Anthony Williams’s Urban Nutcracker in Boston.Photo Credit : Peter Paradise Photography
November 26 – 28 Handel’s MessiahSymphony Hall | Boston
The 168th consecutive holiday season since the Handel and Haydn Society’s U.S. premiere of Handel’s Messiah also marks the last for outgoing artistic director Harry Christophers. Expect extra emotion to color a three-hour immersion into the legendary composer’s 18th-century sound world.November 26 – December 31Nantucket NoelNantucket The tang of salty ocean air meets the sweetness of balsam on the cobblestone streets of this island community during Nantucket Noel, a monthlong holiday celebration crowned by the Christmas Stroll: a weekend of marquee events ranging from the Festival of Trees at the Whaling Museum to Santa’s arrival by Coast Guard cutter. December Christmas at Castle HillCastle Hill on the Crane Estate | Ipswich The family who built this c. 1928 Stuart-style seaside mansion were such avid sailors that they had five wind indicators installed throughout the home. Now overseen by The Trustees, the home is decorated for holiday tours (don’t miss the antique sled on the first floor) and holds a festive Roaring ’20s cocktail party with some 200 guests in vintage attire. Tickets have a daily limit, so book early. December 2 – 24 Holiday PopsSymphony Hall | Boston
Under the direction of maestro Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops and its choral collaborators offer up heartwarming, funny-bone-tickling tonics for the spirit during the annual Holiday Pops. And when it’s time for the traditional sing-along, it’s magic to hear untrained, unrehearsed voices in an anthem of human connectedness.December 6Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical The Hanover Theatre | Worcester The glow of nostalgia lights up the national touring show Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, based on the iconic 1964 stop-motion TV special. Get your fill of kitschy fun! For details on other New England shows, go to rudolphthemusical.comDecember 18 – 19 Candlelight Carols Trinity Church | BostonA tradition since 1909, Candlelight Carols looked different last year, when 80 recorded-at-home voices offered comfort to those who viewed the broadcast from home or from outside Trinity Church’s wide-open doors. Even as the service of scripture and song moves back inside the glowing sanctuary, it will reflect a shift that has expanded church choirs’ repertoires to include more music by BIPOC composers.December 18 – 26Urban NutcrackerShubert Theatre | Boston
Urban Nutcracker, Anthony Williams’s ever-evolving revamp of the classic ballet, boldly sashays off in diverse dance directions: hip-hop and street tap, flamenco and swing. And no tutu troupe gets audiences grooving like City Ballet of Boston’s colorfully costumed, multicultural cast.What would you add to the list of the best holiday events in Massachusetts? Let us know in the comments below! And see more festive things to do in Massachusetts (and beyond) in “The New England Holiday Bucket List.” Don’t miss our top 10 holiday events in all six New England states! Check out Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.