Holiday celebrations kick into high gear in December, and the month brings the return of many beloved seasonal traditions like tree lighting ceremonies, performances of The Nutcracker, and outdoor ice skating. Our Event Calendar is packed with events for the holidays, family-friendly performances, and vacation week activities for the kids. With so much going on it's not easy to choose, but here are our top 10 picks for holiday activities and special events for all ages this month.
Tara constantly seeks out opportunities for enrichment and exploration with her kids. When she started writing about it as the Boston Community Ambassador for Ziptivity.com, she discovered a passion for sharing her unique finds with parents, helping to make their lives a little easier and a lot more fun. Her work, which has been highlighted by Huffington Post, can be seen nationally across the Mommy Poppins sites and on Appalachian Mountain Club's Kids Outdoors blog.
Latest posts by Tara
Sure, not everyone goes in for all the traditions and tchotchkes that are associated with the holiday season. But we don't know anyone—young or old—who isn't delighted by winter wonderlands filled with lighted displays, twinkling trees, and sparkling scenes. We've rounded up some of the best light displays in or around Boston, from newer sensations like Blink!, downtown, to the storied La Salette Shrine, south of the city. Whether you venture out to a dazzling display or just drive around to these spectacularly decorated neighborhood homes, set aside an evening, bring a thermos of cocoa, and experience some magic as a family.
Boston lights it up with dazzling Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in and around town. By late November lights are aglow in Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, and Christopher Columbus Park, and the free festivities continue through early December with tree lighting ceremonies in neighborhoods throughout the city.
It's not only about flipping the switch, of course. Tree lighting ceremonies are treasured annual community celebrations with live performances, activities for kids, holiday giving, and appearances by Santa (and sometimes even Mayor Walsh).
Our budgets tend to take a lot of hits this time of year, so it's a bonus when we can find festive family fun that's also free. Here are twenty things to do with the kids in and around Boston this month to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, without even touching your wallet (except maybe to take out your T pass).
We all have our hands full with family and work obligations, and the pending holidays certainly don't lighten the load. And yet, it's the time of year when we're also inspired to count our blessings—and teach our children to do the same. To inspire my children to think about what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, we’re going to try one of the Fun Projects That Help Kids Give Thanks. But I also want my kids to think about other people and do something to make a difference in our community, and we've found some great opportunities for volunteering as a family during the holiday season. With just a bit of planning, lending a hand with kids can be easy—and maybe the most meaningful and memorable experience in a season full of them.
What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's glorious picture book about the magic of Christmas, captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holiday season, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life..for all who believe, of course.
Lucky for us, we have plenty of delightful train ride options close to Boston, from cozy, seaside New England journeys to 4-D movie experiences that feel like a real locomotive ride, right down to the sounds, sights, and even smells. The seats on all these trains fill up quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.
November in Boston is packed with kid-friendly films, live performances, and museum programs. It's also the start of holiday season excitement. As we update our Holiday Fun Guide throughout the month with the scoop on tree lightings, Santa sightings, winter skiing, outdoor ice skating rinks, and other seasonal fun, there are many great events to add to your calendar right now. Many require advance registration or tickets, so go ahead and claim your seats!
The days finally have a real fall crispness to them, the leaves are turning, and front steps are flickering with the glow of carved pumpkins at night. There’s lots of spooky fun to be had, from costume parades to pumpkin festivals, and there's plenty to do for free. Take the kids to a few of these no-cist Halloween activities for families—and save your pennies for goodies to give to trick-or-treaters.