Holiday traditions are the things we look forward to the most each season — the things we did as children, picked up from friends and family, or started on our own. It doesn’t matter how big the tradition or how long we’ve been doing it, we just know the season isn’t the same without them! And like most good things in life, there’s always room for more! Looking for a new holiday season tradition? Here are our picks for some of the Best New England Christmas Season Traditions, guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit and make your days merry!
Artistic New England Christmas Season Traditions
For many of us, no holiday season is complete without donning a bit of finery and heading into the city for a special holiday performance. Whether it’s the toe-tapping Boston Pops, the rousing Halleluiah chorus of Handel’s Messiah, the leaps and pirouettes of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, or the humbug-turned-merry tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – the stage beckons during the Christmas season with something for everyone. Productions take place all over New England, so if you can’t make it to one of the “big shows,” check the pages of your local newspaper for performances in your own community.
- Messiah Sing in Lexington, MA
- A Christmas Carol at Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, RI
- Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker in Boston, MA
- Holiday Pops from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a tradition since 1973
- New Haven Ballet’s The Nutcracker in New Haven, CT
Holiday Lights New England Christmas Season Traditions
Whether it’s piling into the car with a steaming travel mug of hot chocolate to cruise the holiday lights in your own community, or heading out to a larger “destination holiday light spot,” the glow of twinkling lights is one of the earliest and easiest ways to get into the holiday spirit. If you want to venture beyond home for maximum wattage, check out:
- Bright Nights in Springfield, MA
- Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA
- Holiday Light Fantasia in Hartford, CT
- La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, MA
- ZooLights at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA
Historic New England Christmas Season Traditions
In a region as ripe with history as New England, leaping into the Christmas past is easy. Head to one of the region’s living history museums for special holiday programs, or tour a historic house or two for examples of Christmas decor and style from different eras of New England history.
- Christmas By Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA
- Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT
- Gilded-age finery at the Newport Mansions in Newport, RI
- Holiday finery at the pre-Civil War Victoria Mansion in Portland, ME
- Experience a rural 19th century Christmas at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, VT
Food and Craft Christmas Season Traditions
Of course, no holiday season is complete without a few handmade items, either food from the kitchen or crafts from the kitchen table! Our Yankee food and craft bloggers have a few ideas to get you started.
- Make ornaments like Victorian Scrap Paper Ornaments, Vintage Postcard Ornaments, or Handmade Felt Ornaments
- Make a fun Christmas Advent Calendar from Matchboxes
- Our recipe for the best, easy Christmas Fruitcake (we promise, you’ll love it!)
- Travel back to Merry Olde England with a recipe for Christmas Wassail Bowl
- Host a cookie swap and bring some of our favorites like Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies, Pecan Puffs, or a New England cookie classic — Joe Froggers.
What did we miss? Share your family’s own holiday traditions in the comments section — you may inspire someone else, or learn something new to add to your own Christmas calendar!