Explore arts & culture happenings across Massachusetts this December.

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Clockwise from top left: MASS MoCA, North Adams; St. Patrick's Day Parade, Cape Cod; Nantucket Christmas Stroll, credit Michael Galvin; Boston Common in winter; American Textile History Museum in Lowell

 

 

December 2019

 

Massachusetts is rich in arts & culture, so it's no surprise that exciting events, exhibits and festivals are held in the state's 16 regions all year long. Find out more!

 

Our Happy Holidays

The most wonderful time of the year is here in Massachusetts. Everywhere you go in December, you can enjoy caroling and choirs, holiday food and shopping specials, sparking lights and good cheer. The cultural scene is brilliant, with annual performances of the Boston Holiday Pops, Nutcracker Ballet, Messiah, Dickens' Christmas Carol, Celtic Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa celebrations and more. Tree lightings, holiday festivals, main street shopping and community gatherings abound. Visit our holiday page or search our December events for even more ways to enjoy this special time of year.

For more on what to see + do in Massachusetts, visit massvacation.com.

 

 

Featured Region: The Berkshires

Photo Credit Ogden Gigli

Inside and out, the Berkshires is truly a winter wonderland. While our myriad of museums and cultural venues offer fantastic exhibits and events during the colder months, they also embrace the snow and cold and offer outdoor fun. At The Clark, Project Snowshoe gets underway once the first real snow comes. Here, you'll find a rack filled with snowshoes, free for you to use while exploring the outdoor trails. Aside from this, ice skating can be found on the pond right next to the museum when weather permits.
 
Also, a little-known fact about Tanglewood is that its grounds are open year-round, so bring your cross-country skis and take in the amazing views, while dreaming of hearing strains from the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Be sure to check out the new Linde Center, which houses the Tanglewood Learning Center. This year-round space will be offering engaging programs for curious minds, including performances, talks, films, master classes, and visual arts experiences throughout the winter and beyond.
 
So, pack up the car and head to the Berkshires this winter for some memorable winter fun! Find more events and information for The Berkshires

 

 

Greater Merrimack Valley

Beginning on Wednesday, November 27, join us for the 24th Annual display of Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature, a beloved holiday tradition at the Concord Museum! Enjoy 39 fanciful trees and wreaths creatively decorated by museum volunteers to illustrate treasured and new favorite children's books. We are thrilled to welcome Pamela Zagarenski, Illustrator of Zola's Elephant and two-time Caldecott-honor winning artist, as this year's Honorary Chair. Benefit admission to support the museum's education initiatives; museum members are free. November 27-January 5.

Find more events and information for Greater Merrimack Valley.  

 

 

Central Massachusetts

Discover the rich culture of Central Massachusetts with one of the region's seasonal events! Night Lights celebrates winter, light, and nature together at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. The Holiday Festival of Crafts and stART on The Street feature handmade goods from hundreds of local artisans. You can watch A Christmas Carol at the historical Hanover Theatre, or go back in time at a living history museum with Old Sturbridge Village's Christmas by Candlelight event.

Find more events and information for Central Massachusetts.

 

 

Franklin County

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration will be held Friday, December 13 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 14 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 15 at 2 pm at Shea Theater in Turners Falls. This winter pageant emphasizes folk music and customs...expect mirth, song, dance and good cheer! The program's storyline centers on the wisdom of trees, the power of animals and the deep magic of music. This year's highlights will include rousing harmonies, lively dances, and the use of giant puppets throughout the show. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children 5-16 years and seniors, free for kids under 5. Click here to buy tickets now!

Find more events and information for Franklin County.

 

 

Greater Boston

YULE love BOSTON in December! Make a date with family and friends for a classic holiday performance: The Nutcracker, Black Nativity, Holiday Pops, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Disney on Ice, Worlds of Enchantment and the debut of Dolly Parton's Smokey Mountain Christmas. Take advantage of the Mayor's Holiday Special, half-price tickets & dining deals all season long. Tree and Menorah lightings, BLINK, the sight & sound extravaganza, Holiday Strolls and open-air Holiday Artisan Markets add to the spirit of the season. There are Teddy Bear Teas, a Latke Party, Gingerbread decorating and Zoolights! While enjoying the sights and sounds of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, be sure to add a pair of mittens or gloves to The Mitten Tree in the North Market. Boston's holiday landscape also includes some very "cool" igloos atop the Envoy Hotel, Frog Pond, in the heart of Boston Common for outdoor skating and a ride on the Greenway's festive carousel. Boston's 5+ week holiday season culminates in the renowned festivities of First Night/First Day 2020 in Copley Square!
 
Find more events and information for Greater Boston

 

 

Cape Cod

This holiday season, we suggest a little Cape! Join us for Christmas on Cape Cod and create memories that will be cherished for generations. Every town and village puts their special stamp on holiday-inspired events throughout the month, including quaint village strolls, theater performances, festive parades, spectacular light displays, and Santa's arrival by boat! Families will love the Train to Christmas Town aboard Cape Cod Central Railroad and Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. First Night celebrations in Chatham, Provincetown and Sandwich round out the month-long festivities. Visit ChristmasonCapeCod.com, or check out our latest blog for a run down of the holiday events and shop-portunties!

Find more events and information for Cape Cod.

 

 

Greater Springfield

This year marks the 25th season of Bright Nights in Springfield. The light show was born in 1995 by Patrick Sullivan, director of parks, buildings and recreation management, alongside Judy Matt, President of The Spirit of Springfield. Since its start, Bright Nights continues to provide fond memories for families during the holidays! This year you can expect to see a new display, honoring MGM Springfield. It will feature 4,728-LED lights displaying lions leaping and roaring. The park opens November 27 and runs through January 5, 2020.

Find more events and information for Greater Springfield.

 

 

Hampshire County

Celebrate the sounds of the season and treat yourself to live music this holiday! Grab your tix to a show at the historic Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton - don't miss The Sweetback Sisters' Country Christmas Sing-Along SPECTACULAR, with two shows on December 22 or catch Keb' Mo's Jingle Bell Jamboree on December 17. Experience award-winning fiddle virtuosos Natalie MacMaster and Donnel Leahy in A Celtic Family Christmas in Amherst and enjoy 30Boltwood's holiday jazz any Friday this month!

Find more events and information for Hampshire County.

 

 

Johnny Appleseed 

They're decking the halls throughout Johnny Appleseed Country - and you're invited to enjoy the show! There's so much to see: Holiday Tree Festivals in Winchendon, Gardner and Leominster; House Tours in Leominster and Winchendon; and festive tree lighting ceremonies on town commons and in city downtowns throughout the region! Expand the sensory experience at concerts by a brass quintet in Hubbardston or the Leominster Colonial Band. Bring a local flavor home as you shop for hand-crafted gifts and decorations at a host of fairs and country shops. It's Christmas time in North Central Massachusetts!


Find more events and information for Johnny Appleseed Country. 

 

 

Martha's Vineyard 

On Martha's Vineyard in December, Christmas is everywhere, especially during Christmas in Edgartown (12/12-15)! Other December events: Featherstone Holiday Gift Show (12/1-15); Craft Fair (12/1); Wreath Workshops (12/2-4); Festival of the Wreaths (12/5); Eggnog & Wreath-making (12/7); Aquinnah Arts & Holiday Fair (12/7-8); Christmas Faire Greens Workshops (12/9-14); Island Art Show (12/12-24); Mytoi Illumination (12/13-14) and Christmas @ Lighthouse (12/14-15); Artisans Festival (12/21); Christmas Pageant (12/24); and Roaring 20s Ball (12/31).

Find more events and information for Martha's Vineyard. 

 

 

Mohawk Trail Region

December at the Clark Art Institute offers great opportunities for enjoying art and so much more! Visit the Clark's renowned permanent collection, including works by Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sargent, and Homer. On December 14, explore Arabesque, a new exhibition featuring a rich array of German Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelite, and Art Nouveau works. And enjoy lots of holiday fun, including concerts, films, lectures, broadcasts of The Magic Flute and The Nutcracker, and free snowshoeing! Details at clarkart.edu. Photo: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

(French, 1864-1901), Divan Japonais, 1893. Color lithograph, 31 3/4 x 23 1/2 in. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, Bequest of Louise H. Landau

 

Find more events and information for The Mohawk Trail Region

 

 

MetroWest

Medfield's Holiday Stroll (December 6) includes food trucks, a decorated fire truck, carolers, and photos with Santa. Downtown Framingham welcomes families with kids to a Holiday Market  on December 15! Enjoy arcade games, check out local fine art, and partake in last-minute craft shopping at Springdale Beer Barrel Room. Visit the Downtown Maynard Holiday Sip and Stroll on December 16 for holiday shopping, carolers, goodies. Santa will be driving by in a fire truck!  


Find more events and information for MetroWest.   

 

 

Nantucket Island

Credit Emily Elisabeth Photography

Nantucket's all about the 46th Annual Christmas Stroll Weekend (12/6-8), presented by The Steamship Authority. It's December's centerpiece! This beloved event offers: NHA's Festival of Trees (12/7-31) & Holiday Homes (Fri-Mon through 12/30); Santa's Arrival & Parade (12/7 at 12:15 pm); Holiday Art Show; Holiday House Tour; WHT's A Nantucket Christmas Carol; a Christmas Marketplace (12/7) by Hy-Line Cruises and more! See Matilda by Theatre Workshop (through 12/14); and end the month/year with Nantucket New Year's!

Find more events and information for Nantucket Island.

 

 

North of Boston

The Marblehead Christmas Walk on December 5-8 is a signature event that captures the warmth of the holiday season throughout the entire town. Don't miss the Lobster Trap Tree Lighting in Gloucester on December 14! Join the North Shore Music Theater for the production of A Christmas Carol December 6-22. Celebrate New Year's Eve in Rockport, this is a family-friendly year-end celebration of the arts in downtown Rockport.

Find more events and information for North of Boston.

 

 

Plymouth County

Plymouth Center for the Arts on North Street in Plymouth will present "It's A Wonderful Life - Radio Play" December 7-15! Performed by the Americana Theatre Company, this beloved American holiday classic comes to captivating life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve. Buy tickets now!

Find more events and information for Plymouth County.

 

 

Southeastern Mass

Christmas Cheer...Christmas Lights...Hot Chocolate...Oh My! The Grinch may not like Christmas, but we sure do over in Southeastern Mass! Come celebrate the Season of Giving over in Taunton for the Annual Lights on Festival December 7 from 3 to 8 pm. Witness Santa's Arrival, sing carols and get in the Christmas spirit! Bring the kiddos to visit the city known as Christmas City. Make sure you check the nice list with Santa!

Find more events and information for Southeastern Massachusetts

 

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