Holiday Guide

Celebrate the Season All Over Rhode Island

Give your holiday balls a break from the city

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Get Wild
For a refreshing take on a holiday classic that’s a little less “God bless us every one” and a little more “God help us,” check out Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge. The show, on stage at Wakefield’s Contemporary Theater Company from December 5-21, is a parody of A Christmas Carol that has all of the familiar characters and none of the familiar plot line. In this musical reimagining, Mrs. Cratchit is a modern woman who drinks to escape the pressures of her hard-scrabble life in 1840s London and of raising her – count them – 21 children. Add Scrooge and The Ghost who can’t quite manage to get him through his life lessons because her magic is on the fritz and you’ve got one surprising holiday show. 327 Main Street, Wakefield. 218-0282. More info...

Bright Nights
Yes, WaterFire lights up the night in Providence... But it’s not the only event with glowing reviews in the state. The 18th annual Westerly Holiday Stroll and Luminaria illuminates downtown Westerly and the Pawcatuck River on December 3 from 5-8pm. Strolling carolers and twinkling lights set the scene for shopping and entertainment, while hayrides with Santa keep the kids happy. Downtown Westerly and Pawcatuck. 596-7761. More info...

A Monthlong Christmas Party
During the warmer months, Blithewold Mansion in Bristol is a special event destination. Its historic manse, rolling lawn down to the water and sculpted gardens make it the perfect spot for weddings or just a weekend tour. Once the cold sets in, though, Blithewold becomes a winter wonderland. We’re pretty sure “Deck the Halls” was written about this place. Festive events take the spotlight all month long, like the Children’s Story Hour on Wednesday afternoons, where kids can listen to a holiday story while parents peek around for a house tour, followed by snacks and crafts (because all that envy can make you hungry). Blithewold also does frequent workshops: this month topics include wreath-making and how to build your own holiday fairy terrarium. Take a lesson from what they do best, though, and head to Style at Home: A holiday party workshop... or just attend their Evening of Holiday Food and Drink on December 10. The delicious party will send you home full, and with recipes to try at home. The Blithewold Christmas Sparkle happens every Friday evening this month, and is a festive holiday mixer with hot cocoa, roasted marshmallows and live music. 101 Ferry Road, Bristol. 253-2707. More info...

Light It Up
If you think Narragansett shuts down for the season once the temperature drops below 70, think again. The Narragansett Festival of Lights, an all-day celebration that culminates with fireworks and a tree lighting, happens on December 7. Meet Santa at Pier Marketplace, participate in holiday crafts, a free staging of A Christmas Carol and festive entertainment. 782-0658. More info...

To Grandmother’s House
For some good old fashioned family morals, the Granite Theatre in Westerly presents Over the River and Through the Woods. Channeling the New England family theme from the original 1844 Thanksgiving poem, this holiday show focuses on a young man with two sets of wackily overbearing grandparents and one big life decision ahead of him. 1 Granite Street, Westerly. 596-2341. More info...

Ye Old Fashioned Christmas
For a taste of a Colonial christmas, travel back in time to Smith’s Castle in North Kingstown for Christmas at the Castle. From December 6-7, the 17th century living history museum brings old fashioned holidays to life. Think costumed historical interpreters, halls decked with old fashioned decorations, colonial treats, music from a bygone era and an exhibit on the history of Santa through the years. 55 Richard Smith Drive, North Kingstown. 294-3521. More info...

Jingle All the Way
Channel your inner Rudolph to find the finish line of the Jingle Bell Run in Narragansett. On December 7, head to Narragansett Town Beach in your finest holiday running gear – if you’re not wearing light-up antlers, you’re doing it wrong – and raise money for The Arthritis Foundation. About 500 people participate in the 5k every year, so you’re in good, if chilly, company. Run, walk, tie bells to your shoes... whatever you do, jingle all the way to the finish and raise money for a good cause. Narragansett Town Beach North Beach Club, 79 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett. 739-3773. More info...

Historic Holiday
Celebrate a historic holiday at the Whitehall Museum House in Middletown. Whitehall, built in 1729, sits on the remnants of an 18th century farm and is a remarkably well preserved example of colonial life. On December 7, head to the museum for Christmas festivities including caroling, seasonal music and plenty of holiday cheer (including wassail, which is a real beverage you can actually drink – who knew?). You might even spot the Ghost of Christmas Past. 311 Berkeley Avenue, Middletown. 846-3116. More info...

Santa by Boat
Wickford is gorgeous at any time of year, but never moreso than during the annual Wickford Festival of Lights. What’s arguably Rhode Island’s most picturesque Main Street turns into a winter wonderland from December 4-7, illuminated with thousands of twinkling white lights and made merry with roving bands of carolers. Seriously, is there anything more “holidays in the Ocean State” than Santa arriving by boat to the town dock? Festivities kick off with a tree lighting in Updike Park, and continue throughout the weekend, with most shops in Wickford VIllage staying open late to encourage the most possible shopping local. wickfordvillage.org

Enjoy the Bounty
Take a moment to appreciate your loved ones at 2nd Story Theatre’s staging of The Trip to Bountiful, a show about homecoming and the true meaning of family at the holidays. 28 Market St, Warren. 247-4200. More info...

Merry Days
There’s just something irresistible about celebrating the holidays in a quaint seaside town. Lucky for us, this is New England, and the nautical charm abounds, especially this month. Celebrate at the Bristol Christmas Festival. Have a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 7, spend the day making holiday crafts and taking in festive entertainment, and stick around for the Grand Illumination at 6pm, featuring a recitation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and a Christmas carol sing-a-long. More info...

Holiday Finery
Oh what fun it is to ride... to Bristol, to celebrate Christmas at Linden Place. The 200-year-old Federalist mansion is bedecked and bedazzled for the season, including some larger than life Christmas trees that are probably going to make yours feel inadequate. A special exhibit of vintage and antique children’s toys adds to the spirit of the season – and will remind your kids that yes, life did exist before iPads. Seasonal concerts like The Clancy Legacy Celtic Christmas happen throughout the month. 500 Hope Street, Bristol. 253-0390. More info...

Decked Halls
You’ve seen how the other half lives, but have you seen how the other half celebrates? Christmas at the Newport Mansions shows the summer cottages of America’s royalty in a whole new light. The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House are decorated to the rafters with stunning holiday decorations, like the floor-to-ceiling tree made of poinsettias at The Breakers. Events like caroling, concerts and kid-friendly fun keep the party going all month long. The Nutracker performed by Island Moving Company at Rosecliff is a performance not to be missed – and unless you want some unhappy kids on Christmas morning, make sure to take them to meet Santa at The Breakers on December 7. One good thing about the short days this month is that there’s more time to see the gorgeous mansions lit up with holiday cheer. Bellevue Avenue, Newport. 847-1000. More info...

The Merriest
Nobody south of the North Pole celebrates the season quite like the City by the Sea. Newport throws down all of the holiday cheer you can handle this month. During Christmas in Newport, there is literally something fun happening every single day in December – and usually more than one thing. The celebration kicks off on December 1 with a tree lighting ceremony (one of three happening in Newport this month) complete with a cannon salute and live entertainment. Throughout the month, check out events ranging from the boozy (a Decorate the Brewery event at Coastal Extreme) to the literary (Living Literature Presents: Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant), from the educational (Holiday Histories Walking Tour) to the black tie (the 38th annual Governor’s Ball at Salve Regina). Christmas concerts happen all over the city all month long, and thanks to some holiday decorating contests, there’s plenty of eye candy to take in while you’re on your way. At the Bellevue Avenue Stroll on December 4, stores will have treats and carolers to entertain you as you shop. You can even take a moment to appreciate what Christmas is really about at a living nativity on December 11, or at the 103rd annual Medieval Christmas Pageant at St. George’s School. We could keep going and going... or you could just go check it out for yourself. More info...

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