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10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Rhode Island

Get all the Holiday cheer you can

Providence Monthly Magazine ·

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… assuming you can find some time at all. Between all of the rushing around you’re going to do, which will certainly take you to Providence and the East Bay, take some time to enjoy the season. Rhode Island has lots to offer for the holidays.

Glide Into the Season
You might not be Michelle Kwan, but that shouldn’t stop you from welcoming winter with one of our most quintessential cold weather activities: ice skating. The state’s various skating rinks open on Mother Nature’s timetable, but should be ready for visitors in early December. Check out Providence’s Alex and Ani City Center for your annual dose of winter-in-the-city warm and fuzzies.

Have Visions of Sugarplums
You might not consider yourself a ballet aficionado during the rest of the year, but at the holidays, all bets are off. Once you’re watching sugarplum fairies and toy soldiers come to life during The Nutcracker, it’s straight down the childhood nostalgia rabbit hole. Festival Ballet ( stages their production at the Providence Performing Arts Center from December 16-18 and Heritage Ballet performs theirs at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre from December 17-18.

Get On the Christmas Train
Think the only holiday transportation is a sleigh? Think again. Santa has been spotted riding the rails in Rhode Island. Woonsocket’s Blackstone Valley Polar Express runs through December 23, and offers various surprises in the Dasher, Dancer and Prancer cars.

Hoof It
The holiday season has more eating and drinking than any other – and right around December 26, you start feeling it in your waistband. Don your finest holiday regalia for the Downtown Jingle 5K in Providence on December 4 – it will make you feel less guilty about eating all of those cookies that were meant for Santa.

Have Holiday High Tea
Maybe formal tea service isn’t your cup of tea the rest of the year, but there’s something magical about china cups and perfectly decorated tiny cakes at the holidays. Providence’s Lippitt House Museum offers Victorian Holiday High Tea on Sundays this month. Blithewold in Bristol offers Children’s Holiday Tea on Monday afternoons in December, and Afternoon Teas during the week throughout the month.

Channel International Traditions
Celebrate like the Irish at A Christmas Celtic Sojourn, a live performance of the popular radio show A Celtic Sojourn, at The Vets in Providence on December 16. Brown University presents their annual, beloved Latin Carol Celebration to the First Baptist Church in Providence on December 5, featuring classic Christmas carols performed by Brown acapella groups in, you guessed it, Latin.

Celebrate on the Silver Screen

You may have your annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life with your family, but there’s nothing quite like a holiday tradition on the big screen. Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket is hosting a free viewing of A Christmas Story on December 22.

Be Merry and Bright
Let’s face it: December is the last time you’re going to enjoy being outside until the tulips are blooming again. Enjoy the moments at Sparkle! An Outdoor Family Event on Friday evenings through December 23 at Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, when the whole property lights up with holiday cheer. Trees on the extensive grounds are decorated with lights, there’s a bonfire to roast marshmallows and there’s a lot of cocoa, family fun and merrymaking.

Raise Your Voice
The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Providence Singers perform Handel’s Messiah on December 10 at The Vets in Providence. Feel free to sing along.The good news is that if you’re a little pitchy, no one is going to notice.

Walk In A Winter Wonderland
Pawtucket’s Winter Wonderland ( is a sight to see – Slater Park comes to life with over 500 trees decorated with twinkling lights, as well as Victorian homes done up for the holidays, visits with Santa and family-friendly entertainment. In Tiverton, there’s a different kind of wonderland: the Re-Tree Exhibit in Tiverton Four Corners. People craft trees out of recycled materials and install them on the grounds of the Four Corners Meeting House for a must-see art exhibit.

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