Tag Archives: holidays

12 Days of New England Christmas Traditions (Day 11): Christmas at Billings Farm

Want to experience an authentic, old-fashioned New England Christmas? Then you might want to head up to beautiful Woodstock, Vermont. There you’ll find the Billings Farm and Museum, a working farm with an award-winning Jersey herd and a farmhouse museum that is open to the public. At Billings you can take classes, watch documentary films (part of the Woodstock Film Series), and learn more about what life was like in Vermont in 1890, the year that the farmhouse was built.

The museum captures the simplicity and difficulty of rural life in late 19th-century Vermont with hands-on activities like buttermaking and milking as well as special exhibits. During each weekend in December, the museum celebrates Christmas at Billings Farm with activities like sleigh rides, sledding, candle dipping, and ornament making. The farmhouse is decorated as it would have been in Christmas 1890, with simple green boughs on the mantels and trees strung with cranberry and popcorn garland, painted pinecones, and paper ornaments.

I’ve been to Woodstock, but somehow I missed this landmark farm on my visit. I’ll have to remedy that next time I am in the area! If you want to find out more about old Vermont Christmas traditions, the Billings Farm & Museum is a good place to start.

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12 Days of New England Christmas Traditions (Day 9): Holiday Pops

In 1973, Arthur Fiedler, long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, introduced the Holiday Pops. The celebration was called “A Pops Christmas Party” and featured the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Typical of Fiedler’s Pops, the concert was aimed at a mass audience, with accessible, crowd-pleasing musical selections. Over the years, the Holiday Pops has included narrations of “The Night Before Christmas” (some featuring special guests like Boston’s former mayor Thomas Menino), audience sing-a-longs, and guest choirs and choruses.

In 1985, the Holiday Pops was televised for the first time. Forty-one years later, the Holiday Pops is still going strong. This year, the performance, which takes place in Boston’s Symphony Hall, features former Pops conductor and composer John Williams’s score to the holiday-themed film Home Alone. The program runs until December 31.

holidaypops

Photo: Boston.com

 

 

 

 

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12 Days of New England Christmas Traditions (Day 7): Santa’s Village

Contrary to popular belief, Santa Claus doesn’t live at the North Pole. He hangs out in Jefferson, New Hampshire.

Santa’s Village is a family-run amusement park that gives kids the opportunity to see Santa’s home while also enjoying rides like the Yule Log Flume and the Reindeer Carousel, live shows and 3D films, and attractions like Santa’s Blacksmith Shop.

The park was founded in 1953 by Normand and Cecile Dubois. Normand was inspired when he saw deer crossing the road near Jefferson, a small town in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. He thought the area was exactly the type of place where you would find Santa. The park started out as a simple attraction whose main feature was a mule who could do tricks. Over time, the Dubois family added rides, elves (both people in costume and cartoon elves), and real reindeer. Children loved the idea that they could visit Santa in the middle of the summer and see what he was up to (not to mention tell him what they wanted for Christmas so he could really plan ahead). Eventually, the Dubois grandchildren took over the park and opened it during the Christmas holidays (they even have a fireworks show on New Year’s Eve).

I haven’t been here yet, but eventually I will bring my little one here because my friends who have visited with their kids said the kiddos had a wonderful time…and even the adults had fun seeing Santa in his natural habitat.

 

 

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12 Days of New England Christmas Traditions (Day 5): Christmas in Newport

In 1971, Newport local Ruth Myers was looking for a way to highlight Christmastime traditions in that beautiful Rhode Island city. More than 40 years later, Myers’s Christmas in Newport is an annual tradition that celebrates the region’s history and culture while supporting local non-profit agencies.

The city and harbor are decked out in white lights throughout the month of December. There are events throughout the month, all of which are either free to the public or the cost is donated to a local charity. Local businesses help to underwrite the events, which range from lantern-lit history tours to holiday storytelling for children to tours of Newport’s iconic mansions decked out for the holiday.

Find out more about Christmas in Newport.

Photo: The Preservation Society of Newport County

Photo: The Preservation Society of Newport County

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