Can’t-Miss Holiday Events in Rhode Island
Plus, check off everyone on your list with fantastic finds from artist shows and craft sales.
Christmas Shopping Stroll
Through Dec. 1: Get the best Block Island bargains at the annual Christmas Shopping Stroll. Browse holiday sales at local businesses on Water Street and treat yourself to cider and hot chocolate. Plus, marvel at the lobster pot tree. Water Street, Block Island, 466-2474, blockislandinfo.com.
Through Dec. 1: See The Nutcracker, a full-length classical ballet based on the magical adventure of a little girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker from her grandfather for Christmas. See website for show times. $20–$45. Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Sq., Woonsocket, 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com.
Holiday Dinner Train
Through Dec. 21: Take time during the holiday season to hop aboard a festive dinner train. Sing along to your favorite holiday songs performed by local musicians and enjoy a classic dining car setting for the two-and-a-half-hour trip. Dinner includes an appetizer, warm rolls, salad, entree and dessert, plus a full bar with beer, wine and mixed drinks. 6 p.m. $64.95. Portsmouth Junction Station, 1 Alexander Rd., Portsmouth, 295-1203, trainsri.com.
Blackstone Valley Polar Express
Through Dec. 22: Make-believe comes to life during this ninety-minute holiday train trip and reading of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic, The Polar Express. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, get your ticket punched by the conductor, hear the engineer call “All Aboard!” and chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit the website for tour times. $52–$86. Historic Blackstone Valley Train Depot, 1 Depot Sq., Woonsocket, 495-1213, blackstonevalleypolarexpress.com.
Breakfast with Santa Train Rides
Through Dec. 22: Breakfast just got a whole lot better. Munch on morning bites including scrambled eggs with sides of bacon, home fries and toast, and sip milk, juice, coffee or tea. Children have the chance to visit with Santa Claus and are encouraged to wear their favorite Christmas pajamas. 10 a.m. $36.95. Portsmouth Junction Station, 1 Alexander Rd., Portsmouth, 295-1203, trainsri.com.
Trinity Repertory Company
Through Dec. 29: Take the whole family to join in on the fun and watch the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, come to life. The story follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from solitude to redemption through the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. 201 Washington St., Providence, 351-4242, trinityrep.com.
Holiday Art Exhibit
Through Dec. 30: Works of art displayed at the Winter Holiday Exhibit. Thur. 4–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. noon–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Free. 36 Market St., Warren, 245-3348, imagofoundation4art.org.
Christmas at Blithewold, Gardens and Arboretum
Through Jan. 1: See the mansion dressed up like a winter wonderland for the holidays as if it were 1910 and attend afternoon teas, musical performances and creative workshops for both children and adults alike. Call or visit the website for activity times and prices for various events. Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, 101 Ferry Rd., 253-2707, blithewold.org.
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
Through Jan. 1: See the Breakers, the Elms and Marble House bedecked in Yuletide finery. Each mansion is filled with thousands of poinsettias, fresh flowers, evergreens and wreaths and several decorated Christmas trees reflect each individual room’s decor in the magnificent mansions. Dining tables set with period silver and china complete the elegant scenery and the windows in each mansion are lit with candles, in keeping with Colonial tradition. See Santa Claus on Sundays or spend a holiday evening at the mansions while listening to live music and snacking on light refreshments. See website for times and admission prices. Bellevue Avenue, Newport, 847-1000, newportmansions.org.
La Salette Christmas Festival of Lights
Through Jan. 5: Brighten up your night with a holiday stroll featuring more than 300,000 lights illuminating more than ten acres of land. Sip hot chocolate and take in the sights of the lights twinkling against the winter sky. 5–9 p.m. Free. The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 947 Park St., Attleboro, Mass., 508-222-5410, lasaletteattleboroshrine.org.
Brunch with Santa
Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22: Enjoy a delicious buffet, a la carte items, live music and unlimited sparkling wine and mimosas with the big man himself. Plus, Santa will be visiting with kiddos from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Brunch hours are from 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m. $30–$79. Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, 888-853-2919, oceanhouseevents.com.
Christmas in Newport
Dec. 1–31: This annual, city-wide festival celebrates the beautiful traditions of the holiday season. Christmas in Newport starts with a proclamation from the mayor, a tree lighting and a cannon salute by the Newport Artillery. Follow-up events include holiday lantern walking tours, decorative doorway contests and much more. See website for event times and ticket prices. Various venues in Newport, 849-6454, christmasinnewport.org.
Island Moving Company
Dec. 1, Jan. 3–6: Be a part of the classic holiday story, The Nutcracker, as you follow performers through Newport’s Rosecliff Mansion. Call for show times and ticket prices. Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave., Newport, 847-4470, islandmovingco.org.
Twenty-Third Annual Holiday Stroll and Luminaria
Dec. 4: Stroll through downtown Westerly to see the sidewalks lined with glowing luminaria. Enjoy a hayride with Santa while listening to carolers fill the air with holiday cheer. Plus, sip hot cocoa to warm yourself up while shopping at the downtown stores. Shops will run special promotions, too. 5–9 p.m. Free. Various locations in downtown Westerly, 596-7761, oceanchamber.org.
Christmas Scotch Party
Dec. 5: Kick off the holiday season with Lippitt House Museum’s annual Scotch Party. Sip, savor and pair several types of whiskey with passed artisan hors d’oeuvres while you stroll through the old Victorian mansion. 6–8 p.m. $100 in advance, $125 day-of. Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope St., Providence, 453-0688, preserveri.org.
Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre
DEC. 5–22: George, Clarence and the entire town of Bedford Falls come to life in the staged 1940s radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday movie classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. With live sound effects and a handful of actors, the story of beleaguered building and loan owner George Bailey, and his affable helper angel, Clarence, unfolds one fateful Christmas Eve. See website for show times. $40–$65. 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, 723-4266, gammtheatre.org.
Wickford Festival of Lights
Dec. 5–8: See the charm of historic Wickford Village come alive as thousands of beautiful white lights transform it into a winter wonderland. Bring the whole family for holiday shopping, see Santa arrive at the town dock by boat, enjoy the tree lighting plus hayrides with Santa himself and more. Free. See website for event times. Wickford Village, Brown and Main sts., 295-5566, southcountryri.com.
The Contemporary Theater Company
Dec. 6–7, 12–15, 20–21: The beloved Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, comes to life. Filled with carols and holiday cheer, Charles Dickens’s tale tells the story of three spirits who work to convince Ebenezer Scrooge to embrace the spirit of Christmas. Matinees 2 p.m., evening shows 7 p.m. $15–$25. 327 Main St., Wakefield, 218-0282, contemporarytheatercompany.com.
Dec. 6: Sing along to holiday tunes performed by the sixty-piece Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra alongside the Greater Milford Community Chorus. 8 p.m. $26–$39. Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, 28 Monument Sq., Woonsocket, 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com.
Dec. 6–7: Stroll Garden City Center for an evening full of holiday joy and cheer. Experience outdoor shopping and find the perfect holiday gifts or stocking stuffers for every person on your list. 6–8 p.m. Free. Garden City Center, Route 2, Cranston, 942-2800, gardencitycenter.com.
Newport Holiday stroll
Dec. 6–8: Stroll the streets of Newport for family fun events, live entertainment, ice skating, a tree lighting and a chance to pick up the perfect gift for that special someone at one of the local boutiques. Fri.–Sat. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Various venues in Newport, 849-2243, bowenswharf.com.
Audubon Holiday Craft Sale
Dec. 7: With local vendors selling a variety of nature and wildlife related wares, you are sure to find perfect gifts for the nature enthusiasts on your list. Choose from wares like jewelry, children’s items and other locally made presents. Plus, sip warm cider while you shop. Free. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Rd., Smithfield, 949-5454, asri.org.
Benefit Street Stroll
Dec. 7: Stroll down beautiful Benefit Street in Providence when it’s dressed in its holiday best. Wreaths will be hung on doorways, candles and twinkling lights will illuminate windows and every street lamp will be fashioned with fresh greenery. Mid-stroll, enjoy a bite to eat at one of the local food trucks on site. 3–7 p.m. Free. Benefit Street, Providence, mileofhistory.org.
Christmas at the Castle
Dec. 7–8: See the halls of Smith’s Castle decked in period fashion for a celebration of Christmas. Sip hot mulled cider, snack on home-baked sweets and listen to live music. Noon–4 p.m. Adults $6, children six through twelve $3, children under six free. Smith’s Castle, 55 Richard Smith Dr., Wickford, 294-3521, smithscastle.org.
Deck the Trunks with Food Truck Follies
Dec. 7: A variety of food truck fare will be yours to savor while checking out the displays of car trunks bedecked with holiday lights and decorations. Pick out a Christmas tree, do some holiday shopping and warm up with a mug of hot cider. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Free. Frerichs Farm, 43 Kinnicutt Ave., Warren, 245-8245, frerichsfarm.com.
Gingerbread House Contest
Dec. 7: Test your confectionery construction skills and join in the fun at the annual gingerbread house contest. Artisans, raffles, holiday grab bags, free face painting and 20 percent off class registrations make this event a great place to get some shopping done, too. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. $13 per house in advance, $15 at the door. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Sq., Cranston, 490-9475, artists-exchange.org.
Pawtucket Winter Wonderland
Dec. 7–8, 14–15: View hundreds of decked-out Christmas trees, stroll past Victorian houses and see the eighteen-foot-tall talking snowman. 4–8 p.m. Free admission; some activities are an extra fee. Slater Memorial Park, Newport Avenue, Pawtucket, winterwonderlandpawtucket.com.
Children’s Christmas Tea
Dec: 8: Spend an afternoon of holiday-inspired cheer over a proper tea in the Ocean House ballroom. Some very special guests, penguins from the Mystic Aquarium, will also be in
attendance. Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, 888-853-2919, oceanhouseevents.com.
Narragansett Festival of Lights
Dec. 8: Fun for the whole family includes a run/walk, face painting, horse-drawn wagon rides by the sea, magic shows and visits with Santa. Plus, see the Towers lit up for the holidays. 10 a.m.–4:45 p.m. Free. Ocean Road, Narragansett, 783-7121, narragansettcoc.com.
Old-Fashioned Christmas and Home for the Holidays Tour
Dec. 8, 14–15, 28–29: See the house that love built bedecked in its holiday best. Plus, listen to tunes from carolers, sip hot cider, munch on homemade cookies and meet Santa Claus. See website for tour times and ticket prices. Hearthside House, 677 Great Rd., Lincoln, 726-0597, hearthsidehouse.org.
Gingerbread House Workshop
Dec. 12: Enjoy an afternoon constructing gingerbread houses. House structures, assorted decorative candies, frostings, coffee, tea and soft drinks will also be provided. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Adults $65, children $40. Ocean House, 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, 888-853-2919, oceanhouseevents.com.
Christmas in Song
Dec. 13: Newport Navy Choristers perform beloved holiday tunes. 7:30 p.m. See website for ticket prices. St. Lucy Church, 909 West Main Rd., Middletown, 849-1135, newportnavychoristers.org.
Dec. 13–15: Ballet dancers portray Clara and her nutcracker prince through elegant choreography in The Nutcracker. See website for show times. $25–$85. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence, 353-1129, festivalballetprovidence.org.
Artists’ Exchange Holiday Gala and Silent Auction
Dec. 14: Enjoy dinner, music, dancing, an open craft beer and wine bar and a VIP ticket to A Christmas Carol before or after the gala. There will also be a silent auction. 5–8 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Gala and auction at Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Sq., Cranston; show at Theatre 82, 82 Rolfe Sq., Cranston, 490-9475, artists-exchange.org.
Christmas at Lippitt House
Dec. 14: Step into Providence’s Golden Age at Lippitt House’s holiday celebration. Explore Victorian Christmas traditions, make decorations, read Victorian Christmas tales and take a tour. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Adults $10, students $5, children younger than twelve free. Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope St., Providence, 453-0688, preserveri.org.
Common Fence Music
Dec. 14: The Sweetback Sisters’ Country Christmas Singalong. 8 p.m. $25 in advance, $28 day-of. DEC. 31: New Year’s Eve with the Vox Hunters. 9 p.m. $25 in advance, $28 day-of. See website for event locations, 683-5085, commonfencemusic.org.
Billy Gilman: Home from the Holidays
Dec. 15: Rhode Island native Billy Gilman brings his favorite holiday classics, and non-holiday favorites, to the Vets. 7 p.m. $30–$75. Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence, 421-2787, thevetsri.com.
Providence Performing Arts Center
Dec. 17–22: Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, as it comes to life on stage. See website for show times. $30–$80. 220 Weybosset St., Providence, 421-2787, ppacri.org.
A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Dec. 18: Brian O’Donovan’s program “A Celtic Sojourn” has entertained radio audiences since 1986. For the last sixteen years, the Christmastime live version of the show has drawn on Celtic, Pagan and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season. 7:30 p.m. $54–$74. Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence, 421-2787, thevetsri.com.
Menorah Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 22: Watch the lighting of the menorah, sing festive songs, make arts and crafts, munch on hot latkes and more with the entire family. 7 p.m. Free. Pawtuxet Park, East View St., Warwick, rabbiwarwick.com.
Dec. 22: Make your own menorah to take home while enjoying some delicious Chanukah treats. Must register in advance. 3 p.m. Free. Home Depot, 80 Universal Blvd., Warwick, rabbiwarwick.com.
Chanukah at Cranston City Hall
Dec. 23: Learn the story of Chanukah, watch the lighting of the menorah, make arts and crafts, munch on hot latkes and more. 5 p.m. Free. Cranston City Hall Lobby, 869 Park Ave., Cranston, rabbiwarwick.com.
Movie Night: The Polar Express
Dec. 23: Bring the whole family to a free screening of the children’s holiday classic, The Polar Express. 7 p.m. Free. Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, 28 Monument Sq., Woonsocket, 762-4545, stadiumtheatre.com.
Grand Chanukah Event
Dec. 29: Celebrate Chanukah with your closest family and friends. Listen to tunes, make arts and crafts to take home, watch the lighting of the giant menorah and munch on delicious hot latkes. Plus, pick up a gift for a special someone at the Chanukah gift shop. 4:30 p.m. Free. Warwick Mall, 400 Bald Hill Rd., Warwick, rabbiwarwick.com.
State of the Art
Cross off everyone on your shopping list this year with fantastic finds from these local holiday artists’ shows and craft sales
Portsmouth Arts Holiday Show
Through Dec. 15: Have your pick of artwork for yourself or as a gift for someone else. The artwork is priced at $200 or less, is no larger than eight by ten inches and will brighten up the space in any home. See website for times. Free admission. Portsmouth Art Guild, 2679 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, 293-5278, portsmoutharts.org.
Holiday Pottery and Art Sale
Through Dec. 21: Peruse original fine art including paintings, drawings, pottery, photography, sculpture, woven textiles, handmade cards and more. Works are handcrafted by South County Art Association members. Wed.–Sun., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Extended hours on Thurs. until 8 p.m. Free admission. 2587 Kingstown Rd., Kingston, 783-2195, southcountyart.org.
Through Dec. 22: A range of sizes, mediums and subject matter are on display, including photography, still lifes, portraits, pottery, sculpture and more. Purchase a piece of affordable, high-quality artwork. Thurs.–Sat. noon–8 p.m.; Sun. noon–6 p.m. Free admission. Gallery Z, 259 Atwells Ave., Providence, 454-8844, galleryzprov.com.
Annual Little Picture Show
Through Dec. 23: Take home a treasured picture — think: rich oil still-life, iconic landscapes and colorful mixed-media paintings — under sixteen by sixteen inches for $300 or less. Noon–5 p.m. Free admission. Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas St., Providence, 331-1114, providenceartclub.org.
Small Works Show
Through Dec. 24: Artists from the Wickford Art Association decorate the walls of the Wickford Art Gallery. Artwork is priced at $300 or less. Pick up one for a friend or for your own home. Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Sun. noon–3 p.m. Free admission. Wickford Art Association, 36 Beach St., North Kingstown, 294-6840, wickfordart.org.
Holiday Show and Silent Auction
Through Dec. 29: Bid on a large selection of art by Rhode Island artists. Artwork of all shapes and sizes is priced at $200 or less. Plus, listen to tunes and snack on refreshments while you shop. See website for times. Free admission. Mill Gallery, Lorraine Mills, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, pawtucketartscollaborative.wildapricot.org.
Through Dec. 31: Craftland’s store is stocked for the holidays with additional artisans selling their goods including items like jewelry, accessories, clothing and small artwork. It is truly a favorite spot for quirky stocking stuffers. The best part? Prices here won’t break the bank. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Free admission. 212 Westminster St., Providence, 272-4285, craftlandshop.com.
Field of Artisans
Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22: Local artists and vendors sell unique handmade gifts at this pop-up. Shoppers can browse a variety of jewelry, books, skin care items, apparel, pottery and more while sipping a brew or two in the Whalers taproom. 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Free admission. Whalers Brewing Company, 1174 Kingstown Rd., South Kingstown, fieldofartisans.com.
“Next Stop: Northern Lights” Illumination
Dec. 4–29: Showcasing sculpture, jewelry, stoneware and paintings, the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly will get you in the gift-giving frame of mind. Meet the artists while you shop during the opening reception on Dec. 4 from 5–8 p.m. Wed–Sat., 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun., 1–5 p.m. Free admission. Artists’ Cooperative of Westerly, 14 Railroad Ave., Westerly, 596-2221, westerlyarts.com.
Thirty-Fifth Annual Foundry Artists’ Association Holiday Sale
Dec. 5–8 and 13–15: Buy or bid on fine art and functional crafts from dozens of artists from Rhode Island and all over New England. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of paintings, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, home furnishings and more will support a local charity. Shoppers can bring a non-perishable food donation to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Fri. noon–8 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Free admission. The Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket, foundryshow.com.
Holiday Spectacular Artisan Craft Fair
Dec. 7: This indoor shopping spectacular features home and holiday decor, handmade jewelry, pottery, children’s apparel and more. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free admission. Newport Elks Lodge, 141 Pelham St., Newport, 935-4904, cherishthemoments.net.