There are several traditional Christmas events in Portland. I’ve been to all of them several times, but generally not all in the same year. They are all well done and worth the time to pursue.
Portland Symphony Orchestra’s Magic of Christmas is a local favorite. The program varies from year to year, frequently includes vocal as well as instrumental pieces, and is always well produced and enjoyable to hear. Even children are engaged by the PSOs Magic of Christmas performances.
Nutcracker, both traditional and Victorian versions, performed by the Maine State Ballet with an orchestra accompanying. Held in the upgraded and acoustically sound City Hall auditorium, these are wonderful performances. It is an opportunity for dancers from the Ballet to practice their art, and it’s a delight for audiences. It’s a holiday tradition worth repeating.
Children’s Museum of Maine Gingerbread Houses workshops. Although all supplies and a little guidance on construction are provided, the actual structures are limited only by the builders’ imaginations. You do want to call ahead to make reservations as this is a very popular program.
Victoria Mansion holiday events starting in November. Seeing the Victoria Mansion decked out for Christmas defies description. The house itself is a glory. With each room decorated for Christmas, it’s a visit worth making. Be sure to stop in the gift shop afterwards for Victorian Christmas cards and gifts.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. and Museum Santa Fest. Take a train ride on the Portland waterfront past a wonderful lights display. A train ride is fun, no matter what, but a train ride on the waterfront in a period train is something else altogether. Kids love it; parents love it.
Completely free are the tree-lighting ceremony and toy drive on Monument Square. Shopping in Portland? Be sure to take advantage of the ongoing free sleigh rides through town. Another fun point of interest are the wonderful light sculptures that are all around the downtown and Old Port areas.
Photo credit: jgodsey