In case the onslaught of holiday decor in stores, the chilly weather, and constant loop of Hallmark holiday movies on TV hasn't gotten you into the spirit of the season yet, there are plenty of events on the Seacoast to help you feel festive. This is just a short list of some of the most popular events in the area; you'll find several other holiday craft fairs, small town parades, and more--as well as other quintessentially New England holiday events throughout the region.
Vintage Bazaar Holiday Edition
November 29-December 1 | Lafayette Plaza, North Hampton
Vintage Bazaar New England is a favorite antique and artisan show in the region (named a top 3 vintage market by Country Living Magazine!), and the holiday edition of the series is no different. Browse curated displays from 70 vendors and come away with handmade gifts, unique decor, and inspiration for your own home. There's no better way to shop small or shop local, especially on Black Friday!
New Castle Village Christmas Fair
December 7 | New Castle Recreation Building
This village Christmas fair is an annual tradition in the island town of New Castle. You'll find all the typical craft fair fare, some with a nautical theme, as well as a few things unique to this event. Need new holiday decor but don't want to spend a fortune? Check out the Red Elephant table, with previously loved decorations ready for a new home to grace. Come with an appetite for coffee and baked goods to start the morning and lobster rolls and chowder before you leave. If there are kids in your life, bring them for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus!
Lighting of the Nubble
November 30 | Sohier Park, York
Is there any better or quintessentially New England way to ring in the holidays than to see a lighthouse beautifully lit up? Visit the coastal icon to celebrate its illumination for the season and listen to holiday tunes, enjoy some hot cocoa and cookies, get a photo with Santa, and visit with his reindeer.
Festival of Trees
December 5 | Exeter Town Hall
In its 21st year, the Exeter Festival of Trees is an event that draws hundreds of visitors each year. Over 50 local businesses decorate and donate live trees that you can bid on, plus there will be a raffle tree that you could win, filled with local gift certificates. This event raises money for Community Children's Fund, which provides warm clothes and bedding for local kids.
Gingerbread House Contest
December 6-22 | Discover Portsmouth
This sweet annual event is divided into professional and community divisions and features creations constructed by local businesses and neighbors alike. Visit Discover Portsmouth any day of the week to view the gingerbread houses in a winter wonderland display and vote on your favorite. While you're there, enter the raffle to win one, with proceeds benefiting Portsmouth Historical Society. And if you're up for the challenge, you can still register to enter your own gingerbread house until November 25!
Portsmouth Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting
December 7 | Market Square, Portsmouth
A family favorite, this downtown event starts with holiday music and the Market Square tree lighting by Mayor Jack Blalock. This year's illuminated parade follows a Hometown Holiday theme and kicks off on Islington Street at Summer Street. You'll see high school students pushing shopping carts--they're collecting donations for the City's annual food drive!
Weekends, December 7-22 | Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth
Hop on the Vintage Christmas trolley and head to the historical neighborhood museum, where you can stroll the grounds, aglow with hundreds of candlelights, while listening to carolers, learning about holidays of yesteryear, and sipping hot cider, just as visitors have for the past 40 years. Finish off the night with a skate on Puddle Dock Pond or a dinner at Pitt Tavern.
Wreaths Across America
December 14 | Albacore Park, Portsmouth
Wreaths Across America is an organization that places wreaths on the graves of our nation's fallen heroes. Whether you attend to watch the ceremony, sponsor a wreath, or volunteer to lay a wreath and read the name of a veteran, you're sure to feel a sense of pride and thankfulness for these brave men and women.
Are any of these Seacoast holiday events traditions for you? Did you find something new to check out this year? Share your favorite holiday event in the comments!