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Old Sturbridge Village, Christmas by Candlelight

December 3, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

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Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, stroll through the peaceful Christmas Tree Trail, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more.

Highlights include:

Take in the Sights of Christmas

Enjoy the sights of Christmas throughout the Village as you explore our 200-acre campus decorated for the season. Wander down the Christmas Tree Trail and through the Christmas Wish Bridge. Take a ride on the horse-drawn carry-all. Enjoy a nightly tree lighting ceremony. View an intricate 500+ piece miniature nativity scene and a model train display. Warm up by the bonfire. Visit with Santa Claus. You can even see recreated Christmas decor from the 1830s, 1850s, and 1870s in the Salem Towne House! There’s Christmas magic at every corner!

See Holiday Traditions Recreated

Watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects like making woolen ornaments, knitting Christmas stockings, making marzipan, Christmas baking, punching tin lanterns, making pottery, and more!  Several simple take-home craft kits will be available to pick up during the program and directions for some other DIY projects and recipes will be posted online at a later date. You can also see hearth cooking in the Bixby House where they will be preparing the Cratchit Christmas dinner!

A woman cooks a Christmas dinner by candlelight

Enjoy Stories and Live Music

Every night of Christmas by Candlelight, listen to live festive music by both costumed interpreters and outside guests. More details will be available at a later date. Catch a magic show with Magician Bob Olson. Enjoy readings of classic stories such as The Night Before ChristmasRudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerHow the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Visit from Saint Nicholas. There will also be readings of “The Nativity Gospel of Saint Luke” and “The Nativity Gospel of Saint Matthew.”

Explore the History of Christmas Traditions

The holiday traditions that so many cherish today were once unknown to New Englanders. In fact, most early 19th-century rural New Englanders did not celebrate Christmas. Despite the rarity of Christmas celebrations in early 19th-century New England, some traditions began to take hold as the century progressed. Most of today’s traditional carols date to the 19th century. While many cultures worldwide have had a figure that resembles the modern Santa Claus, many date the current American version to 1823 when a New York newspaper included a poem called “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” Though Christmas trees have a complex backstory, they grew in popularity in the English-speaking world after 1841, when England’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert put up a Christmas tree. Learn more about the history behind these and many other cherished holiday traditions as you explore the Village.

An 1870s Christmas dining room setup

Gingerbread House Contest

The Gingerbread House Contest is an annual tradition at Christmas by Candlelight! Create and register your own gingerbread house in one of several categories or simply view the creative handiwork of others when you visit the Village during Christmas by Candlelight. Judges pick the category winners and visitors vote for the “Best in Show.”

We are aiming for 75 entries this year to help celebrate the Village’s 75th anniversary! This year, you can enter the in-person contest or the virtual contest! Learn more and register here.

You can also view the Virtual 2020 Gingerbread House Contest for some creative inspiration here.

Holiday Shopping

Find unique souvenirs, gifts, and more at the Village during Christmas by Candlelight! Be sure to stop by the Miner Grant Store or the Holiday Market and Café for an assortment of Village-made redware pottery and tin products, Christmas decor, craft kits, and so much more. Plus, save the date for the following special shopping events:

Members-Only Double Discount Days | December 3rd-5th | Learn more here.

Hector Fox and the Giant Quest Book Signing | December 17th and 18th | 5:30 – 7:30 pm | Learn more here.

Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village: More Magic and More Memories

December 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 23, and 27-30

Times: The Village is open 3:00 – 8:00 pm on December 3, 5, 10, 12, 27-30; The Village is open 1:00 – 8:00 pm on December 4, 11, 17-19, 23



December 3, 2021
3:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST


Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
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(800) 733-1830
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