Vintage Christmas Events in Portsmouth
Get your holiday fix at the many festive Vintage Christmas events happening throughout December in Portsmouth.
Photo by David J. Murray/Clear Eye Photo
One town in New Hampshire really pulls out all the stops for Christmas with a month of events that range from musical performances to ice skating.
Vintage Christmas once again showcases the magical Candlelight Stroll, now in its 38th year, at Strawbery Banke Museum and live holiday shows at The Music Hall’s landmark Historic Theater and the intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street. It all takes place in elegant and festive downtown Portsmouth, which also happens to have some excellent independent stores for Christmas shopping.
Get ready to cuddle up with a free trolley ride through Market Square, stroll through the snowflakes to the many eclectic shops, step back in time to welcome “The Winter Visitor” through 300 years of living history at the festively decorated Strawbery Banke Museum Candlelight Stroll, sample Portsmouth’s famous culinary specialties or enjoy a first-class show at The Music Hall. Back by popular demand - the free Vintage Christmas Trolley shuttles patrons around the historic seaport each Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening for the first three weekends in December.
Here are a few of this year's events:
November 29-December 17: Irving Berlin's "White Christmas, The Musical"
Due to overwhelming demand, the Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas returns to The Music Hall in 2017. Packed full of dazzling dance numbers, iconic songs such as “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” and the beloved title song, as well as actors straight from Broadway, visitors and residents aren’t going to want to miss this “holiday card come to life.”
2017 "White Christmas" show times:
- Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
- Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, December 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 8, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
- Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Friday, December 15, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
- Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
- Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
The Music Hall is located at 28 Chestnut Street in Portsmouth. Visit The Music Hall for tickets and more information.
Every day in December: Labrie Family Skate
The entire family will love skating at Strawbery Banke's Puddle Dock Pond, a seasonal outdoor ice skating rink at the heart of the 10-acre living history museum. In the spirit of Portsmouth's rich performing arts culture, Puddle Dock Pond will host costumed “Currier & Ives” skaters on the ice during Candlelight Stroll weekends. Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke opens on December 1 and will be in full operation, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout December and on through New Year's Day and the months of January and February.
Puddle Dock Pond offers 12,500 square feet of professionally maintained ice surface combining an 80' x 125' oval and a 60' diameter circle all surrounded by a post and rail fence. A seasonal pavilion houses ticketing and skate rentals. The White Apron Cafe in the adjacent museum Tyco Visitor Center serves food and beverages. Puddle Dock Pond offers public skating (including several free sessions each week), pond hockey for children and adults and skating lessons for all ages. Skate rentals and sharpening services are available. For details, schedules and more information, visit puddledockpond.org.
December 2: Portsmouth’s Illuminated Holiday Parade
Tree lighting - 5:30 p.m.
Parade - 6 p.m.
Rain date is December 3.
Count down to the tree lighting in Market Square and stay for the illuminated holiday parade that winds through the heart of Portsmouth.
The Portsmouth Illuminate
December 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17: The Candlelight Stroll and Historic Dinners
Stroll through life in a simpler time as 350 years of American history, winter traditions and holiday celebrations unfolds around you in New Hampshire's oldest waterfront neighborhood. Costumed role-players greet you in the historic homes where you are invited to rediscover the joys of simpler times. Mrs. Shapiro prepares a Hanukah celebration her 1919 Russian Jewish kitchen. Mrs. Goodwin, her family and servants prepare a Victorian Christmas. Father Christmas, the night watchman, “Mayor Frank Jones” and other role-players make their rounds along the dirt lanes; and the Abbotts await news of their soldier fighting in Europe in the Second World War. You'll also enjoy the carolers, Christmas crafts and more sights, sounds and smells of the holidays.
Until November 30, ticket prices for the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll are $20 for adults, $7.50 for children and $55 for families (two adults and their children ages 17 and under). After that date, tickets increase by $5. Tickets can be purchased online at strawberybanke.org or by phone at (603) 433-1107. From 5 p.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays. Puddle Dock Pond skating and Candlelight Stroll bundles are also available.
Step back in time at the delightful Strawbery Banke Museum Candlelight Stroll.
On Candlelight Stroll weekends you can also enjoy a very special Christmas dinner. Step back in time at the Strawbery Banke Museum’s historic William Pitt Tavern for a delicious Colonial-era, four-course meal prepared by acclaimed chef Evan Mallett of the Black Trumpet. This series of dinners, offered as a part of Portsmouth’s popular Vintage Christmas lineup, also features locally crafted libations and live music to evoke holiday cheer. Each evening has three seatings at 4, 6 and 8 p.m. The cost is $70 for adults and $30 for children. Reservations are a must and can be made at Pickwick’s Mercantile, Pickwick’s at the Banke, by calling Mr. Pickwick at (603) 427-8671 or online.
December 20-21: Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s Family Holiday Pops
Celebrate the season with this annual tradition of singing holiday song favorites old and new. Tickets for these performances sell out, so get yours early. Tickets are $25, $22 for seniors and groups and $12 for students. Both shows at 7:30 p.m. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. See the website for tickets and more information.
December 29-30: Juston McKinney’s Year in Review 2017
End the year with laughter as the Seacoast’s own Juston McKinney performs two hilarious nights at The Music Hall. He has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Conan O’Brien" and has two Comedy Central specials including his own one-hour special. He has also been named Best Comedian of NH by New Hampshire Magazine. Have the last laugh of 2017 with Juston as he dishes on New England life and looks back at the year that was. Show times are at 8 p.m. and tickets are $26. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. See the website for tickets and more information.
Want even more Vintage Christmas information and events? Click here for a complete schedule and more information.