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Where to Celebrate Christmas in New England

There is nothing better than the cozy, Christmas glow of New England at the holidays. Unique Christmas celebrations across the region are ideal opportunities to share cheerful tidings and Christmas glee. Inns, hotels, and resorts are eager to share their holiday traditions with a bounty of special holiday offers. Each town presents its own spin on Christmas in New England, from seafaring Santas to old-fashioned wassail — load up your sleigh and start exploring!For Christmas in New England, Santa arrives by boat.

Celebrate Christmas in New England on the Coast of Maine

In Maine, Santa doesn’t need a sleigh; he arrives by lobster boat. Catch this nautical Santa at the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude. The menagerie of activities at this celebration, from the Hat Parade to christmas tree lights, are so captivating that HGTV has named Kennebunkport the one of the best christmas towns in America. Elsewhere on the Maine coast, celebrate Christmas in New England with not one, but two, festivals. Ogunquit dedicates a weekend to traditional holiday activities at their Christmas by the Sea. After a cup of hot cider, watch the polar plunge, explore the Basement Bazaar, or chow down on chowder at the Taste the Season event. In Camden, warm your hands by the community bonfire, where children delight in seeing the biggest, brightest star lit up over Mt. Battie at their Christmas by the Sea celebration.

Wheelwright House
Photo: Strawbery Banke Museum

Find the North Pole in New Hampshire

All aboard the Polar Express! The magical Journey to the North Pole departs from both North Conway and Lincoln, N.H. Board the train and indulge in holiday sweets or join Santa's elves for a tour of his workshop. Keep your eyes open — he may take a break from toy-making to pay you a visit. Christmas cheer is also found in Portsmouth, where the city hosts an annual Vintage Christmas. Everyone finds a thrill aboard the trolley while traveling to one-of-a-kind events like outdoor ice skating, a candlelit stroll through the centuries at the Strawberry Banke Museum, or to the theater to see holiday classics on stage.

More to the Holidays in Massachusetts

Step into a Norman Rockwell painting in Stockbridge. Rockwell’s painting, Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, is recreated each year on Main Street, complete with vintage cars parked in the same spots found in his famous painting. Head to the Cape, where joyful carols fill the air on Nantucket — over 150 trees light up simultaneously for the annual Nantucket Noel. Consider a stop in Martha's Vineyard for Christmas in Edgartown, where the lighting of the lighthouse, parade, and teddy bear suite will captivate the entire family.

Light up the Night in Newport, Rhode Island

Gilded Age mansions feature sumptuous decorations for the holidays each year during Christmas in Newport. As part of this annual celebration, only clear bulbs illuminate the scenic harbor and wharves, the restored colonials of the Point and Historic Hill sections, and the Victorian splendor of Bellevue Avenue. After wandering through the city, feel the holiday glow and take part in one of the numerous activities this celebration has to offer. Get in the spirit of the season with a holiday concert or by raising up a cup of wassail to celebrate Newport heritage.

Enjoy Christmas Charm in Vermont

Wassail Weekend Woodstock VT
Photo: Woodstock Chamber of Commerce

The Green Mountain State is at its most charming during the holiday season. Wander over to Wassail Weekend in Woodstock, Vt., and watch a parade of over fifty horses and riders dressed in holiday costumes and period dress. Gobble up 19th century cuisine at the Wassail Feast while a group of actors performs a play. Christmas gets even merrier in Manchester, Vt. The six-week long Manchester Merriment Festival will keep you in the Christmas spirit throughout the holiday season. Play in the snow as you take a historic walking tour of Manchester or take in the sweet smells of baked goods at the Holiday Cookie Contest.

Jump into Holiday History in Connecticut

Recreate the Christmases of 100 years ago in Connecticut. Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Conn., is covered top to bottom with Christmas decorations. The castle, transformed to reflect the Nutcracker Suite, will give you and your family a glimpse into Christmases of yore. Head to Norwalk and discover the Maritime Aquarium's Christmas activities. If you hate getting dressed in the morning, considering attending the museum's Polar Express PJ Party, where guests are invited for an early morning film screening. Then, stay at the museum and marvel at their display of lighthouses. This annual contest features model lighthouses designed and created by local artists.

These are our favorite Christmas celebrations, but there is no wrong answer. What is your favorite way to celebrate Christmas in New England?

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