Nothing screams ‘Christmas’ quite like that special moment when the Christmas lights are switched on – and this is something that the state of Massachusetts does with style. From mid-November, the cities throughout the state light up in preparation for a fabulous festive season.
Boston Common, Boston, November 15
Boston Common is one of the oldest parks in the United States. On November 15this year, the common will receive its giant Christmas trees, which are an annual gift from Nova Scotia in thanks for the region’s aid during the 1917 explosion.
Throughout the Christmas season after these magnificent giant pines light up the night. The park also hosts a series of performers to feed the festive spirit.
Faneuil Hall Tree, Boston, November 16
While the pines in Boston Commons may be brilliant and large, the largest Christmas tree in Boston stands tall and proud in front of the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The tree stretches 25 metres into the air and is a beacon of light throughout the city during the holiday season.
On November 16, the mayor of Boston lends a hand on in the lighting ceremony by flipping the switch. This light switch turns on the 30,000 lights and strobes, which join the other 350,000 bulbs that decorate one of the country’s premiere urban marketplaces.
Edaville Festival Of Lights And Polar Express, Edaville, November 22 - January 1
The Festival of Lights in Edaville features plenty of family festive fun with its assortment of amusement park rides and opportunity to enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and a visit to Santa. However, the most anticipated attraction is the replica of the Polar Express train ride.
Guests experience a 40-minute train ride through the Edaville country side. The 2013 winter season also marks the induction of Engine #21 into the Polar Express rotation. Engine #21 is a traditional steam engine that has been converted over to coal. It has been under restoration for years and for this Christmas season it is finally ready to take on passengers.
Public Menorah Lighting, The Common, Boston, November 27 - December 5
Boston doesn't just celebrate Christmas in a big way, it also Hanukkah as well. Just off the Park Street T stop in the Boston Commons sits an enormous menorah. This menorah sits facing the State House and between November 27 and December 5, one light on the menorah will emerge – that’s one for every night of Hanukkah.
Bright Nights, Springfield, November 27 – January 5
The Bright Nights event in Springfield is considered to be one of the northeast's most prized holiday lighting experiences. It encompasses a whopping 4.8 kilometres of exquisite lighting displays.
Whether it is taking children to visit Santa, enjoying a wagon and carriage ride around Forest Park or seeing the light displays on Military Night, the Bright Nights event has something to attract the whole family.
For the more athletically inclined, Bright Nights hosts an annual five kilometre run in aid of the local charities that provide for the poor during the holiday season. More than a few fit Santa Clauses join the run, which makes the event incredible fun.
Nantucket Noel Christmas Stroll, Nantucket, November 29 & December 6 - 8
The Nantucket Noel Christmas Stroll event begins the day after U.S. Thanksgiving with the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. More than 100 trees around the island light up and carolers gather in the town to sing songs of Christmas glee.
The celebration gets renewed vigor when Mr and Mrs Claus get escorted from the North Pole via Coast Guard vessel to the island. The town crier than makes his debut and escorts the merry Christmas couple up Straight Wharf for all to behold.
Oak Bluffs Christmas Tree Lighting, Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, December 1
The annual tree lighting ceremony in Oak Bluffs is a joyful event where families gather to sip hot chocolate and await the arrival of Santa Claus. On December 1, just before the Christmas light switch is flipped, the Vineyard Classic Brass Ensemble performs a medley of traditional holiday carols. Once Oak Bluffs is ablaze, there is an appearance of Santa, who asks the locals for donations of food for the needy.
Cape Cod Enchanted Village, Hyannis, December 6 - January 2
Cape Cod's Enchanted Village gives its guests a hearty dose of nostalgia. The Enchanted Village at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa boasts more than 100,000 lights, costumed carolers and a winter night bonfire. Santa's Old Fashioned Village is complete with reindeer, elves and the bearded man himself. While parents partake in hot cider or hot chocolate, children can tell Santa all their holiday wishes.
Worcester Annual Festival of Lights, Worcester, December 6
Worcester rings in the holiday season with its annual Festival of Lights. Located in Worcester Commons, the festival kicks things off with a grand tree-lighting on December 6. Throughout the holiday season, festive guests can enjoy some time with Santa and his elves or go ice skating on the massive ice rink created in the Worcester Common Oval.
In-keeping with the spirit of giving, representatives from the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program will also be on site at the event to collect new, unwrapped toys for children in the Worcester area.
Annual Haverhill Christmas Stroll, Haverhill, December 7
Each year to kick of Haverhill's annual Christmas Stroll, a Haverhill resident generously donates a giant pine from their own backyard. On December 7 the tree is decorated in Washington Square and is then lit in the evening. Throughout the month, Washington Square plays host to sugar cookie-decorating, a Santa's Village, a festive Brew Haus, and a slew of street entertainers.
New Bedford Holiday Stroll, New Bedford, December 7 & 8
On December 7, the jolly Mr and Mrs Claus will arrive via antique fire truck, escorted by the marching bands of the local New Bedford High School and Middle School. Upon the library steps, the jolly pair will join the New Bedford mayor and initiate the tree lighting ceremony.
For two days the town folk then band together for a festive celebration. Business, schools and museums all sponsor various culinary and entertainment events. There are also plenty of craft stalls to visit. From decorating tree ornaments to attending winter concerts, New Bedford really kicks off the holiday spirit with this weekend festival.