These family-friendly events are sure to get you in the (suburban) spirit.
BY SUSANNA NOON
Thinking about getting some suburban exploring in during the holidays? Or perhaps you’re admiring your newly acquired, snow-covered yard while sipping on hot chocolate? Whether you want to get a sampling of the local community or explore your new town, here are some of the best events and December happenings in our favorite and most popular Boston suburbs.
Downtown Melrose puts on a full show with their Home for the Holidays celebration. Main Street in Melrose will transport you back in time, with decorated Victorian-style street lamps and Christmas lights. Running on December 6th and 7th, join them for the Christmas tree lighting, caroling, Santa’s arrival, food tastings, and fair. Free trolleys run from 10am-2pm on Saturday the 7th.
North Shore Music Theater presents A Christmas Carol, an original musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday tale. The show has been performed annually since 1989 and features songs, festive music, and grand special effects. (Some elements may be a bit loud for small children.) Performances run Dec 6th – 22nd.
Verrill Farm in Concord hosts popular community events such as their Gingerbread house workshops throughout December. Inside their decorated, heated greenhouse, the kids can meet Santa and tell him their Christmas wishes!! The farm is a local treasure to Concord, committed to sustainable farming, community life, and pick-your-own produce with the family.
In the true spirit of giving, Mahoney’s in Winchester hosts Trees for Troops—which provides Christmas trees to military families in the US and overseas. Mahoney’s is a family-run home-and-garden center with seven retail locations in Winchester, Tewksbury, Concord, Brighton, Falmouth, Osterville and Chelmsford.
Head up to Marini Farm in Ipswich for some festive wreath-making. No need to be a crafty type, as the staff is on hand to assist you with making gorgeous wreaths ornamented with fresh greens, ribbons, baubles, and berries. Grab some gal pals and make an evening of it! November 29th – December 13th.
Marblehead hosts its famous Christmas Walk December 5th–8th. Enjoy Marblehead’s charming, historic downtown as you stroll with your family. Various events are held all weekend long, including family activities, entertainment, shopping, dining, craft fairs, concerts and more! Don’t miss Santa’s arrival by lobster boat on the 7th.
For those in the north suburbs, you can experience your very own nearby sleigh rides (snow-dependent, of course). Historic Kimball Farm, in Haverhill, has been in the same family for generations and offers sleigh rides with pastoral views of the surrounding farms, hot chocolate, hot cider, and lap blankets.
Canton and North Andover
Winterlights is hosted by the Trustees of Reservations at the Eleanor Canton Bradley estate in Canton, and for those living in the nearby suburbs of Dedham, Milton, Norwood and Sharon, the display is a reliable family treat. The event is also hosted toward the northern suburbs, at the beautiful Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. Thousands of shimmering lights decorate the property, along with family scavenger hunts, crafts, food, and refreshments. Held November 21st – December 29th.
Why travel to Boston when you can attend an acclaimed version of The Nutcracker presented locally by the Commonwealth Ballet? This holiday classic is filled with beautiful scenery, stunning costumes, and the famously enchanting score by Tchaikovsky. Performances run November 29th – December 22nd, at Regis College Casey Theatre, in Weston.
Wellesley’s famous Festival of Trees is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Stroll through an indoor forest of beautifully decorated trees while enjoying garden lights, visits from Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, an indoor snow village, a model railroad display, and a fire pit with s’mores. November 29th – December 29th (raffle drawing December 15th).
Held on Saturday, December 7th, Needham’s Blue Tree Lighting ceremony is a treat for the family. Nestled in festive Needham town common, the tree lighting tradition has been held for the past 65 years. The town hall will also host a variety of family-friendly activities and performances starting at 2pm, including face-painting, dancing, crafts, and refreshments. The tree lighting is held at 5pm, followed by a visit from Santa.
Those lucky enough to live near The Shops at Chestnut Hill get to experience one of the area’s best mall Santas. A special breakfast will be hosted on December 1st, otherwise just head to the mall with the little ones November 22nd–December 24th.
Hosted by Hingham Downtown Association, Christmas in the Square is a gathering of community, friends, and family from all across the South Shore. Enjoy the shops, decorations, and twinkling lights as Santa arrives via firetruck. Hot chocolate, ice sculptures, and live music makes for a merry atmosphere. Held on Friday, December 6th.
These holiday happenings will wrap you and your family in the warmth and spirit of the season. It might be the perfect time to explore a new town and get a sense of the local community. ’Tis the season!
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