With so many fun holiday activities for families available during December, it can be hard to narrow down the list to just a few. We've rounded up a list of New England day trips perfect for the Christmas season—giving you one-stop shopping options for enjoying music, decorations, Santa visits, and more.
Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Head north of the border to New Hampshire for Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth. The month-long celebration features a variety of fun family activities, with everything from a gingerbread house exhibition to outdoor ice skating at Puddle Duck Pond to trolley tours. If you want your kids’ help picking out the perfect gifts for family, head to shopping destination Market Square to cross a few items off your list. Round out your day with activities from our list of 25 things to do in Portsmouth with kids.
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village
Take a step back in time to see how Christmas was celebrated in the early 1800s with a visit to Old Sturbridge Village. Though technically an evening trip—the museum is closed during daytime hours during the holiday season―the village’s Christmas by Candlelight celebration provides a perfect opportunity for families to enjoy a festive time together. During this event, you can stroll the decorated town common, visit the North Pole village featuring Santa and a talking Christmas tree, take a sleigh ride, watch magic and puppet shows, join a sing-a-long, and view the entries in the Gingerbread House Contest. Ticket purchase required.
Photo courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village
Polar Express Holiday Celebration at Wachusett Mountain
If you've got snow bunnies in your family, head to Wachusett Mountain on December 17 to hit the slopes and celebrate the season at the Polar Express Holiday Celebration. In addition to skiing, the day's events include screenings of The Polar Express, arts and crafts, music, hot chocolate and cookies, and the arrival of Santa by helicopter (weather permitting).
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
For older kids, there’s probably no better place to experience Christmas grandeur than the Christmas at the Newport Mansions celebration. Three Gilded Age mansions—The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House—are filled with 28 Christmas trees, thousands of flowers, holiday decorations and more. While you’re there, keep an eye out for Santa, who makes a visit on select days and times. After you’re done and if you still have the energy, check out some of Newport’s other holiday events held as part of its annual Christmas in Newport celebration or check off a few ideas from our list of things to do in Newport with kids.
Holiday celebrations at Plimoth Plantation don’t end with Thanksgiving. Families can celebrate the season at Plimoth Plantation with special activities such as a Christmas feast and reading of A Christmas Carol, a candlelight stroll, Christmas at the Plimoth Grist Mill, and a breakfast brunch with Santa. Check the calendar for specific dates for each activity; ticket purchase required. Make it a full day with another of our top picks for things to do in Plymouth with kids.
Top image, "Vintage Christmas Candlelit Stroll," by Amy Meredith is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.