What to do during Christmas vacation week

Ring in the New Year at NHSCOT’s Hogmanay Celebration on Saturday, December 28, 2019 from 4-8 p.m. at the Derryfield Country Club in Manchester.

The kids will be on school vacation from Saturday, December 21 through Wednesday, January 1 and there are some great events and things to do to keep them busy and having fun.

Squeeze in some last-minute holiday cheer.

The weekend before Christmas boasts some of the season’s most-loved events. Don’t miss a few of our favorites:


Bake up some cookies or a gingerbread house.

If you haven’t had the chance to get into the kitchen with your kids, then school vacation week is the perfect time for baking. We suggest trying your hands at Homemade Gingerbread House, Chocolaty Snow Day Cookies, Sweet Dream Bars, Sugar and Spice Sandwich Cookies and Snow Balls.

Find the recipes listed above here.


Grab the crayons and let your child’s imagination fly.

Each year, we ask our talented audience to grab the crayons (or colored pencils) and create a beautiful outdoor image that we can include in our March issue, which is the issue dedicated to summer camps. The 2020 Coloring Contest rules are fairly simple: on a 8 ½ x 11 inch piece of white paper in landscape orientation, have your child age 6 and older draw and color in a summer camping scene as they show us what they love about camping and/or the outdoors.

More information: www.parentingnh.com/coloring-contest-2020


Don’t miss Dinosaur Days, happening December 26-28 at the Children’s Museum of NH in Dover.

Spend the week with some dinosaurs.

After the Christmas presents have all been opened, head to the Children’s Museum of NH in Dover for Dinosaur Days. From December 26-28, it’s all about the prehistoric creatures and the museum will have a dinosaur scavenger hunt, dinosaur-themed crafts, storytimes and other drop-in activities.

More information: www.childrens-museum.org


Grab your kilt and enjoy a Scottish-style New Year’s Eve Party.

Join NHSCOT for its Hogmanay Celebration, which takes place on Saturday, December 28 at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester. There will be plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family, including: Scottish-style games, puzzles, food, music and more.

More information: nhscot.org/event-hogmanay


Get loud and stomp your feet with NH’s own Recycled Percussion.

The Manchester-based group, who rose to fame on America’s Got Talent, will be criss-crossing the Granite State for a number of special shows from late December through mid-January. Catch them at Rochester Opera House on December 26 and The Palace Theatre on December 27 through January 4.

More information: recycledpercussion.com/tour/


Reach for the sky (and do some stargazing).

These long and cold winter nights offer ideal conditions for looking up to view the moon, planets and constellations, so bundle up and head outside. Check out stargazing events at the University of New Hampshire Observatory in Durham on Saturday, December 21 and the Rey Center in Waterville Valley on Saturday, December 28.

More information: learn more about stargazing here


Go the circus and support a great group of talented kids.

Head to the Pine Hill School in Wilton for the Flying Gravity Starburst Circus Extravaganza with the Red Trouser Guys on Saturday, December 28. The mission of Flying Gravity Circus is to use circus arts as a vehicle for positive youth development and to ignite in children and teens a love for learning, teaching, and performing circus. Adult tickets are $15 and children 12 and younger are $10; the show starts at 5 p.m.

More information: www.facebook.com/events/


Ring in 2020 a few hours early at the Currier Museum of Art.

On December 31, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the Currier in Manchester is holding a special Noon Year’s Eve party for families. Festivities include bubble wrap fireworks and a balloon drop as well as live entertainment, face painting and hands-on art activities.

More information: The Currier Museum of Art is located at 150 Ash Street in Manchester.


Start 2020 off on the right foot and go for a hike.

There are a number of free, organized hikes happening on Wednesday, January 1 including hikes, including: Milan Hill State Park in Milan, Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey, Odiorne State Park in Rye, Franconia Notch State Park and Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown.

More information: For times and meeting locations, visit nhstateparks.org. Don’t forget to bring your four-legged friends along for the hike, too!


Get a new perspective on the stars.

Head to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord and take in a Planetarium show. Kids 4 and older will love “Take Flight!” which features uniquely-animated brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright for a full-throttle adventure through the history and into the future of aeronautics. For ages 8 and older, check out “Attack of the Space Pirates”, which follows a gang of rogue pirates that will stop at nothing to find that technology and unleash its awesome power against the rest of the universe.  Shows take place daily throughout vacation week.

More information: www.starhop.com


All aboard Holiday Week Trains.

Visit snow-covered North Conway and catch a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad, which will be offering old-fashioned train rides two times a day from December 26-31 during school vacation week. While you’re in North Conway, make sure you visit Cranmore Mountain Resort‘s Tubing and Mountain Adventure Park.

More information: www.conwayscenic.com


If there’s snow and it’s cold enough….

Bundle up and go sledding.

Grab your gloves and toboggan and find the nearest hill! Some of our favorite spots are Alexander Carr Park in Derry, Roby Park in Nashua and Garrison Hill Park in Dover.


Embrace the cold and check out an ice castle.

The ice castles will be back again in the town of Woodstock, so don’t miss this incredible, acre-sized castle made completely of ice. Kids will love the ice thrown, luges and slides as well as beautiful ice sculptures. This beloved pop-up attraction is expected to open around New Year’s Day and sticks around until the temps warm up around late February or early March. Visitors will find an enchanted ice princess and fire performances on select dates.

More information: icecastles.com/new-hampshire

Categories: Winter Guide, Winter Holidays