Christmas in Vermont

Enduring Traditions as the Green Mountains Turn to White

If you'd like to embrace the spirit of Christmas in Vermont this year, here are an insider’s favorite holiday season events and activities from around the state.

For many folks, the holidays not only represent warmth and the togetherness of family but also stress: much of which can be linked to the pressure to buy gifts. As consumerism wanes, and the priorities of family, health, warmth and nourishment hold increasing precedence, many Vermonters and visitors from beyond opt to spend their resources celebrating holiday time together, rather than on a rush of wasteful presents (beyond those with meaning and from Santa, of course). Whether you stay at a family home, a vacation rental, an inn or a resort, Christmas and New Year's in Vermont are steeped in tradition and sprinkled with magic.

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    Merry Middlebury VT at Christmas
    ••• Santa arrives by fire truck each Christmas season in Middlebury, Vermont. Courtesy of Max Kraus

    Enjoy month-long holiday cheer displays in the Christmas card town of Middlebury, Vermont. A whimsical hut serves hot chocolate on the town green. Hunt for special items in storefronts with the I Spy contest, and win "Middlebury Money" through December 31, 2015. Santa arrives on a fire truck on Saturday, December 5. On Sunday, December 20, the famed Annual Community Messiah Sing is held at the Congregational Church at 2 p.m., and a "Night Fires"winter solstice celebration at the Town Hall Theater begins at 4 p.m. (shows also take place December 18 and 19). New Year's Eve in Middlebury typically features a Count Down to Noon Year for kids at noon, fireworks, ice skating, dancing and a dinner theater show.

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    Billings Farm and Museum Christmas Woodstock VT
    ••• Courtesy of Billings Farm & Museum

    If you are in Vermont at Christmas time, don't miss a visit to the 19th-century luminescence displayed at Vermont's rural heritage museum. Open weekends in December and daily December 28 through January 1, Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont, offers tours of the authentically decorated farmhouse, plus opportunities to make historic ornaments, ride a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon and sled with jack jumpers.

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    Selected as one of the 5 Best Holiday Light Displays in New England by Yankee Magazine, this lantern parade has grown and grown. The theme for 2015 is "Bugs," and you're invited to make a lantern and march along on Saturday, December 5, at 5 p.m., or simply observe this festive procession featuring creations by both professional artists and school children.

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    The Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, has undergone a makeover, and so, too, has its annual holiday festival. The Festival of Trees is being replaced in 2015 by a newly reimagined festival featuring contemporary art interpretations of the Memory Ware Tower: a piece in the collection created by Vermont artist Stephen C. Warren in 1894. Each piece is up for bid during the festival, which runs November 27 through December 29. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, free for children under 18. Looking for inspired gifts? Be sure to shop in the Bennington Museum Store.

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    Vermont's 60-voice Onion River Chorus will perform Spanish music for the Christmas season during two holiday concerts on Saturday and Sunday, December 19 and 20, 2015. .For details, call 802-476-4300.

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    First Night in Vermont

    First Night Montpelier
    ••• © 2012 Rachel Carter

    When the tinsel starts clogging the vacuum, the recycle bin is overloaded with wrapping paper and the drying balsam needles are sticking to your socks, it is time to explore your New Year's Eve options. Vermont has plenty to offer. Popular, family-friendly First Night events can be found in Burlington and Saint Johnsbury. Ski areas like Jay Peak host big parties. And Sugarbush rocks in the new year with a concert by the Detonators.