Our favorite family-friendly holiday events (2020 edition)
New Hampshire businesses, groups and organizations are bringing you some creative and socially distanced events this holiday season
(Note: Be sure to get tickets in advance if possible, and be familiar the COVID-19 protocols that will be in place. Events are also subject to cancellation, so check its status before you go. In addition to these events, you’ll also find a listing of parades, Christmas tree festivals and more holiday events here.)
The New England Dance Ensemble is celebrating their 20th anniversary of “The Nutcracker.” NEDE has created a professional cinematic performance for a socially distanced nostalgic drive-in movie theater experience. You can also enjoy the performance at home.
When: Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13
Where: Barn Z’s Drive-In in Barrington
The Palace Holiday Spectacular
A show filled with classic Christmas entertainment reminiscent of those golden age television variety shows from Dean Martin and Perry Como. Filled with beautiful voices, breath-taking dancing, gorgeous costumes, rib-tickling fun, and even a visit from a very special guest, Santa Claus! With over 30 classic Christmas songs, the show will warm the heart and soul with Christmas spirit.
When: Friday-Sunday, Dec. 18-20
Where: Palace Theatre in Manchester
Candlelight Stroll under the stars
Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through 300-plus years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. The museum grounds will glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, and house doors and railings are adorned with handmade. Visitors stroll along candlelit pathways and are greeted along the way by costumed role players and performers who recreate the traditions of times past. An outdoor-only experience.
When: Dec. 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20
Where: Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth
The Fright Before Christmas
Krampus has come to town to spoil everyone’s holiday cheer. Fright Kingdom will be transformed into a horribly scary winter wonderland. You will encounter rabid reindeer, crazed carolers, cannibalistic elves and other merry mayhem-makers. There’s also a creepy Christmas costume contest and food truck on-site. Recommended for older kids.
When: Friday-Saturday, Dec. 4-6
Where: Fright Kingdom in Nashua
Santa in the Park
Santa is making a special stop in the park. Drop in between noon and 2 p.m. to visit Santa. Folks can wait in line to take a picture (socially distanced) with Santa. All children will also receive a free gift.
When: Saturday, Dec. 5
Where: Greeley Park in Nashua
Gift of Lights
The original drive-thru holiday experience. New Hampshire Motor Speedway will trade in the checkered flags for more than 2.5 million twinkly LED lights for the 10th annual Gift of Lights. The 2.5-mile drive-thru light show will feature the Tunnel of Lights, 520 displays and 80 different scenes.
When: Nov. 26 through Jan. 3
Where: New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon
Join maestro Roger Kalia as he leads a brass ensemble comprised of SNH musicians in holiday favorites to ring in the most wonderful time of the year.
When: Friday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Dana Center at St. Anselm College in Manchester
Christmas at the Farm Re-imagined
Enjoy cookies, cocoa, and a free take-home craft. Weather permitting, you can walk down the hill to visit the goats and chickens, and visit the bunnies. Find a holiday gift in the barn store.
When: Saturdays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19; 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Forgotten Farm in Hooksett
A Magic Journey
The Magic Journey begins at the “magic wardrobe,” winding through the North Shop Barn, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland. The Barn features artist-created vignettes, including a Shaker Christmas, a dollhouse and skating panorama, and snow-laden forest scenes. More surprises await, including a Find-the-Elf treasure hunt, and, on weekends, an artisan market of handcrafted holiday gifts. Hot cocoa and cider will be available, and the Moolicious and Sweet Crunch Bakeshop food trucks will be at the Village on Dec. 12 and 19. Also, on Dec. 12, from 3-4 p.m., there will be a live musical performance by Massimo Paparello and his brass quartet, Eau De Vie Quartet.
When: Dec. 11-23 and 27-30
Where: Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury
The Manchester Community Music School has turned their annual Holiday Pops concert into an outdoor, socially distant Holiday Stroll. Attendees will be escorted in family/friend groups of 10 on a stroll around the holiday lit grounds of the Music School, stopping to listen to live faculty and student performances along the way. Each stroll will last about 45 minutes. Advanced reservations are required.
When: Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 5-6
Where: Manchester Community Music School in Manchester