I love this time of year. The holiday music is on around the clock in my house, and my kids are counting the days until Santa Claus visits. No matter what is going on in the world, I look forward to ending the year surrounded by family and friends. I also love the traditions of this season, and wanted to share a few of the ways my family celebrates Christmas, New Year’s, and this season of light. Here are five family friendly ways to celebrate the holidays in Boston this year:
1. Be Dazzled by The Nutcracker – My daughter and I recently attended the Boston Ballet’s sensational production of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, and we were, as we are each year we attend, moved by the talented dancers and sumptuous sets and costumes. For me, The Nutcracker kicks off the holiday season and makes Boston feel like Christmas. The Nutcracker will be performed at the Boston Opera House through December 31. Tickets range in price, and the Boston Ballet is offering 35% off of new inventory. Thanks to the Boston Ballet for having us at The Nutcracker!
2. Sparkle with the Zoolights at Stone Zoo – Now through January 1, the Stone Zoo in Stoneham opens from 5 to 9 PM to show off its holiday lights. Thousands of pretty lights decorate the zoo, and visitors can stroll around Zoolights to enjoy the decorations and to see the animals at night. Meet and greets with Mrs. Claus and Jolly Old St. Nick, hot cocoa with reindeer, live music, and storytelling also will be held during Zoolights. Tickets start at $8 for members and $9 for nonmembers.
3. Be a tourist – This one isn’t only for the holiday season, though the festive decorations of the city make it extra fun this time of year. Take a day to explore Boston. Start at the Museum of Fine Arts where you can see the new exhibit, Make Way for Ducklings: The Art of Robert McCloskey (the kids and I saw it last month, and it’s so fun – a wonderful way to appreciate McClosky’s talent). Before you go, check out the Visiting with Kids section of the MFA’s website for tips and special activities. Afterward, head to Chinatown for lunch. Wander through the Back Bay over to City Hall for Boston Winter, where you can ice skate, shop in the holiday market, and get your photo with Santa. End your adventure in the North End for dinner and (of course) cannolis!
4. Get Outdoors – “Will it snow on Christmas?” is one of the frequently asked questions in my house. My kids are itching to fly down the hill in our backyard on their sleds again and again and again. In case we do get more snow before the end of the year, check out these sledding spots around the city. The best part? It’s free!
5. Sing along with the Holiday Pops – For the past four or five years, my family has made a pilgrimage to Symphony Hall for the Boston Pops’ holiday concert. We always attend the kids matinée, which includes a visit from Santa and a reading of a favorite holiday story–plus the terrific music for which the Boston Pops is known. Tickets range from $39-$143, and holiday performances continue through December 31.
If your schedule between now and Christmas is already filled with holiday events, consider adding these celebrations to your calendar the week between December 25 and January 1. The kids are off from school, and keeping them busy will be a gift for everyone!