Christmas in New England conjures up traditional images of twinkling tree lights white with snow, door to door caroling, and wintry streets primed with shoppers looking for the perfect gift. All of this and more can be experienced in and around one of the hearts of New England: the city of Boston. You can find just the right activity for every member of your family here for your most festive holiday yet! Find out how to enjoy an authentic Boston Christmas.
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The Arts and Culture Scene
Boston offers so many kid-friendly cultural experiences during the holidays. Boston Ballet performs the holiday classic, The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. All performances in December by Boston Pops at Symphony Hall include a sing-along and an appearance by Santa. They also offer a kids matinée which is a shorter show with more kid-friendly carols and a post-performance visit with Santa.
At the Cutler Majestic Theater, families can watch dancing and music with an Irish flair at the Christmas Celtic Sojourn show. Maybe your clan will enjoy the annual version of ChristmasTime in Waltham at the Reagle Music Theater of greater Boston. Showcasing the Teddy Bear Nutcracker, a handbell choir, a Wooden Soldier parade, and more, this show has become a tradition for many families.
For a different type of holiday performance with a dose of history try the 240th Boston Tea Party Reenactment at the Old South Meeting House. The Old South Tea Party Players bring to life heroic patriots such as Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. They recount the events of December 16, 1773, when 5000 colonists braved the December night to begin the famous Tea Party protest.
Boston Christmas Lights and Festivals
The famed Christmas Tree at Faneuil Hall boasts thousands of twinkling lights. It stays lit throughout the season to enhance your holiday shopping in town. While at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, families will also enjoy Blink! This annual light show synchronizes lights decorating surrounding buildings and trees to favorite holiday songs. Don’t forget to visit Santa and take a selfie.
USA Today voted Boston Common Frog Pond the best outdoor ice skating rink in the US. Try it out during the holidays and see if you agree!
Everyone in your family is likely to enjoy Holiday ZooLights at the Stone Zoo. Thousands of twinkling lights will shine the way through the zoo exhibits during the holiday season. Santa will be on site at his magical castle waiting to spread holiday cheer.
Save some money with these free family activities in Boston.
Rides with Santa
Kids just love a good festive train or boat ride with Santa to bring on the holiday cheer. At Edaville Festival of Lights, the park is decked out in millions of beautiful Christmas lights. The train ride with Santa takes guests on an adventure through the sparkling wonderland. Tickets include unlimited Christmas train rides and unlimited use of all 90 plus rides and attractions including access to Thomas Land & Cran Central.
If a boat cruise might be a better option for your brood, you are in luck. The Spirit of Boston offers a Lunch with Santa Cruise. Prices include a lunch buffet, cookie decorating, goodie bags, and more. Check their website for specific dates.
Holiday Strolls and Music
Nothing provides more of a holiday feeling than a good old fashion New England holiday stroll. Boston offers the Beacon Hill Christmas Stroll early in December. Charles Street is closed to allow safe exploration of the area. Horse-drawn buggy rides, carolers, and photos with Santa are available. In nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire at Strawberry Banke, your family can experience the Annual Candlelight Stroll. Weekends in December, the museum grounds glow with hundreds of candle lanterns. Purchase tickets to enjoy crafts, instruction, house tours, music, a bonfire, and more.
A quick winter ferry ride will bring you to the beautifully cobblestone lined streets of Nantucket. Christmas Stroll on Nantucket is led by the town crier the first weekend in December. Santa and the missus arrive by boat, followed by a lively party with carols and demonstrations. Be on the lookout for the magical talking tree or visit the Festival of Trees at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
For more Christmas cheer and music celebrate at the Trinity Church with one of the most beloved Christmas events in Boston. Candlelight Carols at Trinity Church celebrates the birth of Christ through carols and Scripture readings performed by the Trinity choirs and instrumentalists. You can choose to attend one of the two shows on their free night or purchase tickets to the Candlelight Carols Benefit.
Meals with Santa
The Boston area has no shortage of festive Santa or Christmas-themed dining options. At the Royal Sonesta enjoy breakfast or lunch with Santa. Meet with Santa and his helpers to eat and take home a special gift. Revelers are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. At Gore Place in Waltham make your reservation for a Santa Tea. High tea will be served in the Carriage House on the property. You may also expect kids activities, stories, and Santa himself. Lastly, the Wenham Museum will host a variety of holiday-themed functions just right for the family on select December Weekends.
End the year with First Night: Boston on December 31st. Over 1 million revelers come out to enjoy the day-long child-friendly event. It includes ice sculptures, entertainers, crafts, and more.
Check out our Top 10 Things to Do in Boston any time of the year.
Find an amazing deal on a family-friendly Boston hotel for the holiday season.
Lead image by: Shutterstock . Special thanks to Michelle Brennan who wrote the original version of this article.