Holiday Tidings & Santa Sightings in Mystic Country Last Updated 1/17
More than 40 eastern Connecticut events filled with holiday cheer for that special time of year!
Holiday Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
November 25 / Main Street, Willimantic
The event kicks-off with a holiday tree lighting and carols before a parade of fire trucks, floats and Santas saunter down Main Street.
Norwich Winter Festival Parade
November 26 / Chelsea Parade, Norwich
Norwich celebrates the holiday season in dazzling color. Parade begins at the Chelsea Parade with a reviewing stand at Franklin Square. norwichct.org
Mystic Tree Lighting & Lighted Holiday Boat Parade
November 26 / Mystic River Park, Mystic
An annual Mystic tradition. Santa and company light the downtown Mystic tree and then standby to watch the spectacular boat parade down the Mystic River.
Holiday Dazzle Light Parade
Novmeber 27 / Downtown Putnam & Rotary Park, Putnam
One of northeastern Connecticut's biggest and brightest traditions! Families, businesses and civic groups decorate their cars, floats and even their cows with thousands of festive holiday lights. The sidewalks of Putnam are lined with spectators as the participants and their amazing displays march through town.
Niantic Light Parade
December 10 / Downtown Niantic
Niantic’s Main Street shines bright with one of New England’s largest and brightest light parades.
Groton Lights Parade
December 3 / Groton
The parade starts at South Road and ends at the Groton Shopping Plaza. Caroling, pictures with Santa and gifts for the children round out the fun of our post-parade party. Immediately after the parade, Santa Claus will light the holiday tree on the green at the Groton Shopping Plaza.
Blue Slope’s Advent Activity
November 25-27 & December 3-4 / Blue Slope Country Museum, North Franklin
Come and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride through the picturesque woods of Blue Slope Farm. Sip on some wassail punch or hot cocoa, decorate a Christmas ornament, carol and more. Reservations required.
Light Up City Hall
November 25 / City Hall, Norwich
Fun begins at 4pm with free family entertainment, including downtown horse and carriage rides and ends with Christmas Caroling and Santa arriving to Light Up City Hall!
Magic of Christmas
December 1-January 8 / Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme
December is particularly delight-filled at the Museum. The Museum now has so many artist palettes that they’ve had to turn Miss Florence’s Artist Tree into two! Over the past 10 years, visitors from across the region have admired the painted palettes on Miss Florence’s Artist Tree. More than 150 noted artists from across the country have donated works to these unique holiday icons. Visitors can also enjoy three fantasy trees in Florence Griswold House.
Frosty’s Big Night Out
December 2 / Davis Park, Danielson
Frosty and Rudolph return to Downtown Danielson, sharing cookies, cocoa and joining in with caroling at Davis Park. If you'd like to join them for their walk to the park, meet at the Water Street Park at 5:45pm and head down the streets of town right to Davis Park at 6pm where they will be joined by the Jolly Old Man himself.
Olde Mistick Village's Holiday Carnival
December 3 / Olde Mistick Village, Mystic
Fun events and activities in the shops and around the village. Bring your four-legged friends for a “pets only” visit with Santa. Enter the Gingerbread House Contest.
Stonington Borough Holiday Stroll
December 3 / Wadawanuck Square, Stonington
Enjoy the beauty and charm of the Borough at this wonderful family event featuring the annual tree lighting at Wadawanuck Square, caroling, horse and carriage rides, open stores, free cider and hot chocolate and more.
Christmas in the Colonies
December 4 / Leffingwell House Museum, Norwich
Experience the history, tastes and tales of the season. The main floor will be decorated to represent early Christmas celebrations in New England. Appropriate regional tastes of the season will be served during the self-guided tour. Interpreters will be available in each room to answer questions and give holiday history.
Downtown Mystic Holiday Stroll & Luminaria
December 6 / Historic Downtown Mystic
Stroll the festive luminaria-lined streets of Historic Downtown Mystic and listen to the carolers rejoice in the holiday spirit and Santa plays the saxophone! Merchants will keep their shops open late so everyone can get a head start on their holiday shopping while enjoying hot cider and cookies in the shops.
Holiday Stroll & Luminaria
December 7 / Pawcatuck
Sidewalks will be lined with beautiful luminaria. Enjoy a hayride with Santa while listening to strolling carolers filling the air with their holiday cheer.
Olde Mistick Village’s Festival of Lights
December 9 / Olde Mistick Village & Mystic Aquarium, Mystic
Walk through a winter wonderland when over 4,000 luminaries light the walkways of Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Aquarium. Holiday Inn Express and McDonalds will join in the splendor with luminary. Complimentary refreshments, holiday music, and more.
December 10 / Downtown Norwich
SantaCon is celebrated in 295 cities and 41 countries and now this fun event is coming to Norwich! SantaCon will start at The Harp and Dragon Pub, move to Billy Wilson's Ageing Still and end at Chacer's Bar and Grill. The goal: fill Downtown Norwich with as many Santas as possible! **adults only.
Killingly’s New England Christmas
December 11, Killingly
Experience an old-fashioned, small-town Christmas and celebrate the season. Stroll through the village green or down Main Street alongside thousands of luminaries. Visit locally owned shops with gifts for family and friends, watch chestnuts roasting on the fire, stop by the petting zoo, tell Santa what you have your eye on and much more.
Christmas Open House
December 11 / Avery-Copp House, Groton
Experience the magic of Christmas past. Explore the museum decorated for the holiday and see how Groton celebrated years ago. Christmas cookies and refreshments will be served. Admission is a canned food donation.
Winter Solstice Luminaria Walk
December 18 / Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic
Explore the winter beauty of our trails lit by the soft glow of luminarias and guided by our staff. Walks depart at 7pm, 7:30pm, and 8pm. The grounds of the Nature Center will also be lit. A roaring campfire will warm noses and toes, and we will offer hot beverages to make the celebratory solstice evening complete.
Community Carol Sing
December 18 / Mystic Seaport, Mystic
Lift your voice in song at Mystic Seaport’s 62th annual Community Carol Sing. Visitors from near and far return year after year to participate in this popular holiday carol sing. The Mystic Seaport carolers will perform a holiday concert in the Greenmanville Church at 2 p.m. and the carol sing will commence in Anchor Circle at 3 p.m. Free admission will be given from 10 am-4 pm with the donation of a canned good item.
December 26-January 1 / Mystic Seaport, Mystic
The presents are unwrapped and the kids are home for a week. What to do? Visit Mystic Seaport for Holiday Magic! Explore the Museum’s 19th-century seafaring village, historic vessels, and maritime exhibits. Take part in special activities throughout the week.
Please check event specific websites for prices and/or if a camera is required for Santa photos.
Santa Comes to Town
November 25 / Riverfront Commons, Downtown Putnam
Santa rides in on a fire truck to find out who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. Free candy canes, cookies and cocoa!
Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus
November 25 & 26 / Olde Mistick Village, Mystic
Santa stops into Olde Mistick Village’s Meeting House with Mrs. Claus to hear everyone’s Christmas list.
Niantic Holiday Stroll
November 26 / Downtown Niantic
Connecticut’s first Fan-Favorite Town knows how to celebrate the holidays. This family-friendly evening features horse-drawn carriage rides, chili cook-off, games, shop specials and more. Santa arrives on a shiny red fire truck to the town green just in time for a tree lighting ceremony at 5pm.
Santa Arrives by Tugboat
November 26 / Mystic River Park, Mystic
Take part in the thrill as Santa Claus arrives in Mystic on a tugboat. Precisely at 2pm, Santa will arrive at the dock of the Mystic River Park where he will greet the crowds and listen to all the children’s holiday wishes.
Celebration of Lights & Song
November 26 / New London Parade Plaza
Santa visits the Whaling City in time for its holiday tree lighting and community carol sing.
Munchkin Morning with Santa
December 2 / Mystic Aquarium, Mystic
Grab your kids and camera and join us for a fantastic Aquarium holiday tradition. Your child will have a memorable morning enjoying fun seasonal and animal-themed crafts and activities, as well as a visit with the man in red himself, Santa! The program begins before we open to the public and is a great way to experience the Aquarium without the holiday crowds. Older siblings are welcome to attend at the child rate; however, the activities are geared for children ages 2 to 5.
An Evening with the Belsnickel
December 10 / Smith-Harris House, Niantic
Children of all ages are welcome to make an old-fashioned holiday card, sing carols around the fire and meet the kindly Belsnickel who will share a winter’s tale and hand out a treat to each of our young visitors! A Belsnickel (St. Nicholas in fur) is a German folk tradition that preceded the modern Santa Claus. Afterwards, enjoy a sip of cocoa and gingersnaps. Admission is a donated canned good.
Pancake Breakfast with Woodland Santa
December 10 / Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic
Enjoy a winter walk in the woods and a hearty pancake breakfast at the Nature Center that includes local hickory syrup, steaming beverages and live music. Woodland Santa has agreed to appear once again to the delight of the children to discuss his travels and who has been naughty or nice. Registration is required and encouraged early.
Music, Theater & Performing Arts
Wally Lamb’s Wishin’ and Hopin’
November 20 / Garde Arts Center, New London
Set in 1964, Wishin' and Hopin' is a wise and-witty holiday movie that celebrates where we've been - and how far we've come. Based on The New York Times best-selling novel by award-winning author Wally Lamb. Starring Molly Ringwald.
Lantern Light Tours
November 25-26, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-18, 23 / Mystic Seaport, Mystic
Tours begin at 5pm and leave every 15 minutes.
This year’s performance, The Nut-Cracker Sweets, is set on Christmas Eve in 1876 and is inspired by The Nutcracker. The play unfolds through six scenes of seasonal whimsy with a horse-drawn carriage ride, a spirited circle dance, and a visit with old St. Nick…not to mention a myriad of mischievous mice!
Boston Pops Holiday Concert
December 3 / Jorgensen Center of Performing Arts
Celebrate the magic of the season with "America's orchestra." Perfect for music lovers of all ages, this beloved annual concert is just bursting with holiday music favorites. Treat yourself to a festive evening, including the traditional audience sing-along and a surprise visit by jolly old St. Nick.
A Christmas Carol
December 2-4, 9-11, & 16-18 / The Bradley Playhouse, Putnam
The Bradley provides a new view of this traditional story infusing the Dickens’ classic with a Steampunk twist, bringing a new look to the play, while keeping with the original story and message of Christmas.
A Dickens Parlor Christmas
December 16 / Avery-Copp House, Groton
Spend an evening in Christmas past. Jennifer Emerson, historic interpreter and Dickens enthusiast, will entertain you with a dramatic reading of the classic, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Enjoy the beauty of a Victorian house decorated for the holidays. Christmas cookies and punch will be served.
Donny & Marie: Christmas at Foxwoods
December 26-27 / Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket
Join Donny and Marie in celebrating the holidays this year. It is going to be an experience, not just a show but a holiday experience. After giving it a try on Broadway and in Chicago and Los Angeles the past few years, they are really hitting their stride. foxwoods.com
Mystic Ballet’s Nutcracker Spectacular
December 3, 10 & 17 / Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Mashantucket
A heart-racing experience that will leave you breathless. Nutcracker Spectacular follows the enchanting adventures of Clara, through two acts, with a time travel twist. Prepare to lose yourself in the magic, the excitement, the experience of dance, special effects and an interactive set that artists dive into, leap from, and get “crushed” under.
Mohegan Sun presents Albano’s Nutcracker
December 9-11 / Mohegan Sun, Uncasville
The Albano Ballet Company production of The Nutcracker is a holiday favorite at Mohegan Sun, thrilling audiences old, young and in-between. See the astounding 35-foot LED glowing Christmas tree. Share its magic as it grows on high! Lavish costumes, new theatrical scenery, international stars and a cast of over 100 dancers bring to life the story of a beautiful Nutcracker Christmas gift that transports a child named Clara to a magical world with giant mice, a Cavalier Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. mohegansun.com
Eastern Connecticut Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 10-11 / Garde Arts Center, New London
New York City Ballet sensation, Sara Mearns, "the great American ballerina of our time," returns for another breathtaking season with ECB and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut's seafaring Nutcracker.
US Coast Guard Band’s A Holiday Matinee & Evening
December 11 / Leamy Concert Hall - US Coast Guard Academy, New London
CWO Richard Wyman leads the Coast Guard band in a family-friendly concert of classic holiday music. Free to attend.