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24 Fabulous Festive Holiday Events in Northern New England

Famous Nubble Light at sunset Nubble Light at sunset. | Photo by P. Meybruck / Alamy Stock Photo

Join in the fun as communities and organizations celebrate the season with music, parades, craft fairs, and more.

The holiday season is filled with opportunities to celebrate with friends and neighbors in many Northern New England communities. You’ll find chances to buy artisan gifts, tour historic homes that are decked out in festive attire, and feast on traditional foods. 

New Hampshire

1. December 8: Awake! It’s Christmas! The Nashua Choral Society presents excerpts from Bach’s “Cantata No. 140” and Handel’s “Messiah,” and caroling with the choir. Immaculate Conception Church, Nashua.

2. December 14: Victorian Christmas. Tour a historic 18th-century farmhouse festooned with holiday finery accompanied by a costumed tour guide. The tour includes food and music. While on the grounds, take a look at antique farm equipment and heritage breed farm animals. New Hampshire Farm Museum, Milton. 603-652-7840.

3. December 21: Tuba Christmas. Bring your tuba or euphonium and music stand, and wear red and green to join in a concert of favorite holiday songs arranged for a dedicated tuba and euphonium ensemble. Tuba Christmas is a longstanding, local holiday event. Trinity United Methodist Church, Colebrook. 603-237-4031.

4. December 21-23: The Christmas Revels: An English Celebration of the Winter Solstice. This well-loved holiday show, a local tradition for more than 40 years, is filled with traditional music, dance, and stories. Lebanon Opera House. 603-448-0400.

Menorah Lighting at the State House

Photo courtesy Chabad of New Hampshire

5. December 22: Menorah Lighting at the State House. Watch as a 15-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide menorah is lit (pictured above) to celebrate Hanukkah. Weather permitting, Chabad of New Hampshire will serve gelt (coin-shaped chocolates). State House, Concord. 603-647-0204.

6. December 27–January 4: Recycled Percussion. Ring in 2020 with the showstopping rhythms of this group of local percussionists. If you think your holiday calendar is busy, they have three gigs on New Year’s Eve alone. Palace Theatre, Manchester. 603-668-5588.

Maine

7. December 7: Chester Greenwood Day. A celebration of the inventor of earmuffs includes an earmuff-themed parade, special sales at downtown businesses, a dip in Clearwater Lake, and music. Downtown Farmington. 207-778-4215.

8. December 7: Holly Berry Fair. Hosted by the Rockport Garden Club, this event includes costume and vintage jewelry, hand-painted furniture, kitchenware, home-baked goods, and a raffle. Rockport Opera House. 207-236-2202.

Presque Isle's Holiday Light Parade

Photo courtesy Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce

9. December 7: Holiday Light ParadeIn Presque Isle's longstanding celebration (pictured above), local businesses and civic organizations compete for the best holiday float in an evening parade that lights up the streets. 207-764-6561.

10. December 13–15: Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea. town-wide winter celebration that includes tasting events, Santa sightings, tree lightings, hayrides, a bonfire, children’s activities, and a parade. 207-646-2939. 

11. December 14: Elks Lodge Christmas Craft Fair. More than 40 New England crafters will offer holiday gift ideas. Bangor Elks Lodge. 207-408-7520. 

12. December 14: Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance Holiday Market. More than 50 members of the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance will showcase their wares for sale. Additional events include basketmaking demonstrations, drumming and singing, and a fashion show. University of Maine, Collins Center for the Arts, Orono. 207-581-1904. 

13. December 16: Holiday Concert and Singalong. Join in on the musical merrymaking of the Acadia Bell Choir, which will perform traditional carols and contemporary holiday tunes on handbells. Southwest Harbor Public Library. 207-244-7065. 

Photo by Dave Clough Photography / Courtesy Christmas with Kennerly

Photo by Dave Clough Photography / Courtesy Christmas with Kennerly

14. December 23: Christmas with Kennerly. Musician and composer James Kennerley (pictured above) will perform traditional carols and contemporary Christmas music on the historic Kotzschmar Organ. He will be accompanied by a brass ensemble, a handbell choir, holiday singers, and other musicians. Sponsored by Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ. Merrill Auditorium, Portland. 207-842-0800. 

15. December 29: Beth Israel Hanukkah Party. Enjoy a night of food, song, and fun. There will be soup, latkes (potato pancakes), and pastries, as well as music and games. Beth Israel Congregation, Waterville. 207-872-7551. 

16. December 31: So You Want to See John Edwards on New Year’s Eve! The singer-songwriter performs a New Year’s Eve concert on his tour celebrating a musical career spanning half a century. Note: Bring cash; credit cards will not be accepted for food and beverages at the event. Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield. 207-935-7292. 

Vermont

17. December 6–8: Vermont International Festival. Vermont’s diverse populations showcase the art, cuisine, and culture of many communities from around the world in this celebration. Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Junction. 802-863-6713.

18. December 7: Annual Snowball Bazaar. You will find wreaths and centerpieces, handmade pet supplies, and Earth-friendly gifts at this combination craft fair and tag sale. The event will also feature baked goods, a silent auction, and a luncheon. Second Congregational Church, Bennington. 802-442-2559. 

19. December 7-8: Our House for the Holidays. Visit the historic home of Robert and Mary Lincoln adorned with holiday finery. Cider doughnuts, hot apple cider, and local Vermont food and drink will be served, accompanied by holiday music. Hildene–The Lincoln Family Home, Manchester. 800-578-1788.

20. December 14: Touch of Vermont Holiday Gift Market. At this market, you can find local wares for gifts, from spirits to quilts. There also will be a raffle to benefit Good Beginning of Central Vermont. Montpelier Vermont City Hall. 802-310-1725.

21. December 21: Winter Solstice Celebration. Celebrate the beginning of winter with a family-friendly night of music and dance. First, take in the West African dance and rhythms of Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater, and then join the band Good Time Charlie for a dance party. There will be glow sticks and cocoa for the little ones to enjoy. Smuggler’s Notch, Jeffersonville. 802-332-6854.

22. December 22: Chanu-Kava: Tea and Stories That Increase the Light. Gather on a long winter night for storytelling, song, tea, and snacks in celebration of Hanukkah and community. This is an interfaith event. Ruach haMaqom, Burlington. 802-356-1668. 

23. December 31: Torchlight Parade and Fireworks at Mount Snow. Mount Snow ski and snowboard instructors will ski down a trail holding flares to light up the night. There will also be a bonfire and fireworks. Mount Snow, West Dover. 802-464-4191.

24. December 31: Bristol Best Night.community-wide, family-friendly celebration to ring in the new year. Entertainment will include music, magicians, and activities for kids in three venues. Bristol. 

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