresh air. And what better place than the New England Botanical Garden at Tower Hill in Boylston ( where, through the end of the year, you can meander through an amazing light display that marries native plants and trees and creative light displays.

The displays are meant to celebrate our natural world, designed by their horticulture staff. This year they each celebrate different types of environments on Earth from meadows filled with pollinators to mountaintops, winter wonderlands, and even seascapes.

The lights are the star, but there’s more. You can enjoy on site s’mores, seasonal drinks, a model train display, unique shopping for holiday gifts, and fun photo opportunities (if you’ve yet to snag that perfect family holiday card photo, this could be the time).

Advanced registration is required.

There are so many more ways to celebrate, from lobster trap Christmas trees (Plymouth Harbor’s is particularly lovely), the family fun at Edaville ( or holiday shopping at one of our unique towns like Rockport. If you want to celebrate the season, Massachusetts is the place to be.


A couple strolls along the bridge during Old Sturbridge Village's Christmas by Candlelight. (Photo Old Sturbridge Village.)
A couple strolls along the bridge during Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight. (Photo Old Sturbridge Village.)


A past Hanukkah celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.(Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
A past Hanukkah celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.(Photo courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

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