Holiday Happenings

Below we have a list of upcoming Holiday happenings around the Great Hartford area.

For holiday events happening just this week check them out at this link. If your family doesn’t mind traveling a bit check out our parent site via this link.

Friday, December 5 – Sunday,  December 7, {Reoccurs December 12 – 14, December 19 – 21} Friday 5-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 4-9pm | Bristol, CT | Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce | The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa!

Friday-Sunday, December 5-28 and Monday, December 29 from 5/6-9pm | East Windsor, CT | Winterfest | That delightful and magical season of WinterFest is now upon us. The Connecticut Trolley Museum once again pushes the limits to treat you and yours to an evening of entertainment and seasonal exhilaration! Ride the antique traction through the “Tunnel of Lights” tripping on our open electrical chariot (The Montréaler) or another open car – 3 miles of cool breezes under the starlit heavens. Or cozy down in an enclosed trolley for the warmer, dashing through the snow, rail trip. Open your complimentary “Ride & Sing Along WinterFest Songbook” and belt out your favorite Christmas Carol with the Trolley Crew and fellow passengers! Stroll through the Teresalee Bertinuson Visitor Center where the functioning and enchanting model train layouts will take your mind on a flight of fancy. The “halls are decked” with the proverbial “boughs of holly” and there are enough decorations to satisfy any souls need for visual Holiday splendor. The youngsters can sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift – you may also if you desire.

Now through Wednesday, December 24 | West Hartford, CT | Experience the Ice Palace at West Farms Mall In celebration of the November 18 release of the Disney Frozen Sing-Along Edition on DVD & Digital HD, West Farms presents a Frozen Ice Palace experience. The Ice Palace will feature characters from the number one animated film of all time, Disney Frozen. This much-loved, interactive holiday display features the art of Anna, Elsa and their friends Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, plus a 30 foot Ice Palace with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the whole family. Interactive globes will showcase scenes such as Anna & Elsa ice skating with Olaf, plus Anna, Kristoff & Sven on their quest to find Elsa on the North Mountain. Adults & children alike will enjoy leaving their hand print in ice at The Icy Hand Print experience, seeing how they compare in size to Sven & Olaf and having their photo taken with Olaf at the Ice Throne. End your magical journey at the Ice Palace with a visit to Santa and a special Disney Frozen Look-and-Find book!

December 6-7 {Reoccurs December 13-14, 20-21} from 12 – 3pm | Winterfest: Photos With Santa | Winterfest wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa, so visit the Pump House and have your photo taken with him for free. Each family receives 1 free 5×7 photo; additional prints may be purchased online, the day after you skate.

Now through Tuesday, December 2 | Suffield, CT | Holiday Festival: A Children’s Holiday | Ring in the holidays with a visit to the Phelps-Hatheway House! Local clubs and organizations, including the Suffield Garden Club, decorate the house with natural decorations to highlight this year’s theme: A Children’s Holiday.

Now through Saturday, December 13 | South Windsor, CT | Gingerbread Festival | The Wood will once again deck its halls and throw open its doors for one of the largest Gingerbread House Festivals in all of New England. Local artisans and bakers, experts and beginners alike show off their creative talents in a vast array of candy covered houses, trains and in some cases entire villages. Anyone is welcome to submit a gingerbread house and sign-ups are starting now. With holiday music playing in the background and the spicy aroma of gingerbread in the air, the library will provide the perfect holiday venue for showcasing the sugary artistic creations. “Ye Olde Gingerbread Shop” will also be open offering the opportunity to take home a bit of the magic with many holiday themed gifts and treats. Free

Now through Tuesday, December 14 from 10am-4pm | Canton, CT | Gallery of Trees

Now through Sunday, December 28 | Hartford, CT | A Christmas Carol | A Ghost Story of Christmas The magic of Charles Dickens’ heart-warming classic returns for its 17th season. Come see Connecticut’s favorite family holiday tradition and spend some time with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they bring A Christmas Carol to life on stage. It’s perfect holiday entertainment! Open Captioned Performance is on December 6 at 2pm. For patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. Market Days are on December 6, 7, 14. Come and join Hartford Stage for some shopping and a show! Local vendors will showcase unique items for purchase in our lobby. Doors will open before the show at 12:30pm and booths will be open during intermission and after the show. Sensory-Friendly Performance is on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30pm. Family Fun Night is December 18 at 6:30pm. This is the night to bring kids of all ages to see A Christmas Carol! Before the show, our spooky ghosts will greet and entertain. After the show, get autographs from all your favorite characters! Free with a ticket to the show. Stay tuned for our review as we have been invited to Opening Night.

Now through Thursday, January 1, | Thursday 5-9pm & Friday-Saturday 5-10pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Light Fantasia is a much loved Greater Hartford tradition and this season’s destination. The 2-mile show transforms Goodwin Park into a drive-through wonderland of holiday spirit with a beautiful collection of over 1 million lights.​Whimsical holiday scenes, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in larger-than-life lighted scenes and 200 individual displays. Lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but Hanukkah, New Years and Three Kings Day. Click here for a $3 off coupon.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Hartford, CT | 44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light | Hartford Festival of Light has become a not-to-be-missed event for the thousands who turn out on Constitution Plaza each year to sing carols, enjoy musical entertainment and witness the spectacle that is the illumination of more than a quarter of a million tiny white lights.

Now through Tuesday, January 6 | Old Hartford, CT | Home for the Holiday’s | A Butler-McCook House Celebration! Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Now through Sunday, February 1 | Hartford, CT | Winterfest | Enjoy free ice-skating and free skate rentals, daily, through February 1, 2015 at the Winterfest Hartford rink in Bushnell Park.

Thursday, December 4; 5–8 pm December 5 – 14; 10am–5 pm (Closed Dec 8-9) | 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions | Celebrate the season at the 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions! Established in 1973 by the Women’s Committee as a museum fundraising event, Festival has become an annual holiday tradition for many visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Every year community members, artists and organizations decorate holiday trees and wreaths to be displayed in the galleries throughout the week. All items are for sale, and profits help fund the museum’s special exhibitions, educational programs, and operating expenses. Purchase a tree or wreath for your home or donate it to a local charity.

Saturday, December 6 {Reoccurs Saturday, December 20} Seatings at 8:30am and 10:30am | Canton, CT | Santa Brakfast at Dish n’ Dat.

Saturday, December 6 – 8:30am-4pm & Sunday, December 7 | Noon-4pm | Weekends through December 21 | Canton, CT | Victorian Carolers | Celebrate the season with Victorian Carolers. Free.

Saturday, December 6 {Reoccurs December 13, 20} | from 5-9pm | New Britain, CT | Holiday Kids’ Night Out | Wondering what to do with the kids while you finish your holiday shopping? Pizza dinner, games, activities, and animals included. Pre-registration and pre-payment required for each evening. Call (860) 827-9064 for more information and to register. Ages: 3-10. Fee: $24.

Saturday, December 6 – Sunday, December 7 {Reoccurs December 13-14, 20-21} | West Simsbury, CT | Breakfast with Santa | Breakfast Includes: a hearty breakfast with pancakes, home fries, sausage and farm fresh eggs, a memorable visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty and the Grinch, a toy from Santa, a relaxing time on a Christmas Trolley ride out to reindeer land and a free visit to the petting zoo.

Saturday, December 6 – Sunday, December 7; 12-4pm | Suffield, CT | Ivy Home for the Holidays Tours | Experience the season’s splendor at the Phelps-Hatheway House with an English ivy and wintergreen inspired palette. Children’s activities throughout the weekend. Tickets: $15; children 6-18: $10 (under 6 Free).

Tuesday, December 9 from 9:30–10:30am and 11:30am–12:30pm | Newington, CT | Toddler Class | Today we will roll out some gingerbread dough and use cookie cutters to create a Gingerbread Family! While the cookies bake, we will make a Gingerbread Ornament and then we will decorate our cookies to take home. Ages 2 -5. $15 per child.

Tuesday, December 9 – Thursday, December 11; 11am-3pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Shopping Fair | The Old State House will host a Holiday Shopping Fair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the courtroom of the historic building.

Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Sensory friendly version of A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, December 10 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Handel’s Messiah | Hartford Chorale presents one of the most famous choral works ever written – Handel’s Messiah. Led by Hartford Chorale’s Music Director Richard Coffey, this performance will feature the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and four guest soloists performing with the Chorale’s 160 members. This work has endured as one of the greatest pieces for chorus and orchestra of all time and this holiday performance will feature choruses and arias from the oratorio, including, of course, the rousing Halleluiah Chorus.

Thursday, December 11 from 4-6pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited to create Marshmallow Pops that look like Snowmen. Free

Thursday, December 11 at 7pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Sing Along | Sometimes you just want to sing with other people. Join us for our 4th Community Sing Along. The Susans will lead us. Susan Campbell – book author, college professor and community activist – joins with Susan Mazer, director of Charter Oak’s music programs, in some of your favorite holiday songs. Bring some baked goods to share and we’ll provide the beverages. Suggested donation: $5.

Friday, December 12, 2014 from 9:30-10:30am and 11:30am-12:30pm| Newington, CT | Toddler Class | Today we will roll out some gingerbread dough and use cookie cutters to create a Gingerbread Family! While the cookies bake, we will make a Gingerbread Ornament and then we will decorate our cookies to take home. Ages 2-5. $15 per child.

Friday, December 12 at 6 and 8 pm (adults only) Saturday, December 13 at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm (family-friendly) | West Hartford, CT | Gingerbread Day is an annual event which allows kids and adults alike to construct a homemade creation from homemade gingerbread, fresh icing, and delicious candies. Each cookie is handmade at the Noah Webster House and fun candy mixes offer a variety of artistic options.

Friday’s, December 12 and Friday, December 19, from 5 to 8pm, Saturday’s, December, 13 from 10am to 4pm through Sunday’s, January 4 from 1 to 4pm | Wethersfield, CT | Each year, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum’s “Three Centuries of Christmas” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years. This year, two evening candlelight tours, with costumed guides, have been added for viewing the three elegantly appointed historic houses that comprise the museum.

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 21 | West Hartford, CT | The Nutcracker | The Hartt School Community Division has been bringing dance performances to the families and community of the Greater Hartford region for years. Each holiday season, HCD’s fully staged production of Tchaikovsky’s time-honored classic with staging again by Artistic Director Samantha Dunster, transports the audience to a magical world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see young artists perform a full-length ballet laced with humor, bravery, and sensitivity and it is guaranteed to ignite the child within all of us and invoke the warmth of the holiday season.

Friday, December 12 – Sunday, December 14 | Fri at 7pm, Sat at 6pm and Sun at 11am and 6pm | Tiny Tim’s Christmas

Friday, December 12 at 7:30pm | Simsbury, CT | “Christmas Angelicus – A New England Tradition” | Holiday cheer will unfurl once again as the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, of Joyful Noise, Inc. perform their annual “Christmas Angelicus” concert series across Connecticut.

Saturday, December 13 from 9:30-11:30am | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited to create a Pinecone Tree decoration, complete with pompom ornaments. Free

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14, {Reoccurs on December 21 at 2pm & Saturday, December 20; 2pm and 7pm } | Manchester, CT | Connecticut Concert Ballet presents the Nutcracker.

Saturday, December 13 from 12-5pm | Hartford, CT | Winterfest Ugly Sweater Stroll | Show off your ugliest sweater and stroll through downtown, stopping to sample Winterfest-inspired Onyx cocktails at downtown restaurants. Admission is $25 and includes a super awesome “Hartford Has It” scarf, drink specials at all participating restaurants and prizes. Participating restaurants will be announced in early December.

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14; 12:30pm & 4pm | Hartford, CT | Nutmeg’s Nutcracker | Join Clara on a magical journey to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets where nothing is impossible and a little Clara’s most whimsical dreams become reality. Meet a brave Nutcracker prince, fairies, kings and queens, and little toy soldiers who face an evil Mouse Queen in this timeless holiday classic. There is something for everyone in this charming interpretation of ETA Hoffman’s story set to the music of Tchaikovsky with choreography staged by the artistic staff of The Nutmeg Ballet. This production features The Nutmeg’s professional trainees with cameo roles performed by students from the children’s program at TSOB at The Nutmeg. This is a holiday tradition sure to enthrall audiences of all ages!

Saturday, December 13 through Tuesday, December 23 | Manchester, CT | 31st Annual Santa’s Workshop | A free event sponsored by Wickham Park. Children of all ages enjoy visits with Santa and his elves and refreshments with Mrs. Claus. Santa’s Workshop provides a chance for children to enjoy an uncommercialized Christmas experience. Guests are welcome to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to area food pantries. Hours are 3-6pm weekdays and 1-5pm on weekends. Come and create a new family tradition. Free

Saturday, December 13 – Sunday, December 14 {Reoccurs on Saturday, December 20} at 4pm | Manchester, CT | Resounding Joy | With Resounding Joy, CitySingers of Hartford will sing in the holiday season with traditional carols and folksongs from Eastern and Western Europe, Celtic lands and America. Festive choral motets will include Resonent in Laudibus, The Bell Carol and Ding Dong Merrily on High in a featured arrangement for voices and suspended bells. Flutes, oboe, harp, pipe organ and percussion will add color to the musical palette while festive sounds and cherished memories will inspire our audiences to join in singing!

Saturday, December 13 from 4:30-6pm | Newington, CT | Holiday Cookie Workshop | Join us as we stamp out some of our favorite holiday cookies to decorate! As they bake, we will make some colorful chocolate bark to take home. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Sunday, December 14 from 1-3pm | Newington, CT | Bring the whole family to listen to holiday carols right in the store, courtesy of the Newington High School Carolers. Free

Sunday, December 14 at 3pm | West Hartford, CT | Holiday Concert

Monday, December 15 | Hartford, CT | Holiday Festival at the Old State House | Music will fill the halls of the Old State House!

Wednesday, December 17 from 4:30-6pm | West Hartford, CT | Latke Throwdown | Sample traditional and new potato pancake recipes from the kitchens of our favorite JCC chefs.

Thursday, December 18 – Sunday, December 21 | West Hartford, CT | Ballet Theatre Company’s 13th Annual Production of The Nutcracker

Thursday, December 18 at 7:30pm | Hartford, CT | Winter’s Chorale | The Travelers Chorale invites you to join them for their 90th annual Holiday Concert, “Winter’s Heart” with the West Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Warm your heart with music of the season. The Chorale will perform a vibrant musical program featuring favorites such as Christmas Star (from Home Alone 2), Hallelujah Chorus and Winter Wonderland of Snow. Other notables include The Gift, Christmas Pipes, and a medley of traditional carols called Noel Fantasy.

Friday, December 19 from 4:30-5:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Skate with Santa | Join Santa on the ice for some holiday fun! Each child will receive a gift from Santa!

Saturday, December 20 from 9-11am | Newington,  CT | Christmas Breakfast Roundup | It’s best to come hungry to this class because it will be packed with all kinds of goodies to enjoy. We will make Green Christmas Tree Pancakes, Strawberry and Banana Canes, Cinnamon Sugar Snowflakes and Snowman Donuts. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Saturday, December 20 at 2pm | Manchester, CT | As we approach the holiday season, many parents will be asked the question “Is there a Santa Claus?” We will answer that through a reading of Andrew J. Fenady’s play Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus. Please bring your family to join us as we hear the answer to the age-old question. Children are encouraged to bring with them their favorite hand-held gift from Santa, and to bring a non-perishable food item we’ll collect for MACC Charities food pantry. Recommended for 8 years and older, all children must be accompanied by an adult. Admission is $5. Children ages 8 – 12 are free.

Saturday, December 20 – Sunday, December 21 from 2:30-4pm | West Hartford, CT | The 2nd Annual Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge | Back by popular demand, the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge is a fun (and yummy) way for families to enjoy the holiday season. Families are challenged to use their engineering skills to construct a Gingerbread House masterpiece. Each structure is unique and each family is a winner. Families will be supplied with miscellaneous candies, graham crackers, and special frosting-glue. The workshop will open with a brief tutorial on gingerbread house construction, including hints and ideas of how to decorate. Don’t worry– every family wins the Great Gingerbread Engineering Challenge, and each family will take home a special certificate of completion (as well as their creation). Up to 6 people per group. Ages 5 and up.

Saturday, December 20 from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Canton, CT | Chanukah Family Fun Night | Games in the gym, Chanukah stories, crafts, light the menorah and decorate your own Chanukah cookies. RSVP to Elana MacGilpin at 860-231-6327. $15 per family.

Saturday, December 20 at 6pm | Hartford, CT | “Christmas Angelicus – A New England Tradition” | Holiday cheer will unfurl once again as the choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, of Joyful Noise, Inc. perform their annual “Christmas Angelicus” concert series across Connecticut.

Sunday, December 21 at 2pm | Farmington, CT | Honeyky Hanukah Storytime Free

Tuesday, December 23 from 5-6:30pm | Rocky Hill, CT | Jingle Bounce | Join us for a holiday filled event, complete with complimentary cupcakes for each child who attends, along with a visit from Santa.

Friday, December 26 | Hartford, CT  | Kwanzaa Day Celebration: Umoja | Join us for Hartford’s biggest Kwanzaa celebration, honoring family, community and culture, presented by Charter Oak Cultural Center and Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium. Come see performances by master dancers, musicians and drummers and have the opportunity to participate in this joyous festival.

Tuesday, December 30 from 11-1pm | How about spending a cold winter day at a Luau? We will prepare Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Pineapple Salsa, Hawaiian Spam Sliders and Tropical Cupcakes. We won’t forget to leave time to learn to Hula Dance! Children are encouraged to wear a Hawaiian Shirt if they have one. Ages 6 & older. $25 per child.

Wednesday, December 31 from 6:30-8pm | West Hartford, CT |  Ring in 2015 on the ice with hats, horns and a countdown to an “early midnight”! DJ Ean will be taking your requests!

Wednesday, December 31 | Hartford, CT | First Night Hartford | The name “First Night” symbolizes this forward look, over the technically correct “Last Night”. First Night is a celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is an alcohol free, family-friendly, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with art, ritual and festivity. The day is a multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free New Year’s experience with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. It’s also an affordable way for everyone to ring in the New Year. The day includes two spectacular fireworks shows at 6pm and midnight in Bushnell Park that can be seen throughout the city by thousands of residents and visitors.

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