Holiday Guide

Holiday Guide: May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

20 ways to have a happy holiday in the South Coast/East Bay

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Party Like it’s 1899
You’ve seen how the other half lives, but have you seen how the other half celebrates? Christmas at the Newport Mansions shows the summer cottages of America’s royalty in a whole new light. The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are decorated to the rafters with stunning holiday decorations, like the floor-to-ceiling tree made of poinsettias at The Breakers. Events like caroling, concerts and kid-friendly fun keep the party going all month long. The Nutracker performed by Island Moving Company at Rosecliff is a performance not to be missed – and unless you want some unhappy kids on Christmas morning, make sure to take them to meet Santa at The Breakers on December 7. One good thing about the short days this month is that there’s more time to see the gorgeous mansions lit up with holiday cheer. Bellevue Avenue, Newport. 847-1000. More info...

You Old Humbugger
If you’re a Rhode Islander, it isn’t officially the holiday season until you’ve heard Tiny Tim squeak out his little holiday blessing over a giant Christmas goose. A Christmas Carol is a time-honored tradition in many places, but none moreso than the Ocean State. Yes, you’ve seen it already. But if your Inner Scrooge is saying “humbug” to going back this year, drive a stake of holly through his heart and get to the theatre. Trinity Rep reinvents the production every year to make it a new experience, so you get the best of both worlds: time-honored tradition and fresh creativity on stage. This year, Ebenezer is played by Fred Sullivan, Jr., whose booming stage presence makes Scrooge’s redemption all the more powerful. Think we’re kidding? Go ahead and think of the Fezziwigs’ joyous holiday party without smiling. We dare you. Performances run through December 31. 201 Washington Street. 351-4242. More info...

Shop Local

The charming Old New England hamlet that is Tiverton Four Corners is never more beautiful than at Christmas. Head there for their Winter Arts and Artisan Festival from December 13-14. The boutique artist showcase offers an opportunity to talk with makers about their craft (and don’t forget, Gray’s Ice Cream next door is open every day, even on Christmas). More info...

Decked, and We Mean Decked, Halls
During the warmer months, Blithewold Mansion in Bristol is a special event destination. Its historic manse, rolling lawn down to the water and sculpted gardens make it the perfect spot for weddings or just a weekend tour. Once the cold sets in, though, Blithewold becomes a winter wonderland. We’re pretty sure “Deck the Halls” was written about this place. Festive events take the spotlight all month long, like the Children’s Story Hour on Wednesday afternoons, where kids can listen to a holiday story while parents peek around for a house tour, followed by snacks and crafts (because all that envy can make you hungry). Blithewold also does frequent workshops: this month top- ics include wreath-making and how to build your own holiday fairy terrarium. Take a lesson from what they do best, though, and head to Style at Home: A holiday party workshop... or just attend their Evening of Holiday Food and Drink on December 10. The delicious party will send you home full, and with recipes to try at home. The Blithewold Christmas Sparkle happens every Friday evening this month, and is a festive holiday mixer with hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows and live music. 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. 401-253-2707. More info...

A Celebration Fit For American Royalty
Oh what fun it is to ride... to Bristol, to celebrate Christmas at Linden Place. The 200-year-old Federalist mansion is bedecked and bedazzled for the season, including some larger than life Christmas trees that are probably going to make yours feel inadequate. A special exhibit of vintage and antique children’s toys adds to the spirit of the season - and will remind your kids that yes, life did exist before iPads. Seasonal concerts like The Clancy Legacy Celtic Christmas happen throughout the month. 500 Hope Street, Bristol. 401-253-0390. More info...

Ho, Ho, Ho
Nobody south of the North Pole celebrates the season quite like the City by the Sea. Newport throws down all of the holiday cheer you can handle this month. During Christmas in Newport, there is literally something fun happening every single day in December - and usually more than one thing. The celebration kicks off on December 1 with a tree lighting ceremony (one of three happening in Newport this month) complete with a cannon salute and live entertainment. Throughout the month, check out events ranging from the boozy (a Decorate the Brewery event at Coastal Extreme) to the literary (Living Literature Presents: Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant), from the educational (Holiday Histories Walking Tour) to the black tie (the 38th annual Governor’s Ball at Salve Regina). Christmas concerts happen all over the city all month long, and thanks to some holiday decorating contests, there’s plenty of eye candy to take in while you’re on your way. At the Bellevue Avenue Stroll on December 4, stores will have treats and carolers to entertain you as you shop. You can even take a moment to appreciate what Christmas is re- ally about at a living nativity on December 11, or at the 103rd annual Medieval Christmas Pageant at St. George’s School. We could keep going and going... or you could just go check it out for yourself. More info...

A New Kind of Christmas Tree
When you toss your old, dried out tree to the curb in January, it’s always a sad moment. Not only are the holidays over, not only are you facing a long winter without any more spiked eggnog, but you’ve just discarded a once-living thing. Rethink your Christmas tree by visiting the Re-Tree event in Tiverton Four Corners. Starting December 13, the yard outside the Meeting House will be decorated with all manner of innovative, artful “Christmas trees” made of recycled materials. Register before November 30 to make your own. There’s even a prize for the most innovative tree. More info...

Sing Out Your Cheer
If all that Christmas shopping puts you in a singing mood, join Christopher Carbone and the Thompson Middle School Chorus for Christmas Caroling on Broadway in Newport. Meet in Washington Square and carol your way up Broadway, stopping at local businesses and City Hall along the way. 401-481-5135

A Very Bristolian Christmas

There’s just something irresistible about celebrating the holidays in a quaint seaside town. Lucky for us, this is New England, and the nautical charm abounds, especially this month. Celebrate at the Bristol Christmas Festival. Have a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 7, spend the day making holiday crafts and taking in festive entertainment, and stick around for the Grand Illumination at 6pm, featuring a recitation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and a Christmas carol sing-a-long. Until December 21, every $25 you spend enters you into the Snowflake Raffle to win $500 cash prizes. More info...



Celebrate the Bounty
Take a moment to appreciate your loved ones at 2nd Story Theatre’s staging of The Trip to Bountiful, a show about homecoming and the true meaning of family at the holidays. It’s an intergenerational story of an elderly woman who makes a pilgrimage to her abandoned hometown. Performances of the heartwarming show take place until December 21. 28 Market St, Warren. 401- 247-4200. More info...

Glide Into December
There’s nothing more Christmassey than gliding across the ice at the Providence Skating Rink. Through the flurry of pink noses and mittens, you’re practically guaranteed to see a marriage proposal on the ice every day in December - after all, love (and ice) is in the air this month. If you’re feeling a little more Dorothy Hamill than Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, there are adult refresher courses and full-fledged skating lessons for the inexperienced (but if you’d just rather sit on the bench and sip hot cocoa, well, we aren’t going to judge you). There are deals all week long: during weekday lunch hour, admission and skate rental are only $5 each; same goes for Funday Monday afternoons, Wednesday night college nights and weekday after-work specials. Take advantage of the magic of the season: once the cold really sets in during the new year, the last thing in the world you’re going to want to risk is a faceful of hard ice. 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. 401-331-5544. More info...



A Well-Crafted Holiday
Ok, so you’re not Martha Stewart. That’s ok. (Well, according to Martha, you’re less than human if you aren’t packaging your own linzertortes for every neighbor in a mile radius, but that’s beside the point.) There are talented artists, like at the Sakonnet Collective, who can handcraft gifts for you so you can still give some- thing unique without losing a limb (or your sanity). Visit their Holiday Bazaar through December 23 to shop pottery, jewelry, furniture, art and photography by talented local artists. 3842 Main Road, Tiverton. 401-484-8141. More info...

Dance Your Way to Providence
If there’s a season to experience the ballet, it’s during the holidays. The Nutcracker is practically the official soundtrack of Christmas. See it live for the first (or 50th) time at PPAC, as Festival Ballet performs its annual staging of the holiday classic, from December 19-21. The performance includes a 25-foot Christmas tree, life-size dolls and The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies in all its glory. For another literary classic, take in a performance of Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by the Providence Ballet Theatre at Rhode Island College. The show, on December 19, will feature professional dancers and local kids. For something more modern that literally turns the holidays upside down, check out Cirque Dreams: Holidaze. The mix of dance, aerial arts and acrobatics is fun for the whole family. Festival Ballet and Cirque Dreams: 220 Weybosset Street. 401-421-2787, www.ppacri.com; Providence Ballet: 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue. 401-456-8144, www.ric.edu



Historically Speaking
Celebrate a historic holiday at the Whitehall Museum House in Middletown. Whitehall, built in 1729, sits on the remnants of an 18th century farm and is a remarkably well preserved example of colonial life. On December 7, head to the museum for Christmas festivities including caroling, seasonal music and plenty of holiday cheer (including wassail, which is a real beverage you can actually drink - who knew?). You might even spot the Ghost of Christmas Past. 311 Berkeley Avenue, Middletown. 401-846-3116. More info...

Made With Love
For a handcrafted holiday, visit the 28th annual Christmas Bazaar, November 29-30 at Our Lady of Grace in Westport. The sale will have over 30 tables of gifts made with love, in addition to live Christmas music, prizes and photos with the man in red himself. 569 Sanford Road, Westport. More info...

Shop For a Good Cause
Stop by the ninth annual Christmas Craft Fair on December 13 at the Knights of Columbus in Middletown. The show will have kids craft activities, and is a fundraiser for Hasbro Children’s Hospital. 7 Valley Road, Middletown. 401-396-9921

Jingle All The Way
Join the Bristol Community Chorus for its 34th annual Christmas Concert, December 7 at St. Mary’s Church in Bristol. The first half of the show will be classical, featuring selections from famous works like Handel’s Messiah, while the second half will be popular holiday music. 330 Wood Street, Bristol. 401-253- 3300. More info...

Ride The Polar Express
Take your little ones (kindergarten age or older) to a Polar Express Party at the Seekonk Public Library on December 8. Hear a reading of the beloved story - written by Rhode Islander Chris Van Allsburg. After, enjoy a snack and a take-home craft. 410 Newman Avenue, Seekonk. 508-336-8230. More info...

Dancing Through The Snow
The Dancing Cop
is as much a part of Christmas in Providence as Santa Claus himself. This year is the 30th year of former police officer Tony Lepore dancing in the streets. While we aren’t sure where he will be stationed this year as of press time, last year he was at the intersection of Dorrance and Westminster every day at lunchtime. Lepore even has his own television special he’s currently taping, set to air on local cable access. More info...