December’s calendar is always bursting with fun things to do. However, with COVID-19 acting the Grinch, it’s best to check ahead. Our holiday wish is that there will be plenty of tree lightings, parades, festivals, and visits with Santa this month to be enjoyed by all. Unless otherwise noted, all events follow CDC masking recommendations. Here are a few jolly ways to enjoy Maine this month:
November 20—January 1
This wildly popular annual light show has been adapted as a driving tour to provide socially distanced holiday fun. Make an evening of it by creating a festive playlist, brewing a thermos of hot beverages, packing snacks for the drive, and downloading a map of the region that includes entries in this year’s community lighting contest. Visit mainegardens.org for more information.
Light Up the Town
November 27—December 31
Organized by the Children’s Discovery Museum of Central Maine in Waterville, this event invites businesses and individuals to decorate properties with festive holiday lights. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by sleigh to Castonguay Square on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to light a huge holiday tree adjacent to a small Santa’s village, Kringleville, created especially for the season. Maps are available to help families find all the holiday light displays, and virtual visits with Santa are also available. For more information, follow Kringleville on Facebook.
Pentantonix: The Evergreen Christmas Tour
Waterfront Concerts and the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland are bringing three-time Grammy® Award-winning artists Pentatonix to Maine this holiday season. Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test is required to attend. Visit crossarenaportland.com for more information.
Town-Wide Holiday Kick-Off
Visit Freeport presents festivities that kick off with a Friday night Parade of Lights down Main Street, and a week full of free horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, the famous Talking Christmas Tree, and gift card giveaways by the Freeport Stealth Elf. For more information, visit sparklecelebration.com.
Kris Kringle Fair
This annual ticketed event at the town gym in Monson raises funds for local families in need. Festivities include a craft fair, children’s activities, and sometimes, baking contests and visits with Santa, though COVID precautions may alter the lineup this year. Follow Monson, Maine on Facebook for more information.
The Collins Center for the Arts in Orono is teaming up with Waterfront Concerts to present Jay Leno live. Leno, an acclaimed TV late night show host, stand-up comedian, children’s book author, corporate speaker, voice-over artist, car builder, and philanthropist, is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.” Visit collinscenterforthearts.com for more information.
Christmas by the Sea Celebration
This Ogunquit tradition, held the second weekend in December each year, offers a wide variety of activities, including tasting events, Santa sightings, tree lightings, hayrides, concerts, a bonfire, craft show, children’s activities, and a parade from Perkins Cove to the Main Beach. Visit chamber.ogunquit.org for more information.
Eighteenth Annual Mountain Holly Days
The Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce organizes this event, which features free refreshments, special festivities, family activities, and shopping and dining specials. For more information, call 864-5571 or visit rangeleymaine.com.
The Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft is hosting this Wayside Grange 2021 Concert Series performance by The Lowdown. David Dodson writes great songs that run the gamut of American styles, including folk, rock, blues, jazz, and country. He plays a mean guitar, tells a good story, sings like a bird, and he’s got rhythm. Who could ask for more? Visit centertheatre.org for more information.
New Year’s Eve Sardine & Maple Leaf Drop
The Tides Institute & Museum of Art organizes this town-wide celebration that includes dining and shopping specials and programming at multiple locations throughout the day and the dropping of both the giant sardine (a nod to Eastport’s fishing heritage) and a maple leaf (a nod to Canadian neighbors just across the narrow). Last year, virtual activities and at-home craft kits were added to celebration offerings for COVID-safe fun. Visit tideinstitute.org for more information.