Christmas, Connecticut-Style Last Updated 11/18

Starting with the day after Thanksgiving and going straight through to New Year’s, the Christmas season in Connecticut is packed with holiday activities, celebrations and every kind of tradition. We’ve pulled together a few of the events and happenings for 2018 here. But new items are being added to our This Weekend and Events pages every single week so be sure to check back often!

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Show Your Holiday Spirit

You know it’s Christmas when the lights go up all over town. From professional displays to neighborhood light shows, there are so many places to visit if you want to get into the spirit of the season of light. Start with the Hartford’s Holiday Light Fantasia in Goodwin Park. For classic Christmas décor, visit the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, the Festival of Trees and Traditions at Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, or the Florence Griswold Museum’s Magic of Christmas. Click Learn More for additional ideas!

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Celebrate at Shows & Festivals

Connecticut Christmas season ramps up with all kinds of annual celebrations, some of which are only a day or a weekend, while others last well into December. Experience the Greenwich Reindeer Festival, and while you’re in Greenwich, don’t miss the Bruce Museum’s “Downsized” exhibition through January 2019. Check out the Annual Gingerbread House Festival in South Windsor, the 27thannual Holiday in the Depot in Washington, the Christmas in Collinsville celebrationor take one of Mystic Seaport’s Lantern Light Tours to really get into the classic New England spirit of Christmas. Click Learn More to search for the most up-to-date event listings!

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Find the Perfect Christmas Tree

Connecticut is full of Christmas tree farms that stretch to every corner of the state. Many offer tractor and sleigh rides, hot cocoa, wreaths and even Santa sightings. Try Allen Hill Farm in Brooklyn, Jones Family Farm in Shelton, Winterberry Farm in Killingworth, Charlie Brown’s in East Hampton or Towill’s Christmas Tree Farm in Plymouth. Find more farms, plus tree cutting tips by clicking Learn More.

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Shop for Unique Gifts

From outlets and malls to boutiques and artisan galleries, you’ll find all kinds of places to shop for unique Christmas gifts in Connecticut. There are craft bazaars and open studios, too. The Shops at Yale in New Haven are just one of the places you can go for great shopping, dining and holiday celebrations all season long. Plus, we’ve even got ideas for you on where to purchase Connecticut made products, too! Click on Learn More to search upcoming holiday shopping events.

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Make Tracks with Santa Claus

In Connecticut, Santa Claus makes his way around the state early, and he is a particular fan of train travel. Book your tickets early to see him on the Santa Express in Thomaston, The Santa Special in Essex or even at Santa’s Trolley Winter Wonderland in East Haven.  And don’t miss Winterfest and the Tunnel of Lights at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor. Click Learn More to find other places to see Santa ride the rails in December.

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Take in a Christmas Show

From A Christmas Carol to The Nutcracker, it’s easy to find live performances of the classic Christmas tales around Connecticut throughout December. You’ll want to get tickets early for shows like Hartford Stage’s A Christmas Carol and A Connecticut Christmas Carol at the Norma Terris in Chester. Or try new plays like Christmas Rocks at Hartford’s TheatreWorks or a live version of Rudolph at Waterbury’s Palace Theater. Search Events now for one of the many Nutcracker performances around the state and click Learn More for a listing of upcoming holiday productions.

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See the Nativity in Bethlehem

In the western part of the state, you can make a pilgrimage to Connecticut’s own Little Town of Bethlehem. The Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival is typically the first weekend in December. But you can see the remarkable carved crèche, or Nativity scene, at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, enjoy the celebrations at the Bellamy Ferriday House, and shop for a tree at Uncle Frank’s Christmas Tree Farm throughout the holiday season. And don’t forget to have your holiday cards stamped at the Bethlehem Post Office!

Looking for still more ways to get in the Christmas spirit? Visit these other holiday towns!