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Are you planning to spend Christmas in New Hampshire? The Live Free or Die State is a wonderful New England Christmas vacation destination with holiday festivals, sparkling twinkle lights and decorations, gorgeous snowscapes, and oh, so much New Hampshire Christmas charm!
Quick Tips for Visiting New Hampshire in December
- Winter in New Hampshire is typically very, very cold. One of my best pieces of advice for anyone traveling to NH for Christmas is to dress in lots of layers and pack solid footwear! Expect snow on the ground, a good piece of boots is an absolute must.
- Check the tread on your tires. This is an important bit of safety advice for anyone planning to drive on snowy New Hampshire roads!
Christmas in New Hampshire: Best Things to Do
Participate in Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth
Pretty Portsmouth has a lovely Christmas tradition called Vintage Christmas, where this historic seacoast town hosts an entire month of festive holiday fun that includes performances, a downtown scavenger hunt, a gingerbread house contest, and more! There’s even outdoor ice skating at Portsmouth’s Puddle Dock Pond to really get you feeling the holiday spirit.
One of the best holiday things to do in Portsmouth includes a visit to Strawbery Banke Museum for their Candlelight Stroll, where role-players dressed up in period holiday wear bring the beautifully decorated space to life with handcrafted wreaths and candle lanterns.
These are the times for the 2023 Candlelight Stroll:
Fridays, December 8 & 15, 5-9 PM
Saturdays, December 2, 9, 16, 2023, 5-9 PM
Sundays, December 3, 10, & 17, 2023, 4-8 PM
Have a Merry Concord Christmas
Have holiday shopping left to do? The first Friday of December is Concord’s Midnight Merriment event that runs from 5pm to midnight. Enjoy holiday fun like Christmas music, s’mores, hot chocolate, and more while you support some of Concord’s favorite shops!
There are lots of great places to stay in the capital city of NH, but boutique Hotel Concord’s downtown location puts you right in the middle of all the Christmas fun and could be the perfect hotel for your Christmas vacation!
Go on the Currier & Ives Cookie Tour
The Currier & Ives Cookie Tour is a unique New Hampshire Christmas shopping event takes place in the Monadnock Region on Saturday, December 9 from 11am-4pm.
The stops include bed and breakfasts, inns, restaurants, boutiques, inns, and more, and in addition to freshly baked cookies, you’ll also find cookie recipes and unique shopping opportunities!
It’s a clever community Christmas event that offers a chance to think outside the box and shop local when it comes to your holiday shopping.
Take a Christmas Skication
New Hampshire has some excellent ski resorts, so the biggest hurdle will be choosing which one is right for you and yours!
One of New England’s favorite ski resorts is in lovely Lincoln: Loon Mountain Resort. With 61 trails, 6 terrain parks for boarders, 370 skiable acres, and the only Superpipe in New Hampshire, Loon Mountain Resort is an excellent choice for those looking to catch some air for Christmas!
Loon Mountain Resort also has snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and more, so there’s plenty of ways to have fun in the snow. The River Walk Resort at Loon Mountain has a spa and winery on site, so you can properly pamper yourself after a long day out on the slopes!
If your idea of the perfect Christmas getaway involves a lot of action-packed fun in the snow, Christmas in New Hampshire has plenty of options!
Spend a day at Santa’s Village
That’s right, Santa’s Village; this Santa’s Village is in Jefferson NH and is a Christmas-themed amusement park that’s perfect for the little ones!
This festively fun park has rides of all kinds, with a Christmas spin, of course. You’ve got options like the Reindeer Carousel, Santa’s Express Train, Chimney Drop, and the Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree swings. There are also shops, games, and plenty of places to eat onsite, too. You can check out our guide to Santa’s Village here.
Christmastime 2023 dates & hours:
Friday, November 24, from 11am-7pm
Saturdays, November 11, 18, 25, December 2, 9, 16, 23, from 11am-7pm
Sundays, November 19, 26, December 3, 10, 17, from 11am-6pm
A visit to Santa’s Village puts you near some awesome New Hampshire places to stay, too, like Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa. This gorgeous resort offers lots of fun outdoor winter activities like snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice skating, and more, and then you can come in and warm yourself by the roaring fire and sip on some hot cocoa. Doesn’t that sound like a lovely Christmas in New Hampshire?
Go on a New Hampshire Sleigh Ride
What could be more of a classic Christmas experience than going on a sleigh ride in the snow? For the ultimate New Hampshire Christmas experience, look for the nearest sleigh ride near you for a winter experience that is pure, wholesome fun.
Check these NH sleigh ride options out:
Attitash Mountain Village Sleigh Rides, Bartlett: Complimentary hot cocoa!
Charmingfare Farm Sleigh Rides, Candia: So many options, including romantic sleigh rides, group sleigh rides, and more.
Nestlenook Farm Sleigh Rides, Jackson: How about a Christmas sleigh ride through a lantern lit forest? Afterwards, enjoy a complimentary cup of hot coca as you warm yourself by the fire – perfection!
Take Part in Santa’s Christmas
Santa’s Christmas at Charmingfare Farm in Candia is a delightful New Hampshire Christmas tradition that’s great for the whole family!
Beautiful holiday scenes and holiday festivities like horse drawn sleigh rides, making delicious treats like s’mores, and even feeding reindeer. Everyone in the family will love this cute NH Christmas event at Charmingfare Farm, but you do have to buy your tickets online in advance.
Dates for December 2023:
Friday, December 8, 15, 22
Saturday, December 2, 9, 16, 23
Sunday, December 3, 10, 17, 24
Have a Glad Town Christmas in Littleton
Nicknamed “Glad Town” after the author of the optimistic Pollyanna book character that hails from Littleton, this adorable New Hampshire town is a great place to visit any time of year, but come Christmas, this little town serves up a hefty dose of New Hampshire Christmas charm! The Littleton Christmas Parade down charming Main Street is always a Christmas crowd-pleaser.
Littleton Opera House hosts a Polar Express movie night, holiday craft fair, and the Littleton Festival of Trees, so you can enjoy this gorgeous opera house with its halls all decked for the holidays!
If you’re looking for a little more razzle-dazzle for your Christmas in New Hampshire, look into all the Christmas fun at the nearby Omni Mount Washington Hotel:
Gingerbread House Decorating
Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Elf Tuck Ins (One of Santa’s elves will personally deliver warm cookies and milk and a reading of the Night Before Christmas to your room!)
Head North to North Conway
North Conway is already an adorable vacation destination, but once the twinkle lights and fresh garlands are hung around town, North Conway transforms into something out of a storybook!
There are so many great things to do around town, and with wholesome events like Santa’s Holiday Express train ride at the Conway Scenic Railroad and the dedicated-to-all-things-Christmas Christmas Loft, North Conway makes for a fantastic family Christmas destination.
Santa’s Holiday Express runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday November 24-December 23
As an added bonus, just a few minutes up the road is the town of Jackson, another absolutely charming New Hampshire town! Stay at the Christmas Farm Inn and Spa, one of my favorite places to stay in New Hampshire.
Jackson hosts a Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour on weekends during December, and of course, Christmas Farm Inn participates!
P.S. Look out for the covered bridge that’s featured in Hallmark’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!”
Stay in a Cozy Cabin
What could possibly offer a cozier Christmas in New Hampshire experience than booking a beautiful cabin to enjoy a beautiful winter in NH. There are so many gorgeous cabins all around the state, whether you’re looking for a White Mountains Christmas getaway or beyond, there’s the perfect Christmas cabin in New Hampshire for you!
Visit a NH Christmas Tree Farm
When you think of a quintessentially quaint Christmas experience, what comes to mind? For many of us, it involves a trip to the local Christmas tree farm, or at least those distinctive scents of fresh-cut Christmas trees that make their way into all things Christmassy!
You don’t have to be shopping for your Christmas tree to visit a Christmas tree farm in New Hampshire, you can go in search of a great, wholesome Christmas in New Hampshire experience and not have to leave with an evergreen strapped to the roof of your car.
Glove Hollow Christmas Tree Farm in Plymouth offers a viewing tower you can climb to get a better view, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot chocolate, and handcrafted holiday wreaths. It’s a really pretty Christmas tree farm.
Noel’s Tree Farm in Litchfield offers a fantastic weekend experience with marshmallows to be roasted over outdoor fire pits, and Santa visits every Sunday with hayrides and hot chocolate. There are also lots of beautiful hand-crafted holiday decorations that would make for a fantastic souvenir of your New Hampshire Christmas vacation!
See the Largest Parade in New Hampshire
Vibrant Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire, so it only makes sense that their Christmas Parade would be the largest in the state, too! There are several great Manchester New Hampshire Christmas events, and the Manchester Christmas Parade is the first Saturday of December, with festive floats, live entertainment, vendors, and of course, Santa, making the event special for all those who attend.
There are so many great things to do in Manchester, like catching a holiday show at the historic Palace Theatre venues, eating at local restaurants, and shopping at the downtown Holiday Market where you can buy artisan-made, handcrafted goods.
There’s outdoor ice skating at Dorr’s Pond at Livingston Park and oh, so many great places to stay in Manchester, but if you’re in the mood to splurge, travel a few minutes up the road to The Bedford Village Inn and Grand Boutique Hotel where you will be in for an absolute treat of luxury and comfort… there’s an onsite spa, too!
PS on December 21, they host a traditional Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes!
Enjoy an Exeter Christmas
The quaint seacoast town of Exeter is one of the cutest small towns in New Hampshire, and when it comes to Christmas charm, they’ve got more than their fair share!
The Exeter Holiday Parade takes place on the first Saturday of December, and this sweet small-town parade features cleverly decorated floats, music, lights, and of course, the Big Man in Red himself.
Downtown Exeter is lovely when its storefronts are decorated with twinkle lights and handcrafted wreaths, making holiday shopping all that is Merry and Bright. With small-town Christmas activities like the Festival of Trees and the placing of luminaries on Christmas Eve, Exeter is a charming holiday destination.
Consider a stay at the lovely Inn by the Bandstand so you can have a perfect view of the beautifully lit and decorated downtown bandstand.
Drive Through the Gift of Lights
The Gift of Lights (formerly Loudon Lights) is one of the most exciting drive through Christmas light events in New England, offering a fantastic Christmas in New Hampshire experience.
Located at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, this mesmerizing holiday light drive through experience through lighted tunnels, arches, and attractions. You’ll also find open fire pits for roasting marshmallows and s’mores – yum!
2023 Gift of Lights, Loudon:
Thursday, November 23 – Sunday, December 31, 2023
Have Hanover Host your Christmas Vacation
Hanover is the home of Dartmouth College, and this college town is an excellent Christmas vacation destination.
Hanover’s Downtown Festival of Lights is reminiscent of European open-air Christmas markets, with storefronts delightfully dressed with twinkle lights and fresh garlands, and food kiosks serving up Hanover staples and holiday treats like fresh cider doughnuts and hot cocoa. The initial lighting takes place the first Friday of December, but the festival continues for the first three weekends of December and in the days leading up to Christmas!
There is plenty of fun to be had in Hanover, but during the holiday season, the downtown is even more of a visual treat, with illuminated holiday trees and a menorah to commemorate the winter holidays.
Plus, just a few minutes up the road is The Lyme Inn, the historic inn that makes for an absolutely gorgeous spot to settle in for a charming Christmas in New Hampshire getaway.
New Hampshire 2023 Christmas Events
Winter Holiday Stroll, Nashua – November 25, 4pm-9pm
Santa Express Train, Lincoln -November 24, 25, 26 and December 2, 3, 9 & 10, 16, 17, 23
Christmas in Bethlehem, Bethlehem – December 2
Where to Stay in New Hampshire for Christmas
Christmas Farm Inn & Spa , Jackson – I had a spa-cation here with my sister and it was fantastic! This place gets a 5/5 for comfy, cozy vibes.
Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods – if you are looking for a Christmas vacation spot where you won’t even have to leave the grounds for memorable holiday fun, this is an excellent option.
Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle – this is a gorgeous property all year round, but it goes all out while decorating for Christmas! The decor here is pure Christmas magic!
Christmas in NH Wrap-Up
Christmas in New Hampshire is a sight to see, with plenty of great holiday activities so it’s likely that wherever your holiday New Hampshire getaway takes you to, you’re going to be in for a great treat!
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