Holiday cheer is staging a comeback.
Though the pandemic may have put a damper on many of last year’s festivities, this year will no doubt make up for it with celebrations across the state. To help you gear up for a winter wonderland, we’ve rounded up events the whole family can enjoy, including open air markets for last-minute gifts, sparkling light shows, and tree and menorah lightings.
THE ENCHANTED VILLAGE One of the region’s most elaborate Christmas celebrations is housed in an unlikely venue: Jordan’s Furniture. The Enchanted Village goes all out, with an indoor skating rink, a 4-D Polar Express theater show, and a laser show. New this year is a mountain that kids and adults alike can slide down in an inner tube. Through Jan. 2. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Jordan’s Furniture, 100 Stockwell Drive, Avon. Prices vary. 508-580-4900, jordans.com.
BLACK-OWNED BROCKTON HOLIDAY MARKET For five straight weekends, you can do your holiday shopping while supporting Black business owners at the Westgate Mall’s Black Owned Brockton Holiday Market. The rotating slate of local offerings will include apparel from Saraiya Eve Designs, paintings and prints from Art by Farra Pierre, and many more. Nov. 19-21, 26-28, Dec. 4-5, 11-12, and 17-24. Noon-6 p.m. Westgate Mall, 200 Westgate Drive, Brockton. Free to attend. 508-588-8916, shopatwestgatemall.com.
MAGIC OF LIGHTS Take a drive through Gillette Stadium’s dazzling display of lights this holiday season. At every turn, you can see prancing reindeer, sparkling candy canes, and some of your favorite holiday characters all from the comfort (and warmth) of your own car. Nov. 19-Jan. 1, 5-10 p.m. $40-$55 per car. Gillette Stadium, 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough. magicoflights.com.
SNOWPORT The Seaport’s annual holiday transformation includes a European-style open air market this year. Venture out to Snowport to buy goods from more than 60 vendors, including Chequessett Chocolates, B&B Glass Studios, and Tafari Wraps. Catch Seaport’s tree lighting Dec. 3 or menorah lighting Dec. 4, or pick out a tree or wreath at Snowport’s tree market. Nov. 19-Jan. 2. Free. 88 Seaport Boulevard, Boston Seaport. bostonseaport.xyz.
FAMILY TREES: A CELEBRATION OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE Give your merrymaking a bookish twist at the Concord Museum, where 32 trees and wreaths will be bedecked with decorations based on the pages of beloved children’s books. This year, featured titles include “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens and “The Last Marshmallow” by Grace Lin — that tree, of course, will sport marshmallows. Nov. 24-Jan. 2 (closed Nov. 25, Dec. 24-25, open Dec. 27). Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Concord Museum, 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord. Adults $18; seniors and students $15; youth ages 6-17 $8; children ages 3-5 $5; and infants and members free. 978-369-9763, concordmuseum.org.
HOLIDAY ZOO LIGHTS At Stone Zoo, traverse through a winter wonderland alongside the exhibits of black bears, reindeer, and arctic foxes. Starting Nov. 30, Mrs. Claus is coming to town to greet visitors while Santa is busy making preparations up at the North Pole. Nov. 25-Jan. 9, 4-9:30 p.m. $12.95 members, $13.95 nonmembers. Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham, zoonewengland.org.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS SPECTACULAR Bask in the glow of more than 1.5 million twinkling lights as you tour the Roger Williams Park Zoo at nighttime to the sounds of festive tunes — Santa even stops by on select evenings. Last year, the display was drive-through-only; this year, it’s walk-through. Nov. 26-28; Dec. 2-5; and Dec. 9-Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence. Adults $12, children 12 and under $10. 401-785-3510, rwpzoo.org.
THE POLAR EXPRESS TRAIN RIDE Do you believe? Hop on a round-trip train ride on the Cape re-creating the Polar Express, where you’ll listen to the movie soundtrack, be entertained by performing chefs and waiters, and hear a reading of the legendary children’s tale by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his elves board upon arriving at the “North Pole” to give kids a gift before the trip back to the station. Nov. 26-28, Dec. 3-5, 10-12, and 17-23. Buzzards Bay Depot, 70 Main St., Buzzards Bay. Prices vary. 888-797-7245, capetrain.com.
COPLEY TREE LIGHTING Rock around the Christmas tree at this annual lighting of the Copley Square tree. The Parks and Recreation Department and The Friends of Copley Square will provide refreshments, host giveaways, and sing holidays classics to keep you entertained before the lights turn on. Nov. 29, 5-6 p.m. Free. Copley Square, 560 Boylston St. boston.gov.
MENORAH LIGHTING AND FIRE SHOW The Chabad of Downtown Boston invites you to an annual Hanukkah celebration and menorah lighting, complete with individual Hanukkah treats, live music, and an exciting fire show put on by Cirque de Light. Nov. 30, 5:30 p.m. Free. Boston Center for the Arts Plaza, 539 Tremont St. facebook.com.
HANUKKAH: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS On the fourth night of Hanukkah, eight female artists from all over the world will honor the miraculous holiday by engaging with eight pieces from the Museum of Fine Arts’ Judaica collection. This virtual event, hosted by the Jewish Arts Collaborative, will also include a community candle lighting. Dec. 1. 6 p.m. Virtual. Free. 617-531-4610, jartsboston.org.
CHRISTMAS BY CANDLELIGHT AT OLD STURBRIDGE VILLAGE Go back in time with this Christmas celebration at Old Sturbridge Village. You can watch woolen ornament-making demonstrations, learn about the origins of Christmas traditions in America, and take a ride on a horse-drawn carry-all. Have a competitive streak? Try your luck in the gingerbread house contest. Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 23, and 27-30. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge. Prices vary. 800-733-1830, osv.org.
SOWA WINTER FESTIVAL Tis the season for art, chocolate huts, and holiday portraits. SoWa’s seasonal fest is back with all kinds of gifts and goodies. Venture through a pine tree forest and browse more than 150 food and art vendors inside the newly renovated Power Station. Or write down your Creative Christmas Wish at the Artist Loft desk and enter for the chance to learn how to paint, take better photographs, or make your own jewelry. Outside, food trucks can handle your hunger. Dec. 3-12, hours vary. Free, $5 advance Power Station tickets, $10 day of Power Station tickets. SoWa Boston, 530 Harrison Ave. sowaboston.com/winterfestival
SANTA’S ARRIVAL BY LOBSTER BOAT Catch a glimpse of Saint Nick at sea before he docks at T-Wharf on Rockport Harbor. In true New England style, the jolly man will be making his entrance via lobster boat. He’ll then take a fire truck ride to the First Baptist Church, where he will snap photos with kids and ring in a tree lighting ceremony. Dec. 4. 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. Downtown Rockport. Free to attend. 978-546-9372, rockportusa.com.
CHANUKAH FESTIVAL AND WINTER MARKET In this outdoor event, come celebrate the Festival of Lights with an interactive performance with Josh & the Jamtones, a winter marketplace selling artisan goods, festive games, and a community candle lighting ceremony. A local food truck will provide yummy treats with doughnuts and hot chocolate. Dec. 5, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free for members, $18 per family. West Lawn, Leventhal-Sidman JCC, 333 Nahanton St., Newton. bostonjcc.org
HARVARD SQUARE HOLIDAY FAIR Get a taste of the old Harvard Square with this market, featuring regional vendors and worldwide imports such as Olim Clay Jewelry and Moonhill Wood Art. Meet the craftspeople who make a wide selection of unique gifts and build connections in a high-energy marketplace. Dec. 10-12, 17-19, hours vary. Free. Harvard Square, 33 Dunster St., Cambridge. harvardsquareholidayfair.com
REGIONAL KWANZAA CELEBRATION Celebrate African culture in Springfield with two full days of Kwanzaa festivities. There will be poetry readings, a drumming workshop, and the traditional candle-lighting ceremony. State Representative Russell Holmes will be the featured speaker on the first day of the event, which is now in its 13th year. Dec. 26-27. Noon-5 p.m. on Dec. 26, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Dec. 27. On Dec. 26, Boys and Girls Club Family Center, 100 Acorn St., Springfield. On Dec. 27, Rebecca M. Johnson School, 55 Catharine St., Springfield. afrorenaissancearts.com.
FIRST NIGHT BOSTON Ring in 2022 with First Night Boston, a city tradition since 1975. In years past, this arts festival has featured a slate of performances, a parade, and dazzling fireworks displays. Last year, the festivities were livestreamed because of the pandemic, but this year, the New Year’s Eve celebration is back in Copley Square. Dec. 31. Copley Square. Free to attend. firstnightboston.org.