10 Best Things to Do in Maine This Holiday Season

From sparkly gardens to skiing Santas, here are some of our favorite holiday things to do in Maine this year!

By Yankee Editors

Nov 10 2021


Taking a walk through this wooded area is an experience like no other.

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

Whether you’re an out-of-stater planning a visit or a local looking to add a new tradition, here’s a sampling of the best holiday events in Maine, inspired by Yankee’s 2021 feature “The New England Holiday Bucket List.” How many have you experienced?

Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Taking a walk through the woods at Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is an experience like no other.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming

10 Best Things to Do in Maine This Holiday Season

November 13 – 14, 26 – 27 & December 4 – 12
United Maine Craftsmen Shows
Augusta Arts & Crafts Show (11/13–11/14)
Brewer Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show (11/26–11/27)
Portland Holiday Arts & Crafts Show (12/4–12)

For crafts fans, a UMC show is a don’t-miss proposition. The state’s largest nonprofit craft organization has been putting on shows for 50 years, and today it boasts a deep selection of high-quality handcrafted gifts and stocking stuffers from juried Maine artisans. 

November 20 – January 1
Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Sparkly gardens and illuminated walks in the woods beckon at Maine’s biggest yuletide light display, with some 650,000 LEDs woven through 14 acres of gardens, plus a s’mores pit and special art exhibits.

November 22 – December 31
L.L. Bean Northern Lights

Outdoor outfitter L.L. Bean gets into the spirit with a musical light show, a Twinkle Light Tunnel, and whimsical window displays. 

November 26 – 28, December 4 – 5
The Nutcracker
Merrill Auditorium | Portland

Maine State Ballet’s The Nutcracker mixes Balanchine’s beloved choreography with homegrown touches: e.g., artistic director Linda MacArthur Miele was mowing her lawn when inspiration struck for reindeer-suited youngsters to whisk Clara’s sleigh offstage.

November 26 – January 9
Christmas at Victoria Mansion

Inspired by Queen Victoria’s favorite residence, Osbourne House, this coastal mansion began its holiday event 40 years ago as a weekend tea attended by 67 people. These days, it’s known for hosting a six-week event that draws up to 10,000 people to ooh and aah at rooms filled with lavish 1860s furnishings by Gustave Herter and Victorian-era Christmas decorations by local designers.

November 27 – January
Nubble Light

While not a light show per se, the annual illumination of this lighthouse just off the Maine coast is one of the region’s most magical sights. 

December 2 – 12
Christmas Prelude

With extra glow provided by its 40th anniversary, Christmas Prelude brightens the first two weeks of December with outdoor markets, parades, the Holiday Trail of Lights, and the illumination of a massive Christmas tree in Dock Square. Look for Santa to show up—via lobster boat! 

December 5
Santa Sunday at Sunday River

More than 250 skiers and snowboarders turn out in full Kris Kringle regalia—white beard and all—as part of Sunday River’s annual whimsical community fund-raiser. Check the website to learn how to join their ranks, or just show up to enjoy the spectacle of schussing Santas.

December 9
Squirrel Nut Zippers Holiday Caravan Tour
The Strand Theatre | Rockland

Love rocking around the Christmas tree? Check out the Squirrel Nut Zippers as they bring their “Holiday Caravan” show to Midcoast Maine, mixing jazz chords, folk music, and punk rock as they belt out holiday favorites alongside their own hits. For details on other New England shows, go to

December 16 – 19
Gingerbread Spectacular at The Opera House
Boothbay Harbor 

The deliciously competitive gingerbread contest returns to the Opera House, where a confectioner’s dream lineup of castles, cabins, and other creations will be on display. The accompanying holiday bake sale is sure to delight your sweet tooth.

What would you add to the list of the best holiday events in Maine? Let us know in the comments below!

And see more festive things to do in Maine (and beyond) in “The New England Holiday Bucket List.”

Don’t miss our top 10 holiday events in all six New England states! Check out Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.