Don't miss out! Get the best events & activities in your inbox weekly...
Submit Event
View Newsletter

Boston Holiday Events & Shows 2021

Live Theatre & Musical Performances are back for the Holiday Season!Boston Holiday Events  Performances 2021

Many cherished holiday traditions are back, after a challenging year+.  From the twinkling lights, festive concerts, shows, & celebrations taking place throughout the city, Boston really comes alive during the holidays.  

Below is a growing list of holiday shows and events taking place.  Welcome back, Boston!

And so much more!!  Below we have highlighted many of our favorite things to do in Boston in December.  We are so glad to see so many of them have returned.

Boston Pops - Holiday Pops! 

Take part in one of Boston's most beloved traditions - a Holiday Pops concert performed at historic Symphony Hall.  This year your family and friends can enjoy a matinee or evening concert , and enjoy the glorious holiday sounds of the BSO.

Families have also enjoyed a series of holiday pops kids matinee performances.  These special family concerts include a children's sing-along and photos with Santa.  For those seated at the floor tables, there are special kid-friendly menu options along with holiday treats.  We hope to be able to get back to memorable experiences like this very soon.

Boston Holiday Events Boston Pops BSO

photo courtesy of BSO

Back by popular demand, the BSO also performs a sensory friendly holiday pops concert; a 60-minute version of the show includes lower volume and lighting levels, relaxed house rules, designated support spaces, and Autism therapist volunteers on site. 

The Nutcracker - Boston

Performances of The Nutcracker abound this holiday season with local favorites like Jose Mateo, New England’s longest running interpretation of The Nutcracker ballet,  Boston Ballet and Commonwealth Ballet's Nutcracker show, renowned for its intimacy, humor, musicality and exciting dancing..   

Photo courtesy of Boston Ballet

In each delightful version of The Nutcracker, a young heroine, Clara, journeys through a magical world of imagination filled with dazzling characters such as a Dancing Bear, an enchanting Snow Queen, and of course, the heroic Nutcracker Prince.


A Christmas Story, The Musical - Boston
December 7 - 19, 2021

A Christmas Story, The Musical, brings the classic 1983 movie to hilarious life on stage in Boston at the Boch Center Wang Theatre.

An infamous leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a maniacal department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the distractions that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas wish.

boston holiday events A Christmas Story

photo courtesy of Boch Center

Lightwire Theater's A Very Electric Christmas - Boston
November 27, 2021

Follow the story of a young bird named Max and his family, as they begin their journey south for the winter.  Dancing toy soldiers, caroling worms, and performing poinsettias light up the stage in Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas.


The Elf on the Shelf - Boston
November 26, 2021

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical is the thrilling spectacle of music and dance that transports audiences to the North Pole to glimpse the magical lives of Santa’s Scout Elves. 

Featuring an original story and score, dazzling sets and costumes, and heartfelt moments that will bring the family together, this joyous and uplifting celebration will leave audiences captivated by the splendor of the season.


Urban Nutcracker - Boston
December 18 - 26, 2021

Anchored by classical ballet, the Urban Nutcracker performance also includes a broad range of dance forms such as tap, hip hop, flamenco, and jazz, accompanied throughout the performance by a small live orchestra. 

Boston Holiday Events Urban Nutcracker

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 - Stonham
November 16 - 2021 - December 23, 2021

This moving documentary musical about the World War I Christmas truce recalls an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers met in “No Man’s Land” and laid down their arms to celebrate Christmas together. 

All is Calm: the Christmas Truce of 1914 features an unforgettable evening of storytelling, camaraderie, music, and peace.

photo courtesy of Greater Boston Stage 

A Christmas Carol
December 2 - 23, 2021

The ghosts of Christmas past, present & future come to life in this intimate retelling of the Charles Dickens classic.  Delight in puppetry, live music, dancing and the intimate storytelling in the tradition of A Christmas Carol.  All the trappings – sights, sounds, and scents – of the holiday fill the theater with magic at North Shore Music Theatre.

photo courtesy of North Shore Music Theatre

Black Nativity
December 3 - 19, 2021

Black Nativity is a celebration that tells the original story of the Nativity in scripture, verse, music, and dance. Based on the Gospel of St. Luke, combined with the poetry of Langston Hughes, this song-play touches a special chord in the hearts of all.

Boston Holiday Events Black Nativity

photo courtesy of Black Nativity

The Christmas Revels
December 17 - 29, 2021

A holiday tradition for nearly five decades, The Christmas Revels is a joyful theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folktales and rituals.

Boston Holiday Events Christmas Revels

photo credit: Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe


A Charlie Brown Christmas - Medford
December 5, 2021

This touring production of A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage by Charles M. Schulz features everyone’s favorite Peanuts gang – Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally, and more, all led by the lovable Charlie Brown – as they discover the true meaning of Christmas.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage will bring holiday cheer to Boston with a limited engagement at Chevalier Theatre for 2 shows only.


Hip Hop Nutcracker - Boston

A holiday mash-up for the whole family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is back at the Colonial and better than ever. 

A unique and joyful event production is performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, a DJ, a violinist, and MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, who opens the show. 


Cirque Dreams Holidaze - Boston
December 10 - 12, 2021

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the 2021 season with the must-see holiday show.  Featuring features over 300 imaginative costumes, 20 world-class astonishing acts, the finest singers celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.


Boston Common Tree Lighting - Boston
December 2, 2021

The heart of the city becomes illuminated with seasonal cheer at Boston’s Official Holiday Tree Lighting.  Holiday lights throughout the Public Garden and Common will light up just before 8 p.m., and a fireworks display will close the festivities a the Boston Common Tree Lighting.

photo credit

Copley Square Tree Lighting - Boston
November 29, 2021

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and The Friends of Copley Square welcome the holidays with the annual Copley Square Tree Lighting at Copley Square.  The Fairmont Copley Plaza will host a family reception immediately following for all in attendance.  The reception will include cookie decorating, photos with Santa, and treats.

Now that in-person events are on their way back, you can find out about more holiday tree lightings and celebrations in Boston in our handy holiday guide to winter fun.

Boston's Enchanted Trolley Tour 
(December 3 - 5, 2021)

The annual Mayor's Enchanted Trolley Tour is a festive tradition of lighting holiday trees while bringing holiday spirit to children across Boston. The  includes visits with Santa, holiday performances, tree lightings and more.

Boston Mayors Enchanted Trolley Tour

Photo courtesy of The City of Boston

Zoolights at Stone Zoo - Stoneham
November 25, 2021 - January 9, 2022

This year's Zoolights at Stone Zoo  will take visitors on a one-way stroll through the Zoo, along tree-lined paths lit by twinkling lights. Spanning the 26 acres of Stone Zoo, visitors will walk through the beautifully lit Yukon Creek and see black bears, a bald eagle, Canada lynx, arctic foxes, and even reindeer!

Boston Holiday Events

photo courtesy of Stone Zoo

Enchanted Village - Avon

Enjoy Boston's historic Enchanted Village, now on view at Jordan's Furniture in Avon.  Jordan’s Furniture purchased the surviving pieces of the Enchanted Village at auction and restored the vintage collection to its former glory.  The Village is open for all to enjoy during the holiday season.

Boston Holiday events Enchanted Village

Visits with Santa

Santa will be visiting many area malls and towns for festive holiday tree lightings and parades.  Some of our favorite Santa events include the annual Gloucester Santa Parade & Tree Lighting,   Rockport's exciting holiday event where Santa arrives on a lobster boat at at Rockport’s wharf and rides across Sandy Bay for the tree lighting. 

Boston Holiday Events Santa Claus



Boston First Night
December 31, 2021

First Night in Boston is a city-wide New Year's Eve celebration that is free and open to the public.  For over 40 years, Boston’s First Night has been a New Year’s Eve celebration of artistic performances, ice sculptures, light shows, the wonders of the season and the beginning of a new year. 

Highlights include the People’s Procession at 6:00 PM, the Frog Pond Skating Spectacular, and the Family Fireworks Display at 7:00pm on Boston Common.   

To ring in the New Year, stick around for until midnight for the signature Copley Countdown pyrotechnics and light show in Copley Square. 

Photo credit: Boston USA

Ice Skating Rinks

Frog Pond Ice Skating - A hopping spot for ice-skating is Frog Pond on the Boston Common. Frog Pond has its own ice-making system. It also offers skate rentals and hot cocoa at the Pond Cottage.  

Just across the river in Cambridge, Kendall Square boast another terrific outdoor ice rink that is open to the community for skating.   Don't miss the annual Kendal Square Holiday Ice Show - another annual favorite. 

Kendall Square Holiday Ice Show Boston Cambrige

Photo courtesy of Kendall Square Community Ice Rink

Winter Skate at Patriot Place, offers day and evening public skating, is the perfect antidote to cabin fever this winter. A fun and affordable activity for parents with children, Winter Skate is also a romantic addition to a dinner date at Patriot Place.  Ice Skating season generally starts in mid to late November and runs through February.

 photo courtesy of Patriot Place

Snowport Holiday Wonderland & Outdoor Game Center - Boston 
Opens November 19, 2021

Seaport’s highly popular interactive winter wonderland, SNOWPORT, returns. In its third year, SNOWPORT offers outdoor play for all ages: iceless curling, light-up Bocce, and large-scale versions of classic games such as Battleship, Jenga, KanJam, and more.

The North End Curling Club will also provide complimentary Learn to Curl classes on select Saturdays from 2pm – 4pm (Curling lane reservations can be booked in advance via

Seaport’s vintage Silver Queen gondola cabin, which hails from Aspen, Colorado, will sit adjacent to a second Guest Services Gondola, staffed with SNOWPORT ambassadors who are on-hand to assist with activities.

A new European style open air holiday market opens November 19, featuring 60+ vendors, a 10,000 square foot dining area featuring a festive menu by Tuscan Kitchen and Breezy Hill Orchard, a Winter Wish Wall and more. 

SNOWPORT will be open seven days a week, Monday-Thursday, 3pm – 8pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am – 8pm, and Sunday, 11am – 7pm.

photo credit Lyndsay Ahern

Looking for more December events in Boston?  Check out our handy guides to winter fun, holiday lights and holiday performances

Traditional winter activities like Ice Skating and Skiing Near Boston are also popular for families.  And for more ideas about fun things to do in Boston anytime of year, we have oodles of options for you to explore.

Don't forget to visit our Boston Events Calendar for more great ideas on fun things to do with kids in Greater Boston all year long.

Stacey SaoStacey Sao has been the Managing Director of the family-friendly events and activities website, BostonCentral for almost 20 years.  She continues to enjoy discovering and exploring new places to visit in the Greater Boston area.