The 31 best things to do around Boston this December

Close out 2019 on a high note.

Ice sculpture for Boston's First Night celebration
Ice sculptures created by Ice Effects were worked on in Copley Square in preparation for Boston's 2017 First Night celebration. John Tlumacki/Globe staff

As it comes down to the last few weeks of the year, Boston will be swept up in a flurry of holiday activities. Whether you’re looking to craft decorations, make a dent in your shopping list at a festive market, or hum along to holiday tunes, there’s an event for you. Read on to get in the spirit of the season, each day of the month.

Sunday, Dec. 1
Holiday Jazz Cruise. Sail around Boston Harbor in a festively decorated yacht with a glass of champagne or mug of spiked hot chocolate in hand. (Sunday, Dec. 1 – Sunday, Dec. 29 at various times; meets at 60 Rowes Wharf, Boston; $53; all ages, must be 21+ to drink)

Monday Dec. 2
Mac and Cheese Flight NightSure, beer flights are great, but how about mixing it up with an assortment of cheesy pastas? (5 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen, Brighton; free; all ages)

Tuesday, Dec. 3
“Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol.” The world premiere of this take on “A Christmas Carol” imagines Ebenezer Scrooge as the owner of a mining town in the 1930s. (Tuesday, Dec. 3 – Sunday, Dec. 29 at various times; Emerson Colonial Theatre, Theatre District; $39.50 – $149.50; all ages)


Wednesday, Dec. 4
Holiday Pops. Hear your favorite holiday classics, sing along with the symphony, and even catch a glimpse of Santa Claus during the Boston Pops’ holiday season. (Wednesday, Dec. 4 – Tuesday, Dec. 24 at various times; Symphony Hall, Fenway-Kenmore; $25 – $162; all ages)

Keith Lockhart conducted the Boston POPS in the 2014 premiere of the holiday series on Dec. 3.

Thursday, Dec. 5
Say Goodbye to Prohibition with City Tap and Old Forester. It’s the 86th anniversary of prohibition’s repeal, and City Tap is going big with whiskey-laced food specials, live music and 1930’s decor. (7 p.m. – 10 p.m.; City Tap, Fort Point; free; all ages)

Friday, Dec. 6
Illuminus. For two nights, this festival will drench the Financial District in art and light. (Thursday, Dec. 5 – Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; 100 Summer St., Financial District; free; all ages)

Saturday, Dec. 7
Swedish Yuletide. Grab a warm cup of Glögg and explore everything this Scandinavian holiday fair has to offer. (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Cyclorama, South End; $10, free for children under 13; all ages)

Sunday, Dec. 8
Jingle Bell Run. Lace up your sneakers and dash all the way to the end of this race, which benefits the Arthritis Foundation. (7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.; start/finish line at Boston Common at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street, Boston; $40 to register for 5k or 1-mile run, $20 for kids run; all ages)


Monday, Dec. 9
Holiday Mug Decorating. Customize a mug, then enjoy a beer while your new cup bakes and sets. (5 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall, Seaport District; $35; 21+)

Tuesday, Dec. 10
Holiday Wreath Workshop. Craft a fresh balsam or grapevine wreath to hang in your home. (7 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Dorset Hall, Dorchester; $60; all ages)

Wednesday, Dec. 11
Boston Music Awards. See what community acts will come away winners at this annual celebration of local music. (7:30 p.m.; House of Blues, Fenway-Kenmore; $20; all ages)

Thursday, Dec. 12
21+ Wicked Retro Game Night. Find out if you’re as good at that classic video game as you remember. (7 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Turtle Swamp Brewing, Jamaica Plain; free; all ages, must be 21+ to drink)

Friday, Dec. 13
Celine Dion Courage Tour. Watch the French songstress belt it out from the TD Garden stage. (7:30 p.m.; TD Garden, West End; tickets start at $173; all ages)

Celine Dion performs during her first World Tour show called Courage at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City on Sept. 18.

Saturday, Dec. 14
“What the Dickens!” This dance-theater take on a Charles Dickens classic blends ballet, flamenco, hip-hop, tap and more. (Saturday, Dec. 14 – Sunday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 21 – Sunday, Dec. 22 at various times; John Hancock Hall, Back Bay; $22.50 – $65; all ages)


Sunday, Dec. 15
Carly Coplely’s Birthday (& Retirement) Party. The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s annual puppy party will double as a send-off celebration for the hotel’s canine ambassador. Her successor, Cori Copley, will be in attendance. (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.; Fairmont Copley Plaza, Back Bay; free; all ages)

Monday, Dec. 16
Boston Tea Party Reenactment. Protest like it’s 1773 and parade through the Financial District before watching tea hurled off ships in the harbor. (6:30 p.m.; meets at Old South Meeting House, Downtown; $20 – $30; all ages)

Tea is dumped into the Boston Harbor during the annual Boston Tea Party reenactment on Dec. 16, 2012.

Tuesday, Dec. 17
All Aboard! Trains at Science Park. Watch model trains maneuver through intricate landscapes, lay your own tracks at wooden train tables, and more at this locomotive-themed exhibit. (Exhibit runs through Tuesday, Jan. 7; Museum of Science, Cambridge; $21 – $26; all ages)

Wednesday, Dec. 18
The Little Details Holiday Sip & Shop. Cross a few items off your shopping list and even have them gift wrapped onsite. (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; The Little Details, Cambridge; free; all ages)

Thursday, Dec. 19
Urban Nutcracker. Moving between Duke Ellington’s rhythms and Tchaikovsky’s compositions, Anthony Williams’ holiday presentation is set in Boston and features an array of dance styles. (Thursday, Dec. 19 – Saturday, Dec. 28 at various times; Boch Center Shubert Theatre, Theatre District; tickets start at $29; all ages)

Friday, Dec. 20
75 on Chestnut Gingerbread House Party. A two-course lunch is included at this event to fuel your candy decorating. (Friday, Dec. 6 – Tuesday, Dec. 24 at various times; 75 Chestnut, Beacon Hill; $75 for adults, $60 for children; all ages)


Saturday, Dec. 21
Holiday Tea in the Mansion. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in Regency-era garb for tea, games,and guided tours of Gore Place. (Saturday, Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. or Saturday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.; Gore Place, Waltham; $45, $35 for members; all ages)

Sunday, Dec. 22
36th Annual Menorah Lighting in the Boston Common Grand Ceremony. Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with a live music ensemble, treats and warm beverages. (4 p.m.; Brewer Fountain on the Boston Common, Boston; free; all ages)


menorah lighting

The 33rd annual menorah lighting on the Boston Common in 2016.

Monday, Dec. 23
Compaq Big Band. Give yourself a Christmas Eve Eve treat and soak up the sounds of a 19-piece band. (8 p.m.; City Winery, North End; $30, food and drink not included; all ages)

Tuesday, Dec. 24
Yoga — Form, Function, & Flow. Decompress from cooking, shopping and other holiday stressors at this weekly yoga class, which ends with 15 minutes of meditation. (6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Fenway Community Center, Fenway-Kenmore; $10, free for Fenway Community Center members; all ages)

Wednesday, Dec. 25
Roslindale Comedy. Inject a laugh into your Christmas Day at this weekly show featuring local comics. (8 p.m. – 10 p.m.; the Square Root, Roslindale; $5; all ages)

Thursday, Dec. 26
Harlem Globetrotters. Make the day after Christmas a high-flying slam dunk at this stunt-filled show. (11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; TD Garden, West End; $33 – $476; all ages)

Friday, Dec. 27
Secrets & Illusions. Let magician Ivan Amodei transport you to the Louvre Museum in his 90-minute display of illusions. (Friday, Dec. 27 – Sunday, Dec. 29 at various times; Huntington Avenue Theatre, Fenway-Kenmore; $49 – $79; all ages)


Saturday, Dec. 28
South Shore Sights & Lights Holiday Trolley Tour. This festive tour makes a pit stop halfway through for passengers to enjoy a free beer or glass of wine at Holbrook’s Liberty Publick House. (Thursday, Dec. 5 – Sunday, Dec. 29 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.; meets at Quincy Center, Quincy; $49; 21+)

Sunday, Dec. 29
Baking School: Chocolate Breads with Goodnow Farms. If the sound of chocolate chip brioche rolls or ginger and chocolate coffee cake is making your mouth water, you may want to reserve a seat in this cooking class. (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.; The KITCHEN at Boston Public Market, Downtown; $64 for Trustees, $79 for non-Trustees members; all ages)

Monday, Dec. 30
December Book Swap. Trade your 2018 reads for some fresh picks. (7 p.m.; Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Back Bay; $5 if you spend less than that at the cafe; all ages)

Tuesday, Dec. 31
First Night Boston. A cluster of New Year’s Eve activities culminates with a fireworks display on the Boston Common. (Tuesday, Dec. 31 at noon – Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 12:30 a.m.; various locations; free; all ages)


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