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December 2023

Massachusetts for the Holidays

Cue the lights, the trees and the ornaments!

The beauty of Massachusetts is heightened this time of year with festive wreaths, sparkling lights and giant ornaments at every turn. Sure signs that the holidays have arrived in Massachusetts! We’ve adorned our lighthouses, Gingerbread Houses and even have lobster trap trees on display for you. Enjoy these breathtaking scenes and have some festive fun as we wrap up one year and move onward towards another. Happy Holidays!

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Photo: The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salatte, Attleboro

Featured Region: Southeastern Mass

Have you been looking for your next ADVENTURE? We’ve got just the place, and something for every budget. Southeastern Massachusetts has a lot to offer, from historic locations with Holiday surprises, and incredible shopping for your season gift giving there’s certain to be a treasure to be found for all the boys and girls. Less than an hour from Boston and minutes away from Providence. Your escape is waiting for you in Southeastern Massachusetts.

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The Berkshires

Come ski the Berkshires this winter! Catamount is excited to offer newly enhanced snow making, and is already coating its trails. Butternut’s reloadable and scannable lift ticket system now makes it easier than ever to get in more runs. Did you know that both Jiminy Peak and Berkshire East get 100% of their electrical power from renewable sources, making them leaders in the ski industry? If skiing isn't for you, be sure to check out tubing options. Bousquet alone offers over 100 tubes and 10 tubing lanes - and a carpet lift back to the top. Tubing is also available at Catamount, Berkshire East, and Butternut. Pack up the kids, your friends, or just yourself and head out to the Berkshires for the best winter fun you can find!

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Greater Merrimack Valley

Join us for the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party at Town Meeting Bistro on Saturday, December 16! Set in the backdrop of the Birthplace of American Liberty – Lexington, MA - Town Meeting Bistro will commemorate this historical day with colonial themed sweet and savory bites, as well as J’enwey Tea Co. tea offerings and cocktails matching those thrown over the Harbor as you enjoy an authentic Fife and Drum performance. The restaurant will also be providing tricorn hats and crafts to accompany the children’s tea. Relive history where it took place! Seatings at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm. Find more information and tickets here!

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Central Massachusetts

The region gets even brighter in December, as the Festival of Lights takes Worcester Common and Starry Skies brighten the grounds at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. Bert Kreischer stops by the DCU Center while Samuel Slater’s Restaurant offers “A Christmas Carol” dinner theatre and Mechanics Hall presents "The Nutcracker Ballet." Families will embrace old traditions with Christmas by Candlelight and try something new at Christmas on the Farm or Teddy Bear Tea.

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Franklin County

'Welcome Yule' returns to the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on December 8, 9, and 10. Welcome Yule is an annual celebration of the light-filled traditions of the darkest time of the year and their roots in many ancient cultures. This family show full of music, dance, songs, and stories invites its audience to sing along, touch the Yule Log for good luck, feel a chill with the eerie Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, and laugh away the dark. Tickets can be purchased here!

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Photo: Michael Blanchard

Greater Boston

Each winter, Boston Seaport shakes up in a magical snow globe and transforms into Snowport — a winter wonderland beloved by locals and tourists alike. Through December 31, the highly anticipated Holiday Market at Snowport showcases 120+ vendors along with 17 curated food & beverage concepts and holiday pop-ups. From the stunning 10-foot-tall mistletoe archway and après ski-themed lounge, to the lighting of Boston’s largest holiday tree and ice sculpture stroll — Snowport is a must visit.

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Cape Cod

Celebrate Christmas on Cape Cod and create lifelong memories that will be passed down for generations. Here, by the sea, you’ll recapture the essence of the holiday season. Stay in a cozy B&B, book a relaxing spa day, dine fireside, and bundle up for a brisk walk on the seashore. Savor such quintessential holiday experiences as the illuminated Pilgrim Monument, festively decorated village centers, and village strolls. A vibrant arts community, seasonal pop-up markets and picturesque Main Streets offer plenty of opportunties to shop local for your holiday gifts! Plan your holiday getaway today at CapeCodChamber.org.

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Western Mass

Looking for a traditional New England holiday? Look no further than Western Mass! Catch the holiday spirit with carolers at The Student Prince restaurant, where you’ll also want to sip on their famous eggnog. Or enjoy carolers with an Irish flair at the Irish Cultural Center of New England. And no holiday trip to Western Mass is complete without a drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park and a visit to Grinchmas at The Springfield Museums.

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Hampshire County

Kick off December with the Lighting of the Merry Maple in Amherst — a beloved tradition that signals the start of the holidays, complete with a marching band and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Catch up on gift shopping during South Hadley’s Holiday Stroll, Easthampton’s Cottage Street Open Studios, or at Northampton's four-fair Holiday Market Walk. Reflect on the solstice at Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity, then greet the New Year with a bang by enjoying a Murder Mystery at the Inn on Boltwood, or the 12-hour music-filled celebration that is First Night Northampton!

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North Central Mass

It’s a season of light across Johnny Appleseed Country, as communities, businesses and entire neighborhoods turn on dazzling holiday displays for all to enjoy! The Lancaster Celebration of Lights, New England Botanic Garden’s Night Lights: Starry Skies, and Red Apple Farm’s Winter Lights are sure to get you into the holiday mood. Check out Hubbardston’s Light Fight, or take the Leominster Lights tour! — and make your season bright!

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Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard’s December enchants —A Very Vineyard Holiday’s and Christmas in Edgartown’s combined magic spans December! Island gift markets/fairs make December a joy. See Dickens Christmas Village thru 12/22 (Carnegie Edgartown); First Friday @ MV Museum 5 to 8 pm, food, music, more; World Market (12/1-24), Aquinnah Artisans Fair (12/2-3) Featherstone’s-Holiday-Gift-Show (12/1-17) tempt shoppers! Family-Friendly interactive Polar-Express (12/3 11 am). Community Chorus Holiday Concert (12/3); Edgartown Lighthouse Lighting (12/8 5:30 pm) precedes Carnegie Heritage Center cocktail party (12/8 6 to 8 pm); Christmas Faire in W Tisbury (12/9 9:30 am to 2:30 pm). Aside from Christmas celebrations, island beaches, hiking/cycling trails open, amazing shops/boutiques, world-class dining and, just maybe, a White Christmas this year?

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Mohawk Trail Region

To honor the milestone anniversary, The Clark presents two exhibitions celebrating its works on paper collection. Open on November 18, the Clark opens "50 Years and Forward: British Prints and Drawings Acquisitions" in the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery of the Manton Research Center. On December 16, the large-scale exhibition 50 Years and Forward: Works on Paper Acquisitions opens in the Clark Center’s special exhibition galleries.

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Start your holidays feeling merry & musical with Milford Community Chorus’ Holiday Performance December 2, Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops Concert on December 9, or Ayla Brown’s holiday concert at Hopkinton Center for the Arts on December 15! Shop for the holidays accompanied by tasty treats and entertainment at MetroWest’s Holiday Strolls on December 2 in Ashland, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Natick, and Sudbury, plus in Wayland on December 9. See website for details!

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Photo: Charity Grace Mofsen


December’s Nantucket is unique! Nantucket Christmas Stroll (12/1-3) is world-renowned with unique appeal, especially with children at Santa’s arrival and meet & greet. December’s mystical light is heavenly. Aside from the Christmas merriment, there are many activities — Festival of Trees (12/1-30; 10 am to 4 pm) and Home for the Holidays (11/20-12/31) are stunning. Dreamland’s Madeleine’s Christmas (12/7-17) enhances Nantucket’s magical ambience. Daily guided hikes by locals include magnificent lands for strolling, bike paths, secluded beaches, fantastic dining, charming inns, B&Bs and hotels, alluring boutiques, Nantucket Looms, and more offering winter bargains! 

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North of Boston

Welcome in the holidays, on December 2nd starting at 3:30 pm, at the town of Amesbury’s annual Holiday Parade! The Holiday Lights themed event is sure to be a holly jolly good time for the whole family. The Rocky Neck Holiday Trek on December 9 offers a diverse array of one-of-a-kind treasures perfect for Holiday gifts including vibrant paintings, sculptures, intricate ceramics, and handcrafted jewelry. Enjoy a magical outdoor experience and see the gardens aglow at Stevens Coolidge House & Gardens every Wednesday through Sunday, now through December 31!

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Plymouth County

With its rich history, cozy inns and amazing dining scene, Plymouth County offers the perfect getaway this December! Grab the kids and head to Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver for their Christmas Festival of Lights. Visit Plimoth Patuxet Museums for a very special Winter Fine Arts & Craft Fair. The Holidays and history come together with “A Christmas Carol” at the Hedge House on the Plymouth Waterfront. Download the See Plymouth mobile app for lots more events!

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Regional Tourism Councils

The Berkshires  Cape Cod  Central Massachusetts  Franklin County 

Greater Boston  Greater Merrimack Valley  Hampshire County  North Central Mass 

Martha's Vineyard  MetroWest  Mohawk Trail  Nantucket Island  North of Boston 

Plymouth County  Southeastern Mass  Western Mass



Funded by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism