Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village is an evening filled with New England holiday traditions, live musical performances, storytelling, sleigh rides, festive foods, a roaring bonfire, and strolls around the decorated Village Common. Do not miss the nightly tree lighting and the ever-popular gingerbread house contest!
Highlights of Christmas by Candlelight Include:
Old Sturbridge Village's town common decorated for the holidays
The Village Common and the buildings around it are transformed into a magical, picturesque nod to Christmases past. Decorations feature twinkling lights, glowing candles, fresh evergreen garlands and wreaths, and a 40 foot Village Christmas tree. Rooms in the Salem Towne House show Christmas decorations like that of the 1830s, 1850s, and 1870s. The Parsonage decorations are inspired by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Explore these buildings and more during your visit.
Music is a key part of the holiday season. Throughout Christmas by Candlelight, Victorian carolers will stroll around the Village Common singing traditional carols and guest choirs and bands will perform in the Center Meetinghouse.
Elm Street Congregational Handbells
Old Sturbridge Village Singers
North Pole Village
Gallery Row at Old Sturbridge Village will be transformed into North Pole Village, a place of bustling activities for adults and kids alike!
- Stroll through a giant The Night Before Christmas storybook – illustrated by Charles Santore – as you make your way to meet Santa and his elves
- View the expanded model train display constructed by the Worcester Model Railroaders. This year, the display will feature some trains from the movie Joy.
- Warm up and indulge your sweet tooth at the Bake Shop. Purchase Christmas cookies, hot cider, hot chocolate, and other sweets.
- For an additional fee, dip a Christmas candle
The miniature nativity is a favorite Christmas by Candlelight tradition. The intrinsic details are an awe-inspiring and moving sight to see for both children and adults alike. The nativity scene displayed at Christmas by Candlelight depicts the different parts of the Biblical narrative, all the way from the annunciation to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. The scene is a unique hybrid of an Italianate motif and early 19th-century New England themes. The current display has well over 500 individual pieces made out of carved and painted Styrofoam. You can view this spectacular scene in the Friends Meeting House during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village
Holiday Traditions Recreated
Learn about cherished holiday traditions, including roasting chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Also, be sure to check out demonstrations of period holiday baking and cider mulling, as well as tin-making, pottery and 19th-century printing.
A Roaring Bonfire
Warm up and relax by the large bonfire on the center common. Carolers will periodically sing favorite carols nearby.
Gingerbread House Contest
The annual Gingerbread House Contest is one of the most popular events at Christmas by Candlelight! Create and register your own gingerbread house in one of several categories or simply view the creative handiwork of others when you visit the Village during Christmas by Candlelight.
Entry forms must be submitted by on or by November 23, 2018. Finished entries must be delivered to the Village November 27, 28, or 29 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Enter the Contest below.
Each entrant (or in the case of the family category, family) will receive 2 free passes to Christmas by Candlelight.
Readings of Classic Stories
Enjoy readings of classic stories such as The Night Before Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Visit from Saint Nicholas. There will also be readings of "The Nativity Gospel of Saint Luke" and "The Nativity Gospel of Saint Matthew."
Sleigh rides (weather permitting)
Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride (depending on the weather) around the Village Common.
$28 for adults
$14 for youth ages 4-17
Children 3 and under are free
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