Family Friendly Holiday Guide to Burlington


Confession: I’ve been playing Christmas music since November 1st.

I can’t help it. I love Christmas and the Holidays. I love everything about it. Even the cold, and that’s saying something! (After New Years, though, I’m done and ready for spring.)

So even though it’s a bit early, I wanted to write a roundup of some of the great Holiday Events around town – and there is no shortage of them. Living in Vermont during the holiday season is really one of the more magical things I can imagine – there is always something festive and fun to do!


[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Tree Farms/Cut your Own Tree[/typography]


One of the first things our family does as the season approaches (well, other than updating our Christmas playlist) is to get our tree. Since moving to Vermont we have just loved going to a tree farm and cutting our own tree.

ChristmasRoundup2(He took his job as tree selector very seriously).

[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Tree Lighting[/typography]


  • Light the Village and Train Hop, Essex Junction– Wednesday, Dec. 4- This is a great event for the train lover in your family. Local business (including the library) have model trains on display, and there is a trackless train that runs outside. Santa is around, and at the end of the evening the village tree is lit.
  • Tree Lighting at Church Street, Friday, November 29- I have not yet been to this one, but have always meant to go. I love Church Street! This year The Night Before Christmas will be performed, and at 6:02 (sharp!) more than 100,000 lights on Church street will be illuminated. The festivities start as early as 11 where you can meet Santa, Prancer and take a horse and buggy ride up and down Church St.
  • Annual Tree Lighting at Shelburne– Friday, Dec. 6- Shelburne’s tree ceremony includes a chance to visit santa, crafts for the kids, hot drinks, and a lighted Truck Parade put on by SD Ireland.
  • Williston Community Tree Lighting– Sunday, Dec. 1- Caroling, cocoa, and snacks at the Gazebo before the tree lightning. This event is sponsored by the Williston Girl Scouts.

[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Santa Encounters[/typography]


[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Other Community Events[/typography]


  • Deck the Halls at Shelburne Museum Dec. 8-  During the first week of December the new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education will be alive with holiday crafts, games, and music. 10 trees will be decorated from the museum’s own collection!
  • Holiday Bonfire at Maple Street Park (Essex Junction) Friday, Dec. 13- Holiday songs and refreshments served outdoors around a large bonfire. Rumor has it that Santa may stop by for some pictures.  Those who register can also make a gingerbread house, decorate sugar cookies and ornaments, make holiday cards, and play games.
  • Live Nativity Scene and Tours (Hinesburg) Dec. 7-  An outdoor and interactive reenactment of the First Christmas, followed by indoor festivities with cocoa, snacks, and caroling.
  • Richmond Holiday Market Dec. 7- Richmond sets up an indoor market with a European feel. There is also the chance to meet Santa (I personally think this one is the real Santa) and go for a sleigh ride.
  • Sleigh Rides at Shelburne Farms weekends starting Dec. 7- Rides leave the welcome center every half hour during the day.
  • Christmas Carol at the Flynn Friday Dec. 13-  30 performers on a specially designed set perform Dickens’ redemptive Christmas fable to life once a year.

ChristmasRoundup1(Xander asking Santa for “some toys, pease” at the Richmond Holiday Market)


[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Ice Skating[/typography]
I’m not actually a winter sports enthusiast (I’m sure you’re shocked), but now that Xander is old enough I want to get him out and trying skating this year.
  • Waterfront Park  There is a seasonal, outdoor skating rink along the waterfront in the wintertime.
  • Leddy Park Arena– This is the rink I’ve heard the most about. There are two arenas with public skating (including times for little kids), as well as parities, hockey, and rentals.
  • Sleepy Hollow Inn Ski & Bike Center (Huntington) In addition to a lighted pond for skating, there is also cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and lessons available.
  • Landry Park (Winooski) This park has an outdoor skating rink and a sledding hill.
  • Calahan Park  An outdoor rink and sledding hill in Burlington’s South End.
  • Battery Park An outdoor rink with mountain and lake views right downtown.
[typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#381b5e”]Sugar on Snow[/typography]
Ok, not being a native Vermonter, I had no idea what this is. Sugar? Snow? What? But after a quick google search, I figured it out and count me in this year! Making maple taffy by pouring it over snow sounds fabulous and fun.


I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get going with some of these! What are you most excited to try out this year? (I personally can’t wait to try some of that Sugar on Snow stuff.)

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A native San Diegan, I now live in Essex with my husband John, son Xander (July 2010), daughter Luna (February 2013) and dog Tonks. I'm a stay at home mom, but I also teach the occasional composition course for different online universities. In all of my free time, I enjoy reading, hiking, baking, and watching cheesy 90's dramas on Netflix (Team Pacy all the way). You can read more about me at


  1. Awesome blog Emily! I have yet to try sugar on snow but we were able to sample some of Palmer’s maple frosted doughnuts at the Harvest Fest at Shelburne Farms this year……yeah, we’ll be going there.


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