There’s something magical about December in the East Bay: Lampposts dotted with wreaths, small shops stocked with holiday offerings, restaurants serving up spiced seasonal goodies, and mansions pulling out all the stops when it comes to decorating. There are Christmas tree and menorah lightings, classic performances, art markets, and craft shows. And while spots like Warren’s Water Street, Bristol’s Hope Street, and Tiverton Four Corners offer a special charm all year round, they become especially magical in anticipation of the holidays. Whether you describe yourself as Buddy the Elf, the Grinch, or the Mensch on the Bench, we’ve assembled a stocking-full of ways for you to eat, drink, and get your merry on all month long.
December 1: Whitehall House Museum gets festive with hot mulled cider, live period music, and carols during their Colonial Christmas Open House.
December 1: Before Christmas officially kicks off in Newport, tour the Newport Colony House filled with the songs of carolers.
December 1: It’s the Official Opening of Christmas! Washington Square gets into the spirit with a tree lighting, cannon salute, and performances by the public school music program.
December 1-27: During A Rough Point Holiday, meander through the Christmas- and winter-themed rooms of Rough Point Museum.
December 4 & 11: Blithewold welcomes families for a traditional Yuletide storytime followed by cookies and nature-inspired craft.
December 5: At the HeART Spot’s Small Works Holiday Show, find fine art at less than $150.
December 5: Local musicians use their talents to help raise money for local homeless shelters during the 12th Annual Singing for the Shelter.
December 6: Get a jump start on the Festival of Lights at Latkepalooza, a lively event that promises to be delish, held following Shabbat services.
December 6-7: The Newport Hospital Auxiliary Holiday Shopping Event brings loads of local maker talent, plus baked goods!
December 7: Barrington Glows features arts and crafts and games for kids, plus Celtic Christmas entertainment, music by school choral groups, visit from Santa, and tree lighting.
December 7: Bowen’s Wharf is transformed with holiday lights, caroling, and appearances by Frosty the Snowman and Mr. and Mrs. Claus (arriving by boat, of course!).
December 7: Aquidneck collectors browse the ample aisles at the Newport Elks Lodge during its Holiday Spectacular Artisan Craft Fair.
December 7: Find holiday greenery like wreaths and table top decorations created by local designers, artists, gardeners, and florists at Lucy’s Hearth Designer Wreath Sale, now in its 19th season.
December 7: The Newport County Orchestra presents classical and Christmas music sponsored by the Salve Regina University Music Department.
December 7: Sip and savor afternoon tea with a backdrop of live music, seasonal wreaths and greenery, ornaments, and gifts at Trinity Church.
December 7-8: The Chace-Cory House greets visitors with hot apple cider before they stroll amongst vendors selling Christmas decor, baked goods, historical ornaments, annual calendar, jellies, mugs, history books, and more.
December 8: It’s A Musical Christmas, a heartwarming concert featuring talent from the Newport Music Festival and community arts partners.
December 8: All the way in from the North Pole, the Big Guy in Red joins kiddos for a pancake breakfast, face painting, balloon twisting, Christmas crafts, and more in Bristol.
December 8: The Newport Community Band and Salve Regina Jazz Ensemble come together to perform holiday favorites.
December 8: Enjoy a special seasonal high tea at St. Columba’s Chapel in Middletown.
December 9: Let’s go caroling on Broadway! Meet on the steps of Colony House and sing along with the Thompson Middle School Chorus and Off Broadway Neighborhood Association down Broadway to Equality Park.
December 10: Seniors get the chance to celebrate the most wonderful time of year via bus to see the town’s holiday light displays, followed by a Christmas party at the Rhode Island Veterans Home.
December 10-11: During Christmas at the Inns, Holiday Bed and Breakfast Tour, wander through local inns like Francis Malbone House Inn while supporting nonprofit Lucy’s Hearth.
December 11: Add a little sparkle to your evening with Newport Wine Cellar and Le Petit Gourmet’s sampling of sparkling wines and hors d’oeuvres in the setting of beautiful Blithewold.
December 11: WADK Radio’s Annual Christmas Concert features toe-tapping tunes from the Larry Brown Swinglane Orchestra and Jamestown Community Chorus.
December 12: The temperatures may have dropped but that doesn’t mean you can’t wander the glass, woodworking, photography, and fine art galleries with hot chocolate in hand during Newport Gallery Night.
December 12: Pets in Need Veterinary Clinic hosts their Paws for a Cause fundraiser event with wine and beer tasting, appetizers, and a silent auction at Linden Place.
December 12: Browse Students’ Impressions of Christmas in Newport, K-12 art projects that commemorate the holiday season in Newport.
December 12-14: Jumpstart your holiday checklist with the Newport Art Museum Marketplace. Where better to shop for local art and gifts than at an art museum itself?
December 13: Listen to both old and new, sacred and secular, holiday music by the Voices of Unity/RPM Voices of Rhode Island in honor of Christmas at Mt. Zion.
December 13: The Newport Navy Choristers perform to help fund charitable missions in the Philippines.
December 13: After 12 days of judging dressed-up doorways, winners of the Newport Doorway Contest are announced.
December 13: The birth of Christ is told through lesson and song during St. George’s School Service of Lessons & Carols.
December 14: There’s dancing, drumming, and raffles at Sandywoods Center for the Arts during the Aquidneck Indian Council December/Holiday Social.
December 14: A festive afternoon of crafts, popcorn, and hot cocoa at Emmanuel Church.
December 14: It’s a Celtic Christmas with traditional music, eggnog, cookies, and Celtic-inspired bracelets and lapel pins for sale at the Irish Museum’s Christmas Open House.
December 14: The Bristol Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary read aloud Christmas classics and classics-to-be as part of the town’s holiday extravaganza.
December 14: Gingerbread Storytime is a special storytime and craft with a Christmas cookie theme.
December 14: At Roger Williams University, Michael Bolger’s version of The Nutcracker modernizes the original Tchaikovsky with contemporary dances and modified script.
December 14: Unique boutique artisan showcase of everything from fiber to fine arts in historic Tiverton Four Corners’ Winter’s Arts & Artisans Fair.
December 14 & 15: Salve Regina’s Christmas choral concerts feature the University Chorus, Madrigals Chorus, and a cappella groups.
December 15: Dress up and join in at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church’s Live Nativity, featuring crafts, refreshments, and plenty of photo opps.
December 15: Save the date for latkes, games, and singing at Temple Shalom’s Children’s Chanukah Party. Set an alarm because the fun begins at 9:30am.
December 15: Local entertainment, historic home tour, and holiday cheer. Take the family to Glen Manor for a day of fun, and stay for Santa’s afternoon arrival!
December 15: Mimosas and music? Sign us up! Brunch in a mansion accompanied by Classics Five Jazz Quintet.
December 15: St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble performs Russian choral music, folk songs, and pop selections.
December 17: What exactly is St. George's 108th Annual Medieval Christmas Pageant? A candlelit service of the portrayal of the Christmas story.
December 18: Attend a celebration which includes lighting a menorah at Temple Habonim. Festivities begin at 5:30pm.
December 18: Kids can make 3D foam tree decorations with a winter look at the Newport Public Library.
December 20: Newport Public Library puts on a party dedicated to Santa’s partners in cheer: the reindeer. Featuring themed crafts, activities, and snack.
December 21: A Gilded Age gala at The Breakers featuring cocktail hour on the loggia, three-course dinner in the Great Hall, and dancing in the Music Room.
December 22: BAFL stands for “Brunch Art and Flea Market”. Savor a late breakfast and collect crafts at Laferge Church.
December 28: You’ve likely meandered the halls of Newport’s famous mansions, but what about those grand homes normally off-limits to the public? Take a peek inside during a special tour by candlelight.
December 31: Get groovy with Sandywoods Center for the Arts as they ring in the new year Motown/soul/British Invasion style at the ‘60s New Years Eve Party.