Rockport’s Christmas Calendar

A packed calendar of family-friendly holiday events

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Just about everywhere else in New England Santa arrives by sleigh, fire engine, or on a wagon. However, it’s only natural that in Rockport, MA Santa arrives by lobster boat. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, Rockport USA has packed the calendar with a multitude of singing, ringing and mingling events, perfect for the whole family. This holiday season, plan to spend some time in Rockport, finding the perfect hand-made gift for that someone special, enjoying strolling minstrels, or attending one of the oldest Christmas Pageants in New England. It all kicks off on December 1st with the Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting and continues with events lasting throughout December.

November 30: Downtown Rockport, 4-8 pm. Enjoy a festive Friday shopping evening with many shops and galleries staying open for extended hours and offering exclusive promotions and giveaways.  Stroll throughout Rockport’s historic downtown to the sounds of carols and songs of the season, and get into the holiday spirit.  A hundred lighted Christmas trees will guide you to beautifully decorated shops and galleries along Main Street, Mt. Pleasant Street, Dock Square and Bearskin Neck.

November 30 and December 1Find that perfect hand-crafted gift item, locally made right here on Cape Ann. The Cape Ann Artisans (CAA) invite the community to meet them Under One Roof at the Rockport Art Association on November 30 and December 1 for their 5th annual holiday show timed to coincide with Rockport’s “Holiday Shopping Night” festivities and Santa’s arrival in Rockport.  November 30 from 4-9 PM and December 1 from 10 AM – 5 PM.

December 1:

The Advent Fair at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church features holiday gift items, hand-crafted ornaments, African jewelry, delicious soup luncheon and decorated Holiday Greens and runs from 9am-1pm.

The Christmas Bazaar at the First Congregational Church features a wide range of Christmas decorations and ornaments, including fresh hand-crafted wreaths, greenery arrangements, baked items, and unique gifts runs from 8am-3pm.

Santa’s arrival and lighting of the Christmas tree  – Where else can you see Santa arrive by lobster boat? Santa will arrive at Rockport’s T-Wharf on Rockport Harbor at 1:00 PM, following a brisk lobster boat ride across Sandy Bay. Then Santa will climb up onto a Rockport Forest Fire truck and proceed along T-Wharf and Broadway to Spiran Hall (at the corner of Broadway and School Street) led by Rockport cub scouts. This year Santa will be able to linger a while to visit and have photos taken with the children at Spiran Hall until the Tree Lighting Ceremony begins. Then Santa will head over to Dock Square to greet the crowd and kick off the Tree Lighting festivities, before climbing back onto the fire truck to begin his long return journey to the North Pole.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will get underway at 4 PM welcoming Santa and the public to Dock Square with carols and a stirring rendition of “Christmas in Rockport” performed by the Dock Square Carolers.

The Chairperson of the Board of Selectmen will offer official greetings from the Town and will conclude the ceremony by pulling the switch to light this year’s Rockport Christmas tree.

December 2:

A 12 noon the DECA the Halls Holiday Home Tour starts. Visit the beautiful seaside homes and Inns of Rockport, decked out for the holidays. Organized by Rockport High School’s DECA Program and The Inns of Rockport.  Enjoy seasonal food samplings and wonderful company. In the process, help support Rockport High School’s DECA program which consists of 90 students. Tickets: $25. Tour starts at Rockport Inn & Suites Visit Seashells & Jingle Bells for more information.

From 3-5 pm Open House at the Sewell-Scripture House (Sandy Bay Historical Society) at 40 King Street. Enjoy Carol singing to an old-fashioned pump organ and an electric train for the children.

At 3 PM and 8 PM enjoy the holidays with Cape Ann’s own 17-piece big band performing holiday favorites, old and new, infused with a bit of jazz, swing, and rock n’ roll at the Shalin Lui Performance Center. Visit rockportmusic.org for details.

December 8: From 9 – 1 pm – The Nordic Christmas celebration, Jul Fest, will be held at Spiran Lodge, Rockport, at the corner of Broadway and School St. It will include the St. Lucia festival, holiday music, and lunch, and a selection of Nordic baked goods including nisu, as well as meats, herring, cheeses, greens and gifts will be for sale.

At 12:55 pm see the Bolshoi Ballet performance of the Nutcracker ballet at the Shalin Lui Performance Center. On Christmas Eve, Marie’s Nutcracker doll magically transforms into a prince and together their wonderful adventure begins. The Nutcracker invites audiences of all ages on a magical journey, through a world of enchantment, complete with dancing snowflakes and dolls that have come to life, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. The timeless holiday classic returns to the Bolshoi stage this December for a live broadcast. Run time: 140 minutes Tickets: $22 Adults/ $15 Students & Seniors/$5 Youth Visit rockportmusic.org for details.

Old Sloop Coffeehouse will present An Old Sloop Christmas with Chelsea Berry, December 8 at 7:30 PM at the handicap-accessible First Congregational Church of Rockport, 12 School St.  Chelsea will lead a celebration of the Christmas season with a performance in the church sanctuary.  She will perform Christmas music as well as some of her own wonderful songs.  Special guests will add to the festivities. Advance tickets are $20.  Visit the website at oldsloopcoffeehouse.org, John Tarr Store in Rockport, or The Bookstore of Gloucester.  The suggested contribution at the door is $25 for adults, $15 for those 65 and older, $5 for those under 18, and $50 for families.

December 8-9: A Very Special Evening of Holiday Shopping: Scores of shops and galleries will be open for extended evening hours, offering exclusive promotions and special events. Shop amidst Rockport’s enchanting display of brightly lit, colorfully adorned Christmas trees, and enjoy hot chocolate in Dock Square. The Solstice Singers will be strolling and singing songs of the season throughout downtown. Quintessential Brass will be performing traditional carols, holiday classics, and jazzy Christmas favorites throughout downtown.

From 10am – 5pm visit the Holiday Show and Sale of Cynthia Curtis Pottery on 80 Pigeon Hill Street. Refreshments and plenty of parking. Cynthia Curtis Pottery Studio is located in the “Pigeon Cove” area of Rockport, Massachusetts, close to the popular tourist attraction ‘The Paper House,’ local wooded trails and historic granite quarries. Cynthia Curtis Pottery is known for its ocean-inspired creations including coral vases, lamps, berry bowls, ornaments, scallop and clamshell dishes, mugs, and wedding platters. You can find these handmade creations at our studio, and galleries and shops throughout Cape Ann.

From 12-4pm take the Art Gallery Stroll! Enjoy a popular  tradition – an  introduction to Rockport’s galleries, studios, artists, and artisans. Many galleries will be featuring live music, wine and light refreshments and artist demonstrations. Look for the Art Gallery Stroll banners at participating galleries.

December 9:Visit the First Congregational Church in Rockport at 2 pm for the Rockport Legion Band’s Annual Holiday Concert.

Celebrate the Season at Rockport’s oldest working farm, Seaview Farm on South Street! Enjoy wonderful treats from 11am-4pm. Ornament making,  Wassail and hot chocolate, hot prepared food (Seaview Farm’s Beef Stew and more by Cape Ann Fresh Catch). Desserts by Cake Ann. Christmas trees and wreaths for sale by Wolf Hill. Pony rides, storyteller, raffle and Christmas Tree lighting.

December 12:A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at 8pm at the Shalin Lui Performance Center. Brian O’Donovan’s Christmas Celtic show draws from Celtic, Pagan and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season. Visit rockportmusic.org for details.

December 13: Santa joins Bruce Tarr and North Shore 104.9 FM for this annual benefit for children of the North Shore.  Bring a new, unwrapped toy and enjoy live music, refreshments and more.  Live broadcast from 4-5pm at the Shalin Lui Performance Center.

December 15: Join us for the Winter Indoor Farmers Market from 9-1pm at Spiran Hall on the corner of School Street and Broadway. The Rockport Farmers Market is a juried food market. Vendors must grow or make their own food product.

December 15-16: Rockport Maker’s Festival – join in for a celebration of creativity and holiday spirit!  A town-wide festival! Shop local and handmade. Maker-themed events in local shops. Fun and crafty family activities. Festive food and holiday music.

December 16: 3-5 pm Get in the holiday spirit with the Back Bay Ringers! Back Bay Ringers (BBR) is an advanced, auditioned, handbell ensemble. Under the direction of Griff Gall, BBR has quickly developed a reputation for excellence, regularly performing at Boston-area landmarks such as Faneuil Hall, Symphony Hall, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Prudential Center. Hear them at the Shalin Lui Performance Center. Visit rockportmusic.org for details.

December 22: 73rd Annual Christmas Pageant: One of the oldest Christmas pageants in New England, this torchlight re-enactment of the Nativity will take place starting at 5:00pm along Dock Square and Main Street. Come witness the spectacle of this free performance. Cap off the evening with a traditional ham and baked bean supper at the Congregational Church. Adults $9, children 12 and under $6. Desserts and drinks included. Open to the public.

From 2:30-4:00pm  Rockport Music presents North Shore Christian Men’s Choir at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Visit rockportmusic.org for details.

Holiday Sing Along – 7-8pm at the Shalin Lui Performance Center.  Free.  Get in the holiday spirit and join Rockport Music’s annual holiday community sing-along.  This year’s event will feature the Danny Frantina Brass Ensemble, as well as holiday songs by Rockport High School’s Madrigal Singers.

December 25: Santa Visits Dock Square: Santa makes one more stop to greet the children of Rockport at Dock Square at 10:30am after his long night of gift deliveries.

December 31: New Year’s Rockport Eve: Plan to enjoy six hours of continuous family entertainment with 45 shows in 19 different venues to choose from, starting at 6:00pm. You will be entertained with clowns, magicians, music of all genres ‘ classical, jazz, folk, country, songs of the sea, and rock and roll ‘ story tellers, puppets, and much more! A spectacular midnight celebration in Dock Square with the ball drop and count down will cap a truly memorable welcome to the New Year. For a complete schedule of New Year’s Rockport Eve, visit http://www.rockportusa.com/event-festival/rockport-new-years-eve/

There are so many more wonderful Rockport community events offered throughout the holiday season. For more information and a detailed schedule of Christmas in Rockport events, visit www.Rockportusa.com. Call 978-546-6575 to request your free Christmas in Rockport Holiday Calendar and Guide, or email info@capeannchamber.com.