Boston’s Holiday Events Offer Something For Everyone

To say that there is something for everyone in Boston this holiday season would be an understatement. No matter what you’re interested in, there is a Holiday event in or around the city to fit your fancy! Part one of our five-part series on all of the holiday happenings in Beantown, we share the details about what to expect and where you can go to find out more. Check out the variety of events below and let us know which ones you’ll be attending!


Kick Off The Holiday Season Right

WHAT: Boston Christmas Festival

WHERE: Seaport World Trade Center, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02210

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 2nd – Sunday, Nov. 4th

What better way to start the holiday season than with the 32nd Annual Boston Christmas Festival at the Seaport World Trade Center?boston-holiday-events-image-6-min

You can get ahead of your holiday shopping while supporting local artisans at the same time. Billed as both “award-winning” and “the largest arts and crafts festival in New England,” this event will play host to around 350 pop-up shops, meaning there will definitely be something for everyone on your gifting list!

No New England celebration would be complete without a little competitive spirit, and this Festival’s Gingerbread House Competition provides just that. Gaze in awe at these masterpieces and see the winners of Best Decoration, Kids Choice, Most Creative and Best in Show.

If this festival sounds right up your alley as the start of the holiday season, you can check it out starting Friday, November 2nd from noon to 7pm, Saturday, November 3rd from 10am to 6pm, or Sunday, November 4th from 10am to 5pm. Tickets are $16 for adults and admission is free for kids under 14 years of age. Some local retailers are also offering discount coupons, so be sure to do some sleuthing before you buy.


Holiday Music

If music is what makes the holidays for you, there are both traditional and non-traditional musical experiences with which to celebrate.



WHAT: Boston Pops Holiday Concerts

WHERE: Boston Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 6th – Sunday, Dec. 9th and Tuesday, Dec. 11th – Monday, Dec. 24th

boston-holiday-events-image-8-minIf you’re looking for more classic holiday music, then be sure to check out the 45th anniversary of the series of holiday concert from the Boston Pops. Set within “the magical atmosphere of world-famous Symphony Hall that is beautifully decorated to evoke all the magic and charm of the season,” you’ll hear all of your favorite holiday songs, as well as a sing-along portion, and, rumor has it, even a visit from Santa!

Want to expose your kids to some culture but worried they wouldn’t last the entire time? The Boston Pops understand and have set up kid’s matinee performances for that very reason. Geared towards younger children, these shows “are shorter in length, with no intermission, and include a post-concert visit with Santa with special treats.”

Opening night is 8pm on Thursday, December 6th, with performances December 6th – 9th and 11th – 23rd, with shows at 4pm and 8pm Monday – Friday and 3pm and 7:30pm Saturdays and Sundays (minus Tuesday, December 11th, with only the 8pm show). Christmas Eve has one showing at 3pm as well.

Kid’s matinees are Saturday and Sunday (December 8th and 9th, 15th and 16th, and 22nd and 23rd) at 11am, with additional showings Tuesday, December 18th at 4:30pm and Christmas Eve (Monday, December 24th) at 11am.

Regular tickets and kids matinee tickets are both sold on the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s website.



WHAT: Boston Baroque Concert

WHERE: Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA 02115

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 7th & Saturday, Dec. 8th

Founded almost 50 years ago, Boston’s Baroque remains the “oldest continuing period instrument orchestra in North America” regularly performing concerts from the Baroque and Classical eras on instruments from that time period.

Originally composed for the Easter season, Handel’s Messiah has become a Christmas fixture and this year’s rendition continues the Boston Baroque’s theme of “[s]triving for a fresh Messiah year after year” according to the Boston Globe.

Conducted by Music Director Martin Pearlman (who founded Boston Baroque), they are also debuting three artists: “soprano Layla Claire, countertenor Eric Jurenas, and tenor Norman Shankle,” and “are joined by bass-baritone Nathan Stark, alongside the Grammy-nominated Boston Baroque Orchestra and Chorus.”

You can purchase tickets here for one of these stunning performances taking place at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.



WHAT: Tallis Scholars Renaissance Christmas Concert

WHERE: St. Paul’s Church, 29 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 7thboston-holiday-events-image-7-min

Prefer your holiday music sans instruments but with a bit of history? Then you’ll love the Tallis Scholars Renaissance Christmas Concert on Friday, December 7th at St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge. With a pre-concert talk at 7pm discussing the pieces to be song, you’ll be blown away at 8pm by these “legendary voices [that] have established themselves as one of Early Music’s truly essential ensembles with performances of unparalleled clarity that illuminate the beauty of Renaissance polyphony.”

If this is up your alley, you’ll be thrilled to hear that “[s]elections include Palestrina’s celebratory motet Hodie Christus natus est and his Christmas Mass based on it, sublime settings of the Magnificat by John Nesbett and Hieronymus Praetorius, Byrd’s beloved Lullaby, and a newly commissioned work for The Tallis Scholars by New England composer Nico Muhly.”

You can learn more and buy tickets here.



WHAT: Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Concert

WHERE: Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory, 30 Gainsborough St, Boston, MA 02115

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 9th and Friday, Dec. 14th – Sunday, Dec. 16th

Perhaps you prefer your holiday music performance selections from this century. If so, you’ll love the combination of an 8-piece orchestra combined with “200 members of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus singing traditional favorites and modern classics.”

Shining on stage at the New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus will be sure to shine in each of their performances on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018 at 3pm and at 7pm and Friday, Dec. 14th – Sunday, Dec. 16th, at 8pm each night.

To see song selections as well as purchase tickets, you can learn more here.



WHAT: Boston Pops Accompanies Home Alone in Concert

WHERE: Boston Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 29th and Sunday, Dec. 30th

If you’re really looking to modernize your holiday musical traditions, then you’ll adore how the Boston Pops accompany the Home Alone movie in concert at Symphony Hall.

As a way to “[e]xperience this true holiday favorite as never before,” you will be able to enjoy Home Alone on the big screen with the added bonus of “live orchestral accompaniment and members of the Wellesley High School chorus!”

Billed as “fun for the entire family,” everyone can enjoy this holiday adventure while getting the combination of a stunning orchestral performance with big screen joy.

With only three shows on December 29th and 30th, you’ll want to snag tickets here soon so you don’t miss out!


Ice Skating

If all of that time spent indoors listening to music makes you want to flip the script and go outside, there are a few local places where you can strap on some ice skates and pretend you’re Adam Rippon or one of the Shibutani twins.



WHERE: Boston Common Frog Pond, 38 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108

WHEN: Opening Dates TBD

Voted Best Outdoor Skating Rink in America by USA Today, you can slip on your skates at the Boston Common’s Frog Pond rink. Situated in the heart of downtown Boston, you’ll find everything you need to know about ticket prices and skate rentals here.



boston-holiday-events-image-3-minWHERE: Kendall Square, 300 Athenaeum Street, Cambridge, MA 02142

WHEN: Opens mid-December

If you’re situated closer to Cambridge, you can take advantage of the community ice skating rink in Kendall Square. Opening in mid-December and running through mid-March, this rink allows you to dream of winning that Olympic gold (or at least not falling on your face while skating)! You can learn more here.



WHERE: Patriot Place, 2 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035

WHEN: Opens mid-November

However, if you’re located further south or maybe want to burn off some shopping stress, then the ice skating rink at Patriot Place is your best bet. Parking is free and you can follow up your skating with seeing a movie or finishing your holiday shopping while you’re there. You can head here to find out hours and costs.



However, if you’re like me and you’d rather leave the performances to someone else, then the wide range of holiday-themed stage productions across the city gives you a wealth of options to choose from.



WHAT: Cirque Dreams Holidaze Performance

WHERE: Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 4th – Sunday, Dec. 9th

Running from December 4th – 9th at the Shubert Theatre, Cirque Dreams Holidaze has been described as bubbling over with energy and “delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleigh load.”

Playing host to over 300 insanely imaginative costumes, with 20 world-class acrobatic acts, as well as amazing singers performing seasonal favorites from Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s, you and your family will walk away dazzled and delighted.

Open to all ages and deemed “a show that everyone will enjoy,” you can bring the entire crew to one of their 9 exceptional and extravagant performances. Tickets are on sale here for this “new cirque adventure, Broadway musical and family holiday spectacular wrapped in one!”



Three amazing and unique performances of the Nutcracker are all taking place in Boston this holiday season.


WHAT: Boston Ballet Nutcracker Performance

WHERE: Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 29th – Sunday, Dec. 30th

The more traditional Nutcracker story is being performed by the award-winning Boston Ballet at the Boston Opera House. Running from November 29th to December 30th, if you’re longing for the comforting familiarity of this classic ballet, then you’ll feel right at home. According to The Boston Globe, “local audiences can’t beat Boston Ballet’s vivid production” of the Nutcracker for its “sheer opulence and impressive dancing.” Tickets, pricing, and further information can all be found here.


WHAT: Boston Theater’s Hip-Hop Nutcracker Performance

WHERE: Emerson Colonial Theater, 106 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 15th – Sunday, Dec. 16th

But perhaps you’d prefer to change things up this year. Described as what you get when “you combine the elegant holiday score of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and a DJ with pin-sharp contemporary hip hop dance,” the Boston Theater’s production of the Hip-Hop Nutcracker will be like nothing you’ve ever seen. Since this production’s debut in DC in 2014, it’s garnered rave reviews.

The updated plot moves the story’s timeline to New Year’s Eve, replacing the mouse army “with a mouse-ear wearing gang”, introducing “a humble nut seller who saves the day,” and transforming the Land of the Sweets into “a nightclub trapped in 1985.” If that doesn’t spark your interest, I don’t know what will!  With only two performances at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theater on December 15 – 16th, you’ll want to head here to grab your tickets soon.


WHAT: Urban Nutcracker Performance

WHERE: Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 20th – Sunday, Dec. 23rd and Wednesday, Dec. 26th – Sunday, Dec. 30th

If you were to combine both the traditional Nutcracker story and the Hip-Hop version, but add in some Duke Ellington and a new vantage point, you’d come to this Urban Nutcracker.

Told as a “true Boston story, local dance legend Tony Williams reimagined the classic holiday tale to become a Boston inner-city story with a neon-buzz, blending the rhythms of Duke Ellington with the classical music of Tchaikovsky.”

Showcasing the blend and diversity of dance forms, from “classical ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, flamenco, and more,” this Nutcracker is a celebration of Boston’s multicultural residents. Ruby, the new heroine in this tale, “explores iconic Boston scenes such as Make Way for Ducklings, Top of the Hub, Chinatown, and the Boston Public Garden” as part of her journey.

For a Bostonian twist on the age-old tale, you can catch the Urban Nutcracker at the Shubert Theatre from December 20th – 23rd, and 26th – 30th by clicking here.



WHAT: Black Nativity Performance

WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 559 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 7th – Sunday, Dec. 9th, Friday, Dec. 14th – Sunday, Dec. 16th, and Friday, Dec. 21st – Sunday, Dec. 23rd

Speaking of multicultural stories, the National Center of Afro-American Artists once again offers us a “celebration that tells the original story of the Nativity in scripture, verse, music and dance” with Black Nativity.

Through a blend of the Gospel of St. Luke and the brilliant poetry of Langston Hughes, “this song-play touches a special chord in the hearts of all.” Combining singers, actors, dancers, and musicians, “the Black community’s Christmas gift to the world,” these performances deliver a “powerful message of joy, hope, victory and liberation,” which is a message we all can take to heart during this time of giving.

With this Boston performance of Black Nativity being the longest running performance of Hughes’ song-play throughout the world, you’ll absolutely want to nab tickets here for one of the performances at the Paramount Theatre – Boston on December 7th – 9th, 14th – 16th, and 21st – 23rd.


Fun For The Whole Family

Last, but certainly not least, who doesn’t love How The Grinch Stole Christmas or a Charlie Brown Christmas? If these two classic cartoon tales are something your entire family can love, then you’ll be happy to hear that musical versions of both will be in Boston this holiday season.



WHAT: How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical

WHERE: Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 28th – Sunday, Dec. 9th

Be transported to Whoville as the familiar story of how the Grinch learns the true meaning of Christmas plays out live on stage in this musical performance. You’ll know all the words to most of the songs as you listen to Max the Dog tell the tale of the Grinch.

“Magnificent sets (John Lee Beatty) and costumes (Robert Morgan) inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations” as well as “the Music and Book of Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason breathe new life into this timeless story of the true meaning of Christmas.”

You’ll find tickets here for one of the 18 performances of this epic tale that runs from November 28th to December 9th at the Wang Theatre.



WHAT: A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage

WHERE: Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 29th – Sunday, Dec. 2nd

With 11 performances from November 29th to December 2nd, this “touring production of A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage by Charles M. Schulz features everyone’s favorite Peanuts gang – Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally, and more, all led by the lovable Charlie Brown – as they discover the true meaning of Christmas.”

With an array of Christmas carols being sung as well as the sweet tale of understanding the spirit of the season, kids of all ages will walk away feeling joyful and happy. The Shubert Theatre will make you feel like you’re a kid again, even if it’s just a kid at heart!

You can find out further details and buy tickets for the show here.



As we said at the beginning, there is literally something for everyone in your family to enjoy as the holiday season begins. Which holiday activity or event are you most looking forward to?

Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check out the rest of this series on Boston’s Holiday Offerings over the next few weeks! Our next installment will feature all that Boston has to offer for those celebrating Hanukkah!


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