Although I’m still recovering from back surgery and won’t be participating in any of my annual holiday outings, I’d like to share some of my favorite seasonal activities so that you might make them part of your traditions as well. Let me show you a festive Christmas in Massachusetts!
Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village
Nothing evokes the simple pleasures of an old-fashioned holiday like Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village. As you meander around the early 19th century village, each beautifully decorated building features a different activity or holiday tradition to experience. You can hand craft an ornament in the tin shop, take a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh while singing carols, listen to Christmas stories or live music, cozy up to the bonfire, marvel at the incredible entries into the gingerbread house competition, enjoy a scrumptious open-hearth baked holiday treat and a cup of warm apple cider, and much more! I’ve been to Christmas by Candlelight many times, and my favorite part is interacting with the costumed interpreters to learn more about the activities that they’re doing and about holiday traditions in the past. I highly encourage you to make Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village part of your family’s holiday tradition. It will always be part of mine.
Christmas by Candlelight runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings from late November through December. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website by clicking here.
The Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture
When I was younger, I fondly remember my mother taking me on a special trip into Boston to see the Enchanted Village in what used to be the Jordan Marsh department store in Downtown Crossing. Since the store was sold to Macy’s, the Enchanted Village has changed hands several times, but it’s found a permanent home at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon, Massachusetts. Adults and children alike will delight in the quaint Christmas village filled with animatronic children, adults, teddy bears, and other animals participating in holiday rituals and traditions. Before leaving the village, don’t forget to indulge in a delicious blueberry muffin, made from the original Jordan Marsh recipe! While in the store, you can also take several spins around the 4,000 square foot skating rink, featuring holiday music and dramatic lighting effects. After all that, if you’re still in the holiday spirit (like I would be!) check out Jordan Furniture’s Motion Odyssey Movie (MOM) featuring the Polar Express in a way that you’ve never seen it before . . 4-D! There’s so much to do at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon that you could make a day trip out of it! All of the activities at the store are open from mid-November to the 1st of January. Click here for further details, hours, and pricing information.
Two Decked-Out Dwellings
Everyone knows that neighborhood house whose residents go all out in decorating their home for the holiday season. Each year, I’ve always made it a tradition to drive around and discover new holiday light displays and experience old favorites. In Danvers, Massachusetts, there are two houses on Arthur Street that you simply cannot miss! The homes use more than 90,000 lights and over 1,000 lit up figurines and characters to create an awe-inspiring holiday extravaganza, including, my favorite part, the waterfall display. While there, be sure to make a donation to Children’s Hospital, who buses in their child patients to see the spectacle for themselves and experience some of the holiday spirit. Do you have a favorite decorated home that makes Christmas in Massachusetts extra special? Leave the the street address and city or town in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about them!
THE Festival of Trees
If you love Christmas trees as much as I do, then a visit to the Festival of Trees in Methuen, Massachusetts, is a must during the holiday season! The festival has been going on for over 25 years and features almost 250 trees and wreaths, that have been donated by various community organizations, businesses, and families. Each tree is decorated based upon a theme chosen by the individual or group donating it. While I enjoy simply marveling at all of the intricate decorations and imaginative themes, children can complete a fun scavenger hunt to win a prize, and visitors can purchase raffle tickets and place them into boxes next to the trees or wreaths of their choice in the hopes of winning them. The Festival of Trees is attended by over 30,000 visitors from across 14 different states, and all of the proceeds provide funding for heritage and restoration projects of historic structures in the greater Merrimack Valley. So what are you waiting for?! Go to see the largest collection of decorated trees in Massachusetts and, at the same time, support a worthy cause, which is what the holiday spirit is truly about. The Festival of Trees is open from mid-November through early December. For more information click here to visit their website.
The Christmas Village at Yankee Candle
Although it’s open all year round, one of my favorite holiday destinations is the Christmas Village at the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. While the village is located entirely within the store, to get there, you’ll have to pass through the Bavarian Forest room where, if you wait a minute or two, you will experience snowfall, no matter what the season or temperature outside. Emerging from the forest, you would think you stepped into a 14th century Bavarian town that’s been decked out for Christmas. You’ll need a minute or two just to look around and take it all in, trust me. Each of the quaint shops contains a different theme of over 100,000 holiday ornaments for sale. Explore the village to get inspiration for your own holiday, and I dare you to leave without picking out an ornament or decoration to purchase. Looking to create a village of your own? Yankee has an entire room full of incredible holiday village scene displays to inspire you to design one or just to marvel at. What’s a medieval village without a castle? Cross over the moat via the drawbridge and enter the Nutcracker Castle where you’ll find a variety of German-themed ornaments, nutcrackers (including a 6 ft. tall one!), and a set of thrones that are perfect for selfies. Next, move on to Santa’s workshop, which contains a plethora of toys for sale to delight children of all ages. If all of the holiday shopping has made you work up an appetite, Yankee has plenty of tempting choices in its New England Market, including Popcornopolis, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Yankee Candy, homemade fudge, and an Au Bon Pain restaurant. After you’ve refueled, explore the rest of the enormous flagship store which includes the Candle Emporium, with over 200,000 candles in 200 fragrances, the General Store featuring baking mixes and delicious foods, the kitchen shop, the gift boutique, the home store, and the garden shop. For me, one of the most intriguing parts of the store is the Candle Museum where you can learn about and see how candles were made in the past and the present. Speaking of making candles, at Yankee you can create your own custom candle with no experience required. Just choose your shape and color, and an assistant will guide you through the process. If you’re looking for an even more personal experience, you can even make a wax mold of your own hand! The Yankee Candle Flagship Store in South Deerfield is a fun experience at any time of year but feels even more festive during the holiday season. For more information about hours and activities, visit their website by clicking here.
A Christmas Festival of Lights
I absolutely love Christmas light displays! My absolute favorite place to see them is the Christmas Festival of Lights at the LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts. This immense holiday display features over 300,000 lights spread across 10 acres! While the displays have a religious theme, even if you’re not a believer you’ll be thoroughly amazed by this holiday light exhibition. Be sure to dress warm because the light display is located outside, but don’t worry because hot apple cider, fried dough, make-your-own s’mores and other warm and tasty treats are available for purchase on site. While there, you can also visit the International Creche Museum which features hundreds of different nativity scenes created by artists from all over the world. Best of all, the light display and creche museum are totally free! The Christmas Festival of Lights is on display from late November to early January. For more information visit their website.
The Largest Christmas Store in New England
My last, but not least, favorite Christmas in Massachusetts destination is a place where you can shop ‘til you drop for holiday decor. The Christmas Place in Abington, Massachusetts, is the largest Christmas store in all of New England. If you’re looking for a particular ornament they have aisles and aisles, carefully arranged by theme, full of them. Need garland, tinsel, ribbons, tree skirts or toppers? The Christmas Place has more than you can ever imagine. They even have a room full of 85 different styles of Christmas trees and an entire lighting department with a huge variety of holiday lights, in countless different styles, to decorate them. For the outside of your home, the store carries over 150 different types of holiday figures. Know someone that has a Christmas Village? The Christmas Place carries over 200 different Department 56 houses and buildings, and even if you’re not looking to buy them, you can admire the holiday village scenes located throughout the store. Speaking of scenes, the Christmas Place has one of the largest Playmobil displays in the country. Don’t forget to check it out near the entrance of the store. So if you are looking for some holiday decorations, need a special gift for someone who is crazy about Christmas, or just love to browse like I do, head to the Christmas Place! And don’t forget to take a selfie with the enormous Nutcracker outside the entrance.
Locations for a Festive Christmas in Massachusetts
Click on a link to be taken to specific driving directions.
Old Sturbridge Village is located at 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd in Sturbridge, MA.
The Enchanted Village is located at Jordan’s Furniture at 100 Stockwell Dr in Avon, MA.
The “Two Decked Out Dwellings” are located at 3 and 5 Arthur St. in Danvers, Ma.
The Yankee Candle Flagship Store is located at 25 Greenfield Rd, South Deerfield, MA.
The Christmas Festival of Lights is located at the LaSalette Shrine on 947 Park St, Attleboro, MA.
The Christmas Place is located at 1500 Bedford St, Abington, MA.