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Arts & Culture



Maine holiday celebrations are steeped in history and tradition. There is nothing like the experience of an old-fashioned New England holiday, and many of Maine’s historic small towns and cities celebrate the season in its own unique way.

In quaint villages, people stroll cobblestone streets sipping hot cider and listening to street carolers as they admire festive store window displays. Pottery, gourmet food products, balsam-stuffed pillows, and other Maine-made products are added to rapidly growing holiday wish lists.

In the Maine mountains, a couple takes a romantic moonlit ride on a horse-drawn sleigh adorned with bells and garland. Afterward, they sit near the fire at a cozy inn decked out in red, green and gold, enjoying a seasonal feast prepared with fresh local ingredients. Tomorrow, they’ll hit the slopes for their first downhill skiing run of the season.

Visiting a snow covered farm to select a fresh cut or choose and cut your own Christmas tree is the quintessential New England holiday experience, and Maine’s fragrant balsam firs and Currier and Ives-like wintry landscape draw people from miles away. In appreciation, a number of local growers offer special amenities like horse-drawn carriage rides or homemade cookies and hot cocoa to keep visitors warm. Many also specialize in handmade wreaths, and some have full-scale holiday gift shops on-site. For those who reside outside of the region, select growers ship trees and wreaths directly from the Maine woods to homes across the U.S. For a complete list of Christmas tree farms, visit Get Real Maine where you can also find listings of food and agricultural producers who ship their own products through the mail.

The holiday revelry in Maine begins in late November and continues on through the first of the New Year, with bonfires on the beach, tree lighting festivals, a chowder tasting contest, holly trolley rides, holiday symphonies, light parades, candlelight caroling, and tours of stately homes lavishly decorated for the holidays. No matter where you join in the celebration, the arrival of Santa Claus is the centerpiece of every hometown holiday festival, whether Old St. Nick arrives by horse-drawn sleigh, fire truck, ATV, or lobster boat.