With no live holiday events or social gatherings in Boston (or pretty much anywhere around the world) it is difficult to feel festive. Yet it is not entirely impossible! I will share how we got ourselves into the holiday spirit during December Holiday weekend in Boston and maybe you can follow suit!
THE NUTCRACKER WITH A TWIST
Our Nutcracker Ballet tradition was nothing traditional this year but Vivienne and I dressed up and watched a one hour Nutcracker TV broadcast special from Boston Ballet (choreography by Mikko Nissinen). This Boston Ballet free special is currently available for on line viewing via this link, and will be televised again on December 25th on Boston’s NBC10 and NECN.
Another nontraditional virtual offering from Boston Ballet during the holidays is the GIFT – a new program set to Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite – a jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classic paired with new choreography from 7 of Boston Ballet dancers (Paul Craig, Chyrstyn Fentroy, John Lam, Haley Schwan, My’kal Stromile, Gabriel Lorena and (post graduate) Arianna Hughiett. The ability to create and perform new works after months of isolation felt like a gift for the dancers! My family also enjoyed this gift of a jazzy holiday show – from the comforts of our living room.
To give you a little taste, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is now a Sugar Rum Cherry (choreographed by Paul Craig) and Russian dance is The Volga Vouty (choreographed by John Lam). The show starts with a classical pas de deux from the “original” Nutcracker danced by principals Viktorina Kapitonova and Tigran Mkrtchyan which adds the depth to the program. The program is available December 17-27 ($40) or as part of season subscription to BB@yourhome.
Our next at home celebration with the arts is planned around the Boston Pops: as Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops Orchestra in their traditional holiday classics program with old and new numbers to inspire and create holiday cheer this year. Find the link to 2020 Holiday Celebration here.
HOLIDAY STROLL 2020: SPOT THE TREE!
While the indoor holiday venues are not open this season, almost all of Boston’s traditional holiday Trees have been lit up for the season! How about playing “Spot the Tree!” as you walk or drive around Boston during December? There are 14 “major” Holiday Trees lit up around Boston and we have spotted 5 of them on this afternoon walk!
We started our holiday stroll in Boston’s innovative Seaport District. Their Tree (85 Northern Ave) was not very impressive in the day light, but we loved the innovative architecture, wicked sculptures and closeness of the ocean! There is also a little Winter Village called Snowport.
After Seaport, we headed West to see the main Boston tree in Boston Common (the country’s oldest public park). This tree -as always since 1917- has been gifted to Boston by the people of Nova Scotia.
The Frog Pond is sadly closed this season, but there is a make shift sliding and skating happening in the Boston Common and a nearby Public Garden.
The crisp holiday walk has already put us in nice spirits but we went further and got hot chocolate and sweets at the coffee shops on Beacon Hill’s Charles Street. (Up until now wearing our masks was an almost desired added protection from the cold, but I have to admit that they did not help with eating and drinking! Still- we were determined to maintain our holiday spirits!)
We finished the walk on Commonwealth Ave—it is magically lit up all the way from the Public Garden to Kenmore Square.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Boston Harbor Now nonprofit is putting together a waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll on New Year’s eve. Follow the ice-sculpture route for free fun and safe waterfront excursion (from 1:00pm – dusk on December 31, 2020).
OUT OF TOWN
There will be no New York City weekend or Mont Tremblant ski weekend for us this year, but we do plan to check out cross country ski track in Weston, MA.
We are still debating whether to go alpine skiing to New Hampshire and will probably decide last minute.
Another festive holiday experience not far from Boston awaits at the Newport Mansions and Blithewold Estate in Bristol, Rhode Island (Check MA travel advisory before planning any out of state trips this year).
P.S. So here are the 5 Trees we have spotted: Seaport District, Atlantic Ave, Kenmore Sq., Boston Common and Charles Street (corner of Mt. Vernon St.)
Have you spotted all 14?
P.S. 2. We went on yet another Holiday Lights walk in Boston and discovered even more luminous holiday beauty! This time – by following the Harbor Walk to Christopher Columbus Park.