2018 Rhode Island Holiday Guide

Your resource for art sales, holiday events and divine presents for everyone on your list.

The Elms, decorated for the holiday season, during Christmas at the Newport Mansions, which runs through January 1. Courtesy of Discover Newport and the Preservation Society of Newport County.

Holiday Fun

Can’t-miss holiday events in the Ocean State. By Samantha Labrecque and Courtney Dell’Agnese

Newport Holiday Stroll
THROUGH DEC. 2: Back for its third year, guests 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.–5 p.m. Free. Various venues in Newport, newportholidaystroll.com.

It’s A Wonderful Life: A 1940s Radio Play
THROUGH DEC. 16: This beloved American holiday classic comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With the help of an ensemble that brings a few dozen characters to the stage, the story of George Bailey unfolds as he considers the worth of his life one fateful Christmas Eve. The play is presented by JMG Theater in collaboration with Bristol Theatre Company and is entertainment for both family and friends, young and old. Thurs.–Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. $20. Reynold Arts and Wellness Center, 235 High St., Bristol, jmgtheater.com.

Blackstone Valley Polar Express
THROUGH DEC. 23: Hop on America’s longest-running Polar Express train ride and enjoy a reading of the classic children’s story, sing-alongs, a mug of hot chocolate, delicious cookies and a special visit from Santa. Plus, have your ticket punched by the conductor. All aboard the Polar Express! See website for ride times. $56–$88. Historic Blackstone Valley Train Depot, 1 Depot Sq., Woonsocket, 495-1213, blackstonevalleypolarexpress.com.

A Christmas Carol
THROUGH DEC. 30: Trinity Rep brings the family holiday tradition of Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future together in a glorious retelling of this classic Christmas story. See website for show times. $25–$136. Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington St., Providence, 351-4242, trinityrep.com.

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 Breakers while listening to live music and snacking on light refreshments. See website for times and admission prices. Bellevue Avenue, Newport, 847-1000, newportmansions.org.

Christmas at Blithewold
THROUGH JAN. 1: Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum’s decorators transform each room of the mansion into a dazzling display filled with elaborate holiday decorations. This year’s theme, “A Family Gathering,” gives guests a glimpse into the Van Wickle’s Christmas and New Year’s traditions as if it were 1910. Plus, the gardens become a glimmering winter wonderland. Tues.–Sun. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Thurs.–Fri. 11 a.m.–8 p.m. $6–$32. Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum, 101 Ferry Rd., Bristol, 253-2707, blithewold.org.

La Salette Christmas Festival of Lights
THROUGH JAN. 6: 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 festival of lights. 5–9 p.m. Free. The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 947 Park St., Attleboro, Mass., 508-222-5410, lasaletteattleboroshrine.org.

Boat Rides with Santa
DEC. 1: Enjoy a festive cruise along Providence’s waterways. Kids can meet Santa and tell him their Christmas wishes while sipping complimentary hot cocoa to stay toasty warm. Rides last for thirty minutes. 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. $15–$20. 1 Citizens Plaza, Providence, 580-2628, providenceriverboat.com.

Bristol Grand Illumination
DEC. 1: Since 1987, families have come together for seasonal fun including music programs, holiday entertainment, activities and a traditional tree-lighting ceremony. Listen to your favorite Christmas carols and see Santa Claus light up the town. 4:45–6 p.m. Free. Burnside Memorial Building, 400 Hope St., Bristol, christmasbristolri.com.

Celebrate Downcity 2018
DEC. 1: InDowncity kicks off the holiday season downtown with its annual Celebrate Down-city neighborhood block party. Spend the afternoon immersed in local holiday spirit with festive music, dance, giveaways, delicious food, warm drinks, kids’ crafts, photos with Santa and more. Plus, shop ’til you drop at the local businesses to find a little something for everyone on your list. Check out InDowncity’s life-sized Advent calendar; spin the wheel and try your luck to win prizes and discounts from local shops. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Westminster Street, Providence, indowncity.com.

Christmas Bazaar
DEC. 1: Join the St. Sebastian Church at its “Warm Heart, Warm Hearth” Christmas Bazaar. The family fun event features gift baskets, a penny social, raffle prizes and plenty of food and holiday items up for grabs. All proceeds benefit the parish’s “Keep the Heat On” heating assistance program. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Saint Sebastian Church, 67 Cole Ave., Providence, 421-7833, heatri.com.

Gingerbread House Contest
DEC. 1: 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. Advanced registration strongly recommended. 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.

Christmas at the Castle
DEC. 1–2: See the halls of Smith’s Castle decked in period fashion for a celebration of Christmas and the evolution of Santa Claus. Sip hot mulled cider and enjoy live music of the holiday season. Noon–4 p.m. Adults $8, children $4. Smith’s Castle, 55 Richard Smith Dr., Wickford, 294-3521, smithscastle.org.

Pawtucket Winter Wonderland
DEC. 1–2, 8–9: View hundreds of decked out Christmas trees, stroll past twenty Victorian houses and see the eighteen-foot-tall talking snowman. Plus take a fun keepsake photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy a hay ride with the entire family and listen to live entertainment. 4–8 p.m. Free admission; some activities are an extra fee. Slater Memorial Park, Armistice Blvd., Pawtucket, winterwonderlandpawtucket.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 a community Chanukah party at Touro Synagogue on Dec. 2, holiday lantern walking tours and much more. See website for event times and ticket prices. Various venues in Newport, 849-6454, christmasinnewport.org.

Menorah Workshop
DEC. 2: Make your own menorah! Using products from Home Depot, build a Menorah to take home while enjoying Chanukah treats. 3 p.m. Home Depot, 80 Universal Blvd., Warwick, rabbiwarwick.com.

Old-Fashioned Christmas and Home for the Holidays Tour
DEC. 2, 8–9, 28, 30: See the house that love built bedecked in its holiday best. Decorated with twinkling lights, a Christmas tree in every room, countless poinsettias and much more, Hearthside House is turned into a beautiful turn-of-the-century home at Christmas time. Plus, listen to the holiday tunes from carolers, sip hot cider, munch on homemade cookies and meet Santa Claus. See website for tour times and ticket prices. 677 Great Rd., Lincoln, 726-0597, hearthsidehouse.org.

Breakfast with Santa Train Rides
DEC. 2, 9, 16, 23: Breakfast just got a whole lot better. Munch on morning bites including pancakes, French toast or scrambled eggs with sides of bacon, sausage or homefries and sip milk, juice, coffee or tea. Children have the chance to visit with Santa Claus too. 10 a.m. $34.95. Melville Station, 1 Alexander Rd., Portsmouth, 295-1203, trainsri.com.

Lunch with Santa Train Rides
DEC. 2, 9, 16, 23: Kids can choose from chicken nuggets, a hot dog, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, mac and cheese or yogurt sticks and adults can munch on a turkey club wrap with bacon, chicken or tuna salad sandwiches, a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich or mac and cheese. Plus, kids have a chance to visit with Santa Claus. 1 p.m. $34.95. Melville Station, 1 Alexander Rd., Portsmouth, 295-1203, trainsri.com.

Chanukah at Cranston City Hall
DEC. 5: 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.

Twenty-Second Annual Holiday Stroll and Luminaria
DEC. 5: Stroll through downtown Westerly to see the sidewalks lined with beautiful 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.

Veterans Memorial Auditorium
DEC. 5: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is fun for the whole family. 7 p.m. $32–$62. DEC. 20: Get in the holiday spirit with the sixteenth annual Christmas Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan. Hear the popular WGBH radio segment live, with holiday music inspired by Celtic, pagan and Christian traditions. 7:30 p.m. $54–$74. DEC. 23: See jaw-dropping magic, breathtaking circus acts and listen to popular Christmas carols at a Magical Cirque Christmas. 7 p.m. $25–$80. 1 Avenue of the Arts, Providence, 421-2787, vmari.org.


Mannheim Steamroller comes to PPAC December 7. Courtesy PPAC.

Providence Performing Arts Center
DEC. 7: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis. 7:30 p.m. $37–$77. DEC. 8: The Boston Pops heads to Providence with conductor Keith Lockhart for a change of scenery for its Holiday Pops Tour. The orchestra plays an array of Christmas tunes, such as the signature “Sleigh Ride,” and will be joined by the Metropolitan Chorale. Keep an eye out for Santa Claus, who will make an appearance during the show followed by the traditional Boston Pops holiday sing-along. 8 p.m. $58–$130. 220 Weybosset St., Providence, 421-2787, ppacri.org.

Holiday Stroll
DEC. 7–8: Stroll Garden City Center for an evening full of holiday joy and cheer. Experience outdoor shopping and find the perfect gifts or stocking stuffers for every person in your life. 6–8 p.m. Free. Garden City Center, Route 2, Cranston, 942-2800, gardencitycenter.com.

The Contemporary Theater Company
DEC. 7–9, 13–16, 21–22: The beloved Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, comes to life. Filled with carols and holiday cheer, three spirits 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.

Deck the Trunks with Food Truck Follies
DEC. 8: A variety of food truck fare will be yours to savor while checking out the displays of more than fifty car trunks bedecked with holiday lights and decorations. Pick out a Christmas tree, do some holiday shopping and feel the warmth of a mug of hot cider. 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Free. Frerichs Farm, 43 Kinnicutt Ave., Warren, 245-8245, frerichsfarm.com.

Grand Chanukah Event
DEC. 9: Celebrate Chanukah with your closest family and friends. Listen to some tunes, make arts and crafts to take home, watch the lighting of the giant menorah, and munch on delicious hot latkes and Chanukah gelt. Plus, pick up a gift for a special someone at the Chanukah gift shop. 4:30 p.m. Warwick Mall, 400 Bald Hill Rd., Warwick, rabbiwarwick.com.

VoX Choral Group
DEC. 9: Hamilton House presents Vox Choral Group to spread holiday cheer. The group mixes traditional holiday songs including “Deck the Halls” and “Joy to the World” with modern carols such as “Let It Snow” and “White Christmas,” plus the group’s own arrangements of songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Dressed in Victorian-inspired finery, Vox is both a musical and visual treat for the season. Tickets include a food and beverage tasting, too. 4 p.m. $15, children free. Central Congregational Church, 296 Angell St., Providence, 831-1800, historichamilton.com.

Christmas in Song
DEC. 14: Newport Navy Choristers perform beloved holiday tunes. 7:30 p.m. See website for ticket prices. St. Barnabas Church, 1697 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, 849-1135, newportnnavychoristers.org.

Artists’ Exchange Holiday Gala and Silent Auction
DEC. 15: Enjoy dinner, live 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. Proceeds support the Artists’ Exchange’s mission to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. 5–8 p.m. $35 for event tickets only, $20 for A Christmas Carol only, $55 for event and show. 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. 15: Step into Providence’s Golden Age at Lippitt House’s holiday celebration. Explore Victorian Christmas traditions and make decorations for your own tree out of paper and aluminum, create candy-filled Christmas crackers, relax in a cozy nook while you read a book full of Victorian Christmas tales and enjoy a classic holiday treat of milk and cookies. During the celebration, guests can take a holiday-themed tour of Lippitt House Museum. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Adults $10, students $5, children younger than twelve and military personnel free. Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope St., Providence, 453-0688, preserveri.org.

Christmas Cocktail Cabaret
DEC. 20: Sip a cocktail and enjoy a night of carols, festive cheer and fun with friends as the beautiful Towers of Narragansett provide a comfy and cozy setting for some holiday fun. 7 p.m. $40. The Towers, 35 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, 218-0282, contemporarytheatercompany.com.

The Nutcracker
DEC. 21–23: Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on a magical journey complete with beautiful sets and elegant choreography brought to life by world-class dancers from Festival Ballet. See website for times. $25–$85. Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence, 421-2787, ppacri.org.

Mixed Magic Theatre
DEC. 22: “Great Holiday Traditions.” 7 p.m. DEC. 29, JAN. 1, Kwanzaa Fest featuring selections from A Kwanzaa Song and the Nguzo Saba Ceremony. 2 p.m. mmtri.com.

Art Smarts

Cross off everyone on your shopping list this year with fantastic finds from these local holiday artists’ shows and craft sales. By Samantha Labrecque and Kendall Cairoli

The Little Picture Show at the Providence Art Club continues through December 23. Courtesy Providence Art Club.

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. Providence Art Club, 11 Thomas St., Providence, 331-1114, providenceartclub.org.

Affordable Art
THROUGH DEC. 23: 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. Wed. and Sun. noon–6 p.m., Thurs.–Sat. noon–8 p.m. Gallery Z, 259 Atwells Ave., Providence, 454-8844, galleryzprov.com.

Small Works Show
THROUGH DEC. 23: Artists from the Wickford Art Association decorate the walls of the Wickford Art Gallery with as many images — no larger than fourteen inches — as they can fit in the space. Artwork is priced at $300 or lower. 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.

Cove Pop-Up
THROUGH DEC. 24: This pop-up shop will feature a variety of beautiful home goods made by Rhode Island adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in collaboration with local craftspeople. Spearheaded by the Cove Center and the Cove Artist’s Collective, the Cove pop-up showcases a variety of handmade goods such as ceramic bowls made by the Collective, wooden furnishings and cutting boards made by Edge and End, hand-woven textiles from Flying Shuttles Studio, greenery and holiday plants care of the Groden Center Greenhouse and more. Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 233 Westminster St., Providence, indowncity.com.

Holiday Show and Silent Auction
THROUGH JAN. 3: Bid on a large selection of art by local 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 show times. Mill Gallery, Lorraine Mills, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket,  pawtucketartscollaborative.wildapricot.org.

Fifteenth Annual Craftland Extravaganza
DEC. 1: Craftland’s holiday show includes an eclectic collection of 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. See website for times. 212 Westminster St., Providence, 272-4285, craftlandshop.com.

Holiday Spectacular Artisan Craft Fair
DEC. 1: This indoor shopping spectacular features home and holiday decor, handmade jewelry, pottery, children’s apparel and more. Talented crafters will provide products that are the perfect gift for someone special on your Christmas list. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Newport Elks Lodge, 141 Pelham St., Newport, 289-0819, cherishthemoments.net.

Audubon Holiday Craft Fair
DEC. 1: 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. Shop, sip warm cider and enter the raffle for a chance to win one of the handcrafted items donated by a local artisan. The Audubon Nature Shop will also sell a variety of bird feeders, seed and field guides, too. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Free. Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Rd., Smithfield, 949-5454, asri.org.

Thirty-Fifth Annual  Foundry Artists’ Association Holiday Sale  
DEC. 2, 7–9: 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, clothing, jewelry, home furnishings and sculpture 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. The Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts, 172 Exchange St., Pawtucket, foundryshow.com.

Field of Artisans
DEC. 2, 9, 16, 23: Local artists and vendors sell unique handmade gifts at this pop-up. Shoppers can browse through a variety of jewelry, books, skin care items, macrame, apparel, pottery and more while sipping a brew or two in the Whalers taproom. 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Whalers Brewing Company, 1174 Kingstown Rd., South Kingstown, fieldofartisans.com.

Silver and Snow Holiday Show
DEC. 5–30: 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 and enjoy a glass of wine as you shop during the opening reception on Dec. 5 from 5–8 p.m. Artists’ Cooperative of Westerly, 14 Railroad Ave., Westerly, 596-2221, westerlyarts.com.

Art Providence Holiday Show
DEC. 8–9: This juried show features artistic skill and craftsmanship through an array of painting, photography, ceramics and several other media from artists all over New England. It’s also a kid-friendly event with special print-making activities available at the kids’ corner. See website for event times. $8.50, children younger than thirteen free. Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St., Providence, artprovidenceshow.com.