Vintage Christmas Events in Portsmouth

Get your holiday fix at one of the 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 41st year and outdoor only, at Strawbery Banke Museum and live small gathering 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 socially distanced Christmas shopping. (Don’t forget your mask!)

Here are a few of this year’s events:

November 20-December 22: 30th Annual Gingerbread House Contest

Celebrate the sweetest season by joining Portsmouth Historical Society for the 30th Annual Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibition. This year, gingerbread creations are on display both at the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center and throughout downtown in the windows of shops and restaurants. Vote for your favorite designs in the People’s Choice awards and participate in a downtown scavenger hunt with a chance to win a gift card to Cure or the Roundabout Diner.

November 28-December 19: “Stage Door Cabaret”

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Celebrate the holiday season with The Music Hall’s elegant Stage Door Cabaret series, featuring world-renowned artists in a speakeasy, martini bar atmosphere. Enjoy seating arranged for small gatherings on the historic stage with professional table service during the world-class entertainment.

Check out The Music Hall calendar for the full show schedule.

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. Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke opens in late November/early December (weather permitting) and will be in full operation seven days a week. Make sure to check their Facebook page for COVID-19 protocols, closures and changes to their weekly schedule.

Puddle Dock Pond offers 12,500 square feet of professionally maintained ice surface combining an 80-by-125-foot oval and a 60-foot diameter circle, all surrounded by a post and rail fence. A seasonal pavilion houses ticketing and skate rentals. Puddle Dock Pond offers public skating (including several free sessions each week) and skating lessons for all ages. Skate rentals, sharpening services and private pond rentals are available. For details, schedules and more information, visit

December 11-13, 18-20: The Candlelight Stroll

In the spirit of a truly Vintage Christmas, Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through over 300 years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. This year, due to the pandemic, Strawbery Banke presents “Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars,” focusing on the lights, wreaths, role players and holiday magic on the exteriors of the museum’s historic buildings.

The museum grounds glow with hundreds of lighted candle lanterns, and house doors and railings are adorned with handmade decorations crafted from live greens, dried flowers and herbs collected from the museum gardens. Visitors stroll along candlelit pathways and are greeted along the way by costumed role players and performers who recreate the traditions of times past.

Step back in time at the delightful Strawbery Banke Museum Candlelight Stroll.

Ticket prices for the Strawbery Banke Candlelight Stroll are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at (603) 433-1107. All tickets MUST be purchased in advance. One-hour, self-guided tours departing every 30-minutes. The last self-guided tour departs at 7 p.m.

December 20: The Music Hall presents “A Very Ida Christmas”

Seating will be socially distanced at this live show. For information on our policies and procedures to ensure your safety, and the safety of our staff and volunteers, please visit our Reopening page.

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It’s Christmas in Mahoosuc Mills, Maine and Ida LeClair’s holiday spirit could light up an entire inflatable penguin village. Come on over to Ida’s and pick up a few holiday decorating tips, discover the “secret” in the not-so-secret Santa plan, and get the latest scoop on Ida’s Christmas craft project with her pals, the Women Who Run With the Moose. Ida’s no Scrooge, so banish your bah-humbugs and prepare to laugh!

Selected by Portland Magazine as one of the “Ten Most Intriguing People in Maine,” award-winning writer and performer Susan Poulin is the author of eleven plays, six of which feature her alter ego, Ida LeClair, “the funniest woman in Maine,” which is repeatedly compared to Lake Wobegon. She writes the popular Maine humor blog and podcast, Just Ask Ida, and is the author of Finding Your Inner Moose: Ida LeClair’s Guide to Living the Good Life and The Sweet Life: Ida LeClair’s Guide to Love and Marriage, both published by Islandport Press. As well as creating and touring her own work, Susan travels the country as an actor and facilitator for PowerPlay, a professional applied theatre company based at University of New Hampshire. She continues to be a leader in bringing a female voice to New England storytelling and humor, and sharing the healing power of laughter with audiences statewide and beyond.

December 26-27: Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh 2020

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 2020 with Juston as he dishes on New England life and looks back at the year that was. Tickets are $38. The Music Hall, 28 Chestnut St. See the website for tickets and more information.

Learn More

Want even more Vintage Christmas information and events? Click here for a complete schedule and more information.

Categories: Guide to Holidays, Holiday Guide Events