149 Pond St.
Stoneham, MA 02180
Price: $7 per person; $6 for Zoo members ($4 for members on Mondays)
Hours: Nov. 22 to Dec. 31 – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Dec. 25.
ZooLights, a wintry event at Stone Zoo, features paths lit up with Christmas lights. Along those paths await reindeer, foxes and more. This year at ZooLights, visitors may have pictures taken with the reindeer. They should also check out Santa’s Castle and meet the jolly old man himself and see the winter wonderland that waits beyond.
Sowa Holiday Market
Benjamin Franklin Institute
41 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
Price: $5 adults/free children younger than 12
Hours: Dec. 8 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m and Dec. 9 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
SoWa, short for South of Washington, an art gallery district in Boston, offers a spectacular annual holiday market. The market weekend boasts local designer clothing, accessories, jewelry and other miscellaneous gift items. This is a great way to celebrate the season and support the local arts community and economy. Remember, it is not all about adult fashion. There are fun crafts, clothes and art for gift recipients of all ages.
Boston Symphony Hall
301 Massachusetts Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Price: $29 to $129
Hours: Dec. 5 to Dec. 24 – hours
The Boston Pops are at the forefront of all the best seasonal celebrations in town, and Christmas is no exception. “Holiday Pops” features Keith Lockhart and the fine musicians of the Pops performing holiday favorites. Bring the kids in for a treat Dec. 8 with the Holiday Pops Kids Matinee. This early showing features sing-a-longs for young ones and photos with Santa Claus. Table seats include opportunities to order kid menu items and holiday snacks.
Boston, MA 02115
Hours: Dec. 23 – 4 p.m.
Hayes Park was added to the local landscape in 1970, three years after the church that sat on the lot was destroyed. Today, the park is a small hideaway from the bustle of the city. The round, fenced central garden is a great place for people to gather around. That is just the idea of Christmas caroling in Hayes Park. Anyone can gather among the award-winning landscape and help spread the holiday spirit. Friends of the park serve cider and snacks, but they ask that guests please bring canned goods to donate for local families in need.
Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
The Boston Opera House
539 Washington St.
Boston MA 02111
Price: Click here for admission
Hours: Nov. 23 to Dec. 30 – hours
With choreography by Boston Ballet’s artistic director Mikko Nissinen and music by legendary composer Tchaicovsky, the Boston Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” is an annual must see. Those who have seen it before should not skip for the simple fact that the design of the show changes every year. As always, it is a show for all ages.
Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.