December can be a stressful time period full of never-ending holiday party invitations, long lists of gifts that need to be purchased at a busy mall or big box store, and less daylight leading to general tiredness. One of the best ways to combat that stress is to do something for yourself. Take a break. Get away. Explore a new place as you reinvigorate yourself. Newport is full of events and opportunities as a way to treat yourself to a holiday gift.
Holidays at the Newport Mansions – November 20, 2021 – January 9, 2022
An astonishing 28 Christmas trees will be on display at The Breakers, Marble House, and the Elms. Highlights include the 15-foot poinsettia tree in the Great Hall at The Breakers and a 20-foot Christmas tree outside Marble House. Everywhere you turn there will be decorated fireplace mantels, tables, and banisters. Visitors will be amazed by the sheer number of plants and flowers grown by the Preservation Society’s Gardens and Landscapes Department including more than 500 poinsettias and 1,200 lilies. Tours are available every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Sparkling Lights at The Breakers – November 20, 2021 – January 9, 2022, Thursdays-Sundays, 5-7 pm
This Outdoor Magical Wonderland is a new tradition in Newport. It was so popular in its first year that it has been expanded for 2021. Thousands of lights illuminate the historic landscape and transform it into Peppermint Woods, Gnome Knoll, and Snow People Corner. The Children’s Cottage will once again boast a selfie station. Enjoy holiday music as you stroll through the Tunnel of Light. A separate ticket is required for the outdoor evening experience and the mansion will also be open for tours. This special event will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 18, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Tree Lightings – multiple dates
The Official Opening of Christmas in Newport occurs on December 1 at 6 pm. This free event in Washington Square includes music, an artillery salute, and proclamation from the mayor. It is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. The celebration at Bowen’s Wharf kicks off at 4:30 pm on December 4. Local musicians lead a carol sing-along, Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive by boat, and the tree is lit at 6 pm. Nearby Bristol also hosts a tree lighting and parade on December 4. The 35th Grand Illumination will begin at 5:30 pm and will include music by local school choruses and a special entrance by Santa Claus.
Winter Foodies Stroll – December 3 & 4 and December 10 & 11
Enjoy an exquisite three-course meal with wine pairings at three different Newport restaurants. The tour and tastings last several hours as participants travel with tour guides over a one-mile walk along Thames Street.
Judging of the Newport Doorway Contest – Entries due by December 8, Judging on Friday, December 10
Natural materials and decorations are recommended for this contest that includes homes and businesses. Walking around town on the evening of the judging is sure to delight everyone as homes, restaurants, bed and breakfast, and commercial businesses compete.
Messiah at the Mansion – December 12
A one-hour production of the Christmas portion of Handel’s work is performed by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, Brown University Chorus, and Providence Baroque Orchestra of period instruments. The performance takes place at the historic Rosecliff Mansion. There will be two performances: a matinee at 4:00 pm and an evening show at 6:30 pm.
Twas the Night Before Christmas – December 19
Clement C. Moore’s iconic poem is read aloud in Eisenhower Park at noon, 12:30, 1:00, and 1:30 pm. The event also features live music, holiday treats, and photos with Santa.
Shopping for Gifts
Many of the shops in Newport stay open during the off season making this town a delightful place to buy gifts for someone you love (or for yourself). Imagine strolling down a quaint street window shopping for unique and thoughtful gifts. This is so much more fun than being jostled in a busy store. The gift recipient will love that you thought about them while on your getaway.
Christmas in Newport is a 51-year-old tradition that has grown to include events on nearly every day of December. Be sure to check the website for even more Newport holiday events. In order to keep with the true tradition of the season, all events on that website must be free or benefit a non-profit or charity.