Spend time out this holiday season and pay it forward

Anna’s Taqueria will sell burritos made by Santa to help a local charity.

By Laurie Wilson Globe correspondent 

The true holiday spirit is about giving — and giving back. These hotels and restaurants in New England pay it forward with charitable events and holiday-themed programs. Here are eight festive, feel-good stays and events.

Edgartown’s Harbor View Hotel invites visitors to view its Teddy Bear Suite — more than 120 stuffed toys are posed in settings like eating a holiday dinner and washing up before bedtime. The suite is open Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17, and is sponsored by the island’s Point B Realty; money raised supports the local Boys & Girls Club’s after-school programs. There’s no charge, but donations are suggested.


The Lenox Hotel in Boston is hosting its second annual Room in Your Heart event through Dec. 20. A designated room is used for gift donations to Wonderfund, a private nonprofit that supports children receiving services from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Hotel guests and Bostonians can drop off new and unwrapped gifts — the hope is that the room will overflow with gifts. www.lenox

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The Common Man Inns in Plymouth, N.H., and Claremont, N.H., host a Festival of Trees, decking the inns’ halls with Christmas trees. Each tree is decorated by local nonprofits, and guests are issued a ballot to vote on their favorite tree. Prizes, including gift cards and a cocktail party for 50, are awarded to the top three winning charities.

For every December reservation made, The Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, will purchase a book for local schools, based on librarians’ wish lists, as part of the inn’s Books for a Booking campaign. And, through the inn’s Giving Tree program, the students who receive the books will create handmade ornaments for the tree; guests and locals can trade the ornaments for a donation of warm outerwear. The clothing is delivered to food banks and shelters by Project Grace.

Anna’s Taqueria Harvard Street location (446 Harvard St. in Brookline) is hosting a holiday event on Dec. 12 from 6-8 p.m. to benefit Christmas in the City, a nonprofit that helps local families who have experienced homelessness and poverty. Santa Claus will roll burritos, and guests can purchase one of Santa’s burritos, plus chips and salsa, for $10, with all proceeds going to the nonprofit. There are eight
taqueria locations. www.annas

Gregg’s Restaurants & Taverns, with four locations in Rhode Island, work with local nonprofits by collecting more than 4,500 names on a Giving Tree list. Employees and volunteers create the tags with the name of the person and wish list, and the tags are hung on Christmas trees. Customers grab a tag off the tree, purchase a gift and return it to the restaurants, and as the tags are removed, new ones are added. Gifts can be dropped off until Dec. 13, and donors get a coupon for a slice of Gregg’s chocolate cake.


Order a Kind Soul cocktail (white rum, house-made simple syrup made with rosemary, cranberries and limes) at the Boston Park Plaza’s Off the Common restaurant and 50 percent of sales are donated. Also, guests who make a suggested $10 donation at check-in receive a $10 gift card to MJ O’Connor’s Pub. The campaign runs through Jan. 5. www.bostonpark

This is the fifth year that the York Harbor Inn in York, Maine, celebrates The Giving Tree in a partnership with local schools. York School guidance counselors reach out to students and families and procure wish lists, and the inn sells gift tag ornaments for its Christmas tree in the pub — donations of $5 per ornament are suggested, and wish-list gifts are also donated. School counselors pick up the gifts, and the money is used to buy warm clothing.

Laurie Wilson can be reached at