Catching The Holiday Spirit: Celebrations and Shopping
Holiday spirit is highly infectious, but one trip to any mall will guarantee immunity well past New Year’s Eve. Our small town holiday festivals, on the other hand, are veritable petri dishes of the stuff. Attend any or several of the many scattered throughout our region this weekend through next, and you may find holly spontaneously sprouting in your heart.
©Norman Rockwell Museum
Friday, December 5 - Sunday, December 7
Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas
Dreaming of an idyllic New England Christmas? The Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce offers one that’s straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Literally. Every year the organizers have gone to great pains to create a tableau vivant of Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting, Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (above)—same decorations, same vintage cars, the only difference in the recreation is that the Red Lion Inn is all lit up; when Rockwell did his study, it was closed for the winter.
Saturday, December 6 - Sunday, December 7
Berkshire Botanical Garden Holiday Marketplace
Each year, the BBG’s exhibit hall turns into a twinkling market featuring a legendary Gallery of Wreaths and other seasonal decorations, all available for purchase.
Saturday, December 6, 3 - 6 p.m.
Williamstown Holiday Walk
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season as Williamstown decks the halls for the 31th year. Don’t miss the adorable “reindog” parade, visit with Santa, enjoy the tastes of the Holiday bake-off, ice sculptures and much, much more. At the end of the evening, Santa will light the giant tree.
Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m; Sunday, December 7, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Alchemy Initiative’s 5th Annual Handmade Holiday Festival
This homegrown Pittsfield “to-do” features artisan-made gifts, such as toys, ornaments, silk-screened apparel, kitchen utensils, jewelry, pottery, hand-printed calendars, leather bags, and accessories. There also will be all sorts of delicious holiday foods either to eat there or take home, including cookies and sweets, plus trees, wreaths, gift wrapping done on premises, live music, mulled cider and wine, and hearty finger fare. Did we forget anything?
Friday, December 12 - Sunday, December 14
Participants gather from near and far to sell truly notable handmade items ranging from decorative and utilitarian craft, to specialty food and body products. Everything is made by the sellers. Live minstrel-style music and healthful, delicious food for on-site lunching round out the experience located in Shire City Sanctuary, right in the heart of Pittsfield’s UpStreet Cultural District.
Saturday, December 13, 3 - 7:30 p.m.
Great Barrington Holiday Stroll
The 6th annual Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Stroll is the chamber’s largest community event, often attracting more than 3,000 attendees. This year features 50 food and product vendors, crafts, music, caroling, face painting, live window displays, a character parade, letters to Santa, hayrides, and gifts to the kids from Santa Claus. The evening ends with a spectacular fireworks show.
Now - December 31
Staatsburgh Gilded Age Christmas
No need to say “bah humbug” at Staatsburgh State Historic Site, with a full month of lavish holiday decorations and special programs. A Gilded Age Christmas features the popular Holiday Whodunit, where children are invited to solve a “history mystery” which includes a search throughout the house with costumed interpreters providing clues to help kids find the solution, and a chance to win a special prize. The gift shop also will be open, with an array of jewelry, books, scarves, keepsakes, and gifts.
December 5 - 7
29th Annual Gallery of Wreaths
Vanderpoel House hosts this yearly Columbia County Historical Society fundraiser and silent auction. The wreaths, both live and artificial, classic and unusual, are decorated and donated by community members and groups. An opening reception will be held Friday, and ornament crafting workshops will be part of the festivities on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, December 6, 5 - 8 p.m.
Hudson’s Winter Walk
The words “cheerful” and “hip” seldom figure in the same sentence, much less one that’s about the holidays. Yet, somehow, Hudson’s Winter Walk is both. Yes, there is a Santa parade, street musicians, fireworks, and people in costume, but the heart of the matter lies in the shops and galleries, which, on a cold winter night, turn into warm and welcoming havens, with all those lovely things in them barely need a wreath on the door to look Dickensian. Fireworks launched over Warren Street conclude the festivities, but many of the shops and restaurants stay open late.
Saturday, December 6 & Sunday, December 7; Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14; Saturday, December 20
Clermont State Historic Site
Come see Clermont all dressed up for the holidays, with three weekends of family-themed events. The historic site hosts children’s stories underneath the Christmas tree. The following weekend brings even more holiday joy for families, with an open house and a holiday party, and the final weekend has candlelight tours.
Saturday, December 6, 12 - 4 p.m.
The Winter Celebration at Lindenwald
Enjoy a day of special tours at President Martin Van Buren’s mansion, decorated for the season by the Garden Club of Kinderhook. Tours take place every half hour, and reservations are required.
Sunday, December 7, 12 - 5:30 p.m.
Winter Walk in the Wilderness
The historic Hamlet of Copake Falls features a holiday bazaar, Camphill Village Ensemble festival concert, a local artists exhibition, super sales, stocking gifts, cookies, and Santa Claus!
Saturday, December 13, 3 - 9 p.m.
This celebration promises something for everyone; shop at the stores, sample the food, and enjoy entertainment such as caroling and hay rides. The big highlight of the evening is the parade down Main Street featuring local celebrities and, of course, Santa.
Saturday, December 20, 3 - 5 p.m.
Kwanzaa Umoja Celebration
Hudson Opera House hosts a celebration with crafts for children and performances by special guest artist, West African drummer Mangue Sylla. A candle lighting ceremony and the sharing of the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles of Kwanzaa) by community members will be followed by “Karamu” supper and the giving of Zawadi (gifts for children).
Now - December 28
Wilderstein Historic Site
Florists and designers have transformed the riverfront mansion into a magical holiday wonderland. Come see the result for yourself by taking a Holiday House Tour (tours run every weekend) at your leisure, with guides available in each room to answer questions.
Saturday, December 6, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
The Dutch-based, Rhinebeck-embellished holiday features a day-long, town-wide celebration of performance and open houses with live music, dancing, theater, puppet shows, and storytelling followed, at dusk, by a starlight parade. Plus food and drink and a late-night party for adults.
Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Annual Monastery Christmas Craft Fair
Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery’s yearly fair in Lagrangeville features hand-crafted creches, organic artisanal vinegars, tapenades, sauces, and soups, along with watercolor paintings by local artists, books, Christmas cards, and more.
Saturday, December 6 - Sunday, December 7, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
WORK:SHOP—a Curated Holiday Artisan Sale
Wickham Solid Wood Studio in Beacon hosts a sale featuring high-quality small goods produced by 15 Hudson Valley-based businesses. This is a great chance to acquire affordable pieces from some extraordinary makers. Goods include art prints, stoneware, jewelry, ceramics, wood pieces, glassware, and other fine handiwork.
Saturday, November 29, 12 - 7 p.m.
Torrington Makers Market
The Market is a curated retail show featuring the freshest artisans from CT, NY, MA, and RI who will proffer their handmade toys, jewelry, fine art, quilts, clothing, repurposed antiques, and more. Held at The Knights Of Columbus, each vendor was hand picked to attend the event.
Saturday, December 6, 3 - 6 p.m.
New Preston Winter Stroll
The entire walkable Village of New Preston comes alive for the holidays with festive lights, creative window displays, drinks and treats, and live music from The Social Gents Club. The fifth annual Winter Stroll also gives you the jump on holiday shopping with antiques, clothing, home design, and book stores all in one location.
Saturday, December 7, 10:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Holiday Historic House Tour
The Falls Village-Canaan Historical Society sponsors a tour of five decorated historic buildings, including Bunny Williams and John Rosselli’s beautifully restored 1840 barn, The Samuel Robbins House, and others. Kickoff is at 10:30 a.m. at P.D. Walsh’s Country Store on Main Street. Self-guided tours begin at 11 a.m.
Friday, December 13, 6 p.m.
Holiday in the Depot
Washington Depot’s town-wide celebration features a tree-lighting ceremony, caroling, wagon rides, and other fun. This is a great time to buy local, as businesses will be open late and offering sales, specials, and giveaways. Be sure to stop in at The Hickory Stick Bookshop and visit with author Wendell Minor, and the National Iron Bank for cookie decorating and hot chocolate.