The Origins of Christmas

From a religious standpoint, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. In addition, Christmas has become a cultural holiday for many over the years with the evolution of St. Nicholas into Santa Claus.

When Christmas is Observed

The Christmas season begins for Western Christianity and some of the Eastern Churches on December 24 with Christmas Eve followed by Christmas Day on December 25 and runs through either the Epiphany or the Baptism. The Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Evangelical Church, and some Anabaptists recognize January 6 as Christmas. Most Oriental Orthodox and some of the Eastern Orthodox churches recognize Christmas on January 7. 

How Christmas is Celebrated

Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. Popular traditions include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends, and waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

2022 Spotlighted Local Christmas Events

Sparkling Lights at The Breakers

Thursdays through Sundays in December
The Breakers, 44 Ochre Point Ave, Newport, RI 02840

Stroll along a half-mile-long path glittering with hundreds of thousands of holiday lights while friendly gnomes point the way and music fills the winter air. Walk through a dazzling 50-foot-long tunnel of light, see illuminated snowmen and be sure to get a family photo at the Van”deer”bilt  selfie station! 

La Salette Festival of Holiday Lights

November 24, 2022 - January 1 2023
National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, 947 Park St, Attleboro, MA 02703

Features 300,000 lights illuminating over 10 acres of winter wonderland. The event is held at The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, so many of the displays celebrate the spiritual side of the holidays.

Somerville's Illuminations Holiday Tour

Any day after December 8 (Self-Guided) 
Somerville, MA (Check event site for map)

Come celebrate the folk artistry of residents who transform their houses and yards with lights, ornaments, and shrines of devotion and fantasy. The self-guided tour map will be available on December 8. City-wide caroling will happen on Dec. 15th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.