Ho-ho-ho-ly smokes! Between the gifts, activities, and travel to see friends and loved ones, this month gets EXPENSIVE. But the thing is: you don’t have to spend a lot of money (or any) to help your family get into the holiday spirit. I’ve compiled a list of Free Christmas Activities on the Seacoast your family will love! Here is just a sampling of the local fun I’ve found:
Saturday, November 30, 2019
Nubble Lighthouse Lighting, 3:30-6:00 pm
Kick off the season by heading to Sohier Park in York, Maine to revel in the beauty of the Nubble Lighthouse—of course, with some additional lights! (*NOTE: There’s no countdown this year!) For more details on all the fun as well as parking, click here.
Sunday, December 1, 2019
Stratham Fire Department Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, 5:00-7:00 pm
Join the town of Stratham for music, caroling, and the Christmas season’s signature beverage—hot chocolate!
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Wentworth’s Annual Illumination, 5:00-7:00 pm
Kick off the season with the lighting of the grand Wentworth by the Sea hotel. Enjoy strolling carolers, a performance by Portsmouth High School’s marching band, crafts, refreshments, and the unveiling of a giant gingerbread house!
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Santa’s Block Party in Downtown Exeter, 4:00-8:00 pm
This holiday celebration has music, singalongs, hot cocoa, and train rides! Can you ask for more? Santa arrives via the Roaming Railroad at 5:00 pm, so stop by to say hello. Then, get some decorating inspo at the Festival of Trees in the Town Hall and the Gingerbread House Contest in the Congregational Church—both exhibits are open from 11:00am until 8:00 pm.
Saturday, December 7, 2019
“Experience Hampton” Annual Christmas Parade, 1:00-3:00 pm
If earlier is better for your family’s schedule, mark your calendar for Hampton’s “Main Street Christmas” parade!
Exeter Holiday Parade, 5:30 pm
Line the streets of Downtown Exeter for a parade that’s sure to please everyone in your family. This year’s theme is “Holiday Movie Night.”
Portsmouth Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting, 5:00-7:30 pm
The Mayor and honored guests will light the Market Square tree at 5:30pm, then at 6:00pm the parade begins—this year’s theme is “Hometown Holiday.” For more details on the parade route, check out the Facebook event. All these tree lights are the perfect free Christmas activities on Seacoast
Friday, December 13, 2019
Night in Bethlehem, Saint Michael’s Parish in Exeter, 5:30-8:30 pm
Follow in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph, to see what it was like to be in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born. Stop by any time between 5:30 and 8:30—small groups head out for walking tours around the church property every 15 minutes. Our family did this last year, and it really brought the story of Jesus’ birth to life!
The Polar Express Movie, Great Bay Community College, 5:30 pm
All aboard for a free viewing of this animated feature based on the classic book by Chris Van Allsburg. Wear your favorite pajamas and bring a cozy blanket!
Christmas Prelude Tree Lighting and Fireworks, Kennebunkport, Maine, 5:30 pm
Take a drive up to Kennebunkport for this evening’s extravaganza— caroling, the Christmas tree lighting, and the annual Prelude fireworks! Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude is actually 10 days of celebrations, extending all the way from December 5 – December 15. Learn more about all the festivities!
Saturday, December 14, 2019
Northern Lights Celebration, L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine
Head to the Freeport Flagship store for tons of New England holiday fun. Trek through the twinkling Discovery Forest, say hi to Santa and his reindeer, check out the model train village, hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon ride, and then thaw out in the Warming Hut! The Northern Lights Celebration isn’t just today, it runs from November 22 to December 31! View the full schedule here.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Reindeer Visit, Kittery Trading Post, 12:00-2:00 pm
Come meet the “deerpower” behind Santa’s sleigh. If you can’t make it today, they’ll also be back on 12/22—same time, same place! Learn more about all the free things to do at Kittery Trading Post this holiday season.
Friday, December 20, 2019
Make it a Movie Night! Or Check Out Some Christmas books!
Drop by your town library and borrow a few of your favorite Christmas movies or Christmas books. Then snuggle up for a festive and free film festival. Or, get cozy by the far and read some amazing books.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus, Kittery Trading Post, 12:00-3:00 pm
If heading to the mall for a photo with Santa isn’t your cup of tea, head to Kittery Trading Post for a free snap of Saint Nick—and Mrs. Claus! Can’t make it today? Check out other dates they’ll be available for a free photo op!
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Go Christmas Caroling!
Warm up those vocal cords because it doesn’t cost a thing to spread joy this season. Whether you’re bringing your talents to a local nursing home, or just going door-to-door in your neighborhood, caroling is a great way for singers of all ages (and abilities!) to give—and get—that warm and fuzzy feeling.
After Christmas – Any time
Recycle and reuse that wrapping!
Check out some of these amazing ideas for how to have fun with holiday packaging. Your kids may end up liking the boxes better than the presents that came in them!
See Some Lights!
Luke’s Lights in Dover are incredible!
What are your favorite festive and free Seacoast Christmas activities? Tell us in the comments below!