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Boston Ballet presents Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker
Photograph: Courtesy Boston Ballet/Liza VollBoston Ballet presents Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker

8 best Christmas things to do in Boston

From classic holiday shows to quirky festivities, these are the best Christmas events this year

JQ Louise
Written by
JQ Louise
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Christmas is almost here and in Boston, the holiday season is quite special. From tree lightings to holiday markets to festive meals, there is so much to get excited about in Boston this holiday season. Whether you prefer to stick to tradition by seeing the Holiday Pops perform at Symphony Hall or by downing craft beers during a marathon of "Office" Christmas episodes, there is something for everyone this winter. Don’t miss our guides to the best holiday markets in Boston, as well as where to see the best Christmas lights in Boston. The holidays are also a great time to check out the best ice skating rinks in Boston and the best hot chocolate in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: See the full guide to Christmas in Boston

Christmas events in Boston

The Nutcracker is one of the season’s most beloved traditions, enjoyed by generations. Seeing the Boston Ballet’s performance at the Opera House—artistic director Mikko Nissinen’s production features opulent Georgian-era sets and costumes—is memorable for all ages. Check listings for dates, times and tickets.

Playing Nov 25–Dec 31, 2022

This holiday tradition sees Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in spirited performances of holiday classics and new arrangements. Performed in the seasonally-bedecked Symphony Hall, this year's schedule of Holiday Pops concerts will require proof of vaccination and masks. See the website for details and ticket info.

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  • Things to do
  • Ice skating

Winter in the Commonwealth can be bracing, but if you bundle up and clutch a hot drink with your mittens, it can be downright charming. One of the best winter activities, hitting an ice rink, is beloved by both locals and tourists, and the Hub has no shortage of rinks fit for all levels. 

This outdoor winter celebration keeps the holiday traditions alive in Downtown Crossing. The Stage Windows installation is a series of prominent storefront window displays created by some of Boston’s top arts organizations. Design firm Black Math will transform the Downtown Crossing floral kiosk into a glowing, three-dimensional lantern in celebration of the Winter Solstice. There will even be Santas on hand to hear kids' Christmas lists.

 

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This unique performance is Tony Williams’ reimagining of the classic tale as a Boston inner-city story. Showcasing a broad diversity of dance forms—classical ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, flamenco and more—the show follows Ruby and her Nutcracker guide as she explores iconic Boston scenes such as Make Way for Ducklings, Chinatown and the Boston Public Garden. Performances will take place at the Shubert Theatre this year from Dec 17 - 23, 2022. 

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This year, in its second season, The Holiday Market at Snowport moves down the block from its inaugural home in order to accommodate its expansion. The market has nearly doubled in size and will now feature more than 120 vendors. 66% of the participating businesses are local to Boston and the New England area, while 76% of businesses are minority and/or female owned. Shoppers will find a variety of unique giftable items across art, accessories, jewelry, décor, gourmet treats and more from loved returning vendors and dozens of new ones.

  • Restaurants

When the temperature drops, and the snow starts falling there are very few things that are worth leaving home for in Boston. But one delicious treat that always gets us to layer up and pull on the snow boots is a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Boston is brimming with rich, sweet, spicy and boozy hot cocoa options. Grab one of these comforting libations to warm up after braving the freezing cold this winter.

More holiday fun

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