THE PATRIOT LEDGER – Avoid the holiday hustle in the big city with an abundance of festive choices right here on the South Shore, including locally produced “Nutcracker” performances, holiday pops concerts, shimmering light displays and classic Christmas song and stage productions.
Holiday lights will be shining brightly at the Marshfield Fairgrounds for a show comprising nearly a million lights spread out along a 1-mile driving course that twinkle on and off in sync with a radio program. The “South Shore Celebration of Lights” will be produced by Fiesta Shows. Nov. 25-Dec. 30. fiestashows.com.
At “Winterlights” in Canton, tens of thousands of lights are strung up around the gardens of the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate, with music echoing off the trees. This is a walk-thru event. There are themed sections along the way, such as Candy Cane Lane leading up the home’s front door, where the trees are wrapped in red and white lights. The Christmas in the Caribbean section features Santa Claus lounging in a hammock. A Fairy Garden has thousands of tiny green lights projected into the trees that appear to dart around. There’s an arched tunnel made up of long rows of lights, and a large Christmas tree made entirely of lights. Nov. 25 to Jan. 7. This event usually sells out quickly. thetrustees.org.
There’s something especially charming about trains during the holidays and Edaville Family Theme Park in Carver has been decked out with an ever-expanding holiday light display since the mid-1940s. Millions of lights will be glowing again with the return of “Christmas Festival of Lights,” which runs through Jan. 1. Christmas coaches will take passengers through a holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights and whimsical holiday displays. Kids can also take vintage amusement rides throughout the park. edaville.com.
A mile-long drive-thru holiday lights experience will run Nov. 18-Dec. 31 at Gillette Stadium. The event, “Magic of Lights,” is a glittering showcase of themed light displays. It debuted in Foxboro in 2020 and will return for the last time this season. Attractions include the 12 Days of Christmas, Toyland and the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, Prehistoric Christmas, Big Foot Monster Trucks and the Snow Flurry Tunnel. New this year is a 32-foot animated Barbie. The showstopper is the Illuminating Mega Trees boasting 40 feet of dancing lights synchronized to popular holiday tunes. “Magic of Lights” will be open daily from 5 to 10 p.m. MagicOfLights.com.
The night shines at La Salette Shrine, 947 Park St., Attleboro, where displays of 400,000 lights spread over 10 acres tell the story of Christmas and remind us of the true reason for the season. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Love Is Born.” The free illuminations are open from 5 to 9 p.m. daily Nov. 24 to Jan. 1. lasaletteattleboroshrine.org.
Sugar plums and pirouettes
Set to Tchaikovsky’s romantic score, “The Nutcracker” ballet is a whimsical Christmas fantasy that tells the story of a little girl, Clara, who flies off to a magical land when her nutcracker doll comes to life. With such a fairy-tale story line, it’s no wonder “The Nutcracker” has become a holiday tradition, not to mention one of the few ballets to enjoy mainstream popularity. You can get your fill of sugar plum fairies and magical princes with several productions of “The Nutcracker.”
Join Braintree Ballet Company for two full-length productions of Clara’s magical journey through a snowy forest of dancing snowflakes to the magical Land of Sweets, where she meets the Cavalier Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Performances are 6 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at East Middle School; 781-380-8856. braintreeballetcompany.com.
Drosselmeyer, the Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the 65 other dedicated students from the South Shore Ballet Theater dance to Tchaikovsky’s magical score at 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 17-18 at the Center for the Arts at Thayer Academy, Braintree; 781-312-7224. southshoreballettheatre.com.
Young dancers from the International Ballet Academy of Norwell have been practicing their pirouettes in preparation for their annual show at 4 p.m. Jan. 7 at Company Theatre, Norwell. ibanorwell.org.
The talented students from South Shore Conservatory’s dance department will perform a medley of holiday dances and excerpts from “The Nutcracker” ballet in an hourlong show at 1 p.m. Dec. 3-4 at Duxbury High School. sscmusic.org/holidaydance.
Dashing through the shows
Americana Theatre Company dashes into the holidays with a playful take on a yuletide classic. The troupe presents “An Americana Christmas Carol,” Dec. 10-18 at Plymouth Center for the Arts, 11 North St., Plymouth. Written by Derek Grant Martin and Jesse M. Sullivan, the show is a fun and festive adaptation of Dickens’ classic story of greed and redemption mixed with “wild comedic farce elements,” Martin said. The show-within-a-show plot revolves around a disastrous staging of “A Christmas Carol” and its squabbling producers. Isabella is desperately trying to hold the production together while a Scrooge-like Charles wreaks havoc both onstage and off. Can the three ghosts of Christmas change his wicked ways? 508-591-0282. Americanatheatre.org.
Tiny Tim and Scrooge return to the Art Complex in Duxbury as puppets for a production of “A Christmas Carol” from the Puppet People. Two free shows will be staged at 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 Nov. 27. artcomplex.org.
“A Christmas Carol” is a timeless tale that Neil McGarry turns on its head with a one-man performance. McGarry performs all the characters in this Victorian masterpiece. Ross MacDonald directs and the show is a one-engagement-only performance at 3 p.m. Dec. 18 at The Spire Center for the Performing Arts in Plymouth. spirecenter.org.
“A Christmas Carol” will be brought to life in December at the 1809 Hedge House, 126 Water St., Plymouth. The Plymouth Antiquarian Society will hold tours of the historical home from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3-4. Costumed characters will read passages from Charles Dickens’ classic in rooms decorated to recreate scenes from the novella. Vignettes will include the counting house of Scrooge and Marley, the festive Mr. Fezziwig’s ball and the humble home of Tiny Tim. No reservations are necessary; tickets will be available at the door. On Dec. 10-11, the Hedge House will become the stage for immersive performances every hour between 4 and 7 p.m. Actors will reenact the story in 45-minute performances. Advanced purchase required; performances limited to 10 guests; 508-746-0012. plymouthantiquarian.org/events/a-christmas-carol/.
Massasoit Theater Company presents the musical “A Christmas Story,” about a young boy determined to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, Dec. 3-11 at the Buckley Performing Arts Center, Brockton. An adaptation of the 1983 film that grew into a cult classic, the show is based on the writings of radio humorist Jean Shepherd. The musical also features many of the time-honored trappings from the film, including the fish-net adorned leg lamp, the pink bunny suit and the triple dog dare. 508-427-1234; massasoit.edu/boxoffice.
Songs of the season
If you like your Christmas filled with sass and class, then check out the all-female band Holidays with the Divas at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21 at Company Theatre, Norwell, companytheatre.com. Songs include “Drummer Boy,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “O Holy Night,” “Run Run Rudolph” and an a cappella version of “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas.”
The Spire Center in Plymouth has a stocking full of holiday shows on tap. Stryper frontman Michael Sweet does his Christmas Show at 8 p.m. Nov. 25; Lunasa: Christmas from Ireland takes the stage Dec. 9; the Holiday with the Divas do their thing Dec. 10 and “A Holiday Show with Storm Large” spices up the season Dec. 16. spirecenter.org.
The New England Ringers community handbell ensemble plays joyful holiday melodies in a free performance of “Christmas Past and Presents” at 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at First Congregational Church of Hanover. fcchanover.org.
The Randolph Community Band presents its free winter concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Stetson Hall. Music Director Adam Shekleton will lead the band through seasonal songs including Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” a musically accompanied reading of “ ’Twas Night Before Christmas” and a medley of Hanukkah favorites; 508-498-2500. randolphcommunityband.com.
Holiday pops performances
Hear selections of holiday favorites by Tchaikovsky, Vaughan Williams and Bizet and a singalong of favorite Christmas carols when the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra performs its holiday concert “Joyful Noise.” Jin Kim conducts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at Thayer Academy Center for the Arts, Braintree. atlanticsymphony.org.
Conductor Steven Karidoyanes leads the Plymouth Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual “Holiday Pops.” On tap are Handel’s “Messiah,” Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas” and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker.” The orchestra also makes a pit stop in Whoville to play songs from “The Grinch.” Vocalist Philip Lima and the sixth grade chorus from Plymouth Community Intermediate School will lead the audience in a singalong and Santa Claus will be front and center at the “March of the Toys” community parade of giving to benefit the Children’s Holiday Fund. Performances are at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Memorial Hall, Plymouth. plymouthphil.org.
Guest conductor Philip Sanborn leads the Brockton Symphony Orchestra in seasonal favorites and Brockton resident Willie A. Wilson Jr. narrates “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” at “Holiday Pops,” 3 p.m. Dec. 18 at Oliver Ames High School, Easton. brocktonsymphony.org.
It’s an evening of holiday favorites when Yoichi Udagawa conducts the Quincy Symphony Orchestra in its annual “‘Tis the Season,” featuring performances by the John Adams Orchestra and the Quincy High School Combined Choral Group, 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Quincy High School, Lloyd Hill Performing Arts Center. quincysymphonyorchestra.org.
A choral Christmas
Maybe it’s partly because the holidays belong to kids that the Vienna Boys Choir perfectly matches this time of year. The choir, which has been charming audiences since 1948, performs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Plymouth Memorial Hall. memorialhall.com.
The Braintree Choral Society presents Kevin Memley’s “Magnificat” and other songs of the season at 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at First Congregational Church. bcswinter2022.bpt.me.
The Choral Art Society of the South Shore will perform Christmas songs and music for Hanukkah in its annual holiday performance. “ ’Tis the Season: Music of Comfort & Joy” is at 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 916 Main Street, Hingham. choralartsociety.org.
Christmas carols and festive holiday music will be sung by the Neponset Choral Society in “Tidings of Joy.” On tap are Handel’s “Messiah” and Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Foxboro. ncschorus.org.
“Home for the Holidays” is the title of the Snug Harbor Community Chorus’ holiday concert. More than 60 singers from across the region will perform seasonal favorites, including an audience singalong. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center and 3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Laura’s Center for the Arts, Hanover. snugharborcc.org.
An ensemble of 90 singers and a 30-piece orchestra will perform in Southeastern Massachusetts Festival Chorus’ annual holiday show, “The Carols of Christmas.” The chorus will sing classics such as “Joy to the World,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Silent Night” and “The First Noel.” Performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at Taunton High School. smfconline.org.
Artistic directors William B. Richter and Elizabeth Chapman Reilly will lead the Pilgrim Festival Chorus in its annual holiday concert “Joyeux Noël,” featuring French music composed for Christmas, including Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio” and Charpentier’s “Messe de Minuit pour Noël.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2-3 and 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at St. Bonaventure Parish, Plymouth. pilgrimfestivalchorus.org/tickets.
In a separate performance, the chorus presents its 11th annual “Celebrate! Messiah and Carol Singalong” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at First Congregational Church, Middleboro. Richter will lead the audience in carols and the familiar choruses from Part I of Handel’s “Messiah,” concluding with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” pilgrimfestivalchorus.org/tickets.
Local traditions from Quincy to Plymouth
Quincy’s Christmas Celebration is a longtime South Shore tradition. The Hancock Adams Common tree lighting is 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 25. Santa Claus arrives at Pageant Field at noon Nov. 26. The 69th annual parade steps off at noon Nov. 27 at the intersection of Hancock Street and Hannon Parkway. This year’s theme is “Christmas Through the Decades.” The Generals Bridge & Park Tree Lighting is 5 p.m. Dec. 4. A Christmas Gathering will be held at the creche next to Old Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13. The city observes the beginning of Hanukkah with a menorah lighting at 5 p.m. Dec. 18. discoverquincy.com.
You know the holiday season is here when the Enchanted Village opens at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon. It’s a vintage collection of New England and Christmas scenes that Jordan’s Furniture saved (and then refurbished) when it was auctioned in 2009. The holiday village also offers a Polar Express 4-D ride, an indoor ice rink and visits with Santa Claus. It is open through Jan. 1. jordans.com/enchanted-village.
Duxbury’s 17th annual Holly Days event is noon to 4 pm. Nov. 27, with trolley rides, a visit from Santa, hayrides, refreshments, a puppet show and plenty of holiday shopping. The event is presented by the Duxbury Newcomers’ Club.
Rockland will hold its annual Holiday Stroll from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 26 on Union Street. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet residents at the town’s “North Pole” and there will merry hayrides, chances to win prizes, food and plenty of reindeer games. rocklandfriendsinc.org/events.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand in the gingerbread cabin when “Abington Celebrates Christmas at Island Grove” from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3. The party includes dance performances, hayrides, carolers, tree lighting and hot cocoa and s’mores by the fire pit.
Downtown Hingham will be celebrating Christmas in the Square from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2. A holiday tradition for more than 40 years, the event features Santa’s arrival atop a fire truck, live music, giant peppermint sticks, a cotton-ball snow show, a screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and a sculptor creating Santa Claus from a huge block of ice. discoverhingham.com.
Fireworks will light up the sky to celebrate the season at Hanson Holiday Fest, 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3 on the town hall green. There will be carolers, hot chocolate, food and entertainment. The town’s 30-foot tree is covered in 5,000 lights and will be lit just before the fireworks display at 7 p.m.
Santa and his elves will make merry in Norwell at the town’s annual Holiday on the Common, 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 11. There will be a gingerbread house decorating contest, a DJ spinning holiday tunes, hot chocolate and the tree lighting. norwellwomensclub.org.
Hanover Four Corners Winter Festival is 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2. The streets will be closed and lined with luminaria. There will be pictures with Santa, a chance to win a wreath from Ivy & Olives, an outdoor movie, popcorn, hot cider, doughnuts, carolers, dance performances and a display of gingerbread houses at Lorraine’s.
Play holiday games, drink hot chocolate and roast marshmallows at Pembroke’s tree lighting party in the town center, 3-6 p.m. Dec. 3. Ahead of Santa’s arrival, there will be a live Nativity and musical performances by kindergarten and high school students. pembroketreelighting.com.
The Irish Cultural Centre in Canton is celebrating the season with a tree lighting and carol service from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 2. Breakfast with Santa Claus runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3. There will be a Christmas Holiday Hooley with songs, Santa and step dancers at 7 p.m. Dec. 3. irishculture.org.
The Eustis Estate, at 1424 Canton Ave., is one of the state’s largest Gilded Age mansions and its halls will be decked for the Christmas season. An evening of Christmas Cheers is from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2. Guests can explore the mansion while holiday music fills the grand halls. A Christmas tea with sandwiches, scones and other treats is scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 4. historicnewengland.org.
By Dana Barbuto, The Patriot Ledger