Christmas by Candlelight

Saturday, Dec 21, 2019 at 3:00pm

Old Sturbridge Village
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566

This year, stroll the all-new Christmas Tree Trail! Take a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of the activities surrounding the common to reflect on the holiday season. Out on the trail, you’ll enjoy a roaring bonfire, cocoa and cookies, music, and of course, 50 sparkling trees. At the end of the trail, write a special Christmas Wish at our Christmas Wish Bridge! You will make heart-warming holiday memories with your friends and family.

Highlights of Christmas by Candlelight Include:

Old Sturbridge Village's town common decorated for the holidays

The Village Common and the buildings around it are transformed into a magical, picturesque nod to Christmases past. Decorations feature twinkling lights, glowing candles, fresh evergreen garlands and wreaths, and a 40 foot Village Christmas tree. Rooms in the Salem Towne House show Christmas decorations like that of the 1830s, 1850s, and 1870s. The Parsonage decorations are inspired by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Explore these buildings and more during your visit.


Music is a key part of the holiday season. Throughout Christmas by Candlelight, Victorian carolers will stroll around the Village Common singing traditional carols and guest choirs and bands will perform in the Center Meetinghouse.

North Pole Village

Gallery Row at Old Sturbridge Village will be transformed into North Pole Village, a place of bustling activities for adults and kids alike!
- Stroll through a giant The Night Before Christmas storybook - illustrated by Charles Santore - as you make your way to meet Santa and his elves
- View the expanded model train display constructed by the Worcester Model Railroaders. This year, the display will feature some trains from the movie Joy.
- Warm up and indulge your sweet tooth at the Bake Shop. Purchase Christmas cookies, hot cider, hot chocolate, and other sweets.
- For an additional fee, dip a Christmas candle


The miniature nativity is a favorite Christmas by Candlelight tradition. The intrinsic details are an awe-inspiring and moving sight to see for both children and adults alike. The nativity scene displayed at Christmas by Candlelight depicts the different parts of the Biblical narrative, all the way from the annunciation to the shepherds watching their flocks by night. The scene is a unique hybrid of an Italianate motif and early 19th-century New England themes. The current display has well over 500 individual pieces made out of carved and painted Styrofoam. You can view this spectacular scene in the Friends Meeting House during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village

Holiday Traditions Recreated

Learn about cherished holiday traditions, including roasting chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Also, be sure to check out demonstrations of period holiday baking and cider mulling, as well as tin-making, pottery, and 19th-century printing.

A Roaring Bonfire

Warm up and relax by the large bonfire on the center common. Carolers will periodically sing favorite carols nearby.

Gingerbread House Contest

The annual Gingerbread House Contest is one of the most popular events at Christmas by Candlelight! Create and register your own gingerbread house in one of several categories or simply view the creative handiwork of others when you visit the Village during Christmas by Candlelight. Judges pick the category winners (see below) and visitors vote for the “Best in Show.”

Each entry gets two tickets to Christmas by Candlelight (to be picked up when dropping off the house). Winners get an Old Sturbridge Village gift certificate.

Adult Non-Professional
Adult Professional

Readings of Classic Stories

Enjoy readings of classic stories such as The Night Before Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Visit from Saint Nicholas. There will also be readings of “The Nativity Gospel of Saint Luke” and “The Nativity Gospel of Saint Matthew.”

Sleigh Rides (weather permitting)

Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh ride (depending on the weather) around the Village Common.

Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for youth ages 4-17 (children 3 and under are free)

This event listing provided for the Sturbridge community events calendar. Community events are not associated with or sponsored by AARP, but may be of interest to you. If you have an event to share, let us know!

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