A s snowflakes kiss the noses of New Englanders and carols pump endlessly from every conceivable outlet, holiday cheer creeps into countless homes and hearts across the globe. Luckily, South County residents have a Santa’s sack stuffed with options when it comes to satisfying seasonal needs.
Aching to whisper your wishes into the ear of the jolly fatman himself? Santa Claus can take many forms, and several incarnations of the magical, bearded figure arrive in South County this year... but not all Santas arrive by sleigh.
Head over to the Wakefield Mall on November 29 at 11am and watch Santa’s very badass entrance via helicopter before following the fantastical gift giver into the mall. Regale Old Father Christmas with your holiday hopes while enjoying various edible goodies.
In an equally exciting arrival, Santa, the Christmas Lady, reindeer, elves and snowmen blaze into Westerly on November 29 at 6pm riding a firetruck. The North Pole partiers will distribute lollipops and coloring books to all children in attendance.
Feel like taking a jaunt through charming Christmas-themed wonderlands?
Sail away on the Block Island ferry November 29-December 1 for the 24th annual Christmas Shopping Stroll, where holiday sales will make gift buying an island breeze. Cider and hot chocolate will be available and should be able to satisfy even the saltiest of shopping sea dogs.
Take those feet (dressed up in your finest snowman socks) over to Main Street in East Greenwich Sundays in December for a “Holiday Stroll,” with each Sunday offering a different Christmas-centric event. Feel a warm glow inside and out December 5 at the lighting of the tree in East Greenwich’s Town Hall, or try your best Kris Kringle impersonation December 8 at the Santa Look-a-like contest, all while perusing a wide range of potential gifts in East Greenwich’s many stores.
Wander over to Westerly on December 4 for a different “stroll,” where you can chat up Santy Claus on his hayride sleigh and shop for unique gifts with a complimentary cup of hot chocolate in (mittened) hand. Keep your bargain hunting eyes peeled, as many stores will be offering special holiday promotions and coupons.
Bathe yourself in twinkling luminescence at the 28th Annual Wickford Village Festival of Lights. The celebrations begin December 5 at 6pm in Updike Park with a visit from Santa and the lighting of the town Christmas tree. The festival continues throughout the weekend with hayrides led by Mr. Claus, and various musical performances by the North Kingstown Community Chorus and the Lafayette band. Holy holiday ham! There’s even an elf parade.
As part of Wickford Village’s Festival of Lights, Smith’s Castle is decking its halls in period fashion to showcase Christmases past. Rejoice in this year’s theme (the history of the Christmas carol) while listening to live music from another era. Partake in baked delicacies at the Smith’s Castle bake sale, and chat with Santa Bob and Father Christmas.
Holiday fever takes hold of South County Commons Saturday, December 7 during the Merry, Merry Christmas event. Take a selfie with Santa (you can even join him for Breakfast at Applebees), warm your insides with hot cocoa and meet the Christmas Angel, all while listening to live music by pianist John Dias.
In need of a special item for that special someone? Jingle jangle your silver bells over to Kingston December 7-8 and check out a selection of gift worthy pieces including driftwood Santas, hooked rugs and hand painted glassware (among others). Seasonal refreshments will be made available to help ease the headache-inducing stress of present purchasing.
Let the surf at Narragansett Beach spray even more holiday happiness into your life December 8 at the Festival of Lights. Check out the Narragansett Community Center from 11am-1:30pm for arts, crafts and pizza. Head over to the Towers for all day celebrations that include gift shopping, choral and instrumental performances, pictures with Santa (a toy for Narragansett Housing Authority gets you a free picture) and holiday trolley rides. The Narragansett Boy Scout Troop 1 will be placing luminary candles along the sea wall, puppet shows and musical fun times will take place at the library, and find face painting, hot chocolate and music at the Gazebo Park.
Plus, Pier Marketplace will feature scenic horse-drawn wagon rides, a window display contest, a luminary stroll and a Santa meet and greet. If that’s not enough, prepare to have your brain burst in an explosion of red, green and gold while watching fireworks shoot across the sky. Hey... is that Santa in his legendary sleigh? Nah, it’s just fireworks. Narragansett will also play host to a Holiday Bazaar December 14-15;the perfect opportunity to purchase unique items crafted by local artisans.
Feet feeling a little sore from all the strolling? Relax your tosie woseys and take in The Contemporary Theater’s production of The Gift of the Magi, (November 29-December 22), a new holiday play inspired by O. Henry’s classic tale, or get lost in frosty fantasy during their rendition of The Nutcracker (December 14-15) made in collaboration with GEAR productions and performed at South Kingstown High School.
What would the holidays be without encouraging a bitter old Scrooge to accept love, charity and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future into his heart?! Rattle your chains at The Granite Theatre’s A Christmas Carol (November 29-December 22).
And of course, there are multiple musical events to swell even the Grinch-iest of hearts!
On December 2, the Wakefield Concert Band will perform their annual holiday salute to the merriest of seasons. Get sappy and sentimental while listening to holiday classics like Leroy Anerson’s “Sleigh Ride” and “A Christmas Festival.” Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring toiletry donations for the Peace Dale’s Johnnycake Center.
Give your ears a break from all that Christmas radio noise and expose them instead to the sweet, soothing, real life sounds of the Chorus of Westerly’s Christmas Pops on December 15 with performances at 4 and 6pm. Children and adults alike will fill the air with musical cheer as they croon holiday favorites.
Feeling a little ho-humbug? Perhaps this holiday season has got you down instead of lifting your spirits sky high? Try shifting that pessimistic perspective alongside ultimate pessimist George Bailey during the East Greenwich Odeum’s showing of It’s A Wonderful Life on December 13. Catch either the 2:30pm or 7:30pm showing (suggested donation $5)... d’ya hear that heavenly tinkling? That’s an angel finally getting its wings.
Ah yes, Christmas time is upon us, and South County’s many jubilant events would warm the heart-cockles of Scrooge himself. Prepare yourselves, people... after all the holiday preparing and partying, visions of sugar plums (and Santa Clauses and snowflakes and stockings) will be dancing around those heads come December 25!