16 Festive Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Vermont

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Is there anything more magical than Christmas in Vermont? From beautiful bed and breakfasts with winter sleigh rides to hitting the slopes with the whole family, there is so much Christmas fun to be had!

What could be better than celebrating the winter holidays in a place that’s known for always having snow? Plus, many different small towns in Vermont provide the perfect holiday escape.

With Christmas coming up fast, there’s no better time to start planning how you’ll spend your holiday season. A Vermont Christmas should definitely be on your radar. Use this guide to plan your holiday escape: a cozy Christmas in Vermont!

Man and woman standing outdoors in the snow. The woman has her face pressed against the man\'s cheek. They are both holding white coffee cups with black tops.
Dress warm for your Vermont Christmas adventure. This man forgot his hat and I bet he’s freezing.

Tips for Visiting Vermont in Winter

If you’re a first-time visitor to Vermont during winter, then you’ll want to come prepared. Here are some tips to prepare you for Christmas in Vermont!

Bring all of your winter gear

There are days in Vermont where the mornings are below 10°F, so you’ll want to be prepared. Once it starts snowing, this type of temperature becomes the norm, especially if you plan on visiting the northern part of the state. You’ll want to come with your winter boots, jacket, sweaters, layers, hats, and gloves. Seriously, bring all of the warm layers that you can think of.

Get a rental car

Unfortunately, Vermont doesn’t have a whole lot of public transportation unless you plan on visiting the city of Burlington. There’s also an Amtrak with stops mostly going up the Eastern side of the state. That’s why the best way to explore Vermont is by car. However, if you visit in winter, make sure you rent a car that can handle the ice and snow. With a car, you’ll also have the freedom to attend holiday events that might be in towns a bit more obscure.

Prepare to ski or snowboard at least once

Vermont is an outdoor lover’s dream, and winter is no exception. Even if you have never been skiing or snowboarding before, try to get involved with the local culture and go. Many places give lessons too. Don’t feel weird about being an adult and having to go down the kiddie hill! There are several Vermont ski resorts to choose from!

Empty gondola being lifted down the mountain, covered in snow.

Christmas in Vermont

Wilburton Inn’s Canine Christmas

If you love to bring your puppy with you when you celebrate the holidays, then you absolutely must attend Canine Christmas at Wilburton Inn in Manchester, Vermont. At this fun event held every winter for only one weekend in December, you can attend a fun slumber party with your pup. Be sure to purchase the ugliest doggy sweater you can find and also get one for yourself. A professional photographer usually is on-site too to take a bunch of photos. This is a perfect Christmas in Vermont event for you and your pup!

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Take a ride on the Polar Express

Yes, you read that right – the Polar Express. In Burlington, Vermont, you can ride the Polar Express! This usually takes place on select days throughout December, but it’s a great way to see the fun children’s story come to life during Christmas in Vermont. If you plan on partaking in this amazing train ride, be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. This is one of the top things to do in Vermont, and is therefore hard to get tickets last minute.

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A Very Merry Middlebury

This fun event is held for the entire month of December in none other than Middlebury, Vermont. Every week there’s a new event held in this town, from parades to exhibits. You truly will be in for a fun time if you visit Middlebury Vermont at Christmas.

There’s even a town-wide scavenger hunt. How fun is that? There are also pop-up ice skating rinks, “I Spy” challenges, fireworks, hot chocolate, Santa visits, and more. 

Red barn with its white doors closed in the middle of a snowstorm.
Spend enough time in Vermont at Christmas time and you’re bound to see some snow!

Visit Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home

Hildene is a beautiful historic estate in Manchester year round, but during the holidays, it becomes a gorgeous testament to Vermont Christmases past! Decorated to show what Christmas in 1912 would’ve looked like at Hildene, you’ll find fresh garlands and wreaths, candles, and more. You’ll also find delightful seasonal goodies at the museum store with all the other interesting offerings.

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Family Day & Children’s Shopping Boutique at Bennington Museum

Every December, the Bennington Museum in southern Vermont hosts an event called Family Day. During this time, many town citizens donate a bunch of their old belongings to be resold. Then, children come to the museum to purchase these items for their families at a minimal price. It’s an excellent way for the museum to raise money and for children to participate in holiday festivities by purchasing gifts for their whole family.

The Bennington Museum is also always looking for volunteers to help out during this event. I’ve helped out many times, and it’s always a blast. You can opt to either be one of the holiday wrappers (yes, this means you get to wrap holiday gifts all day for children) or you can be one of the shop helpers, which means you get to walk around with them and sort of accompanying them on their journey to finding the perfect present. This also includes making sure that they stick to their budget. This is a very cute kid activity for Christmas in Vermont!

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A River of Light

Waterbury, Vermont hosts its event called A River of Light. This is a fun lantern festival that involves all the locals! Everyone in the town gathers (and those in nearby towns) with lanterns that they’ve made. Then, everyone creates their own parade through the town with their lanterns, essentially creating a “river of light,” just like the name implies.

What makes this Vermont Christmas event so great is that it brings together everyone. You can also see a wide variety of different lanterns, from those made by the school children to those by some of the top-rated local artists! This is a great way also to get introduced to some of the locals in town. 

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Attend a tree lighting

The holiday season wouldn’t be the holiday season without tree lightings. Bennington’s small town hosts a tree lighting usually a week or two before Christmas, and it’s a great way to mingle with the locals and participate in a town-wide event. No matter where you are celebrating Christmas in Vermont, you can surely find a tree lighting event nearby.

Winter tree outdoors covered in holiday lights and snow.
Christmas in Vermont is so magical!

Festival of Trees

St. Albans, Vermont, also gets in on the fun with its event called the Festival of Trees. This is a week-long event, with different activities every day of the week. Some days there are PJ parties with movie nights, while other days feature Santa sightings and tree lightings. The Vermont Christmas festivities change from year to year, so you’ll want to check the website to see which events you might be interested in attending!

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Festival of Lights

Similar but different to the Festival of Trees, Morristown hosts its own Festival of Lights. This is a one-day event that is jam-packed with festivities. The day starts typically with free movies for the public. It then continues onto other activities such as parades, fireworks, Santa sightings, performances, and even sleigh rides on a horse-drawn carriage. How festive is that for Christmas in Vermont?

A mom and daughter stand outside in the snow with winter clothing. The mom is showing the daughter a lantern.
Vermont Christmas is magic for all ages!

Visit Billings Farm and Museum

Billings Farm and Museum is located in Woodstock, Vermont. This heritage museum and dairy farm gets very much into the festive holiday season and participates in Woodstock’s popular Wassail Weekend. There’s a fun holiday tour offered and towards the end of the tour, you’ll even have the chance to create fun ornaments to take home as a souvenir. The tour ends with a sleigh ride throughout the farm. How very Christmas in Vermont is that?

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See a local parade

There are tons of Christmas parades in Vermont. Almost every town hosts its own form of this festivity, so no matter where you’re staying, you’re bound to be able to see at least one. The majority of these parades are with local citizens, but you might even be able to find some that are a bit more out-of-the-box, like the Tractor Parade in St. Albans. 

A couple is pulled on a horse drawn sleigh in the snow.
Sleigh rides are classic Vermont Christmas activities.

Go on a sleigh ride

Sleigh rides are held at a lot of the local farms and bed and breakfasts throughout the state. Some of these are with horse and carriage while others are a bit more “Vermont-esque,” and you’ll be pulled by a tractor. A quick internet search will tell you all about which local farms and bed and breakfasts are hosting sleigh rides this year. Just remember to dress in a whole bunch of layers, or you’ll regret it!

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Enjoy a Traditional Christmas in Stowe

Beautiful Stowe hosts their annual kickoff to the Christmas season at the beginning of December with a Traditional Christmas in Stowe, featuring live music, ornament making, cookie decorating, a children’s lantern parade, ice skating, a tree lighting, the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, and so much more!

This is a lovely way to welcome in Christmas in Vermont, and there are plenty of darling places to stay in Stowe, too.

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Head to the local apple barn for hot apple cider

There are apple barns throughout the state of Vermont, and though they might seem like more of a fall place to visit, they are often visited during the wintertime. Head to the town’s nearby apple barn and grab yourself a cup of hot apple cider with some steaming apple cider donuts. These are great for early mornings to surprise your whole family or partner!

Grandfather pulling a holiday tree through the snow, while a small girl helps from the back.
Christmas tree farms are always a great Vermont Christmas place to go!

Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

If you’re in Vermont for an extended stay in the wintertime, don’t miss this traditional New England activity: visiting a Christmas tree farm. There are several adorable Christmas tree farms in Vermont that let you pick out your own tree and usually pick up some other holiday goodies too, like fresh baked treats, warm spiced cider, wreaths, and more!

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Participate in outdoor sports

Last but not least, try to do outdoor sports at least once! As mentioned earlier, skiing and snowboarding are some of the outdoor adventure sports that Vermont is most well-known for. If you aren’t interested in those, you can also participate in snowshoeing, sledding, and even ice skating. There are some great ski resorts around Vermont, and most host their own holiday activities during Christmas.

Spend Christmas in Vermont for a festive holiday season!

You officially know all the must-attend events and must-do activities in Vermont at Christmas. No matter your age, you’ll have an absolute blast spending Christmas in Vermont because there truly is something for everyone. Get planning your next holiday trip today!

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