It’s the most wonderful time of the year! This Connecticut Mom’s Holiday Guide gets more and more extensive every year! So, grab your note pad, some hot cocoa and start making some plans!
- Enfield Square Mall– Now through December 24. See website for hours.
- Santa’s Flight Academy at Westfarms Mall in West Hartford– Now through December 24. See website for hours. Photo Packages start at $27. Read our Review!
- The Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester – Now through December 24. See website for hours. Reservations can be made to reduce wait time at mall. Packages start at $34.99.
- Meriden Mall – Now through December 24. See website for hours. Reserve your spot online. Packages start at $34.99.
- Brass Mill Center in Waterbury– Now through December 24. See website for hours. Reserve your spot online. Packages start at $34.99.
- Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts – Now through December 24. See website for hours.
- Holyoke Mall in Holyoke, Massachusetts – Now through December 24. Packages starting at $34.99. See website for hours and more details.
Where else can I find Santa?
- Visit Santa at Yankee Candle Village – Now through December 23. See website for hours. Professional Photographs will be available at select times. Read our Review.
- Bass Pro Shops in Bridgeport – Now through December 24. See website for hours and dates. Receive a free photo and personalized digital Christmas card. Reserve your spot in store at the Bass Pass Ticket Depot. Enjoy fun activities while you wait to see Santa.
- Cabela’s in East Hartford – Now through December (see website for hours and dates). Bring the kids and family for a FREE photo with Santa, as well as fun crafts, games and activities.
- Photos with Santa at The Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford – Weekends in December from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Visit Santa at the carousel and have your photo taken with him for free!
- Visits with Santa at Mortensen Community Center in Newington – November 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and December 1 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Santa will be swinging by Newington this year to see the children and take photos! Free community event; please bring a canned food item for the Town’s food bank.
- Free Pictures with Santa at Ray Page Plumbing in Vernon– December 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come see Santa and take a FREE photo with Santa.
- Christmas Fair at Holy Cross Parish in Enfield– December 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus while shopping crafts, vendors and other holiday items.
- Santa’s Parade at Yankee Candle in South Deerfield, Massachusetts – December 1 at 9:55 a.m. Come parade with Santa and his friends, then enjoy free holiday wagon rides, free roaming railroad rides, pictures with Santa, live music and more! Read our Review.
- Cookies & Milk with Santa & Mrs. Claus at Pete’s Sweets in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts– December 1 and 2 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy cookies and milk with Santa. This is a free event but please bring a new unwrapped toy for donation. There will also be a quiet hour offered from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., please call to reserve a time during this hour.
- Visit with Santa at Flamig Farm in Simsbury– December 1, 2, 8 and 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit with Santa and take photos, enjoy a trolley ride with Frosty out toe Reindeer land, visit the outdoor petting zoo, and enjoy apple cider donuts and hot drinks available for sale. Admission is $10 per person (free for 2 and under). Read our Review!
- Cookies with Santa at the Windsor Junior Women’s Club in Windsor – December 2 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Come for cookies, hot cocoa and a visit with Santa. Donations accepted at the door.
- Selfies with Santa at Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester – December 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by and take a picture with Santa. No reservations needed, please just bring a non-perishable food item or personal care item for donation (one item per child). There will also be hot cocoa, cider, cookies and crafts.
- Santa at The Time Machine Hobby in Manchester – December 2 at 1:30 p.m. and December 16 at 1 p.m. Santa will be stopping by for pictures and to listen to your wishes! This is a free event.
- A Visit with Santa at Holyoke Merry-Go-Round– December 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and December 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Enjoy visits with Santa, color a picture, make a list and more! Read our Review!
- Milk and Cookies with Santa at the Holyoke Mall – December 15 at 2 p.m. Enjoy cookies and milk with Santa, and a special reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Free.
- Santa at Auerfarm in Bloomfield – December 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come visit with Santa, see the farm animals and play in the warm classrooms that will be set up with activities for young children. There will also be hot cocoa and warm soup. Read our Review!
- Free Photos with Santa at Heritage Woods Senior Living in Agawam, Massachusetts– December 15 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be visiting Heritage Woods; parents are welcome to bring their children for a visit and take pictures.
- 33rd Annual Santa’s Workshop at Wickham Park – December 12 through 23. Weekday hours are 3 p.m.-6 p.m.; weekend hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Children of all ages can enjoy visits with Santa and his elves. Free. Guests are welcome to bring a non-perishable food donation. Read our Review!
Want to have Breakfast or Dinner with Santa? Please note most of these require reservations and sell out QUICKLY!!
- Breakfast with Santa at the New England Air Museum – December 1 at 9 a.m. Enjoy breakfast with Santa and then visit the inside of a Sikorsky Seaguard Helicopter with him! Seating is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children. Read our Review!
- Breakfast with Santa at The Bushnell – December 1 at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Enjoy a breakfast buffet with Santa and Mrs. Claus! There will be carolers, crafts and more! For tickets, please call the box office before November 27.
- Sunday Brunch with Santa at the Delaney House in Holyoke, Massachusetts – December 2, 9 and 16 at 10 a.m. Bring the kids to Sunday brunch with Santa. ! Prices are $24.95 for Adults, $14 for Children 4-12 and Children 3 and under are free. Call to make your reservations.
- Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus at Lyman Homestead – December 2, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 (multiple seatings). Enjoy a buffet style brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by a special meeting with Santa and complimentary photos. Tickets are $39.95 for adults, $19.95 for ages 6 to 12, and $6.95 for ages 3 to 6 (2 and under are free). Prepaid reservations required.
- Pancakes with Santa at the Sheraton Springfield– December 2 and December 9 at 9:30 a.m. Enjoy Santa’s Elves Breakfast buffet, photos with Santa, candy canes and free passes to the Festival of Trees at Tower Square! Admission is $19.95 for adults, $10.95 for ages 4 to 12 and free for children under 3. Reservations required.
- Annual Breakfast with Santa at Total Mortgage in Milford– December 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Junior Woman’s Club of Milford invite you to a breakfast with Santa. There will be carolers, storytime, raffles and tons of fun! A picture with Santa is included with the price, or you can add on a frame to craft for an extra $5. $7 per person (12 months and older); under 12 months free. Family (max of 5) are $25.
- Munchkin Morning with Santa at Mystic Aquarium – December 7 from 8 30 to 10 a.m. For children ages 2 to 5, come enjoy crafts and activities, visits with Santa and photos. Aquarium will be available for viewing before opening. The cost for non-members is $35 for adults, $20 for children. Admission included. Reservations Required. Read our Review !
- Pancake Breakfast with Santa at the South Windsor Fire Department– December 8 from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Enjoy a breakfast with a special guest! Santa will also be available for pictures. No reservations. Free. Donations accepted.
- Breakfast with Santa at MassMutual Center in Springfield – December 8 at 8:30 a.m. Santa is coming to town and will be ready to enjoy breakfast with you. Tickets are $19 for children (ages 2-11) and $15 for adults (12 and up). Tickets are on sale now.
- Breakfast with Santa at Center School in Ellington – December 8 at 9 a.m. Bring the family for some holiday fun and enjoy a breakfast buffet with Santa!
- Annual Breakfast with Santa at Canton Parks & Recreation– December 8 at 9:30 a.m. Enjoy a breakfast with Santa. There will also be arts & crafts, festive music and special entertainment. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children. Space is limited, please register.
- Pancakes with Santa & the Grinch at Flower Power Farms in East Windsor– December 8 at 10 a.m. Come over for a FREE breakfast with Santa and the Grinch. Don’t forget to take a picture with Santa and the Grinch!
- Breakfast with Santa at Scantic Valley YMCA in Wilbraham, Massachusetts – December 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will be seating at 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Adults and children are $8 (members) or $12 (non-members). Children under 2 are free. Please make your reservations by calling the Welcome Center.
- Breakfast with Santa at Stew Leonards in Newington – December 8 and 9. Families are invited to have breakfast with Santa and his friends, and then each child can decorate an ornament to take home. Seating is limited and selling fast. Adults are $14.99 and children, ages 2-11, are $14.99. Please register online now.
- Breakfast with Santa at The Old Country Banquets and Deli in Enfield –December 9 at 11 a.m. You are invited to breakfast with Santa, with a separate meet and greet before from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in store or online.
- A Morning with Saint Nicholas at Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown – December 9 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Enjoy brunch with Santa including a private meet and greet, a live performance by the Connecticut Yuletide Carolers, and much more. Admission is $37.50 for adults (12 and up) and $19.50 for children 3-11. Children under 3 are free. Register online.
- Cookies & Pictures with Santa at ShopRite Enfield – December 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Come take your photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Cookies and milk will be served. Cost is $8 per child. Pre-registration is required.
- Dinner with Santa at Golden Irene Restaurant in East Windsor – December 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Stop in for dinner and visit with Santa. Please bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the local food pantry.
- Breakfast with Penguins and Santa at Mystic Aquarium – December 15 at 8 a.m. Enjoy a buffet breakfast with Santa and the penguins! The cost is $24.95 for ages 11 and up; $20.95 for ages 10 and under. Reservations Required. Read our Review !
- Breakfast with Santa at The Collegian Court in Chicopee, Massachusetts – December 15 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are two seatings at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Enjoy a buffet breakfast and a picture with Santa! Admission is $15.99 for adults and $6.99 for kids. Call to reserve!
- Pizza, Penguins and Santa at Mystic Aquarium – December 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Enjoy pizza, French fries, chicken tenders and dessert; plus you’ll get to take photos with Santa and see the African penguins during a special dinner time appearance! Advanced registration required. Tickets are $24.95 for ages 11 and up; $20.95 for ages 10 and under. Read our Review !
- Brunch with Santa at A Villa Louisa – December 16 from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Enjoy an all you can eat buffet. Santa will be handing out goody bags and visiting with the kids. Tickets are $24.95 for adults, $12.95 for kids 10 and under. Reservations Required.
- Breakfast with Santa at Grill 37 in Pomfret – December 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy a breakfast buffet and picture with Santa! Adults are $15; Children 12 and under are $7. Reservations suggested.
- Breakfast with Frosty at the Connecticut Beardsley Zoo – December 15, 16, 22, 23 at 8:30 a.m. Join Santa, Frosty and all their friends at special breakfast at the zoo. Tickets are $25 per person. Reservations are required. Read our Review!
Here are some sensory-friendly activities throughout the area during this Holiday Season!
- A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage –December 1 at 2 p.m. Enjoy a sensory friendly performance of this classic on stage. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets start at $25 and are available online.
- Santa Cares at the Holyoke – December 9 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Santa Cares is an event designed to welcome children with special needs and their families for visits and photos with Santa. Families are encouraged to RSVP prior to the event.
- Stress-Free Santa at Eastfield Mall in Springfield – December 2, ALL DAY. This sensory friendly opportunity is offered to families with special needs to enjoy a more relaxing visit with Santa. No appointment necessary.
- Santa’s Trains Sensory Friendly Afternoon at Look Park in Florence, Massachusetts – December 15 at 1:30 p.m. Enjoy Santa’s trains at a reduced sensory afternoon, and then visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Do you enjoy the holidays of yesteryear? Then you will love these old-time classics!
- Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport – November 23 to December 23 (Friday through Sunday). See website for dates. Tours begin at 5 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes. Enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker Sweets. This is a 70 minute progressive performance that covers a half mile of uneven terrain and will require walking or standing for the majority of the performance. Performances are appropriate for all ages, but not recommended for children under 4. Tickets are $33 for adults, $26 for ages 5 to 17 and free for under 4. Tickets can be purchased online.
- Christmas by Candlelight at Sturbridge Village – November 30, December 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 20-23, from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. Enjoy roasted chestnuts, music, dance, a sleigh ride and a visit from Santa Claus! Ticket prices are $14 for ages 4-17 (children 3 and under are free) and $28 for adults, and can be purchased online.
Are you a fan of the theater or ballet? These are perfect for you!
- A Christmas Carol at Hartford Stage – Now through December 29. See website for dates and times. Enjoy a classic on stage. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets start at $25.
- A Christmas Carol at Riverton Theatre – December 7 to 9, showtimes vary. Tickets are available by phone.
- A Charlie Brown Christmas at Nancy Marine Studio Theatre in Torrington – December 8 to 16, showtimes vary. Tickets are available online.
- The Nutcracker at The Bushnell – December 8 and 9, showtimes vary. Tickets are available online.
- The Nutcracker at Manchester High School – December 8 and 9, at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Advanced tickets available online.
- The Nutcracker Presented by the Ballet Theatre Company at the University of Saint Joseph’s– December 13-16, showtimes vary. Tickets available online.
- The Nutcracker at the JCC in West Hartford– December 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available online.
- The Nutcracker at The Warner Theatre – December 15-16, showtimes vary. Tickets available online.
- Woodbury Ballet presents The Nutcracker at Palace Theater– December 15 at 4 p.m. Tickets available online.
If you have a train-obsessed child like I do, then this is your list. Please note many of these events require reservations/pre-purchase of tickets.
- Northern Lights and Santa Express at The Railroad Museum of New England– Now through December 23. Please see website for dates and times. Enjoy a train ride with Santa, carol sing-alongs and more. Limited tickets are still available online for purchase. Prices vary depending on seating.
- Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights at the Connecticut Trolley Museum – Now through December 30. Please see website for dates and times. Ride an open or closed car through the Tunnel of Lights, and then enjoy cocoa and listen to music afterwards in the visitor center. Tickets are $12 for adults, $11 for seniors, $10 for ages 2-12 and $3 for children under 2. Read our Review!
- Santa’s Trolley Winter Wonderland at The Shore Line Trolley Museum – Now through December 16. Please see website for dates and times. Take a ride into the past and visit with Santa! Enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate! All children will receive a small gift from Santa. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. General Admission is $10; Children 2 and under are free.
- Holiday Train Show at Connecticut River Museum in Essex – Now through February 19, 2019. The magic returns with this annual holiday train show. Enjoy a 26 foot model train layout, exhibits in the gallery, a scavenger hunt and more. There is also toddler size viewing at the American & Lionel Train layout. Free with museum admission.
- Holiday Express Train Show at Fairfield Museum and History Center – December 1 – 31. See website for hours. Model trains will be displayed around elaborate holiday scenery. Admission $5 Adults, $ 3 for ages 6-22, age 5 and under are free.
- Christmas Train Show at the Torrington Armory – December 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy this annual model train show. Please bring a non-perishable food item for donation.
- Santa’s Railyard at Danbury Rail Road Museum – December 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16. See website for hours. Enjoy a vintage train ride to Santa’s Toyland! Admission is $12 per person for ages 2 and up (under 24 months – free) and includes a train ride, free gift for each child, a visit with Santa and more! Tickets are available online for purchase.
- Santa’s Trains at Look Park – December 7 – 23, open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. December 24, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come visit Santa and spend some time watching the holiday inspired model trains make their way through village settings. Free. Read our Review!
Need a little thrill this holiday season? These amusement parks are open during the holidays!
- Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce – Now through December 23. See their website for days and times. The park will be covered in lights and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of rides will be open. Tickets are available online and start at $15.99 for adults and $11.99 for children (3 and under are free). There are discounts for advanced purchases.
- Holiday in the Park at Six Flags New England – Now through January 1. See website for days and hours. Six Flags is celebrating the holidays for the first time ever! Enjoy the usual rides along with special events at Coaster Alley and Candy Cane Crossing, along with shows and entertainment! Daily Admission starts at $42.59. Read our Review!
- Christmas Festival of Lights at Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver, Massachusetts – Now through December 31. See their website for hours and dates. Enjoy thousands of lights as they twinkle throughout the park! All rides (including Thomasland) are open during the winter hours, and of course, you can take as many rides as you’d like aboard Thomas the train! A must visit for your little ones, especially those that love Thomas the Train! Admission starts at $37. Read our Review!
If you are looking to enjoy some beautiful Christmas lights and decorations, this list will help!
- Fantasy of Lights at Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven – Now through December 31. Open Sunday –Thursday from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Over 100,000 lights brighten the sky, while you enjoy a scenic drive through this winter wonderland! Admission is $10 per car load.
- Festival of Silver Lights at Hubbard Park in Meriden– Now through January 1. Open daily at 5 p.m. Enjoy this amazing display with over 350,000 twinkling white lights adorning 200 figures and buildings.
- Bright Nights at Forest Park – Now through January 1 (see website for times, as they vary by date). Drive around Forest Park and enjoy the many different light displays and light shows. Make sure to stop along the way for the carousel, Santa’s Train, photo ops, horse-drawn carriage rides, and other special attractions. Admission for vehicles is $18 during the week, and $21 for Friday through Sunday, and holidays. See website for discount coupons or visit Big Y for advanced tickets.
- Holiday Light Fantasia at Goodwin Park in Hartford– Now through January 1. Open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $15 per car.
- Winter Wonderland at Look Park – Now through January 1. Enjoy a light display as you drive through the park. No vehicle entry fee after 4 p.m. However, a donation is appreciated upon exit. Read our Review!
- Festival of Lights at Mystic Aquarium – December 7 from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Walk through Old Mistick Village’s winter wonderland from dusk until 9:30 p.m., then join the fun at the aquarium for a great night with Santa and holiday festivities in the aquarium. Admission is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item per visitor.
Like looking at trees too? Here are some great Festival of Trees!
- Festival of Trees at MassMutual Center in Springfield – Now through December 9. Open Wednesday through Sunday (see website as times vary by day). Come visit this amazing display of decorated Christmas trees, sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of Springfield. Trees have been donated by local sponsors and are available for you to win by raffle (includes all the trimmings and gifts beneath). Admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under are free. Raffle tickets are 25 for $10.
- Melha Shrine Feztival of Trees at Melha Shriners in Springfield – November 23 – December 2. Open Friday through Sunday (see their website for hours). Enjoy a feztival of trees and even enter a raffle to win one! There will also be a craft fair, food and entertainment!
- A Treemendous Holiday Celebration at Enfield Square Mall– Now through December 9. Open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy beautifully decorated trees donated by sponsors. Try your luck at winning a tree with all the gifts and trimmings. Children can also enjoy a special holiday craft. Free Admission. Read our Review!
- 44th Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions at the Wadsworth in Hartford– November 29 to December 9. Public viewing hours of the trees is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. *except for Monday, December 3 and Tuesday December 4 when the museum is closed. Community members, artists and organizations decorate holiday trees and wreaths to be displayed in the galleries throughout the week. All items are for sale, and profits help fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Admission is $3 for members and Hartford residents; $18 for adults; $15 for seniors; $8 for students and $3 for children under 17.
Want to chop down your own Christmas tree this year? Here’s a few places that offer that!
- Barbourtown Tree Farm: 225 Barbourtown Road, N. Canton. You pick the tree, they cut it for you!
- Dry Brook Farm: South Windsor. Trees cost $40. You pick the tree and cut it down. Tagging ahead is allowed.
- Dzen Tree Farm: 215 Barber Hill Road, South Windsor. Trees cost: $50. Saw provided. Farm also features reindeer, wreaths, and a snack bar.
- Dzen’s Sadd’s Mill Tree Farm: 187 Windsorville Road, Ellington. Saws provided. Farm also features a gift shop on site.
- Hazen Tree Farm: 166 Lake Drive, East Hampton. Trees cost $48.
- Hickory Ridge Tree Farm: 108 South River Road, Coventry. Hand saws provided.
- Karabin Farms: 894 Andrews Street Southington. Trees cost $60. Saws provided.
- Jones Family Farms, 606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton. Trees range from $50 to $99 (with some elf trees as low as $25, and the largest trees up to $175). Handsaws provided but during busy times, you may wish to bring your own.
- Red Hill Christmas Tree Farm: 37 South Main Street, East Windsor
- Syme Family Farm: 72 Windsorville Road, Broad Brook. All trees cost $50. Enjoy cocoa and popcorn, meet the Christmas calves and more farm fun. Saws provided. Read our Review!
For even more ideas, check this out!
Christmas is in the air in Connecticut! Here are a few towns spreading Christmas cheer!
- Holidays on Main Street in Middletown –Saturdays in December until December 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy a variety of entertainment every week ranging from free horse and wagon rides to Santa Claus; shopping and more!
- Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration and Carol Sing at Salmon Brook Park in Granby – November 29 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a holiday sing-along, tree lighting, pictures with Santa, free hot chocolate and cookies and lots of entertainment!
- West Hartford Holiday Stroll at Blue Back Square and West Hartford Center – November 29 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Stroll along Blue Back Square and enjoy a special tree lighting, live music, visits with Santa, strolling Victorian carolers, face painting, and more!
- Lamplight Stroll in Downtown Milford – November 30 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Stroll down Broad Street, enjoy the shops , live entertainment , horse-drawn carriage rides, visits from Santa and more !
- Holiday Stroll in Downtown New Canaan – November 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and December from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy this family favorite as Downtown New Canaan transforms into something out of a Dickens’ storybook. Santa will arrive on Friday, the trees will light up, carolers will sing and the stores will stay open late. Saturday will include pictures with Santa, characters roaming the streets, live entertainment and much more!
- Winter Wonderland at Mortensen Community Center in Newington – December 1 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon of free fun with face painting, magic, crafts, games, a clow and more! Please bring a non-perishable item for the Town’s food bank.
- Winterfest Parade in Norwich – December 1 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Come down for a parade with local music, marching bands and floats. The parade begins on Main Street by Otis Library.
- Newington’s Night of Lights on Main Street in Newington– December 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., enjoy the first ever party on Main Street with a firetruck parade, face painting, a magician, a warming fire with smores, and much more.
- Northampton Holiday Stroll on Main Street in Northampton, Massachusetts – December 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bring your friends and family and head to downtown Northampton for family friendly celebration with music, games, holiday cheer and much more!
- Lighting the Town Center in Glastonbury – December 1 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enjoy a holiday celebration with Santa while the town center is lit up!
- Ellington’s 13th Annual Winterfest and Tree Lighting Ceremony – December 1 from 3:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enjoy the lighting of the tree, a parade, concerts, food and photo opportunities with Santa and his friends.
- Christmas in the Villlage in South Meriden– December 1 at 1 p.m. Enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, pictures with Santa, music, kids’ activities, a bonfire, giveaways, games, food for sale and more! The event is free and everyone is welcome. Please bring a canned food donation or a lightly used book, and you’ll have a chance to win a prize from the special raffle.
- Winter Welcome in Downtown Mansfield– December 1 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a full day of shopping, singing, story times, crafts, visits with Santa and much more!
- Torchlight Parade & Carol Sing in Enfield – December 2 at 6 p.m. The parade will start at Enfield Street School and end at the Town Green. The Carol Sing will begin at 7 p.m. in front of the Town Gazebo along with the tree lighting and Santa’s arrival.
- 5th Annual Easthampton Holiday Whobalation at Millside Park in Easthampton, Massachusetts – December 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy music and caroling, free hot cocoa, and holiday cheer! Make sure to arrive early for parking. Patrons please bring a NEW unwrapped toy to be donated (under $10).
- Holiday Stroll & Luminaria in Downtown Mystic – December 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy the festive sounds of local choirs and specials in the shoppes, visit with Santa and his North Pole friends at The Whalers Inn, and enjoy the lights that adorn the downtown.
- Holidays on Main in Wethersfield – December 6 from 5 pm. to 9 p.m. This special evening includes the tree lighting ceremony, caroling, Santa visits at the Firehouse, live entertainment, horse and wagon rides at Heirloom Market, and much more!
- Town of Vernon Winterfest at Central Park– December 7 at 5:45 p.m. Enjoy a torchlight parade, tree lighting, snowflake lighting on Tower, Wreath Lighting on Town Hall, carol singing and the re-opening of Santa’s House! Light refreshments will be served.
- Christmas Town Festival in Bethlehem– December 7 from 4 p.m. -9 p.m. and December 8 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Enjoy train rides, caroling, bake sale, craft fair and visits with Santa on Friday night. On Saturday, Santa will again be visiting, along with the bake sale, concerts, craft fair, horse-drawn carriage rides and more! Free admission.
- Festival of Lights at Olde Mistick Village – December 7 from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Thousands of luminaries will light the walkways of Olde Mistick Village. Stroll along, enjoy the lights, shopping, decorations, live music, carolers, jugglers and more.
- Christmas in Collinsville – December 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and December 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shop at a craft fair, view the gallery of trees, take a horse drawn carriage ride, and much more on the downtown streets.
- East Hartford Holiday Fest– December 7-10. Enjoy four days of nearly 30 events throughout town including concerts, craft fairs, book readings, and community meals. Most events are free and open to the public. View the calendar of events online.
- Holidays on the Hill at Federal Hill Green in Bristol – December 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Come out for a children’s parade, carol sing, visits with Santa, music, food for sale and much more!
- Carol Sing & Torchlight Parade in Downtown Windsor– December 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Come out for an old fashioned carol sing on the town green followed by a torchlight parade with the firetrucks!
- Christmas Village in Torrington – From December 9 to December 24. Hours are 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily, with shorter hours from 9 a.m. until noon on Christmas Eve. Come out and enjoy this holiday tradition!
- Stafford Winterfest on Main Street in Stafford – December 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Celebrate a one-of-a-kind holiday experience in downtown Stafford with a parade of lights, holiday-themed music, community performances, visits with Santa, and much more!
- Winter Celebration at Agawam Veteran’s Green in Agawam, Massachusetts– December 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. This holiday celebration will include music, performances, raffles, games, contests, food, and a tree lighting ceremony. Free and open to the public.
- Torchlight Parade and Carol Sing in East Windsor– December 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season with this annual event. The parade will kick off at Main Street. Enjoy hay rides, carols, arts & crafts, and even a visit with Santa. Please bring a non-perishable food item for donation.
- Winsted Fire Department “Gator” Christmas Parade – December 22 at 5 p.m. Come out for this spectacular parade along Meadow Street!
Many town libraries are also getting in the holiday spirit and are offering several events this season!
In Avon (Read our Review!):
- Family Holiday Night – December 19 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy a fun family night with card making, gingerbread houses and more! Please register online!
In Canton (Read our Review!):
- Storytime with Santa – December 1 at 2 p.m. Children ages 3 and up will enjoy holiday stories, snack on elf mix, sing songs, hear holiday stories, make a seasonal craft and spend a little tiome with Santa! Register online to ensure a spot!
In East Hartford (Read our Review!):
- Holiday Fest– December 8 at 11 a.m. Santa Enjoy snow stories and a scavenger hunt. Stay after the story to make a craft.
In Enfield (Read our Review!):
- Holiday Card Making – December 12 at 2:30 p.m. Create holiday cards to send to someone special. Ages 5 and up. Drop-in.
- Festival of Trees – December 13 at 6:30 pm. Join the library for the opening reception of their gallery of handmade trees. Meet Jingles the Elf on the Shelf and a musical performance. There will also be and light refreshments. Drop-in.
- Drop & Shop – December 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Three hours of games and crafts for the children while parents can run holiday errands! Ages 5 to 12 only. Space is limited. Register as soon as possible!
In Rockville (Read our Review!):
- Community Tree Festival– December 2 – 15. Visit the library and view the beautiful table top trees, up for auction.
- RHS Carolers Concert– December 2 at 1 p.m. Enjoy the beautiful singing of the RHS carolers, and light refreshments.
In Somers (Read our Review!):
- Snacks with Santa – December 8 at various times. Enjoy a Christmas story, time to talk with Santa, a snack and a gift book at the end. Please bring a canned good for donation. Registration must be done in person and is limited to Somers residents, ages 8 and younger.
In Windsor Locks (Read our Review!):
- Santa Visits the Library– December 1 at 10:30a.m. Santa will be here to greet the children and professional photos will be offered (One 4 by 6 print: $2) First Come, First Serve. Drop-in. No Registration Required.
Chanukah Celebrations are everywhere too!
- Chanukah at the Congregation Kness Israel in Ellington – December 2 at 4 p.m. Enjoy warm latkes, hot cider, a free raffle, music, dancing and more!
- Chanukah First Light Community-wide Celebrations at the Springfield JCC- December 2. Enjoy all day celebrations including a cycle-a-thon and vendor fair, family activities, a lighting of the largest menorah in Western Massachusetts and a concert.
- Chanukah Fire on Ice at Blue Back Square in West Hartford– December 2 at 4 p.m. Enjoy activities all evening including arts & crafts, face painting, 3D dreidel printing, and much more!
- Chanukah on the Colchester Town Green– December 3 at 6 p.m. Enjoy warm latkes, hot cider, a free raffle, music, dancing and more!
- Chanukah on the Tolland Town Green– December 4 at 6 p.m. Enjoy warm latkes, hot cider, a free raffle, music, dancing and more!
- Chanukah on the Glastonbury Center Green– December 5 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy warm latkes, hot cider, a free raffle, music, dancing and more!
- Chanukah at the Enfield Square Mall– December 6 at 6 p.m. Enjoy warm latkes, hot cider, a free raffle, music, dancing and more!
- Fire on Ice at The Longmeadow Shops– December 9 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Come and join the fun with a menorah carved out of ice, menorah lighting, fire juggler, activities, music, dreidels, hot cocoa, donuts, hot latkes and more.
- Chanukah at KidCity in Middletown – December 9 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a fun afternoon at KidCity topped off with a grand menorah lighting!
Still looking for more to do? Here are a few more events!
- Winterfest Hartford at Bushnell Park– Open Now. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.). Enjoy free ice skating and skate rentals. On select days, the Bushnell Park will also offer $1 Carousel rides.
- Gingerbread House Festival at Wood Memorial Library & Museum – Now through December 15. Open Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Come see the different gingerbread creations; and on certain days, you may even find musical performances, local author and story time events, even visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and other storybook characters! Free and Open to the Public. Read our Review!
- Gingerbread Lane at the West Hartford Children’s Museum – Now through January 27, 2019. Visit the museum and take a walk down Gingerbread Lane where you can view an amazing 3-layered gingerbread village! Read our Review!
- A North Pole Experience at Sonny’s Place in Somers – Now through December 30 (see link for specific dates and hours). Explore a Christmas tree forest of fun at the mini-golf course, take a selfie with an elf, ride the Christmas carousel, enjoy a light show, visit Mrs. Claus and of course, Santa. Admission is $20 for ages 10 and up; $15 for ages 4 to 9; and free for under 4.
- The Polar Express in 3D at The Connecticut Science Center – Now through December 23, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Enjoy a 3D presentation of this beloved holiday movie. Read our Review!
- Holiday Events in Downtown New Haven at The Shops at Yale – Now through December 24. Celebrate the holiday season with ice carving competitions and demonstrations, free horse and carriage rides, story time with Santa and Dreidel Man, Yuletide Carolers, and more! All events are free to the public.
- Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting Celebration at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton– November 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Come out for carolers, cocoa and special events. Enjoy a show of lights as the holiday tree is set aglow by a special guest at 7.
- Grinchmas at Wapping Parks & Recreation Facility in South Windsor – November 30 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. All the Whos love Christmas! Enjoy some grinchy crafts and grinchy games, and much more! Free.
- Candy Cane Hunt at Hebron Lions Fairgrounds – December 1 at 4:30 p.m. Sponsored by the MOMS Club of Hebron-Columbia and Andover. Bundle up, grab your flashlight and join in for some holiday fun! There will be four age groups for hunting. Bring your own flashlight and bags to collect candy canes! Free admission with the donation of a new unwrapped toy. Pre-registration is required.
- Winter FanFest in Hartford Yard Goats – December 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come out for a free event at the stadium with a behind the scenes tour, batting cages, arts & crafts, smores, cookie decorating, meet the mascots. Read our Review!
- Holiday Carnival at Olde Mistick Village in Mystic – December 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stroll the Village and vote for your favorite decorated wreath, enjoy live music, performers, gifts and more! Kids can stop by Santa’s Workshop from Noon to 4 p.m. to do a little shopping too!
- Holiday Market at Holyoke Merry-Go-Round – December 1 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy visits with Santa, entertainment, children’s activities, food trucks and more. Read our Review!
- Community HoliDay at New Britain Museum of American Art– December 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Museum will offer free admission all day. Enjoy drop in art activities, enjoy performances by The Ballet Theatre Company and Hartford Stage, and much more.
- Zoo Night at Bright Nights in Forest Park, Springfield, Massachusetts – December 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Stop by the Zoo in Forest Park during Bright Nights to enjoy a visit with the animals, enjoy hot cider, listen to carolers, and more. Tickets are available at the zoo entrance (in addition to the cost of Bright Nights) for $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Read our Review!
- Shark-Diving Santa at Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk– From December 6 to 30, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Santa will join the dive team in the shark tank! All dives are free with admission. Read our Review!
- Meet Jingles the Elf on the Shelf at The Wood Memorial Library & Museum – December 7 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come meet Jingles and pose for pictures. She will also be signing your Elf on the Shelf book, help with a craft and have a dance party! Admission is $10 per child. Space is limited so please register online. Read our Review!
- Winter Wonderland at Ray of Light Farm in East Haddam– December 8 and December 15 at 5 p.m. Enjoy tractor drawn wagon rides, caroling at the campfire, hot chocolate and more! Santa will also be stopping in! $10 per person (children under 2 and adults over 80 are free). Tickets on sale soon.
- Winter Wonderland at East Granby Senior-Community Center – December 8 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Children from birth to age 12 are invited to make crafts, visit Santa and receive a special gift. Sign up is required.
- Wonderland Workshop at the MassMutual Center in Springfield – December 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Celebrate the holiday season with cookie decorating, craft making, writing letters to Santa, shop local vendors and more! Admission is free and open to the public but please bring a new, unwrapped toy for donation.
- Christmas at Bushy Hill Farm in Deep River – December 8 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy arts & crafts, a bonfire, snacks, interactive farm tours, a visit from Santa, and much more! The event is free but a donation of $10-20 per family is suggested.
- Santa’s Farm Workshop at Indian Rock Nature Preserve in Bristol – December 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Take the holiday hay wagon to Santa’s house for a photo with Santa. Enjoy the indoor hall of decorated Christmas trees, send letters to Santa and enjoy a live animal exhibit. There will be a bake sale, a gift shop and holiday craft center. Admission is $8 per person (children one and under are free).
- Snow Ball at Wonderland Parties in South Windsor– December 9 from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Don’t miss out on this magical event with singing, dancing, games, storytelling and more!! There will be an appearance from your favorite snow sisters! Limited seating – Tickets will sell fast!
- Polar Express Pajama Storytime at The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury – December 9 and 22 (see website for times). Wear your holiday jammies and enjoy a festive afternoon or evening with the Polar Express, cookie decorating and a visit with Santa. Cost is $15 per child. Please register.
- Grinch Story Time at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore in Middletown – December 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Help the Grinch grow his heart three sizes at this storytime. There will also be a photo opportunity with the Grinch himself. Please bring gently-used children’s books for donation.
- Jingle Jam at Arts from the Heart in Ellington– December 15 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This community event will be open to the public and will include singing, dancing, drumming, playing and more! There will also be hot cocoa and treats. Please bring your own treat to share with everyone. There will be a collection of non-perishable food items, mittens, hats, socks and other cold weather necessities. Please RSVP.
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season everyone!
*Did we miss something in This Connecticut Mom’s Holiday Guide? Some events that were already sold out at the time I created this list were purposely left off. But if you know a great event that should be included, let me know!