We know instinctively that the most informal and person-to-person events of the Christmas holiday season are often the most fun. No prep, no pressure, just be there and enjoy. That is the single formula for the many Christmas strolls — often accompanied by the formal lighting of the town Christmas tree — that are held throughout New England to usher in the Christmas and holiday season. Many strolls and tree lightings are held soon after Thanksgiving, so look below and find a fun evening that you may spend outdoors in the light and music this Christmas season.
Connecticut — Trees in the Rigging 2018 Carol Sing & Boat Parade
November 25, 2018
Community carol sing and boat parade steps off at 4:30 p.m. at Essex Town Hall with a lantern-lit stroll down Main Street accompanied by the Sailing Master of 1812 Fife and Drum Corps and a parade of antique cars. The stroll ends at the Connecticut River Museum, where boats decorated with festive lights and holiday themes pass in review, then Santa arrives for visits with children. 4:30-6:30 p.m. Map.
Vermont — Manchester Merriment 2018
November 24-December 31, 2018
Six weeks of holiday fun and joyful celebrations are planned for Manchester. Look for new additions to the list of Manchester Merriment events as the season approaches. Events include a tree lighting with caroling and a visit from Santa; a lighted tractor parade; an open house at Hildene, the Lincoln home; tours of beautifully decorated inns, open house at American Museum of Fly Fishing; music by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet; and train rides on Elf Express. Map.
Massachusetts — Nantucket Christmas Stroll Weekend 2018
November 30-December 2, 2018
On Stroll Saturday, carolers in costume sing familiar Christmas tunes at downtown locations. Live entertainment is performed on Main Street. Guests also relish special dinners at island restaurants, tours, and exhibitions. At mid-day, the Nantucket Town Crier will ring in Christmas Stroll, and lead a walk to wharves to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrive via Coast Guard Cutter, and then come into town to meet the children. Map.
Massachusetts — Christmas by Candlelight 2018 at Old Sturbridge Village
November 30-December 23, 2018
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village is an evening filled with New England holiday traditions, live musical performances, storytelling, sleigh rides, festive foods, a roaring bonfire, and strolls around the decorated Village Common. There is tree lighting every night! Dates: November 30; December 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, and 23. Map.
New Hampshire — Candlelight Stroll 2018 at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth
December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 and 22, 2018
Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through 300 years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. The museum grounds glow with candle lanterns, the houses are adorned with hand-made decorations, the air is filled with the sound of holiday music and scent of wood smoke. Visitors stroll from house to house and are greeted by costumed role players who re-create the traditions of times past. Map.
November 29- December 9, 2018
Days of indoor and outdoor Christmas fun in this beautiful Maine seacoast town include a tree lighting in Dock Square, Santa’s arrival – twice – by lobster boat and again by fire truck, a hat parade led by a fife and drum group, caroling, trolley rides, a pooch parade and a walk to Bethlehem. The Village Stroll happened December 1 at 5:30 p.m. at Christensen Lane and Route 35. Map.
Rhode Island — Westerly-Pawcatuck Holiday Stroll and Luminaria 2018
December 5, 2018
The Holiday Stroll is a wonderful evening full of hospitality, friendship and community spirit. Bundle up and start your holiday shopping by supporting the wonderful shops, boutiques, and art galleries in Downtown Westerly. The streets will be lined with beautiful luminaria and caroling groups will fill the air with holiday music. Go on a horse-drawn hayride or stop for hot chocolate and cookies and keep an eye out for Santa Claus. 5-9 p.m. Map.
Rhode Island — Wickford Festival of Lights, Tree Lighting and Stroll 2018
November 29-December 2
Thousands of lights and miles of garlands decorate shop fronts in this Colonial-period village. The town Christmas tree is lighted on November 29 at 6 p.m., followed by hot chocolate, caroling, and walks through the village, where most stores and lighted and open. Also during the festival, Santa will arrive at the town dock by boat. Enjoy the tree lighting and hayrides with Santa, Elf Parade and more. See town website for detailed schedule. Map.
Vermont — Vergennes Holiday Stroll 2018
December 1, 2018
Join us for a full day of holiday festivities at various locations around Vergennes. Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy musical performances, craft-making, a craft fair, sweets and treats, story time and much more. The day ends in City Park with fire pits, s’mores and caroling, and sparkling tree lights. Stay tuned for a schedule. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Map.
Connecticut — Greenwich Holiday Stroll Weekend 2018
December 1-2, 2018
Gather with friends and neighbors to enjoy a visit with live reindeer at Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, a live Nativity with nine animals, horse drawn carriage rides, live music entertainment tents with holiday singing performances, professional ice sculpture demos, food trucks on West and East Putnam avenues, holiday art workshops, letter writing to Santa and much more. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday noon-5 p.m. Map.