Holiday Events in Rhode Island’s East Bay 2023

A calendar of happy happenings all December long


It’s the holiday season and across the East Bay, there’s a feeling of magic in the salty air! Local shops, venues, restaurants, and more have planned all kinds of experiences to get neighbors in festive moods, from bustling parties and street fairs to creating gifts and treats at workshops, annual performances, and so much more. And for those little believers, we’ve called out where to spot that jolly old elf by marking listings with SANTA! so you don’t miss “one of his helpers” in the wild.

All of us at The Bay wish you health and happiness, and thank you for being valued readers, subscribers, and supporters.


Multiple Dates

Through December 13

Holiday Wine Series: Spend an evening at Blithewold tasting wine and learning about perfect pairings for every holiday occasion. Wednesdays, Bristol,


Through December 15

Annual Re-Tree Exhibition: The Tiverton Farmers Market sponsors this outdoor showcase of locally crafted trees made from recycled materials. Vote for your favorite and don’t miss the closing event and awards ceremony on the final night.


Through December 16

Music in the Living Room Series: Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas as live music fills historic Blithewold, festooned in its holiday finery. Bristol,

Through December 17

A Coggashell Christmas: Start a fresh Christmas tradition at Coggasgell Farm. Frolic through the tree pathway, play traditional games, and enjoy classic stories. Experience music, cheer, and enjoyment for all ages. Bristol,

Through December 23

Bristol Santa House: This free-of-charge holiday destination is focused on creating magical Christmas experiences for children with special needs and their families, run entirely by volunteers.


Through December 30

Holiday Lantern Tours: Learn about early American holiday traditions in Newport while exploring the city by lantern light during this special yuletide tour. Fridays and Saturdays,

Sparkling Lights at The Breakers: The mansion’s grounds shine with thousands of holiday lights, an illuminated tunnel, and no shortage of glittering surprises. Plus, stop at any of the six fire pits for a s’mores kit, holiday treats, and even an adult bevvie.


Through December 31

Miracle on South Division Street: The Nowak family’s faith is threatened when a confession causes their miraculous Christmas legend to come under scrutiny.

Sparkle!: See the Blithewold Mansion and grounds aglow in thousands of lights and bamboo decorations. Stroll illuminated paths, sip hot chocolate, and try your hand at a scavenger hunt. Thursday-Sunday, Bristol,


Through January 1

Holidays at the Newport Mansions: The magic returns to the mansions with twinkling lights, trimmed trees, decorated mantels, and a jaw-dropping display of poinsettias in the Great Hall of The Breakers.



December 1

Wreath Decorating Workshop: DIY this holiday season with an evening wreath decorating workshop. While you’re at it, enjoy a cocktail and listen to some carols on this crafty night out. Bristol,

{SANTA!} Holiday Bright Night: Charming Tiverton Four Corners is aglow for a magical night of shopping and strolling through lit galleries and retailers.

Newport Nutcracker: The Island Moving Company takes you through the ballroom, salon, and staircase of historic Rosecliff mansion during this unique, experiential production of the classic ballet.


December 2

{SANTA!} Bowen’s Wharf 53rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting: Newport’s historic waterfront is adorned in holiday lights and decorations for a special evening of music, caroling, tree lighting, and a visit via boat from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Newport,

Christmas By The Sea: Stroll through iconic downtown Newport and shop your way through specially curated gifts by makers and artisans. Newport,

Grand Illumination and Parade: The East Bay’s long-standing yuletide tradition returns for an iconic Christmas tree lighting and parade. See it for yourself in person or enjoy the livestream on Facebook. Bristol,

Lucy’s Hearth Designer Wreath Sale: Peruse gorgeous holiday greenery put together by the pros – or take a stab at making your own – during this annual event benefiting the children and families supported by Lucy’s Hearth. Middletown,


December 3

Messiah at the Mansion: Handel’s iconic oratorio is performed at Rosecliff by Ensemble Altera, offering a boldly reimagined chamber version.


December 4 & 18

{SANTA!} Sing Along with Santa: Bring the whole family for some good old-fashioned caroling with the beloved man in red, who will read The Night Before Christmas, followed by cookies and cocoa. Bristol,


December 5

Holiday Terrariums: Join Blithewold horticulturists for step-by-step instruction in creating your own themed terrarium. Bristol,

Holiday Wreath Making Workshop: Nothing beats the smell of wood fire and balsam, so follow your nose to Brick Pizza Co. for a cozy night of pizza and wreath decorating with Coastal Blooms. Bristol, Eventbrite: Holiday Wreath Making Workshop


December 7

Cookie Decorating Class: Learn how to make sugar cookies and royal icing, and decorate desserts like a professional baker with tips and tricks on icing techniques – perfect for families, friends, or solo bakers. Bristol,

Hanukkah: The festival of lights begins at sundown. At press time events are unconfirmed, but be sure to go online for updates on city and town hall menorah lightings.


December 9

Sensory-Friendly Winter Wonderland: All are welcome to celebrate the holiday season with photo booths, a visit from Santa, and sweet treats of peppermint wonders and sugarplum dreams. Warren,


December 9-10

Festival Weekend: Enjoy a European-style Christmas market complete with wreath-making workshops, specialty-themed huts, unique photo ops, and traditional fare like mulled wine and apple cakes. Plus, discover holiday happenings at participating locales.


December 10

Holiday Coffee, Carols, and Cocktail Cruises: Start your morning with Christmas carols, coffee, and a boat ride, or in the afternoon, indulge in an adult bevvy while listening to holiday tunes and cruising along Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. Newport,

ELF Film Screening: An annual community event sponsored by the Memorial Funeral Home, come out to see Buddy’s antics, and for free admission, bring a food donation for the MLK Center. Newport,


December 12

Holiday Mingle & Jingle Celebration: Things get jolly at the Lobster Pot for their annual holiday extravaganza and raffle, complete with a delicious dinner and a cash bar. Bristol,

Holiday Floral Arrangement Class: Assemble an elegant table centerpiece out of blooms with help from a floral designing expert, with all the materials you’ll need provided. Bristol,


December 15

Christmas Story Time: Gather the whole family to listen to a special live broadcast featuring members of Bristol’s US Coast Guard Station reading their favorite Christmas classics. Bristol,


December 16

Book Signing with Pamela McColl: The author and historian behind ‘Twas the Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem appears at the Museum of Newport History to sign copies of her book, celebrating the poem’s 200th anniversary.

Classical Christmas: Enjoy an afternoon of holiday chamber music including works from the classical repertoire, traditional carols, and a grand finale featuring selections from Vivaldi’s Gloria; a festive reception hosted by the Vestry of Emmanuel Church follows.

Holiday Market at Pivotal Brewing: The year-round Mount Hope Farm farmers market hosts an especially merry market, this year at Pivotal Brewing Co., with no shortage of vendors and holiday fun. Bristol,

Holiday Dinner Dance: This annual black-tie event channels Great Gatsby vibes with a cocktail hour, three-course seated dinner, and dancing throughout the decorated rooms of The Breakers.

Newport Live: Enjoy traditional honkey-tonk country sounds from The Sweetback Sisters, a Brooklyn, NY-based duo in a Christmas Sing-along Spectacular at the Jamestown Arts Center. Jamestown,


December 17

{SANTA!} Meet and Greet with Santa Cruise & Holiday Bubbly Cruises: Mix, mingle, and get your jingle on aboard the Coastal Queen during this special cruise with Santa, hot chocolate, and candy canes, and a cruise with prosecco later in the afternoon. Newport,


December 19

A Night with the Butler and Lady’s Maid: Step back in time with a special self-guided holiday tour by candlelight, detailing the lives and duties of Blithewold’s historic household staff. Bristol,

Meet Your Maker Winter Market: Hope & Main’s local food and beverage market features craft cocktails, familiar vendors, kids’ activities, and live music for a special holiday edition. Warren,


December 20-21

Holidays at the JPT – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Party: Sit back and relax at the Jane Pickens Theatre with live music, film screening, and cookies. Newport,


December 21

Holiday Centerpiece Workshop: Craft a beautiful floral holiday centerpiece for your table with Thistle and Posy at Mount Hope Farm. Bristol,


December 22

Holidays at the JPT – It’s a Wonderful Life: Share the experience of watching George Bailey and an angel earn his wings at this screening of the classic film. Newport,


December 26

Kwanzaa: At press time events are unconfirmed but follow Sankofa Community Connection for updates on 2023 events.


December 31

A Chanler Soirée for New Year’s Eve: Send the year off in style with a glamorous night that includes luxe-crafted cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres, and seafood stations before digging into a lavish four-course dinner. Dancing and a champagne toast caps the night. Newport,

New Year’s Eve at the Mansion: Endless champagne, handcrafted cocktails, indulgent dishes and live music from Golden Estate House Band set the stage for a fanciful fete. Tarot readings, festive surprises, and more are on the agenda. Newport,

Five Course Meal at Castle Hill: The Dining Room at Castle Hill features a five-course menu including a main and dessert. Clink glasses at midnight with a complimentary champagne toast. Newport,

New Year’s Eve at The Viking: Ring in 2024 in Gilded Age fashion harkening back to the days of the Vanderbilts and Astors on Bellevue Avenue. Newport, 


Statewide Santa Opps

Before the big guy (or his helpers) make the big trek across the world, they visit as many places around Rhode Island as possible. Here are seven spots around the state expecting a visit.


December 1: Smithfield

The town green channels the holiday spirit with the All Lit Up Christmas Parade, packed with festive floats, walkers, music, and more. Facebook: Smithfield’s All Lit Up Christmas Parade


December 2: Jamestown

Board the Coastal Queen for a kid-friendly holiday boat ride with Mrs. Claus leading storytime, hot chocolate, and of course, a special red-and-white-striped candy treat. Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with children at the Conanicut Gift Shop.


December 2, 3, 9 & 10: Lincoln

Travel back in time for the Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration as you tour decorated rooms of the historic Hearthside House, complete with festive music and, of course, Santa.


December 6: Westerly

Bundle up for an enchanting evening of holiday magic, complete with luminaria-lined sidewalks, hayrides with Santa, strolling carolers, complimentary cookies and hot chocolate, and special shopping opportunities at the 25th Annual Holiday Stroll & Luminaria.


December 8-23: Watch Hill

Sleepy Santa is having a vacation from all that holiday madness, but before he goes to bed, children are welcome to visit him, take a photo, and receive their first gift of Christmas at the Santa Check In event.


December 9: Warwick

The Strolling Rolling Apponaug Winter Festival is just that, and a parade featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, food trucks, vendors, arts
and crafts, horse-drawn carriages, and more! Facebook: Warwick RI Tourist Department


December 10: Richmond

Join the big guy for brunch! After photos and cookies, take a wonderful wintry wagon ride, perfect for all ages.



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