What's Open on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in Connecticut

Ice skating is a great family activity on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of Winterfesthartford.com
Ice skating is a great family activity on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. Photo courtesy of Winterfesthartford.com

If you are wondering what's open on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in Connecticut, there are light shows and fun things to do and see. When the "most wonderful" time of year is here, and decorations are up, menus are planned, and most gifts are wrapped, you may be thinking about some activities that will help you cherish family time. This list of 18 events happening on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Connecticut is sure to have something for everyone, from Christmas Eve skating and a reindeer festival to a much-loved free light show.

With media issues fixed and "It's a Wonderful Life" cued up, I'm ready for Christmas! No matter what you celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a combination, have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy as much as you can with our Guide to Holiday and Christmas Events for Connecticut Families.

One of Santa's reindeers needs to fuel up before the big event! Photo courtesy of the Greenwich Reindeer Festival 

18 Things To Do on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve in Connecticut

1. Annual Reindeer Festival & Santa's Village 

Greenwich—Now through Friday, December 24
Santa and his reindeer are available to see your children. Your kids can have their pictures taken with Santa, and ride on a Winter Wonderland Carousel. 

It's all aboard for those that can't get enough of model trains. Photo courtesy of the Connecticut River Museum, Facebook

2. Holiday Model Train Show

Essex—Now through Sunday, February 20, 2022
This model train show fills the entire 3rd floor of the Connecticut River Museum. Come see a running, 26-foot layout with scenery, people, and vehicles. 

3. Holiday Express Train Show

Fairfield—Now Through Sunday, January 2, 2022
Come see the winter wonderland train show. The annual tradition is back to delight both children and adults.

Drive through miles of lights at Goodwin Park. Photo courtesy of Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia

4. Holiday Light Fantasia

Hartford—Now Through Sunday, January 2, 2022
This annual Hartford tradition is a favorite for families. The 2-mile drive-through light show has over 200 individual displays and 1 million lights!

5. Holiday Lights Spectacular at the Amp,

Bridgeport—Now Through Sunday, January 2, 2022
The family-friendly Holiday Lights Spectacular features lasers, choreographed lighting, projection mapping, tunnels, and millions of lights. 

6. Christmas Village

Torrington—Now Through Friday, December 24
This Christmas Village features individual rooms to meet both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, a toy shop with elves hard at work, reindeer, seasonal lights and displays, and of course, hot chocolate. 

7. Christmas Eve Skating

West Hartford—Friday, December 24
Come put on skates and take to the ice the day before Christmas. Public skating begins at 1pm.

So much to see with Santa swimming in the shark tank and The Polar Express in 4D. Photo courtesy of the Maritime Aquarium

8. Shark Diving Santa & "The Polar Express 4D"

Norwalk—Now Through January 2, 2022
Enjoy a day of festive fun at the Maritime Aquarium. On Christmas Eve, you can sneak a peak at Santa swimming with the sharks and check out a screening of the Polar Express 4D. 

9. Holiday Magic

Old Lyme—Now Through Sunday, January 2, 2022
Come experience the Magic of Christmas at the Florence Griswold Museum. The Griswold House will be decorated for Christmas in turn-of-the-century style with many different Christmas trees on display. Miss Griswold's Artist Tree features painted pallettes by 200 artists.

10. Magic of Lights

East Hartford—Now Through Sunday, January 2, 2022
Enjoy the all-new drive-through 'Blizzard Tunnel' as well as returning favorite displays, including '12 Days of Christmas,' 'Winter Wonderland,' and 'The Night Before Christmas.' 

11. Fantasy of Lights

New Haven—Now Through Friday, December 31
The mile-long route features more than 60 displays and 100,000 lights. Many of the displays are animated and some are fitted with LED bulbs, making them more colorful and vibrant. 

Marvel at the Atlas moth at the Butterfly Winter Wonderland. Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Science Center

12. Butterfly Winter Wonderland

Hartford—Now Through Friday, December 31
This winter, the Connecticut Science Center has created a tropical wonderland filled with butterflies and more than 200 orchids. 

13. Public Skate at The Sports Center

Shelton—Friday, December 24 - Saturday December 25
Lace up your skates on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

14. Public Skating

Stamford—Friday, December 24
Enjoy some family skating before Christmas and over the holiday break. Stamford Twin Rinks will be open on during the Christmas break week, but not Christmas Day.

The much loved Festival of Silver Lights in Meriden is free. Photo courtesy of Visit Connecticut

16. Festival of Lights

Meriden—Now Through Sunday, January 2
Come and see 350,000 twinkling lights. There will be 200 figures and buildings decorated for onlookers to enjoy.  

17. Public Skating

WestportSaturday, December 25
Yes, you can skate on Christmas Day at the PAL Rinks. From 12pm-1:30pm you can bring out your family to get some fresh air and exercise.

Get crafty at CAMP SoNo on Christmas Eve in Norwalk. Photo courtesy of CAMP SoNo 

18. DIY Illuminated Holiday Tree

Norwalk—Friday, December 24, 2021
Make your very own decorated tree with real working lights at CAMP SoNo.

Originally published on 12-22-2011.
Photo courtesy of Ally Noel.


Winterfest at Bushnell Park in Hartford
Bushnell Park - 11:00 AM Pick
The Essex North Pole Express
Essex Steam Train - various times Pick
The Wood Library & Museum's Annual Gingerbread House Festival
The Wood Memorial Library & Museum - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides