December in New England: Weather, Travel and Holiday Events Guide

Nubble Lighthouse December Christmas Lights

Ed Langan / Getty Images

December in New England is a Currier & Ives print come to life. Fresh, powder-clean snow blankets village greens, flames blaze in old stone fireplaces, candles flicker in windows, couples hold hands as they ice skate on a frozen pond or snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. The farther north in the region you go, the greater the likelihood of picture-perfect snow. It's not surprising the top 10 places to experience a white Christmas in New England include four in Maine.

Amidst the bustle of the holidays, New England is the perfect day trip or weekend getaway destination. Step back in time, and experience Christmas past at Old Sturbridge Village or Strawbery Banke. Experience high-tech holiday light displays. Or head to New England's outlet stores to score bargains on outfits to wear to holiday parties and gifts to fulfill every wish. Bargains are especially good in New Hampshire, where there is no sales tax.

Hotels and inns dress up this month, so your stay will be merry and bright. Why deck your own halls, when you can check into a lavishly decorated B&B or grand hotel, and toast the year's end in comfort and style? Holiday inn tours allow you to at least peek inside, even if you can't spend the night.

Book a New Year's Eve getaway package, or attend a First Night celebration. Boston is the place where these family-friendly, arts-focused New Year's celebrations began. And if you can't make it to New England by December's end, be sure to make a resolution to visit in 2020.​

New England Weather in December

Average December Temperatures (Low / High):

Hartford, CT: 22º/40º Fahrenheit (-6º/4º Celsius)

Providence, RI: 26º/42º Fahrenheit (-3º/6º Celsius)

Boston, MA: 28º/41º Fahrenheit (-2º/5º Celsius)

Pittsfield, MA: 19º/34º Fahrenheit (-7º/1º Celsius)

Burlington, VT: 19º/33º Fahrenheit (-7º/1º Celsius)

North Conway, NH: 15º/33º Fahrenheit (-9º/1º Celsius)

Portland, ME: 20º/37º Fahrenheit (-7º/3º Celsius)

Winter officially arrives in New England with the winter solstice (December 22 in 2019), but wintry weather often kicks up much earlier in the month. The first snow flurries are a stirring sight, and a white Christmas is New Englanders' dream. Luckily for December visitors, the first major snowstorm typically holds off until the even colder month of January. That said, you should build some flexibility into your trip planning to account for possible transportation delays.

What To Pack

If you've ever tuned your TV to a Patriots game in December and seen New England fans dressed in so many bulky layers only their eyes are visible, you know this is a month when bundling up is essential if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors. Even if you're just holiday shopping or visiting Santa, you'll want a hat, gloves, snow boots, and a coat, with warm layers underneath that you can peel off once you're in front of a roaring fire.

Top 10 December 2019 Events in New England

Get in the holiday spirit at one of New England's best December events! Here are 10 that should be on your countdown to the new year calendar:

December 1-31: Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

December 5-15: Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, Maine

December 6-7: Christmas Town Festival in Bethlehem, Connecticut

December 6-8: Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

December 6-8: Christmas Stroll on Nantucket, Massachusetts

December 6-8: Country Roads Christmas in North Central Massachusetts

December 7-8: Living Nativity at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Westminster, Massachusetts

December 13-15: Wassail Weekend in Woodstock, Vermont

December 13-15: Christmas by the Sea in Ogunquit, Maine

December 31: First Night Boston in Boston, Massachusetts

December 2019 Holidays in New England

Hanukkah: December 22-30

Christmas: December 25

New Year's Eve: December 31

Best Destinations for December in New England

New England is pure magic for children during the holiday season. Memorable December adventures for families include waiting to see Santa at Connecticut's Christmas Village, viewing the nostalgic Christmas decorations at the Cape Codder Resort's annual Enchanted Village in Hyannis and riding a train through the Edaville USA Christmas Festival of Lights in Massachusetts. Got older kids? They'll love the annual Inn-to-Inn Holiday Cookie and Candy Tour in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.​

Don't overlook Connecticut for a quick December getaway. There are many events that celebrate the season in the Hartford area including Harford Holiday Light Fantasia: one of New England's largest holiday light displays.

The Hudson Valley is also an ideal day trip destination during this most wonderful time of the year. Tour spectacular Hudson Valley mansions decorated for the holiday season.

More December in New England Travel Advice

  • Bring home the perfect pine from a New England Christmas tree farm while you're traveling in the region this month. Want to make your Christmas tree last longer? Here's a secret from a New England tree farmer. 
  • Santa's Village in New Hampshire reopens during the holiday season for wintry rides and visits with the big guy in the red suit.
  • December is the busiest and best month to visit Christmas Tree Shops in New England.
Was this page helpful?