Adorable young baby wearing a santa claus suit and hat sitting in a metal Christmas snow sleigh holding an ornament

Free Boston holiday activities for 2016

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This is a cool time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even with all the political divisiveness recently (not going down that road), it’s a time where people seem happier and more engaged. There are family gatherings, holiday parties, “you’ll shoot your eye out,” parades, and more. Boston and the greater Boston Metro has tons of stuff going on during the holidays, and I wanted to put together a series of blogs about different types of activities. This one will focus on free activities — we could all use that, right? — and then future blogs will focus on family-friendly types and more. If you stick with it and read through 3-4 of our blogs, you’ll have a whole host of different things to do this holiday season around here.

Some cool free Boston holiday activities

Blink: This is a light and sound show at Faneuil Hall. (The actual title is Blink!) This is the fourth year, and it runs until January 3rd.

The Charles Hotel Tree Lighting: This will be on November 26th from 4-6pm in Cambridge. Kids can decorate the Harvard Square trees with ornaments and — get this, wait for it — bowties from Vineyard Vines.

Copley Square Tree Lighting: Monday, November 28th from 5-6pm. The free event will feature appearances by Mayor Walsh, NECN’s Jenny Johnson, Santa Claus, and Rudolph along with musical performances by the Boston Children’s Chorus, vocalist Marchelle Jacques-Yarde, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and Berklee College of Music student Mahamma Germain of Hyde Park. In addition, the US Postal Service will unveil its new holiday stamp.

Frog Pond Skating Spectacular and Tree Lighting: Whoa, there are a lot of different tree lightings in the Boston area, eh? This one is December 1st (Thursday) from 5 to 8pm.

Commander’s Mansion Holiday Open House: Also on Dec. 1, but all day, over at the Commander’s Mansion in Watertown.

Wellesley Holiday Stroll and North End Holiday Stroll: Both on December 4th. (The Wellesley one is earlier.) The Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll is on December 10th, by the way — but there’s no real official link for that. The Fort Point Holiday Stroll is on December 16th.

Kendall Square Holiday on Ice: This is December 10th. That links take you to a Facebook page with already more than 5,000 people “interested.” We all know that Facebook “interested” counts don’t correspond to actual attendance, but … this one will be popular.

The Granddaddy Of Them All: That link has tons of fairs, festivals, and concerts. I cheated a little bit here because the concerts are often not free, but the link has too many free goodies for me not to share it with you.

Also not technically “free,” but let’s discuss discounted tickets to shows

A lot of theaters have steep holiday discounts on their shows. Check out this page from Boston Discovery Guide and note some of their deals:   

A Christmas Celtic Sojourn – Cutler Majestic Theatre – Full price $45-$75; Goldstar $20-$59

Black Nativity @ Paramount Center – Full price $35-$48; Goldstar $25-$40

An Irish Christmas Carol @ Boston Harbor – Full price $46; Goldstar $28

Cocoa and Carols Cruise on the Northern Lights -Full price $46; Goldstar $28

Cantata Singers @ St Paul’s Church in Cambridge – Full price $25-$69; Goldstar $13-$35

Urban Nutcracker @ Back Bay Events Center, Boston – Full price $35-$65; Goldstar $20-$35

Boston Pub Crawls @ Various locations – Full price $10; Goldstar $0-$10

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker @ Orpheum Theater – Full price $59-$100; Goldstar $29-$50

Hot Chocolate Tasting Tour @ starts at Cuppacoffee – Full price $55; Goldstar $28

Breakfast Pastries & Mimosas Cruise – Boston Harbor – Full price $47; Goldstar $28

Holiday Jazz Cruise @ Boston Center for the Arts – Full price $50; Goldstar $25

New Year’s Celebration @ Sanders Theatre – Full price $60; Goldstar $30

– Holiday Pops @ Boston Symphony Hall – Full price $39-$157; Goldstar $31-$130

– Ho Ho Ho Holiday Concert with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus @ Jordan Hall – Full price $22-$62; Goldstar $10-$52

Almost all of these options — minus the pub crawls, of course — are family-friendly too. And hey, that will be our next blog! Come back next week for that!

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