Christmas in Vermont: A Guide to Holiday Events and Things to Do

Enduring Traditions as the Green Mountains Turn to White

Vermont Christmas - Santa Claus driving sleigh
Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

If you'd like to embrace the spirit of Christmas in Vermont this year, check out these top 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 importance, many Vermonters and visitors from beyond opt to spend their resources celebrating holiday time together, rather than on a pile 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 Eve in Vermont are steeped in tradition and sprinkled with magic.

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Very Merry Middlebury

Merry Middlebury VT at Christmas
Courtesy of Max Kraus

Enjoy month-long holiday events and cheerful displays in the Christmas card town of Middlebury, Vermont, this December. A whimsical hut serves 25-cent hot chocolate on the town green. Hunt for tiny ornaments in storefronts with the "I Spy" contest for a chance to win "Middlebury Money" throughout the month of December. Santa arrives on a fire truck in early December (Saturday, December 7, in 2019). Many more events run the full range from religious to irreverent. Chanukah is celebrated annually, too. New Year's Eve in Middlebury features a Count Down to Noon Year for kids starting at 10:30 a.m., then evening fun including fireworks, ice skating, and a ticketed musical performance.

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A River of Light in Waterbury

This magical nighttime lantern parade has grown and grown over the years. The theme for 2019's 10th annual River of Light is "REinventions! What will you REmake? Something REmarkable!" And you are invited to make a lantern and march along on Saturday, December 7, 2019 or simply observe this festive procession featuring creations by both professional artists and school children.

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Canine Christmas at the Wilburton Inn

Canine Christmas at Vermont's Wilburton Inn

 Wilburton Inn

Dress your pup in an ugly Christmas sweater, and head to the Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont, the weekend of December 6-8, 2019, for the annual Canine Christmas Doggie Slumber Party hosted by the inn's top dog: Jetson the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A professional pet photographer will take pictures of your dog beside the Christmas tree, and Saturday night's PJ parties for doggies and their owners features a fireside singalong.

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Christmas at Billings Farm & Museum

Christmas in Vermont at Billings Farm & Museum

Billings Farm & Museum

If you are in Vermont at Christmastime, don't miss a visit to the 19th-century luminescence displayed at Vermont's rural heritage museum. Open weekends in December and daily December 21 through January 1, 2019 (excluding Christmas Day), Billings Farm & Museum, a working dairy farm in Woodstock, Vermont, offers tours of the authentically decorated farm manager's house, interactive farm programs, plus opportunities to make historic ornaments and rides aboard a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon (December 26 through January 1 only, conditions permitting).

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The Festival at the Bennington Museum

The Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont, hosts "The Festival – A Snowy Evening Family Day" on Saturday, December 7, 2019 featuring $3 admission for all and a lineup of all-ages holiday fun. Children who bring an item to donate to the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless are admitted free. You can look forward to holiday crafts, visits with Santa, a Children's Shopping Boutique filled with affordable gifts, and a display of student artwork inspired by this year's "A Snowy Evening" theme. All works in the show can be won by visitors who purchase tickets to deposit in boxes near each item. Adults looking for inspired gifts will find them in the ​Bennington Museum Store.

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Christmas Concerts by Onion River Chorus

In 2019, Vermont's 60-voice Onion River Chorus will perform Christmas tunes by German composers, focusing on the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The concerts will be held in Montpelier, which happens to be one of New England's best places to experience a White Christmas, on December 21 and 22, 2019. 

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New Year's Eve in Vermont

When the tinsel starts clogging the vacuum, the recycling 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. A popular, family-friendly First Night North event is held December 31 in Saint Johnsbury, and Burlington will introduce a new citywide celebration of arts and ideas called Highlight to ring in 2020. Vermont ski areas like Jay Peak host big parties, as well.