Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom

Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom



   PO Box 485, East Dennis, MA, 02641

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. And with an abundance of festive decorations, bright lights, and jaw-dropping displays, that’s certainly the case on Cape Cod where there’s plenty to fill your heart with the magic of the season. 

Highfield Hall

While there is no wrong time to visit this stunning estate in Falmouth, the historic property truly comes alive in December when it’s all decked out for the holidays. 

Running from the end of November through mid-December, the public can tour this cultural gem and participate in a variety of events – gingerbread house and holiday centerpiece making workshops – that embody the true spirit of the season. Holiday-themed music and a special visit from Santa only adds to the atmosphere that is perfect for the entire family. 

And with Patrick Doughtery’s fanciful stickwork sculpture outdoors, there’s even more opportunities for patrons to get lost in the beauty and wonder of Highfield Hall.  

Gardens Aglow

It’s not the holidays on the Cape without Heritage Museums’ stunning Gardens Aglow exhibit. Here you’ll find thousands (and thousands) of lights that take months of planning to set up. It’s a dazzling display throughout the 100-acre gardens.  

Heritage’s popular model train has moved outdoors this season. It’s just one of the many offerings that will entertain the little ones; make sure they take time to track down all of Santa’s reindeer which have been placed strategically as part of an always-entertaining scavenger hunt. 

There’s traditional holiday treats – hot chocolate and donuts – and fire pits for families to roast marshmallows. And yes, Santa will be at Heritage to make sure everyone is on their best behavior. 

Town Displays and (Lobster Pot) Trees

From Bourne to Provincetown, every town on the Cape does its part to bring their villages to life with must-see holiday decorations. 

Topping the list is the Falmouth Village Green which captivates those young and old with Christmas-themed dioramas. There’s other whimsical pieces, including a choir singing and Santa and his reindeer taking flight. 

Make sure to put Mashpee Commons, with its large Christmas tree and weekend visits from Santa, and the Mashpee Rotary on your must-see list. There’s also Buzzards Bay Park — the Polar Express Train Ride departs from here – as well as Barnstable Village, Drummer Boy Park in Brewster, and the famous Lobster Pot Tree in Provincetown. 

Lobster Pot Tree in Provincetown

The Giants

Sandwich artist Michael Magyar has put Cape Cod on the holiday map with his illuminated steel-framed giants which started with his first, a glass blower, created in 1998 outside his glass shop on Route 6A. Over the years, he has added dozens more to Sandwich as well as Dennis and Barnstable. 

They include a fireman at the Sandwich Fire Station, a Colonial man outside Titcomb’s Bookshop, and a pair of angels at the entrance into town. 

To view Magyar’s giants, start in Sandwich and take a drive through its historic village and down Route 6A where many of the pieces can be found. 

Locally Made Crafts

There’s no gift better than a handmade craft created by one of the Cape’s talented artisans. And this season, there are plenty of chances to pick up locally made artwork for a loved one this holiday season. 

The Falmouth Art Center, Cotuit Center for the Arts, and Sandwich Arts Alliance are all hosting sales of crafts made by some of the region’s top artists. There’s also the Cross Rip Gallery in Harwich Port, and The Gallery at Tree’s Place in Orleans which are selling small works that make for a perfect gift. And the Guild of Harwich Artists is selling holiday ornaments made by local artists.