Welcome to the sometimes cold but always delightful Vermont holiday season!
Whether you stay close to home or decide to take a tour of the state, Vermont has so many terrific holiday activities in December, all set in our gorgeous winter scenery. Here are some fun holiday activities to enjoy with your family.
The St. Albans Festival of Trees
November 26th through December 3rd, Saint Albans
Enjoy a downtown tree walk throughout the entire holiday season. On November 26th, the tree lighting happens at 5:00 pm, followed by the appearance of Santa and a new laser light show. Check out the schedule for many other fun activities, such as sleigh rides, a performance by the Vermont Choral Union, the running of the bells, and Santa’s workshop. There are activities for everyone at this festival!
Winter Lights in the Park
November 24th through January 1st, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, Essex Junction
Walk through Maple Street Park to enjoy music, trees, and a much-photographed lighted tunnel. This annual event has added a scavenger hunt this year where you get to find ornaments hidden in the trees.
Essex Holiday Lights Contest
December 9th through 23rd, lights will be on from 4:30- 8:30 pm
If you don’t feel like walking, drive around to see and vote on entrants in the Essex Holiday Lights Contest. It’s certainly warm and cozy in the car!
Celebration of Trees
November 25th through December 11th, South Burlington
Check out beautifully decorated trees at the University Mall. Buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win your favorite tree! Proceeds will benefit ANEW Place. Visit Wednesday through Sunday from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Church Street Santa Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 25th, 12:00 pm-6:00 pm, Burlington
Kick off the holiday season with the Santa Parade at noon. After the parade, you can take photos with Santa at Homeport. At 5:00 pm, the tree lighting ceremony begins. Freya, this year’s Make-A-Wish Kid, lights the tree at 6:00 pm.
Winter Lights at Shelburne Museum
Select Dates, November 25th through January 1st, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, Shelburne
Take a stroll through the museum grounds to see the beautiful, shining lights and spectacular light sculptures. In particular, be sure to check out the iconic ship, the Ticonderoga, dressed in hundreds of lights. The Weathervane Café will be open, serving hot beverages and food. Shelburne Museum members will receive a small gift.
Christmas in the Park
November 26th, 3:30 pm-6:00 pm, Swanton
Join the community on the Swanton Village Green to start off the holiday season. There will be hot cocoa, cookies, and fun characters to meet, such as the Grinch. Write a letter to Santa and then take a horse-drawn wagon ride. Don’t forget to greet the reindeer!
Fairfax Tree Lighting
December 3rd, 4- 5:30 pm, Fairfax
This festive indoor and outdoor event held at the Fairfax Community Center features hay rides, kid crafts, hot chocolate, cookies, and live music from Fairfax Fletcher Westford Band.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
November 26th through December 18th, Burlington
There are several opportunities to watch the classic ballet, The Nutcracker, starting on November 26th. There is also a hip-hop Nutcracker this year that looks intriguing. The Vermont Symphony Orchestra is playing Holiday Pops on December 10th.
Tree Lighting and Holiday Stroll
November 25th through 26th, Various Times, Rutland
Come to Depot Park at 5:30 pm on November 25th to watch the tree lighting. Enjoy music and children’s activities, such as ornament decorating. Shop local while enjoying a day of specials, sales, and promotions on November 26th. Look out for the Downtown Team, who will be handing out goodie bags all day.
Holiday Train Exhibit
November 25th through November 6th, 11:00 am-3:00 pm, Middlebury
Check out an elaborate Lionel train exhibit with a beautiful painted background of the Green Mountains at the Henry Sheldon Museum. The display is three levels high, running different sizes of trains. The museum is also hosting its annual Holiday Open House on December 3rd, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Masks are required in the museum.
Chanukah at Chabad of Vermont
December 18 through December 26th, Burlington
There are many different public menorah lightings, at various places, such as the UVM Green and the Statehouse. On December 22nd at 4:00 pm, there is a car parade and menorah lighting.
Very Merry Middlebury
December 1st through December 15th, various times, Middlebury
Take a stroll to see the wreaths and lights decorating downtown. Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 3rd at Triangle Park from 9:00 until 11:00 am. Write a letter to Santa and take a horse and wagon ride. There are three special evenings to shop and discover special pop-ups and promotions.
A Traditional Christmas in Stowe
December 2nd through December 4th, various times, Stowe
Start off the festivities on December 2nd with a children’s lantern parade and tree lighting at 4:30 pm. There are more activities on December 3rd, such as a Santa stroll, a craft fair, and gingerbread house making. Wrap things up with a holiday stroll for special sales and promotions on December 4th.
December 3rd, 10:00 am-2:00 pm, Gilman
Enter the gingerbread creations contest and then enjoy perusing all the other entries. Decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus and make your own ornament. You can also buy a soup lunch and enter a raffle.
Essex Junction Fire Department Open House
December 3rd, 10:00 am-2:00 pm, Essex Junction
Come meet members of the fire department and take photos with Santa. Be sure to enjoy some snacks and enter raffles. The fire department is also accepting gift donations as part of Operation Fire Cuffs, which donates gifts to pediatric patients at the UVM Medical Center.
A River of Light Lantern Parade
December 3rd, 5:00 pm, Waterbury
Craft your own lantern to walk in this parade or just show up to watch the creations march by. Enjoy the evening of light, music, and community spirit.
Williston Town Tree Lighting
December 4th, 4:30 pm-5:30 pm, Williston
Watch the lighting of the town tree while listening to Christmas music. Enjoy a visit from the SD Ireland holiday light truck. Please bring a donation of new hats, gloves, mittens, or socks for the Williston Food Shelf.
Troy’s Toy Drive
December 4th, 4:15 pm-6:45 pm, Essex Junction
Bring unwrapped toys or gifts to donate, and they will be distributed to Vermont children in need. While there, you can drive through and check out a variety of lighted trucks. You may also park and enjoy some refreshments and live entertainment, including train rides. The even is being held at the Albert D. Lawton School this year.
Christmas at the Farm
December weekends and December 17th through January 1st, 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Woodstock
Celebrate an old-fashioned Christmas, with plenty of photo opportunities. Meet some farm animals on a self-guided tour, dip candles, or toast up some s’mores. Weather permitting, go on a snowshoe trek or a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Starting December 9th, vote for your favorite staff-made gingerbread house.
Spruce Peaks Lights Festival
December 17th, 1:30 pm-7:00 pm, Stowe
Watch performances by Ice Dance International and special guest Ashley Wagner. Take photos with Santa at the Toy & Candy Co. At 6:00, there is a tree and village lighting, followed by a fireworks display.
No matter what you do, Vermont Mom wishes you the happiest of happy holidays!
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