All information is subject to change. Check with event coordinators in case of inclement weather and for other up-to-date information. 

Jump directly to a section:

Music • On Stage

Crafts Fairs • Holiday Festivals

Movies • Light Festivals

Meet Santa • Museums

Holiday House Tours • New Year's Eve

See also:  "Home For the Holidays," a guide to traditional holiday activities in Connecticut.

christmas with the celts-ridgefield

Christmas with the Celts

Music

Nov. 23-Dec. 31Legends in Concert Holiday ShowFox Theater, Foxwoods Resort Casino • Artists perform in tribute to Elvis, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and more in a holiday-themed show. Tue.-Sun. (excluding Dec. 25) and Mon. Dec. 31; $35-$45.


Handel’s Messiah — Presented by the Waterbury Symphony and performed by Hartford Chorale and vocal soloists from the Yale Opera program. $20-$55

Dec. 1St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield • 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 2NVCC Fine Arts Center, Waterbury • 3 p.m.


Dec. 2Ben Vereen: Steppin’ Out for the HolidaysRidgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield • The legendary actor performs a night of Christmas and Hanukkah favorites, plus classics from the Great American Songbook and Broadway. 4 p.m.; $75.

Dec. 5-8Christmas Hour with David Pittsinger and FriendsIvoryton Playhouse, Ivoryton • David Pittsinger, along with Patricia Schuman, Carly Callahan and others perform holiday standards and sacred songs. Wed.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. and Thu. 2 p.m.; $50.

Dec. 7Theresa Kate BandThe Palace, Stafford Springs • The Christian pop-rock singer performs her Christmas show, Joy Protect My Eyes. 8 p.m.; $20-$22.

Dec. 8Brian Wilson Presents the Christmas Album LiveOakdale Theatre, Wallingford • The iconic musician performs holiday songs from the Beach Boys, his 2015 holiday solo album and other favorites. 8 p.m.; tickets start at $34

Dec. 9Christmas With the Celts: An American & Irish ChristmasRidgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield • The Celts perform a mix of traditional Irish music, American pop and ancient Irish and Scottish carols. 7:30 p.m.; $47.50.

Dec. 9Mannheim SteamrollerPalace Theater, Waterbury • The best-selling Christmas act of all time brings their unique sound and multimedia light show. 4 p.m.; $55-$105.

Dec. 1298 Degrees at Christmas 2018 TourRidgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield • All four original members of the late-’90s boy band will perform music from their recent Christmas album, Let it Snow. 8 p.m; $98-$125.

Dec. 15Joys of the Season: Bach to Pops! • Norwalk Concert Hall, Norwalk • The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Snowflakes, Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, as well as Christmas and Hanukkah standards. • 5-7 p.m.; $10-$50.


nowell-city singers of hartford-dorothy vilano.jpg

CitySingers of Hartford

Nowell!  In the spirit of Nowell, or the hope for a better world, CitySingers of Hartford performs choral works, carols and motets dating from the Renaissance to modern day.

Dec. 15 • Enfield Congregational Church, Enfield • 4-5:30 p.m.; $10

Dec. 16 & 22 • First Church of Christ, West Hartford • 4-5:30 p.m.; $10


Dec. 16Winter ConcertBattell Chapel, New Haven • Maestro Kalena Bovell makes her debut with the Civic Orchestra of New Haven with selections by Coleridge-Taylor, Bizet and Sibelius, as well as holiday choir music. 3:30-5:30 p.m.; $20 suggested donation.

Dec. 19Glenn Miller Orchestra: In the Christmas MoodRidgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield • The world-famous orchestra performs holiday and big-band favorites. 7 p.m.; $40.

Dec. 20Sultans of String: Christmas Caravan • Infinity Hall, Norfolk • This quintet of string aficionados merges genres and influences to produce a truly unique sound. 8 p.m.; tickets $24-$39.

Dec. 22A Tribute to Trans-Siberian OrchestraWater’s Edge, Westbrook • Tribute band Ornament performs the holiday music of the internationally known orchestra. Admission includes dinner and the show. 6 p.m. reception (show starts at 7 p.m.); $49.


On Stage

Through Dec. 23The Christmas Elf 2Downtown Cabaret, Bridgeport • The Christmas Elf is back, and is once again called upon to save the holiday in this Children’s Theater production. Saturdays noon & 2:30 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m.; $23.75.

Through Dec. 15Elf: The MusicalCurtain Call, Stamford • Based on the beloved movie, Buddy the Elf goes on a quest to find his true identity. Thu.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.; adults $35, children $17.50.

Nov. 29-30 & Dec. 5-9A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical CelebrationConnecticut Repertory Theater, Storrs Set in late 1864, this musical from Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel depicts an America desperate for peace in a time of extreme partisan divide. (Use your imagination.) Showtimes vary; $10-$40.

Nov. 30-Dec. 1Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The MusicalPalace Theater, Waterbury • The misfit reindeer finds his purpose in this musical adaptation of the stop-motion classic. Fri. 7 p.m. and Sat. 1 & 7 p.m.

Dec. 1Peter White ChristmasJohn Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, New Haven • Guitarist Peter White and friends with an evening of jazz and holiday classics. 8 p.m.; $35.

Dec. 1The Gingerbread ManBallard Institute, Mansfield • Run, run, to the classic story of a cookie with a Christmas wish. This 40-minute puppet show is for ages 3 and up. 2 p.m.; $12.

Dec. 1 • Snowkus PocusRidgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield • In this cirque spectacular, a young girl is swept into a magical land and learns about the many moods of winter. 4 and 7:30 p.m.; $25 adults, $20 children.


It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play — The Vagabond Theatre Company performs a live radio adaptation of the classic movie.

Dec. 1-2 • The Bijou Theatre, Bridgeport • Sat. 2 & 8 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m.; tickets start at $15.

Dec. 14-15 • The Legacy Theatre at Stony Creek Museum, Branford • Fri. 7:30 p.m., Sat. 2 & 7:30 p.m. (space is limited; reservations strongly recommended.)


Dec. 1-16Elf: The MusicalThomaston Opera House, Thomaston • Landmark Community Theatre’s production of the beloved story. Fri.-Sat. 7 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.; $26.

Dec. 1-22Glitz! The Little Miss Christmas Pageant MusicalMilford Arts Council, Milford • Ten girls (and their mothers) vie for a junior pageant crown in this comedy holiday show for the whole family. Fri.-Sun., various times; $22-$25.

Dec. 2Donny & Marie Holiday Tour 2018Grand Theater, Foxwoods Resort Casino • Celebrate the season with an evening of song and dance with the Osmonds. 6 p.m.; $79-$109.

Dec. 8Twas a Girls Night Before Christmas: The MusicalShubert Theatre, New Haven • This sequel to the hit Girls Night: The Musical finds the ladies reunited for a night on the town during the holiday season. 7:30 p.m.; $35-$55.

Dec. 8-16A Charlie Brown ChristmasWarner Theatre, Torrington • Charlie Brown and the gang learn the true meaning of the season in this brief (45-minute) stage adaptation of the beloved TV special. Sat.-Sun. 1 and 4 p.m.; $12.

Dec. 13-23Coney Island ChristmasIvoryton Playhouse, Ivoryton • A young Jewish girl learns what it means to be American during the holidays when she is cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas pageant. Wed.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. and Wed. & Sat.-Sun. 2 p.m.; $35. 

Dec. 14-16Cirque Dreams HolidazeOakdale Theatre, Wallingford • A spectacular cirque show celebrating the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Fri. 7:30, Sat. 2 & 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.; tickets start at $29.

Dec. 15-16A Broadway Holiday Show • Fairfield Theater Co., Fairfield • Broadway’s New Paradigm Theatre troupe joins performers from Connecticut Dance for a performance of new and classic holiday tunes. Sat. 8 p.m. and Sun. 3 p.m.; $35.

Dec. 22A Magical Cirque Christmas • Palace Theatre, Stamford • A return to the golden age of entertainment with circus acts, magic, comedy and Christmas carols. 8 p.m.; $27-$150.

 

nutcracker main st ballet-Sibley Morosco.jpg

The Main Street Ballet Company performs The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker Ballet

Dec. 1 • Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford • Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. 3 p.m.; tickets start at $28.

Dec. 1-2 • Pomperaug High School, Southbury • Main Street Ballet Company. Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.; $12-$15.

Dec. 1-16 • Mystic Dark Room, Stonington • Mystic Ballet performs its Nutcracker Spectacular. Sat. 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. and Sun. 1 p.m.; $32-$48.

Dec. 8-9 • Garde Arts Center, New London • Eastern Connecticut Ballet brings in stars from the New York City and Miami City ballets, and transforms the setting into a New London winter seaport in the 1850s. Sat. 1:30 & 7 p.m., Sun. 1:30 p.m.; $25-$50.


Nutmeg Ballet — Before they debut their new set in 2019, there are two more chances to see the one that has entertained audiences for the past 20 years.

Dec. 8-9 • The Bushnell, Hartford • Sat.-Sun. 12:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.; $38-$60.

Dec. 15-16 • Warner Theater, Torrington • Sat. 2 & 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m.; $24-$47.


Dec. 15-16 • Palace Theatre, Stamford • The Connecticut Ballet’s production returns with guest stars from the New York City Ballet for Saturday’s shows and the American Ballet Theater on Sunday. 1 & 5 p.m. each day; $40-$75.

Dec. 15-16 • Shubert Theatre, New Haven • Performed by the New Haven Ballet. 1 & 5 p.m. each day; $24-$70.

Dec. 16 • Palace Theater, Waterbury • Performed by the Woodbury Ballet. 4 p.m.; $25-$75.

IMG_6876.jpg

Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford presents An Imrpovised Christmas Carol.

A Christmas Carol

A variety of takes on the perennial favorite.

Nov. 23-Dec. 29 • A Christmas Carol • Hartford Stage, Hartford • Back for its 21st season at the Hartford Stage. Schedule varies; $25-$90.

Nov. 30-Dec. 30 • A Connecticut Christmas CarolThe Norma Terris Theatre, Chester • The classic tale is adapted into a musical for the Nutmeg State, with William Gillette as Scrooge and appearances by the likes of Mark Twain and P.T. Barnum, plus some newly added twists for 2018. Evening and matinee shows Thu.-Sun., and a Christmas Eve matinee Dec. 24; times and ticket prices vary.

Dec. 1-2 • Dinner/Brunch with DickensWater’s Edge, Westbrook • Saturday dinner or Sunday brunch with Gerald Dickens, Charles’ great-great-grandson, who performs the famous play. Sat. 6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.; $59.

Dec. 6-16 • An Improvised Christmas CarolSea Tea Comedy Theater, Hartford • In this show by Sea Tea Improv and Hot Cocco Productions, the audience can suggest changes that may — or may not — affect Scrooge’s journey. Shows take place Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m. and Sun. 2 p.m.; $18 for adults and $10 kids under 16.

Craft Fairs

Dec. 1 • St. Nicholas FairSt. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield • Shop for handmade crafts, ornaments, wreaths and cookies, plus gently used items and a silent auction. St. Nick himself will be making the rounds. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free admission. 

Dec. 1-22 • Gingerbread House Decorating Workshops for ChildrenLyman Orchards’ Apple Barrel, Middlefield • Kids can enjoy an edible dream come true learning how to build and decorate gingerbread houses. Reservations required. Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-noon.

Dec. 1-2 & 8 • Holiday Open House & MarketDudley Farm Museum, Guilford • Explore two floors of the Munger Barn to find unique homemade foods and crafts. Free admission.

Dec. 7 • Farmington High School Madrigals & Holiday Maker’s MarketNew Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain • The museum’s annual Holiday Maker’s Market has more than 20 local vendors selling handmade jewelry, crafts and more. As visitors browse the markets, the Farmington High School Madrigals will perform classic holiday songs.

gingerbread house wood mem library.jpg

Gingerbread House Festival at Wood Memorial Library in South Windsor

Holiday Festivals

Nov. 23-Dec. 15 • Gingerbread House Festival • Wood Memorial Library, South Windsor • Sat.-Mon. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; free admission. (See more information in our Home for the Holidays article.)

Nov. 25 • Holiday Dazzle Light ParadeDowntown Putnam • More than 100 floats, plus music and light displays to welcome the holiday season. 5-8 p.m.

Dec. 1 • Winter WelcomeMansfield Center, Storrs • This annual community festival features street performers, carolers and special offers from downtown businesses. 2-5 p.m.

Dec. 7 • Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival • A holiday carnival of music, hayrides and train rides, crafts, carolers and much moreDec. 7 from 5-10 p.m. and Dec. 8 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission, parking and many events are free.

Dec. 8 • Colebrook Holiday Magic FairTown Hall and Senior & Community Center, Colebrook • A traditional holiday fair with food and craft vendors, live trees and wreaths, and children’s shopping and activities. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Movies

Dec. 8 • Elf (2003) • Avon Theatre, Stamford • Along with this free screening of the classic Will Ferrell comedy, the Avon is collecting canned and non-perishable food items for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. 11 a.m.

Dec. 27 • Christmas in Connecticut (1945) • New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain • Barbara Stanwyck is a domestic magazine writer forced to try to live up to her highly exaggerated reputation when a publisher invites himself and a war hero to stay on “her” idyllic farm for the holidays. 1 p.m.; free with museum admission.

Light Festivals

For more information, see our Home for the Holidays feature on Connecticut holiday traditions.

Through Jan. 2 • Festival of Silver LightsHubbard Park, Meriden • 5 p.m.-midnight; free admission.

Through Dec. 31 • Fantasy of LightsLighthouse Point Park, New Haven • Sun.-Thu. 5-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 5-10 p.m.; $10 per car.

Through Jan. 1 • Holiday Light FantasiaGoodwin Park, Hartford • Sun.-Thu. 5-9 p.m., Fri-Sat. 5-10 p.m.; $15 per car.

Dec. 1-30 • Illuminations • Ivoryton Town Green • Sun.-Thu. 5-9 p.m., Fri-Sat. 5-10 p.m.; $15 per car.

Meet Santa

Lyman brunch with santa.jpg

Brunch with Santa at Lyman Orchards

Nov. 23-Dec. 23 • Santa SpecialEssex Steam Train & Riverboat, Essex • Take a festive railway ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the helpers. Trains depart Fri. Nov. 23 and Sat.-Sun. thereafter; departure times and prices vary.

Nov. 23-Dec. 23 • Northern Lights Limited and Santa ExpressRailroad Museum of New England, Thomaston • Take an early afternoon ride with the big guy on the Santa Express, or ride the evening Northern Lights Limited all the way to the North Pole to pick up Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their entourage. Fri.-Sun.; departure times and prices vary.

Nov. 30-Dec. 23 • Santa’s Trolley Winter WonderlandShore Line Trolley MuseumEast Haven • Kids get to meet and receive a small gift from Santa, plus enjoy a cookie and hot chocolate aboard an antique trolley decorated for the holidays. Trolleys leave Sat.-Sun. between 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; $10 per person.

Dec. 1 • Breakfast With SantaNew England Air Museum, Windsor Locks • Families can meet Santa and his elves for breakfast, then tour the museum with him (he knows a thing or two about aviation). Breakfast is 10-11 a.m., and Santa will be there until 2 p.m. Limited space; reservations required. $10 per person for members; non-members: $25 adults, $20 ages 4-14, free under 4.

Dec. 2 • Santa’s RunGlastonbury High School, Glastonbury • Dress in your wildest holiday costume for this annual 3.5-mile run — there will be prizes for the race, plus a costume contest and raffle drawings. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Glastonbury Food Bank. Race starts at noon (snow date: Dec. 9); entry fee $15 before Dec. 1, $20 day of race.

Dec. 2-23 • Brunch with Santa & Mrs. ClausLyman Orchards Homestead, Middlefield • Families can enjoy a buffet-style brunch prepared by the Lyman Homestead, then get a complimentary photo of their meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Reservations required. Sun. Dec. 2-23 and Sat. Dec. 15 & 22. Seatings between 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; $39.95 adults, $19.95 7-12, $6.94 3-6, 2 and under free.

Museums

Through Jan. 4 • Deck the WallsLyme Art Association, Old Lyme • An annual member show and sale featuring more than 200 works of art priced for holiday gift-giving. Wed.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment.

Through Jan. 6 • Magic of ChristmasFlorence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme • Each year sees the museum decorated in the style of 1910, the height of the Lyme Art Colony, and hosts Christmastime teas and hands-on crafts events for children and adults. Tue.-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 1-5 p.m.; $10 adults.

Nov. 23-Jan. 6 • Victorian Holiday SeasonLockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum & Westport Historical Society’s Wheeler House, Norwalk/Westport • Enhance the holiday spirit with a tour of two historic buildings. Includes a catered boxed lunch and refreshments. Group tours only, starting daily at 10, 10:30 and 11 a.m. (no tours Dec. 25 or Jan. 1). $32; reserve tickets online or call 203-838-9799, ext. 6.

Dec. 1-21 • Great Trains Holiday Exhibit • Wilton Historical Society, Wilton • Kids of all ages love this interactive exhibit of model trains which run through tiny towns set up all over the historical society’s buildings. This year features the debut of an expanded new Lego set. Younger visitors can find Thomas the Tank Engine and Brio, and visit with Santa on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Trains are open for viewing Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun. noon-4 p.m. $10 for non-member adults; free for members and under 12.

Dec. 2 • Colonial ChristmasLeffingwell House Museum, Norwich • The museum will be decorated in the Colonial Christmas style, with a President William Harrison impersonator, interpreters to answer your questions about the holiday exhibits and regional tastes of the season for sampling. 1-4 p.m.; free admission.

Dec. 9 • Holiday Open HouseLockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk • Tour the Magical Christmas Eve exhibit and enjoy dance and choral youth performances, plus a visit from Santa. noon-4 p.m.; admission $5.

Dec. 16 • Seasons ReadingsLockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk • Play With Your Food presents an afternoon of short plays and stories to celebrate the season. 4-6 p.m.; $35.

Dec. 21 • Museum After Dark: Ugly Sweater PartyNew Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain • Don your ugliest apparel for live music, karaoke, food and drink, and photos with Santa. 21 and over. 8-11 p.m.; $15-$30.

Mark Twain House Door at Christmas.jpg

The door at the Mark Twain House decorated for Christmas

Holiday House Tours

Dec. 2 • Mark Twain House & other locations, Hartford and West Hartford • Tour the Mark Twain House decorated for a late-19th-century Christmas, plus four other beautiful private homes. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; tickets $30 in advance or $35 day of tour.

Dec. 8 • Various locations, Woodbury • The Woman’s Club of Woodbury sponsors this annual tour of a half-dozen of the town’s historic homes. 10 a.m.-4 p.m; $30 in advance or $35 day of event at the Woodbury Senior and Community Center.

New Year's Eve

All events take place on Dec. 31

Boogie Wonder BandMohegan Sun Wolf Den • The popular cover band gets down with ’70s favorites for two free shows, at 8 and 11 p.m. 21 and over.


nh010117nhfirstnight-211

First Night festivities in Westport.

First Nights

First Night events are alcohol-free, family-friendly, arts-oriented community celebrations to ring in the new year. A one-time fee allows visitors access to all participating shows and events.

Downtown Hartford • Events start at 2 p.m., including two fireworks shows at 6 p.m. and midnight; passes are $12 for adults and $3 ages 3-15.

Jesup Green, Westport • 3-10 p.m.; passes are $10 ($15 after Dec. 14). •


First Night of FunnyShubert Theatre, New Haven • Ring in the new year with a lineup of nationally known comedians. 18 and over. 8-10 p.m.; $25.

KeshaMohegan Sun Arena • The singer-songwriter performs in concert, fresh off some of the best reviews of her career for her album Rainbow. 8 p.m.; $49-$69.

Max CreekToad’s Place, New Haven • The classic jam band takes the stage at 8 p.m. $25.

New Year’s Eve Black & White Ball • Mystic Aquarium, Mystic • Celebrate in style in your best black-and-white attire with Nancy Paolino & The Black Tie Band, gourmet catering and two special guests: a pair of endangered African penguins. Proceeds benefit the aquarium’s mission programs. 21 and over. 8 p.m.-1 a.m.; $125 per person.

New Year’s Eve GalaLady Katharine Cruises, Hartford • Cruise into 2019 with lively entertainment, a buffet dinner, fireworks and a champagne toast. Boarding at Charter Oak Landing at 6:30 p.m.; cruise-only and hotel packages available.

Noon Year’s EveMaritime Aquarium, Norwalk • Kids can ring in the year and count down to 12 noon with a strolling magician, juggler and “bubble-ologist.” 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; adults $24.95, ages 3-12 $17.95.

NRBQ New Year’s Eve PartyInfinity Hall, Norfolk • Connecticut’s native band, New Rhythm and Blues Quartet, rocks out with their classic hits. 9 p.m.; tickets start at $34, or dinner-and-a-show package for $125.

Rick SpringfieldGrand Theater, Foxwoods Resort Casino • Rock out with the performer behind ’80s power-pop hits like “Jessie’s Girl,” “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Human Touch.” 9 p.m.; $35-$60.

This article appeared in the December 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine. Like what you read? You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here.