The holiday season on Cape Cod is a special time of year. The coastal celebrations include Santa’s arrival by boat, gorgeous holiday displays in our charming towns and villages, and shopping for unique gifts created by local artists and makers. Come to Cape Cod for the holidays and enjoy!
Take a Holiday Stroll Around the Cape
Holiday strolls take place all over the Cape, usually over one or two days and are often combined with tree lightings, parades, and visits from Santa. In Barnstable Village, visit the shops and restaurants along historic Route 6A, have some eggnog or cider, meet Santa, enjoy Christmas carols, and more!
The Hyannis Village Holiday Stroll includes live entertainment, food, shopping, events up and down Main Street, a boat parade in Hyannis Harbor, and Santa’s arrival by sea. Carolers, entertainers, pop-up shops, holiday sales, plus the annual tree lighting with Santa, are all part of Chatham’s multi-day Christmas by the Sea Stroll.
Falmouth’s Holidays by the Sea Weekend kicks off on Friday night with caroling at Nobska Lighthouse as the winter’s sun sets over Vineyard Sound. On Saturday, you can greet Santa as he arrives by boat at beautiful Falmouth Harbor. If you’re a runner, there’s the Annual Jingle Jog 5K and Kids Elf Run. Enjoy the Main Street festivities of the Falmouth Village Holiday Stroll, then join in the caroling at the lighting of the Village Green. On Sunday, come to the biggest small-town Christmas parade in all of Southeast New England, featuring floats, marching bands, and of course, Santa.
The Eastham Holiday Festival includes a visit with Santa, holiday music, Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long, fun activities for kids, and a toy drive. The West Dennis Holiday Stroll features food, raffles, free gifts, and more from area merchants and restaurants along Main Street. Trolley rides available along the route and a tree lighting in the late afternoon wraps up the event.
At Brewster for the Holidays, enjoy carol singing and hot chocolate, a toy drive, breakfast with Santa concerts, and events at Drummer Boy Park, Ocean Edge & Resort, and the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Over the course of one weekend each December, Christmas in Harwich includes caroling and a visit with Santa in Doane Park, the Harwich Port Stroll for shopping and dining, and a simultaneous tree lighting in every village of Harwich.
In Provincetown, Holly Folly is the annual LGBTQ+ holiday festival. Holiday market, Jingle Bell Run, champagne brunch, sing-a-longs, parties, and more. The Yarmouth Port Christmas Stroll includes live music, holiday treats, a tree lighting ceremony and caroling on the Village Green.
See Unique Holiday Displays
Looking for a beautiful holiday display like no other? We have them on Cape Cod!
Visit Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich for Gardens Aglow, where the property comes alive with lights displayed throughout. They’re mixed in with fun family-friendly activities, and a visit with Santa as he checks out the antique cars in the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Gallery.
Come to view the Enchanted Village at the Cape Codder, and bring a gift or a gift card to place under the Giving Tree as a donation to Independence House in Hyannis. Santa is there on Friday and Saturday evenings in December to hear the wishes of children.
In Provincetown, the Lobster Pot Tree is built in Lopes Square every December from lobster pots (aka lobster traps) decorated with buoys, lights, and ribbons.
And you’ll want to put Mashpee Commons on your places to visit this holiday season. From its annual tree lighting ceremony, which takes place the day after Thanksgiving, to its weekend festivities leading up to Christmas, there’s plenty for the entire family to enjoy. The calendar is complete with visits from Santa, complimentary gift wrapping, Christmas carolers, and outdoor performances by the Brass Band Trio.
Shop for That Special Gift, Locally Made
The Cape is a wonderful place to shop during the season, not only at our many holiday strolls, but at our museums, galleries, and special events.
The Gingerbread Lane & Artist Market at the HyArts Shanties in Hyannis on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday will include Cape Cod artists selling their beautiful wares, live music, food and beverages, and crafts for kids. Making the scene more festive – the shanties will be decorated as gingerbread houses.
While in Hyannis, make sure to stop by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s Deck the Walls, held annually the first Saturday in December. The open house features free food and drink, live music, and small artwork, all made by local artists, that you can purchase as gifts for a friend, family member, or even yourself.
Several of the Cape’s fine museums have gift shops that are free to enter – although it’s highly recommended you view their collections before or after shopping!
The Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, has a lovely shop filled with products made by local Cape Cod artists. In Cotuit, the Cahoon Museum of American Art sells Cahoon art prints, puzzles, mugs, journals and more, as well as a wide selection of books, home goods, and beautifully handcrafted jewelry and gifts made by local artisans. The store at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) offers a wide selection of books, many of which focus on the museum’s collection and Cape Cod artists, as well as art-related gifts of all kinds.
The Artisan Gallery at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod has a wonderful gift shop that highlights the work of Cape and Islands artisans and artists and includes jewelry, small paintings, tiles, books, pottery, Nantucket Lightship baskets, glass work, clothing, and more.
Small Works = Big Joy at the Cotuit Center for the Arts is a holiday art exhibit and sale which includes paintings, jewelry, pottery, and more by local artists.
The Love Live Local Holiday Fest, held on the Hyannis Village Green, features the best of Cape Cod artists, artisans and producers, as well as live music, food and beverage. Shop local, support local businesses, and have fun at the same time!
The Annual Glassblower’s Christmas at Sandwich Glass Museum runs from mid-November to the end of December. It’s free to view the hand-blown glass ornaments made by Cape Cod artists displayed on Christmas trees. They make for the perfect holiday gift. You can also purchase tickets for the museum, where the work of traditional and contemporary glass artists are exhibited, and every hour, you can see an amazing glassblowing demonstration!
If you’re in the market for a larger artwork by one of the Cape’s major artists, our peninsula features an enormous array of wonderful galleries. Check out Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, Cross Rip Gallery in Harwich Port, Woodruff’s Art Center in Mashpee, to name a few.
Enjoy Holiday Musical Concerts & Performances
Cape Symphony’s annual Holiday on the Cape celebration takes place during the first weekend of December, and combines traditional Christmas and Hanukkah music with contemporary songs and theatrical touches for that special Cape Symphony experience!
The Cotuit Center for the Arts presents a family-friendly show with a big cast of children and adults every year during the holidays. Past shows include Elf, Mary Poppins, and Annie. It also hosts an annual performance of Vince Guaraldi’s beloved album, A Charlie Brown Christmas, that embodies the true spirit of the season – guests are asked to bring a gift card to a local supermarket that are donated to Housing Assistance’s clients living in shelter.
The Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theater and Falmouth Theatre Guild also put on holiday productions in December. The Cultural Center of Cape Cod presents an annual Cape Cod Celtic Christmas Family Celebration with live music.
The Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra performs a holiday concert every December, often donating a portion of the proceeds to a local charity. For something more spiritual, the Chatham Chorale presents “A Candlelight Christmas” every year at the First United Methodist Church in Chatham. The Cape Cod Chorale performs in December at the First Church Sandwich. And the Outer Cape Chorale also performs in December at Provincetown Hall and at the Nauset Middle School in Orleans.
Experience a Cape Cod New Year’s Eve
You can bring your year to a close and ring in the new one amidst the natural beauty and cozy charm of Cape Cod. First Light in Provincetown features a weekend of New Year’s celebrations. First Night Chatham activities begin at noon on December 31st and end with fireworks!
Make your holidays extra special this year by celebrating on Cape Cod!