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Christmas on Cape Cod: 5 Events You Shouldn’t Miss

In today’s overly-commercialized world, more Boston families are dreaming of an authentic Christmas on Cape Cod, the coastal holiday destination where modern amenities and Victorian charm casually coexist.

In an effort to celebrate the season just as New Englanders did in days of yore, we rounded up some of the most exciting winter events and attractions taking place on the Cape and Islands, and uncovered experiences filled with festive sights, sounds, and traditions worth passing down for generations.

First, greet Santa by the sea. 

Santa’s arrival by boat in Falmouth Harbor draws crowds to the shore, while other quintessential Cape experiences (like seaside celebrations in Orleans, Provincetown, Hyannis, and literally every village in between) make Christmas by the ocean so memorable. Plus, vibrant sunsets, harbor views, and romantic lighthouses are never far—regardless of where you stay.

With so many events and attractions taking place from the start of the season all the way through New Year’s—when First Night celebrations in towns like Sandwich, Chatham and Provincetown take place—it’s clear that New England’s holiday excitement starts by the sea!

Explore Gardens Aglow.

One of Cape Cod’s most celebrated tree lighting spectaculars, Gardens Aglow brings the season to life each year at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich.

Featuring over nine miles of holiday lights, marshmallow-roasting, merry music, visits from Santa, model train displays, and cuddly baby goats, piglets, chicks, and bunnies—this twinkling wonderland is sure to dazzle anyone who enters the festive grounds, decorated by some of the region’s top interior designers and ice sculptures by local artists.

Ride the Polar Express.

Cape Cod Central Railroad transports families on a magical, one hour storybook ride that’ll captivate kids, parents, and grandparents alike!

Cozy, vintage train cars transport Polar Express passengers from Buzzards Bay to the “North Pole” where Santa and his merry elves greet riders, and offer a special holiday gift (a bell cut from his sleigh!).

The perfect setting for family photos, this memorable activity is great for families of all sizes. Plus, groups of 25 or more can inquire about reduced rates—making Polar Express an excellent tradition ideal for bigger groups that include friends, co-workers, or social groups.

Shop holiday gifts and special offers from artisan boutiques and top-tier brands.

With retailers still doing things the old fashioned way on Cape Cod (even during the bustling holiday season) be prepared to enter an enriching shopping environment that’ll have you glad to leave behind crowded parking lots and long lines.

Shop Cape Cod and discover a holiday experience where customers not only receive more attentive service from store workers, but also receive exciting holiday offers from locally-owned boutiques, utterly charming antique shops, and independent art galleries that’ll make each gift exchanged this year a little more special. Plus, Cape Cod is home to larger shopping centers like Mashpee Commons and Cape Cod Mall, where something fabulous can be found for any holiday shopping list.

Bring the kids to theatrical/concert performances.

Cape Cod is one of the best places to lift the curtain on Christmas! And thanks to talented actors and musicians, Christmas on the Cape offers no shortage of alluring performances and enchanting holiday tales for audiences.

Get tickets to kid-friendly musical presentations like Falmouth Theatre Guild’s captivating rendition of White Christmas, or see a spirited performance of the Charles Dickens’ classic Scrooge at Cotuit Center for the Arts.  Revel in the season at the Cape Symphony’s sparkling Holiday Pops Concert, a spectacular Cape Cod tradition. Whatever show you take in, give the gift of culture and enjoy traditional holiday fun the whole family can enjoy together.

Don’t miss out on Christmas memories made only on Cape Cod! Visit ChristmasonCapeCod.com for fantastic accommodations packages, retail & restaurant promotions, and your chance to win hundreds of dollars in Cape Cod gift cards during the Santa’s Helpers’ promotion, kicking off December 1st.