Boston events for December 2017. Festivals, fun things to do, Christmas events, New Year’s Eve parties, and Christmas lights in Boston, Massachusetts.

Best events for 12 months

Enjoy the best events, festivals, and things to do in Boston with this calendar of events.

Miles are from Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Short holiday plays

December 1 - 2, 2017 (begins Nov. 24)

12.4 miles north

See eight short holiday plays at Suburban Holidays performed by the Quannapowitt Players Theater in Reading.


December 1 - 3, 2017

2.1 miles SW

The Handel & Haydn Society performs Handel’s Messiah for the holidays at Symphony Hall.

The Nutcracker

December 1 - 24, 2017 (begins Nov. 25)

Boston & Dorchester

José Mateo Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker at the Cutler Majestic Theatre (Nov. 25 to Dec. 10) and the Strand Theatre in Dorchester (Dec. 15 to 24).
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The Nutcracker

December 1 - 31, 2017 (begins Nov. 24)

0.6 miles SW

The Nutcracker by Boston Ballet is a holiday tradition with colorful characters on a magical journey to the Nutcracker Prince’s kingdom in the clouds at the Boston Opera House.


Dec. 1, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018 (Nov. 24+)

8.2 miles north

See trees covered with lights, live reindeer, and Santa at ZooLights at Stone Zoo. Last day with Santa is Dec. 23. Closed Dec. 25.

Holiday lights

Dec. 1, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018 (Nov. 19+)

0 miles

Watch 350,000 LED lights blink to holiday music at Blink! A Light & Sound Extravaganza at Faneuil Hall. South side happens at half past the hour from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. & north side is on the hour 5 to 9 p.m. Free.

Lights in the garden

Dec. 1, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018 (Nov. 24+)

47 miles west

Holly Days: Winter Reimagined features colorful lights, decorated trees, and optional dinner at the 132-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden.

Bar crawl

December 2, 2017

multiple locations

These a holiday bar crawls feature drink specials.

Pop-culture convention

December 2 - 3, 2017

Location uncertain

Northeast Comic Con includes gaming, guests, toys, and vendors. Repeats in July.

Tree lighting ceremonies

December 7, 2017

Boston locations

Free lighting ceremonies start the holidays in Boston.

Holiday at the mansion

December 7, 2017

8.5 miles west

Walk through the decorated rooms of Commander’s Mansion at Holiday Open House, which has cocoa and treats plus Santa in the evening in Watertown. Free.


December 8 - 9, 2017

2.3 miles SW

The Boston Baroque orchestra, chorus, and guest soloists perform Handel’s masterpiece Messiah for the holidays in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.

The Nutcracker in Weston

December 8 - 10, 2017 (begins Nov. 24)

16 miles west

Commonwealth Ballet frolics, battles, and dances to tell the story of The Nutcracker, a toy that comes to life in a young girl’s dream and leads her to the land of the sugar plum fairy at Regis College.

Winter solstice show

December 8 - 27, 2017

3.3 miles NW

Christmas Revels is a family-oriented show with 2.5 hours of music, dance, song, theater, humor, and audience participation at Sanders Theatre.

Swedish holidays

December 9, 2017

1.5 miles SW

Swedish Yuletide features traditional Swedish foods, crafts, a Lucia procession, and a children’s pageant at the Cyclorama.

Latkes for Hanukkah

December 9, 2017

3.6 miles NW

Celebrate Hanukkah with potato pancakes at the Everyone Loves Latkes Party at 31 Brattle Street. Free.

Football lunch

December 9, 2017 (uncertain)

14 miles NW

Join local celebrities at Army Navy Football Luncheon, which includes a lunch buffet and TVs showing the game at Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill in Woburn.

Jingle Bell run/walk

December 10, 2017

0.6 miles SW

Wear a holiday costume and tie bells to your shoes for Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis, which begins at Boston Common.

The story of Chanukah

December 10, 2017

1.2 miles SW

A Light Through the Ages tells the meaning of Chanukah through story and song, concluding with a dramatic candlelight ceremony. Free.

Holiday 5K

December 10, 2017 (9:30 a.m.)

3.5 miles west

Yulefest is a 5K race through Harvard Square followed by a block party with food and beer for ages 21+.

Charles Dickens festival

December 10, 2017

12 miles west

Dickens Holiday Festival has holiday vendors upstairs and entertainment on the main floor (carolers, bell ringers, and costumed actors reading “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens) at Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham. Admission cost.


December 13, 2017

0.5 miles NE

The North End Music and Performing Arts Center plus a choir and soloists perform Handel’s Messiah (Part 1) at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. Free tickets online.

Symphonic concert

December 13, 2017

2 miles west

Berklee Symphonic Winds Fall Concert features works for winds, brass, and percussion at the Berklee Performance Center. Repeats in May. Free.

Art fair

December 15 - 17, 2017

1.9 miles SW

Shop for gifts from 200 juried artists at the CraftBoston Holiday Show at Hynes Convention Center.

Christmas play

December 15 - 23, 2017

44 miles west

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ classic about the miraculous transformation of miserly Scrooge at Hanover Theatre in Worcester.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 2017

0.3 miles SW

Relive December 16, 1773 when colonists met to debate King George’s tea tax and decide the fate of three shiploads of tea in Boston Harbor at the Boston Tea Party Reenactment, with 100 volunteer actors in costume at Old South Meeting House.

Concert at Old South Church

December 16, 2017 (3 p.m.)

1.5 miles SW

Secret Angels is a holiday concert featuring the Boston Choral Ensemble singing traditional carols and music by candlelight, accompanied by the organ at Old South Church, followed by a reception.

Magic show

December 26 - 27, 2017

1.1 miles SW

Ivan Amodei involves the audience in his entertaining 90-minute magic show Intimate Illusions, with live cello accompaniment at beautiful Boston Park Plaza.

Discount tickets $36 at Goldstar.

Discount tickets $36 at Groupon.

Ice sculptures

December 30, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018

0 miles

The Ice features interactive ice sculptures that make great photo opportunities at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Free.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2017

Boston locations

OpenTable has a list of restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve - comedy

December 31, 2017

0.2 miles north

Laugh your way into the new year at ImprovBoston. See the schedule for family-appropriate shows. The final 10 p.m. show with champagne is for age 21+.

New Year’s Eve - fireworks early

December 31, 2017

0.8 miles SW

Boston Family Fireworks is a spectacular fireworks display scheduled at a time when children can attend at Boston Common. Free.

New Year’s Eve - Taj

December 31, 2017

1.1 miles SE

Designed for professionals age 35+, Back Bay Ball has an optional dinner starting at 7 p.m., followed at 9 p.m. by dancing to ‘80s, ‘90s, and current top-40 dance & club hits, and a midnight countdown at Westin Boston.

New Year’s Eve - James Bond

December 31, 2017

1.2 miles SW

Timeless is a sophisticated party with local celebrities and live performances at the Castle at Park Plaza.

New Year’s Eve - soirée

December 31, 2017

1.5 miles south

The Beehive Ball promises “a night of bohemian decadence and eccentric fun” with a band and jazz singers, plus an optional dinner at The Beehive.

New Year’s Eve - Colonnade

December 31, 2017

1.8 miles SW

Resolution Ball includes passed hors d’oeuvres, a slider station, and a live band at Colonnade Boston Hotel.

Austrian music & dance

December 31, 2017

2.1 miles SW

Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert brings the waltzes of Strauss to life with costumed dancers, singers, and a full orchestra in Boston Symphony Hall.

New Year’s Eve - pops

December 31, 2017

2.1 miles SW

Dance the night away with the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra, which has a cash bar and dining options at Boston Pops Symphony Hall.

New Year’s Eve - rock

December 31, 2017

7.6 miles NW

New Year’s Eve Spectacular features Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra playing classic rock by The Who, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Queen at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Early New Year’s for families

December 31, 2017

22 miles NE

Beverly’s New Year is a family celebration with music, arts & crafts, a 6 p.m. parade, and a 6:45 p.m. beach-ball drop. Outdoor events are free.

New Year’s festival

December 31, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018

Boston locations

Boston First Night Day is a two-day festival of art exhibits, dance performances, live music, and family fun. Free.

New Year’s baroque

December 31, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018

3.3 miles NW

Boston Baroque: New Year’s Celebration features Handel’s Water Music and Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 at Sanders Theatre.

Star-studded concert

December 2017 (undated)

0.6 miles NW

The Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to TD Garden.

Hanukkah event

December 2017 (undated)

2.6 miles SW

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights promises “an evening of art, culture, and community” with art exhibits, live performances, and art making at the Museum of Fine Arts. Requires paying for museum admission.

Contemporary dance

December 2017 (undated)

3.3 miles west

What the Dickens! is “A Christmas Carol” with a female, briefcase-toting Scrooge in an urban musical dance setting that features tap, modern dance, hip hop, ballet, and Indian dance at Boston University.

Gospel Nativity

December 2017 (undated)

0.6 miles SW

Black Nativity tells the story of the Nativity in song, scripture, music, poetry, and dance with a cast of 50 people at 559 Washington Street.

Celtic Christmas

December 2017 (undated)

0.8 miles SW

Enjoy Celtic music, Scottish singing, and Irish dance at A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston (plus New Bedford, Rockport, Worcester).

Modern Nutcracker

December 2017 (undated)

1.3 miles SW

The diverse cast of Urban Nutcracker combines ballet, swing, flamenco, hip-hop, and Tchaikovsky’s classic score at John Hancock Hall.

Candlelit Christmas concert

December 2017 (undated)

1.4 miles SW

Christmas Concert at Old South features a candlelight procession, a chorus singing classic holiday songs and less familiar works, and sing-a-longs at Old South Church.

Holiday Pops

December 2017 (undated)

2.1 miles SW

Celebrate the holidays at the festive Holiday Pops with your favorite songs, a sing-along, and a visit from Santa at Symphony Hall.

Gingerbread Village

December 2017 (undated)

5.4 miles west

See a Gingerbread Village made of candy and cake on display in the lobby of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge Dec. 12 to 20. On Sunday, the outdoor courtyard adds Santa Claus, treats, and a farmer’s market. Free.

Holiday bike ride

December 2017 (undated)

6.4 miles NW

Wear festive clothes and sing carols on the leisurely paced 22-mile Jingle Ride from Arlington to Boston roundtrip, with cookies and cocoa in Harvard Square.

Christmas show

December 2017 (undated)

13 miles NW

ChristmasTime has a cast of 200, a full orchestra, Santa’s workshop, a parade of wooden soldiers, dancers, a Victorian Christmas, and a live Nativity at Reagle Theatre.

Christmas musical

December 2017 (undated)

16.1 miles west

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas, set to music by Weston Friendly Society of the Performing Arts.
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© December 2017 calendar of events in Boston, MA: Christmas, holidays, New Year’s Eve parties, things to do in Boston, Massachusetts. bos-12