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!
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: Wednesday, Dec. 4th – Wednesday, Dec. 11th and Monday, Dec. 16th – Tuesday, Dec. 31th
If 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 December 4th!
Kid’s matinees are available on December 23rd and 24th.
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. 6th & Saturday, Dec. 7th
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.
A CAPELLA AND HISTORICAL
WHAT: Tallis Scholars Renaissance Christmas Concert
WHERE: St. Paul’s Church, 29 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 6th
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.
A SUPER GAY CHRISTMAS
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. 15th – Sunday, Dec. 22nd
Twinkling lights. Stocking stuffers. Disco Santa. 200+ Boston Gay Men’s Chorus members singing traditional favorites and modern classics. Come out and see how the BGMC puts the Merry (and gay) into Christmas!
To see song selections as well as purchase tickets, you can learn more here.
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.
WHERE: 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.
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. 29th
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: Hanover Theater, 554 MAIN ST, WORCESTER, MA 1608
WHEN: December 29
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 29, 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: Dec. 19 – 28
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 by clicking here.
WHAT: Black Nativity Performance
WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 559 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111
WHEN: Dec. 6 – 22
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.
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.
RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER THE MUSICAL
WHAT:RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER THE MUSICAL
WHERE: Shubert Theater, 265 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
WHEN: Dec 6 – 8
Following four successful years of touring and more than 350 performances, the “most famous reindeer of all” from the longest running and highest rated holiday television special will fly into Boston with the critically acclaimed RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL. The world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster, will help Santa save Christmas. Don’t miss this family favorite that the Boston Globe calls a “holiday staple” and the Orlando Sentinel deems an “utterly charming, top-notch production.”
Grab your tickets here to see the reindeer with the shiniest nose!
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!