Family-Friendly Weekend Events in Vermont this December


Here is your list of family-friendly weekend events around Vermont for the month of December, courtesy of Busy Btown.

The transition from fall to winter weather went by a little too quickly for me this year. If you aren’t super outdoorsy in the winter, it can be hard to motivate and leave the house. But as all of us Vermonters know, the winter season is long, and there is plenty of time for you to “couch potato” later. As tempting as that mermaid blanket may be, with its siren song of laziness, I encourage you to take advantage of the weekend activities this month before it really is too cold to go out. There are so many options, I sadly couldn’t list them all (though I tried!) The first weekend alone… phew!

Check out our list of December events, and enjoy the last month of 2019!

December 6th-8th:

BVTMB’s favorite Santa, Santa Rick. Photo courtesy of John Goodman.

BurlingtonVT Moms Blog 3rd Annual Winter Wonderland 
Where: The Barns at Lang Farm, 51 Upper Main St. Essex Junction
When: Saturday, December 7 at 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Your favorite moms are back hosting their third annual Winter Wonderland. Get professional photos with Santa, enjoy storytime with Santa, have warm cider, caroling, crafts, and more- and this year there will be vendors selling all sorts of local crafts. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Vermont International Festival
Where: Champlain Valley Exposition, 105 Pearl St, Essex Junction
When: Friday, December 6th, 5:00pm-8:00pm; Saturday, December 7th, 10:00am-6:00pm; Sunday, December 8th, 10:00am-5:00pm
Learn about and experience new cultures at this family-friendly festival. With over 60 vendors and artisans from all over the globe, you’ll find items like imported handcrafts, clothing, pottery, home decor, instruments, carvings, and jewelry. Children under 6 are admitted free.

Vermont International Festival craft booth
Photo courtesy of Vermont International Festival

Family Painted Pottery
Where: Davis Studio, 916 Shelburne Rd, South Burlington
When: Friday, December 6th, 6:00pm-7:30pm
For $25 per person, you and your child can each select a piece of pottery to paint. You’ll be guided through the process of painting on bisque, and one week later, you’ll have a memorable keepsake or holiday gift. Space is limited, so enrolling in advance is required.

A Traditional Christmas in Stowe
Where: Stowe
When: Friday, December 6th, 3:30pm-7:00pm; Saturday, December 7th, 9:30am-7:00pm; Sunday, December 8th, 11:00am-2:00pm
Experience a classic Christmas in Stowe. There will be a children’s lantern parade, tree lighting, musical, Christmas Bazaar, Gingerbread house decorating, wagon rides, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a meet and greet with two characters from Frozen, and more.

Vermont Holiday Festival
Where: Killington Grand Resort Hotel, 228 E Mountain Rd, Killington
When: Friday, December 6th, 4:00pm-8:00pm; Saturday, December 7th, 1:00pm-7:00pm
At this holiday festival, you’ll find over 80 decorated Christmas trees, vendors, food, and a cash bar. Kids can meet Santa and create a holiday keepsake in his workshop. On Saturday, there will also be sleigh rides. 

Holiday Fair
Where: Lake Champlain Waldorf School, 359 Turtle Ln, Shelburne
When: Friday, December 7th, 6:30pm-9:00pm; Saturday, December 7th, 10:00am-3:00pm
On Friday, listen to live music and enjoy delicious food while you shop from over 50 local vendors selling handcrafted gifts. On Saturday, there will also be a family fair with many activities for kids, a bonfire, and more. Admission is free, but a small fee will be charged for some activities.

The North Pole Express
Where: Memorial Park Train Station, Lyndonville
When: Saturday & Sunday, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm or 6:00pm
Board a magical train in Lyndonville and travel with your family to “The North Pole.” You’ll find elves, Mrs. Claus, and Santa along for the ride, with holiday narration, cookies, and hot chocolate. Kids will also get to take home a special souvenir. Tickets cost $25 and must be purchased in advance.

Deck the Halls
Where: Shelburne Museum, 6000 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10:00am-3:00pm
Visit Shelburne Museum and see their festive trees, listen to holiday music from local musicians, participate in art activities, even purchase a few holiday gifts from the Museum Store. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-17, and free for children under 5.

Johnson’s Downtown Holiday Jubilee
Where: Downtown Johnson
When: Friday, December 6th, 4:00pm-7:00pm
Combine shopping with family-friendly activities at Johnson’s Downtown Holiday Jubilee, which features an artisan’s fair, bake sale, live music, face painting, and a free make-n-take for the littles. 

Whoville in Highgate (formerly Polar Express)
Where: Highgate Library & Community Center, 17 Mill Hill Rd, Highgate Center
When: Friday, December 6th, 5:30pm-7:30pm
The evening includes a lighted hay ride with the Grinch, and some cheery elves. Families will be dropped off in Whoville (the library) for a reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Santa. Kids are encouraged to dress as Whos, and will receive a Grinch ornament, hot cocoa, and cookies. Please bring some canned goods for the local food shelf. 

BurlingtonVT Moms Blog 3rd Annual Winter Wonderland 
Where: The Barns at Lang Farm, 51 Upper Main St. Essex Junction
When: Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Your favorite moms are back hosting their third annual Winter Wonderland. Get professional photos with Santa, enjoy story time with Santa, have warm cider, caroling, crafts, and more- and this year there will be vendors selling all sorts of local crafts.Tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Rise VT’s Journey to the North Pole
Where: St Albans City Hall, 100 N Main St, St Albans
When: Saturday, December 7th, 9:00am-12:00pm
Join Rise VT for a mile-long guided walk from St Albans City Hall through downtown St. Albans (to the North Pole). There are nine different locations along the way, each with an activity. Children who complete the walk will be entered into a raffle for St. Albans Recreation Department gift certificates. 

Kids Workshop – Christmas Countdown Calendar
Where: The Home Depot, 759 Harvest Ln, Williston
When: Saturday, 9:00am-12:00pm
While supplies last, kids will be provided with a workshop apron, commemorative pin, and supplies to create their own countdown to the holidays. Kids will develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing and applying stickers. A parent or adult should be present the whole time, and registering is recommended.

Winter Gifts & Craftmaking
Where: McClure Education Center at the Farm Barn, Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Rd, Shelburne
When: Saturday, 9:30am-11:30am & 12:30pm-2:30pm
Take your child (ages 5+) to this crafty class, where you’ll learn how to make holiday gifts using natural and recycled materials. Registration is required.

Santa’s Workshop – St Albans Festival of Trees
Where: Saint Albans Museum, 9 Church St, Saint Albans
When: Saturday, 9:00am-3:00pm
Bring your littles ones to the Saint Albans Museum to visit with Santa (between 10:30am-3:00pm), choose from two different craft projects, and decorate a gingerbread man or woman. Admission is free, and open to children of all ages. 

The Family Place’s 17th Annual Gingerbread Festival
Where: Tracy Hall, 300 Main St, Norwich
When: Saturday, 10:00am-3:00pm
This family-friendly event includes a display of around 100 gingerbread houses, a gingerbread house making demonstration, cookie decorating, and other fun activities for children. There will also be a silent auction, with over 150 items to bid on. Admission is $10 per family, and all proceeds benefit The Family Place. 

Gingerbread house
Annual Gingerbread Festival // Photo courtesy of The Family Place

Owlets Holiday Hoot
Where: 1968 Prindle Rd, Charlotte
When: Saturday, 10:00am-11:30am
Register to create marbled globe ornaments and a cardboard holiday wreath, in addition to exploring the sensory bins and holiday-inspired playdough. There will also be warm apple cider or tea available while you are crafting. This class is for kids ages 2-10.

3rd Annual Champlain Islands Christmas Parade
Where: Route 2 & South Street, South Hero
When: Saturday; parade lineup is between 4:00-4:30pm, the parade is at 5:00pm
Firetrucks, floats, personal vehicles, and farm equipment are all lit up to celebrate the season You can join in on the action and create your own float, or watch the parade go by along Route 2, proceeding down South Street, at 5:00pm. Onlookers can expect an appearance by Santa, as well. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Live on Stage
Where: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, 153 Main St, Burlington
When: Sunday, 2:00pm-4:00pm or 7:00pm-9:00pm
Catch a favorite holiday classic as it comes alive on the Flynn stage. Bring the family to see the entire Peanuts gang, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, and Linus.  

The 5th Annual Troy’s Toy Drive
Where: Essex Junction Recreation and Parks, 75 Maple St, Essex Junction
When: Sunday, 4:30pm-6:30pm
Meet in the Maple Street Park parking lot with an unwrapped new toy (no used toys, please), which will serve as a Christmas gift for an underprivileged child. You’ll find lighted Christmas trucks, live music, hot cocoa and cookies, fire pits (to stay warm), and you can get a picture with Santa Claus. 

December 13th-14th:

Wassail Weekend
Where: Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce, 3 Mechanic St, Woodstock
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10:00am-10:00pm
The 34th annual Wassail Weekend offers a festive and whimsical holiday weekend for all ages. There will be plenty of lights, decorated homes, a parade on Saturday, and more. 

Essex Junction Train Hop & Tree Lighting
Where: Maple Street Park & Pool, 75 Maple St, Essex Junction
When: Friday, 5:30pm-8:00pm
At this annual kick-off to the holidays, you can celebrate your community by train-hopping stations at local businesses in the Essex Junction Village Center. Visit or shop at local businesses, see model train displays, and catch a free shuttle to the Maple Street Park to see the festive lighted trees and to listen to holiday music. This event is free and open to the public.

Annual Holiday Tractor Parade
Where: St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, 138 Federal St, Saint Albans
When: Friday, 4:00pm-8:00pm
Indoor activities begin at the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery at 4:00pm, followed by a lighted tractor parade at 6:00pm. Note: there will be no parking in the store parking lot. 

Very Merry Middlebury Character Pancake Breakfast
Where: The Middlebury Inn, 14 Court Square, Middlebury
When: Saturday, 8:30am-11:30am
If a family meal is on your list for the weekend, you should really check this out—a pancake breakfast (with special toppings), meats, fruit salad, coffee, tea and juice for just $8-$12 per person! There will be a cast of holiday characters on hand to entertain the kids, as well as balloons, photo props, and a placemat to color. There are two breakfast seating times, one at 8:30am and one at 10:00am. 

Holiday with the Animals
Where: Central Vermont Humane Society, 1589 VT Route 14 S, East Montpelier
When: Saturday, 10:00am-2:00pm
Join the Central Vermont Humane Society for a holiday party. Visit adoptable animals, as well as Santa & Mrs. Claus. There will also be snacks and crafts. Canned dog or cat food donations are encouraged. 

Webby’s Art Studio: Printing Makes Perfect
Where: Shelburne Museum, Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education Classroom, 6000 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne
When: Saturday, 11:00am-3:00pm
In this family-friendly class, you will think like a printer as you design a series of stamps, which can then be used to decorate a gift bag (just in time for the holidays!) 

Midwinter Fest
Where: Groennfell Meadery, 650 Industrial Park Rd, Saint Albans
When: Saturday, 11:30am-8:00pm
This fest promises a little something for the kids and a little something for the parents. At the Midwinter Fest, Groennfell Meadery’s biggest party of the year, enjoy all-you-can-eat Viking food. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome.

Midwinter Fest
Midwinter Fest // Photo courtesy of Groennfell Meadery

Cabot Holiday Festival and Outdoor Market
Where: Harry’s Hardware & The Den, 3087 Main Street, Cabot
When: Saturday, 12:00pm-8:00pm
This holiday festival and outdoor market is in the style of a traditional German Weihnachtsmarkt. You’ll find great food (like pretzels, Cornerstone Pub’s food truck, and pizza from Cabot Village Store), great drinks (like craft beer, spirits, and mulled wine), and art vendors for shopping. There will also be live music from four bands starting at 1:00pm. 

Good Clean Fun!
Where: Vermont Comedy Club, 101 Main St, Burlington
When: Saturday, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Take your kids to this family-friendly improv comedy show at the Vermont Comedy Club! Tickets are just $5 for kids and $10 for adults. 

Night Light Parade on the Common
Where: Craftsbury Common, Craftsbury
When: Saturday, 6:00pm-9:00pm
Meet at Craftsbury Common for a comedy and music show by Rusty Dewees, followed by a nighttime parade with floats and people carrying lights. There will be hot cocoa and warm cider, donuts, cookies, and fire pits to keep warm. 

Art Play Day
Where: Radiate Art Space, 203 Bridge St, Richmond
When: Sunday, 10:00am-11:30am
The Art Play Day at Radiate Art Space is recommended for kids ages 18 months to 5 years of age. During each class, kids will be able to engage and experiment with materials from a variety of stations. The cost is just $5 per child or $8 for a family.

December 20th-22nd:

Crafting Felted Animal Ornaments
Where: Expressive Arts Burlington, 208 Flynn Ave, Burlington
When: 5:30pm-8:30pm
Bring your family to a community crafting event, creating animal holiday ornaments out of wool. Drop-in at any time. There is a sliding scale fee. Needle felting kits will also be available for purchase. 

Expressive Arts Burlington studio space
Studio space // Photo courtesy of Expressive Arts Burlington

Horse-Drawn Sleigh or Wagon Rides
Where: Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Rd, Shelburne
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am-2:00pm (every half hour)
Enjoy the great outdoors on the beautiful Shelburne Farms property with a 20-minute horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides. Rides are offered every day between 12/21-12/31 (except 12/25). Tickets are $10 per adult, and $8 for kids 3-17, free for children under 3. Private rides are also available in the afternoon.

Rock and Roll Playhouse: Motown For Kids Holiday Celebration
Where: Higher Ground 1214 Williston Rd, South Burlington
When: Saturday, 12:00pm
The Rock and Roll Playhouse Family concert series returns to Higher Ground on Saturday to play the music of Motown (Diana, Stevie, Gladys, The Temptations and more!) These concerts are perfect first concerts for young kids, with movement and dancing encouraged. Tickets are $15 per person (children under 1 admitted free).

Skate with Santa
Where: Stowe Parks & Recreation, 350 Park St, Stowe
When: Saturday, 3:30pm-5:00pm
If you’ve been itching for a chance to skate on the ice with Santa, well… here it is. Head over to Stowe Arena, listen to holiday music, and have some winter weather fun with Santa. Public skating fees apply.

Winter Solstice Celebration
Where: Smugglers’ Notch Resort, 4323 VT Route 108 South, Jeffersonville
When: Saturday, 4:00pm-5:45pm
Considered a Boston Globe “Don’t Miss Event,” this celebration includes Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater in the meeting house, and a dance party with Goodtime Charlie. There will be glow sticks and hot cocoa available for kids. 

Lumen Lantern Making Workshop and the Lumen Celebration of Fire & Light
Where: Holley Hall, 1 South Street, Bristol
When: Saturday, 4:30pm-5:30pm (Workshop); 5:00pm-9:00pm (Celebration)
In this free workshop for all ages, you can create a holiday lantern (led by Art on Main VT), and then use your lantern during the Lumen Celebration of Fire & Light Event at 5pm on the Town Green. On the green, you’ll find fire performers, Cirque de Fuego, fire pits, hot drinks, s’mores kits, music. and more.

Brunch with Santa
Where: Waterworks Food + Drink, 20 Winooski Falls Way, Winooski
When: Sunday, 10:00am-3:00pm
At this annual brunch, kids can meet Santa, play with crafts, and enjoy cookies (in the lounge). Reservations encouraged. 

December 27th-29th:

Webby’s Art Studio
Where: Shelburne Museum, Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education Classroom, 6000 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am-3:00pm
There are several family-friendly classes available this weekend. On Friday, there is a Firework Fantasy class, where you can paint, stamp and collage a firework display over Lake Champlain (to celebrate the New Year). On Saturday, there is a Sensational Snowman class, where you can use art supplies to create a snowman pen. On Sunday, there is a Window Art class, where you can use shapes and colors to create a stained glass window effect.

Horse-Drawn Sleigh or Wagon Rides
Where: Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Rd, Shelburne
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 11:00am-2:00pm (every half hour)
Enjoy the great outdoors on the beautiful Shelburne Farms property with a 20-minute horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides. Rides are offered every day between 12/21-12/31 (except 12/25). Tickets are $10 per adult, and $8 for kids 3-17, free for children under 3. Private rides are also available in the afternoon.

Traveling Storyteller Puppet Show
Where: Milton Public Library, 39 Bombardier Rd, Milton
When: Friday, 10:00am-11:00am
The Traveling Storyteller Puppet Show, which promotes literacy for children of all ages, visits the Milton Public Library for a performance of The Ugly Duckling.

Sleigh Rides
Where: Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center, 783 Townshend Rd, Grafton
When: Friday, 11:00am-3:30pm
Enjoy the winter scenery on a sleigh ride at the Grafton Trails & Outdoor Center. Rides leave every half hour from the cabin, and a reservation is recommended. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for youth, and free for kids 5 and under. 

Across the Month of December:

Sunday Kids’ Cave
Where: Purple Sage Vermont, 21 Essex Way, Essex Junction
When: Each Sunday, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Enjoy a 30-minute relaxation session every Sunday with your little one, while reading a book or playing with toys. Chairs, blankets, pails, and shovels are provided. Children need to be accompanied by a parent. 

Social Sundays
Where: Milton Artists’ Guild, 199 US Route 7, Milton
When: Each Sunday (except December 8th), 1:00pm-3:00pm 
Milton Artists’ Guild hosts a free art day, where families can come together to create a free art project. Art projects are designed for children between the ages of 3 and 15. No pre-registration is required, and refreshments and snacks are provided.

Need more ideas? Want to add anything to our list of family-friendly weekend events this December? 

Check out Busy Btown for other easy things to do in Chittenden County, and to see a weekly list of our Top 10 Events for the upcoming weekend. You’ll also find resources on indoor activities, trails, parks, playgrounds, and more around Chittenden County.


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