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Looking for some holiday cheer? Here's your guide to all of the festive happenings taking place across Greater Hartford this holiday season.

FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER

44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light, 11/23-1/6, Constitution Plaza, downtown Hartford, 525-8629, LetsGoArts.org. Hartford Festival of Light® has become a not-to-be-missed event for the thousands who turn out on Constitution Plaza each year to sing carols, enjoy musical entertainment and witness the spectacle that is the illumination of more than a quarter of a million tiny white lights at the opening ceremony on Nov. 23. The lights stay illuminated through Jan. 6. 

Simsbury Celebrates!, 11/24, Downtown Simsbury, Hopmeadow St, Simsbury, 658-3255, simsburyrec.com.  Join in the fun at Simsbury Celebrates! - Simsbury’s only free town-wide family event. The festivities, with indoor and outdoor family entertainment, start at 4:30 P.M. and continue throughout the evening. The celebration ends with a holiday-decorated Fire Truck Parade, followed immediately by a spectacular fireworks show. Hopmeadow St. will be closed to traffic during the event, best parking is along Iron Horse Blvd.

Home for the Holiday's in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, 11/28-1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St, Hartford, 522.1806, ctlandmarks.org.  Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Holiday Festival:  A Children’s Holiday, 11/30-12/2, Phelps-Hatheway House, 55 South Main St, Suffield, 668-0055, ctlandmarks.org/phelps.php. Ring in the holidays with a visit to the Phelps-Hatheway House! Local clubs and organizations, including the Suffield Garden Club, decorate the house with natural decorations to highlight this year's theme: A Children's Holiday.

DECEMBER

Holiday Festival: A Children’s Holiday, through 12/2, Phelps-Hatheway House, 55 South Main St, Suffield, 668-0055, ctlandmarks.org/phelps.php. Ring in the holidays with a visit to the Phelps-Hatheway House! Local clubs and organizations, including the Suffield Garden Club, decorate the house with natural decorations to highlight this year's theme: A Children's Holiday.

44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light, through 1/6, Constitution Plaza, downtown Hartford, 525-8629, LetsGoArts.org. Constitution Plaza is transformed into a winter fantasy wonderland when a quarter of a million tiny white links twinkle.

Home for the Holiday's in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, through 1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St, Hartford, 522.1806, ctlandmarks.org.  Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Festival of Trees & Traditions, 12/1-12/9, Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main St, Hartford, 278-2670, wadsworthatheneum.org. Delight in a celebration of fanciful, fabulous, and romantic trees, wreaths and more for your holiday décor. Special display featuring examples of period mantels decorated by leading interior designers.  In Candy Lane children will find hands-on craft activities that celebrate global holiday traditions, along with storytelling. Live entertainment throughout the day. Let*s GO!

Aetna First Thursday, 12/6, Greater Hartford, 525-8629, LetsGoArts.org. Designed to bring people out to enjoy the region’s many wonderful cultural offerings, “Aetna First Thursday” features a variety of music, theater, art exhibitions and other events, both during the day and in the evening, with plenty of free and family activities. 

First Thursday: Holiday Music in the Parlor, 12/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St, Hartford, 522-1806, butler.mccook@ctlandmarks.org. Tour the decorated McCook House and enjoy a Victorian Christmas celebration! Enjoy holiday music in the North Parlor, tour the first floor of the McCook House, and sample light refreshments.

First Thursday in Windsor, 12/6, Windsor Art Center, 40 Mechanic St, Windsor, 688-2528. The Archer Memorial Mass Choir will perform a medley of gospel and holiday music at 6 PM at the Windsor Art Center, 40 Mechanic Street, directly behind CVS off rte. 159. This performance is part of the ongoing Women Artists Collective art show and sale.

Holiday Festival at the Old State House, 12/15, Old State House, 800 Main St, Hartford, 522-6766, ctosh.org. Music will fill the halls of the Old State House! The Holiday Shop and silhouette artist make this a perfect event for gift shopping.

Kwanzaa Day Celebration: Umoja, 12/26, Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, 249-1207, charteroakcenter.org. Join us for Hartford’s biggest Kwanzaa celebration, honoring family, community and culture, presented by Charter Oak Cultural Center and Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium. Come see performances by master dancers, musicians and drummers and have the opportunity to participate in this joyous festival. Refreshments, vendors and local artists will all be on hand. Everyone is invited. Free. Let*s GO!

18th Annual First Night Hartford, 12/31, Downtown Hartford, firstnighthartford.org. Hartford's premier New Year's Eve party—a multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol-free experience with hundreds of professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits.

First Night Hartford 2008, 12/31, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St, Hartford, 522-1806, ctlandmarks.org. Enjoy a free holiday tour of the first floor of the decorated Butler-McCook house. From 3-5 p.m. families are encouraged to stop by for a free winter-themed craft activity for children. Free with a First Night Button.

First Night Hartford 2008, Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, 249-1207, charteroakcenter.org. Join us as Charter Oak welcomes in 2008 with live performances as part of First Night Hartford! This is Hartford's premiere New Year's Eve party, a multicultural, artistically unique experience with hundreds of professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits throughout the city. It guarantees to be an exciting evening - what better way to bid farewell to 2007!

JANUARY

44th Annual Hartford Festival of Light, through 1/6, Constitution Plaza, Hartford, 525-8629, LetsGoArts.org. Constitution Plaza is transformed into a winter fantasy wonderland when a quarter of a million tiny white links twinkle.

Home for the Holiday's in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, through 1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St, Hartford, 522.1806, ctlandmarks.org.  Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

41st Annual Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival, 1/4-1/6, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave, Hartford, 278-0785, ahcc.org. Music, pageantry, renaissance costumes and live animals combine in this festival celebration of Epiphany.

MUSIC

NOVEMBER

Anything Goes! An Evening of Barbershop and Holiday Music, 11/17, Wethersfield High School, 411 Wolcott Hill Rd, Wethersfield, 871-1410, SingFVC.org. The Farmington Valley Chorus of Sweet Adelines International presents an evening of barbershop classics, holiday music and humor. Guests include the men's barbershop quartet, "RING!", and "The Accidentals" a cappella group from Trinity College. Let*s Go Arts!

Messiah Sing, 11/24, Simsbury United Methodist Church, 799 Hopmeadow, Route 10, Simsbury, 679-4058, farmingtonvalleychorale.org. The Farmington Valley Chorale invites you to sing the choruses in the first section of Handel's Messiah. The Messiah Sing is part of the annual Simsbury Celebrates event to open the holiday season.

Robin Spielberg: The Heart of the Season, 11/25, Saint Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, 231-5555, sjc.edu/arts. Described as “the perfect complement to any holiday music story,” Robin Spielberg has mesmerized audiences with inspiring tales, extraordinary piano technique and heartfelt performances worldwide. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in a sold-out performance at the Weill Recital Hall and has performed there twice since. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect about Robin, other than her extraordinary talent and dynamic performances, is the way she wraps personal stories around her music to give them a particularly memorable flavor. Her concert ushers in the joy of the holidays with a feast of celebrated favorites for the entire family, setting the tone for the magic of the season.

Holiday Choral Concert, 11/30, Immanuel Congregational Church, corner Woodland and Farmington Sts, Hartford, 768-4228, hartford.edu/hart. Hartt's choral ensembles will ring in the holidays with an exciting program of choral music, including Poulenc's Mass in G as well as acappella and holiday favorites. Also featured on the program will be solos by Hartt’s talented UG vocal performance majors.

Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker, 11/30-12/2, Saint Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, 246-2588 x15, hartfordconservatory.org. The New England Jazz Ensemble Septet provides the live musical accompaniment to choreography that mixes jazz, swing, tap, ballet and ballroom dance forms. A wonderful tradition for the entire family.

DECEMBER

Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker, through 12/2, Saint Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, 246-2588 x15, hartfordconservatory.org. The New England Jazz Ensemble Septet provides the live musical accompaniment to choreography that mixes jazz, swing, tap, ballet and ballroom dance forms. A wonderful tradition for the entire family.

Boston Pops Holiday Concert, 12/1, Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, 2132 Hillside Rd, Storrs, 485-4226, jorgensen.uconn.edu. Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with the Boston Pops, performing everyone’s favorite carols and modern holiday classics. Ssshhhhh...there might be a surprise visit by Jolly Old St. Nick. A delight for families and music lovers of all ages!

Handle’s Messiah, 12/1 and 12/2, The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, 244-2999, hartfordsymphony.org.  The greatest story ever told. The most majestic music ever conceived. This performance by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Hartford Chorale is the "Messiah" of the season.

Gaudete!, 12/2, First Congregational Church, 993 South Main St, South Windsor, 528-7992, citysingers.org. CitySingers of Hartford and The Wild Notes, a Celtic instrumental ensemble, will join voices and instruments in traditional songs, inspiring motets and special arrangements of favorite carols, plus festive works by J. S. Bach, Franz Biebl and Michael. Audience sing-along included.

Midday Organ Recitals at Christ Church Cathedral, 12/4, 45 Church St, Hartford, 527-7231, cccathedral.org. Organ recitals performed on the Cathedral's Austin pipe organ at 12:35 p.m. Repertoire varies.

Holiday Concert, 12/6, Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave, Hartford, 278-0785, ahcc.org. AHCC Organist Dan Campolieta presents a holiday concert featuring choral preludes, noels, litanies and a “carol sing.” Presented in support of Servcorps, this concert features the Poulenc Organ Concerto with strings and percussion.

A Winter’s Eve with Alison Brown, 12/7, East Hartford Cultural Center, 50 Chapman Pl, East Hartford, 528-1458, ehccc.com. Join us for a great evening as Grammy winning banjo player Alison Brown and her band return for a Holiday Show. This event is part of Holiday Fest and will take place after our annual tree lighting. Let*s GO!

The Joel Frahm Quintet Holiday Jazz Show, 12/8, Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Rd, Manchester, 647-9824, cheneyhall.org. West Hartford native Joel Frahm brings a holiday show featuring instrumental and vocal jazz numbers to Little Theatre of Manchester at Cheney Hall.  His incredible talent with the tenor sax makes him one of the brightest young jazz artists to have burst out onto the jazz scene.  This proves to be a holiday event you won’t want to miss!

Annual Holiday Concert, 12/9, West Hartford Town Hall Auditorium, 50 South Main St, West Hartford, 521-4362, whso.org. The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Richard Chiarappa will present its annual Holiday Conncert featuring soprano Carrie Kirby with music by Tchaikovsky, Anderson, Vaughan-Williams and others. The orchestra will be joined by narrator Michael Dunne in Randol Bass' "The Night Before Christmas."  Snowdate is 12/10.

Midday Organ Recitals at Christ Church Cathedral, 12/11, 45 Church St, Hartford, 527-7231, cccathedral.org. Organ recitals performed on the Cathedral's Austin pipe organ at 12:35 p.m. Repertoire varies.

Simsbury Community Band Holiday Concert, 12/12, Simsbury High School Auditorium, West St, Simsbury, 677-6223, simsburyband.org. The Simsbury Community Band will present its annual Concert of traditional holiday music on Wednesday, December 12, 7:30 p.m., at the Simsbury High School Auditorium. Featured will be Clement Moore's "The Night Before Christmas" narrated by Dean Hildebrandt, WWUH Jazz host and commentator, plus a vocal solo by Richard Saunders, a Simsbury High School student.

Travelers Choral Club Holiday Concert, 12/12, The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, 954-2756. The Travelers Choral Club sets a joyful mood for the 2007 Holiday season with their annual Holiday concert "A Feast of Carols.” With 100 voices under the direction of Dorothy Barnhart and accompanied by Stacy Cahoon performing beautiful music of the season, this year’s holiday event promises to be a memorable night filled with the spirit of the season for all in attendance. In keeping with this season’s tradition of giving, The Travelers Choral Club asks all who attend this free concert to lend support to the community by bringing a nonperishable food item.

Holiday Choir, Brass and Organ, 12/14, Valley Community Baptist Church, 590 West Avon Rd, Route 167, Avon, 679-4058, farmingtonvalleychorale.org. The Farmington Valley Chorale performs holiday music from Bach, Praetorius, Gallus and more with professional brass and organ. Come and meet our new music director, Dr. Ellen Voth.

Christmas with the Women of CONCORA, 12/15, Saint Joseph College,
224-7500, concora.org. Holiday music presented by the women of CONCORA at one of the country's well known colleges for women, featuring Britten's A Ceremony of Carols for harp and treble voices and Gwyneth Walker's "Hebrides Lullaby."

Holiday POPS! Spectacular, 12/15, Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, 244-2999, hartfordsymphony.org. Two performances of Hartford’s new Holiday musical tradition!  Thrill to the spectacle of the season as Edward Cumming leads this sparkling holiday festival concert. Carols, sing-alongs and more, accompanied by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Hartford Chorale.

Gaudete!, 12/15, St. John's Episcopal Church, 12 Rector St, East Hartford, 528-1474, citysingers.org. CitySingers of Hartford and The Wild Notes, a Celtic instrumental ensemble, will join voices and instruments in traditional songs, inspiring motets and special arrangements of favorite carols, plus festive works by J. S. Bach, Franz Biebl and Michael. Audience sing-along included.

An Irish Christmas Show–The Clancey Legacy, 12/15, East Hartford Cultural Center, 50 Chapman Pl, East Hartford, 528-1458, ehccc.com. The Clancy Legacy: Aoife Clancy, Donal Clancy and Robbie O'Connell will be doing their well received Irish Christmas show. Very few families have impacted Irish music as much as the Clancys. From that wonderful group of Irish sweater clad troubadours has sprung a generation of musicians who are keeping the music alive. When you read the member lists of the top Irish groups playing out today there is a Clancy or has been a Clancy in the lineup. Let*s GO!

Gaudete!, 12/16, First Church of Christ, 12 South Main St, West Hartford, 233-9605, citysingers.org. CitySingers of Hartford and The Wild Notes, a Celtic instrumental ensemble, will join voices and instruments in traditional songs, inspiring motets and special arrangements of favorite carols, plus festive works by J. S. Bach, Franz Biebl and Michael. Audience sing-along included.

Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas, 12/17, The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, 987-5900, bushnell.org. Broadway Inspirational Voices is one of the tri-states' foremost Gospel choirs. Comprising Broadway performers, this multi-racial choir represents the whole spectrum of current Broadway shows. Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) has been seen on "The Today Show," "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," The Tony Awards. Come hear and enjoy this Grammy-nominated choir sing some of your favorite holiday songs and other favorites from their Gospel repertoire.

Midday Organ Recitals at Christ Church Cathedral, 12/18, 45 Church St, Hartford, 527-7231, cccathedral.org. Organ recitals performed on the Cathedral's Austin pipe organ at 12:35 p.m. Repertoire varies.

Candelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, 12/23, South Church, 90 Main St, New Britain, 223-7555, musicsseries.org. The beautiful South Church sanctuary provides the perfect setting for the season’s story of prophesy, journey, and promise of redemption. Features associate choirmaster David Westfall directing.

JANUARY

The New Year Begins!, 1/8 and 1/9, The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Ave, Hartford, 244-2999, hartfordsymphony.org. The Alexander Campbell McNally Memorial Concert. Edward Cumming conducts a New Year celebration of Viennese classics.

ART

NOVEMBER

Sugarloaf Craft Festival, 11/9-11/11, Connecticut Expo Center, 265 Reverend Moody Overpass, Hartford, 1-800-210-9900, sugarloafcrafts.com. Come shop at the Sugarloaf Craft Festival! Hundreds of local and national Artists and Craftsmen will be selling and demonstrating their work. Jewelry, fine art, pottery, sculpture, and furniture are just a few of the things you will find. Admission is $7 for a 3 day pass and children under 12 are free.

Holiday Show, 11/9-12/16, Gallery on the Green, Rte 44 and Dowd Ave, Canton, 693-4102, galleryongreen.org.  Canton Artists’ Guild. Small works and art gifts. Spotlight gallery: Marcia Reid Marsted, photographs. Opening reception, 11/20, 6-9 pm; Holiday party, 12/15, 6-9 pm. Public invited.

Israeli Art and Craft Expo, 11/11-11/10, Mandell Jewish Community Center, Chase/Freedman Gallery, 335 Bloomfield Ave, Zachs Campus, West Hartford, 236-4571 x 339, mandelljcc.org. Jewelry, crafts, judaica and artwork hand-crafted from over 35 Israeli artists and also featuring The NEW Jewish Book Festival bookstore.
Holiday shopping at its best!

30th Annual Candlelight Opening, 11/16, Farmington Valley Arts Center, 25 Arts Center Ln, Avon, 678-1867, fvac.net.  Twenty professional artists will open their studio doors. Join the Farmington Valley Arts Center and enjoy an evening filled with music, twinkling lights, refreshments and shopping galore!

Hartford Artisans’ Center at Oak Hill Annual Holiday Sale, 11/17, The Hartford Artisans’ Center, 120 Holcomb St, Hartford, 242-2274, ciboakhill.org.  Gifts for everyone on your list – and yourself, too!

DECEMBER

Holiday Show, through 12/16, Gallery on the Green, Rte 44 and Dowd Ave, Canton, 693-4102, galleryongreen.org.  Canton Artists’ Guild. Small works and art gifts. Spotlight gallery: Marcia Reid Marsted, photographs. Holiday party, 12/15, 6-9 pm. Public invited.

STAGE

NOVEMBER

A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas, 11/23–12/29, Hartford Stage, 50 Church St, Hartford, 527-5151, hartfordstage.org. Share with your family and friends the true spirit of the holiday season! Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future return for Hartford Stage's acclaimed presentation of Dickens' heart-warming classic. Flying ghosts soar across the stage, carols are sung, and snow falls, capturing the spirit of a Victorian Christmas. It's a holiday treat you won't want to miss!

Santa Claus at Hartford Stage, 11/23–11/25, Hartford Stage, 50 Church St, Hartford, 527-5151, hartfordstage.org. Santa Claus will be at Hartford Stage in the lobby after the matinee performances on November 23, 24, and 25 for free family photo opportunities.

DECEMBER

A Christmas Carol—A Ghost Story of Christmas, through 12/29, Hartford Stage, 50 Church St, Hartford, 527-5151, hartfordstage.org. Share with your family and friends the true spirit of the holiday season! Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future return for Hartford Stage's acclaimed presentation of Dickens' heart-warming classic. Flying ghosts soar across the stage, carols are sung, and snow falls, capturing the spirit of a Victorian Christmas. It's a holiday treat you won't want to miss!

A Holiday Fantasy and The Three Wishes, 12/1, The Little Theatre of Manchester at Cheney Hall, 177 Hartford Rd, Manchester, 647-9824, cheneyhall.org. Two stories masterfully performed by Michael Graham’s Spring Valley Puppets.

Ebeneeza: A Hartford Holiday Carol, 12/7–12/29, Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, 249-1207, charteroakcenter.org. Charter Oak’s Community Arts Partner, HartBeat Ensemble, presents Ebeneeza, a testament to the true spirit of the holiday season with this provocative adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. Let*s GO!

ETC

NOVEMBER

Canton Clay Works Holiday Exhibit & Sale, 11/10-12/30, Canton Clay Works, 150 Cherry Brook Rd, Canton, 693-1000, cantonclayworks.com. The Creamery Gallery at Canton Clay Works offers one stop shopping for exceptional holiday gifts featuring American-made glass, ceramics, and textiles plus sculpture and jewelry.

Wreath Ramble, 11/11, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677.4787, hillstead.org. Breathe in the crisp fall air as you meander Hill-Stead's meadows and wooded trails collecting goldenrod, purple loosestrife, evergreen fronds and berries. Then, with the help of experts, settle down in the warmth of the Makeshift Theater to create a seasonal wreath. $7 per wreath for members, $10 per wreath non-members.

Drop and Shop Nights, 11/18 and 12/20, Lutz Children's Museum, 247 South Main St, Manchester, 643-0949, lutzmuseum.org. Children aged 3-10 are invited to a fun filled pajama party at the museum while their parents make holiday preparations. Your contribution of $25 for the first child and $10 for each additional sibling (per night) includes a pizza dinner, activities, crafts, and a movie.

Celebrate a Victorian Holiday at The Mark Twain House & Museum, 11/19-1/7, The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, 247-0998, MarkTwainHouse.org.  The Mark Twain House & Museum will be decorated in festive Victorian style when it welcomes visitors during the holiday season. From November 19 through January 7, Twain’s 19-room mansion, resplendent with Tiffany interiors, will be adorned as it was for holiday celebrations from 1874 to 1891, when the author, his wife and their three daughters lived in the house.

An American Collector’s Christmas, 11/20-1/6, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Immerse yourself in the holidays of the early 1900s as you tour Hill-Stead's period rooms authentically decorated in the festive finery of the day. View dozens of rarely-exhibited decorative art objects from the Alfred Atmore Pope collection.

9th Annual Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia, 11/22-1/1, Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Ave, Hartford, 343-1565. Leisurely 2-mile drive through a series of magical, animated lighting displays. A radio broadcast provides music and information as you slowly drive past a variety of holiday scenes.

Home for the Holidays in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, 11/28-1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St., Hartford, 522-1806, butler.mccook@ctlandmarks.org. Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Christmas Crafts Expo & Winter Wonderland Festival, 11/30-12/2, Connecticut Expo Center, 265 Reverend Moody Overpass, Hartford, 493-1300, ctexpocenter.com. 200 Crafters, enchanted Christmas Tree forest, sleigh rides. One-of-a-kind Holiday Shopping and fun for the whole family!

Holiday Open House, 11/30-12/2, The Governor’s Residence, 990 Prospect Ave, Hartford, 524-7355. Delight in the festive holiday decorations.  Tours will be given. Musical performances by the  U.S. Coast Guard Choral Group, Travelers Chorale Group, Mystic Middle School Jazz Band, RHAM Middle School Choir, Connecticut Light Opera.
 
DECEMBER

Christmas Crafts Expo & Winter Wonderland Festival, through 12/2, 265 Reverend Moody Overpass, Hartford, 493-1300, ctexpocenter.com. 200 Crafters, enchanted Christmas Tree forest, sleigh rides. One-of-a-kind Holiday Shopping and fun for the whole family!

Holiday Open House, through 12/2, The Governor’s Residence, 990 Prospect Ave, Hartford, 524-7355. Delight in the festive holiday decorations.  Tours will be given. Musical performances by the U.S. Coast Guard Choral Group, Travelers Chorale Group, Mystic Middle School Jazz Band, RHAM Middle School Choir, Connecticut Light Opera.

Canton Clay Works Holiday Exhibit & Sale, through 12/30, Canton Clay Works, 150 Cherry Brook Rd, Canton, 693-1000, cantonclayworks.com. The Creamery Gallery at Canton Clay Works offers one stop shopping for exceptional holiday gifts featuring American-made glass, ceramics, and textiles plus sculpture and jewelry.

9th Annual Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia, through 1/1, Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Ave, Hartford, 343-1565. Leisurely 2-mile drive through a series of magical, animated lighting displays. A radio broadcast provides music and information as you slowly drive past a variety of holiday scenes.

An American Collector’s Christmas, through 1/6, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Immerse yourself in the holidays of the early 1900s as you tour Hill-Stead's period rooms authentically decorated in the festive finery of the day. View dozens of rarely-exhibited decorative art objects from the Alfred Atmore Pope collection.

Home for the Holidays in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, through 1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St., Hartford, 522-1806, butler.mccook@ctlandmarks.org. Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Celebrate a Victorian Holiday at The Mark Twain House & Museum, through 1/7, The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, 247-0998, MarkTwainHouse.org.  The Mark Twain House & Museum will be decorated in festive Victorian style when it welcomes visitors during the holiday season. From November 19 through January 7, Twain’s 19-room mansion, resplendent with Tiffany interiors, will be adorned as it was for holiday celebrations from 1874 to 1891, when the author, his wife and their three daughters lived in the house.

Candlelight Tour, 12/1, Stanley-Whitman House, 37 High St, Farmington, 677-9222, stanleywhitman.org.  Join in the festivities of the season in our popular 6th annual holiday tour of the 1720 Historic House decorated for the holidays.  Enjoy a light supper in our tavern room before touring the house and enjoying period dramas performed by our costumed interpreters. Reservations.

A Day for Gingerbread!, 12/1, Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Societ,y 227 S. Main St, West Hartford, 521-5362 x 21, noahwebsterhouse.org.
All ages are invited to create a beautiful gingerbread house from fresh gingerbread, icing, and candy. All materials and instructions are included. Three sessions are available at 10am, 1pm, & 3pm. Registration is required. Local Baker Christine Brooks of Sweet Domestics, maker of Spicebrook Forest Gingerbread Kits will lead the workshops.

Christmas with the Stowes, 12/1-1/5, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St, Hartford, 522-9258, harrietbeecherstowecenter.org. Tour the historically decorated Harriet Beecher Stowe House, complete with family treasures, setting the stage for a holiday celebration.

Visit with Santa at Hungerford, 12/1, New Britain Youth Museum at Hungerford Park, 191 Farmington Ave, Kensington, 827-9064, newbritainyouthmuseum.org. Share cookies, cocoa, tea and coffee. Children can sit on Santa's lap to tell him their holiday wishes, and have a photo taken with Santa. Visit our gift shop to do some Holiday shopping.

Hill-Stead's Holiday Boutique, 12/1-12/3, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Hill-Stead is pleased to bring back this festive favorite. Enjoy browsing over 20 crafters displaying unique gifts suitable for any occasion. On Sunday, after your fill of shopping, step back in time and meet the Pope Riddle family from 12–4 pm as they prepare for the holidays of the early 1900s.

Candy Lane, 12/1 and 12/8, Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main St, Hartford, 278-2670, wadsworthatheneum.org. Family friendly activities include seek-and-find art along with entertainment by wandering puppeteer, balloon artist and more!  Children 12 and under are admitted free when each child brings a new, unwrapped gift to be donated to Hartford’s homeless family shelters

Decorating for the Holidays in Historic Wethersfield. 12/1-12/23, Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum and Hurlbut-DunhamHouse, 211-212 Main St, Wethersfield, 529-0612, webb-deane-stevens.org.  The Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum has joined with Wethersfield Historical Society to present holiday tours of three homes and re-create the festivities of centuries past.  The Hurlbut-Dunham House will feature holiday room decorations by 10 of the area’s finest florists and designers. At the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, the Isaac Stevens Home will be decorated to depict holiday celebrations during the 1820s. In the Joseph Webb House, visitors will see the flowers, fruits and greens that were part of the Colonial Revival style of the 1920s and 1930s. On Saturday evenings, musicians will entertain in the Webb House’s drawing room.

Festival of Lights, 12/2, Saint Joseph College, The Connor Chapel, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, sjc.edu. The Festival will begin at 4:00 p.m. in The Connor Chapel of Our Lady; this program is free of charge and the general public is cordially invited to attend. A combination of Scripture, music, liturgical dance and prayer, the Festival of Lights features the Saint Joseph College Combined Choirs and Instrumental Ensemble, under the direction of the Reverend David J. Cinquegrani, C.P., and the Saint Joseph College Dance Ensemble, directed by Susan Murphy, M.A. During the Festival, the congregation will participate in a traditional candle-lighting ceremony, recognizing the community’s spiritual joy and hope for the upcoming holiday season.

Holiday House Tour: Mark Twain House and Beautiful Hartford Homes, 12/2, 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, 280-3112, marktwainhouse.org. The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum will hold its 27th Holiday House tour, featuring Mark Twain’s 19-room home along with the Loomis-Wooley House at 645 Prospect Avenue in West Hartford, the Renbrook School at 2865 Albany Avenue in West Hartford and four historical and architecturally impressive private homes in Hartford’s attractive Scarborough Street-Prospect Avenue area. Each home will be decorated for the holidays and will feature live music and floral arrangements.
Meet the Family, 12/2, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Tour the decorated 1901 Pope Riddle house at your own pace. Converse with museum interpreters in period garb, who make the house come alive as they recreate the holidays of the Pope Riddle household and guests.

Mitzvah Mall, 12/2, Charter Oak Cultural Center, 21 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, 249-1207, charteroakcenter.org. The most fun and engaging way to teach children about the joy of giving, our Mitzvah Mall will provide young people with a chance to buy gifts that are truly meaningful. Instead of shopping at the mall, why not buy crayons for an after-school program, toys for hospitalized children, food for a homeless person or clothes for a victim of domestic violence in your friend’s or relative’s name? Participants get to feel, in a very concrete way, the power and impact of their generosity. Holiday shopping will never be the same again.

Holiday House Tour, 12/5-9, 12/16, 12/19-12/20, Stanley-Whitman House, 37 High St, Farmington, 677-9222, stanleywhitman.org. Take a magical tour of the 1720 house and travel through time from an early American tavern, to a weaver’s studio, onto a Revolutionary War-era parlour, and end in a 19th century parlour festooned with Victorian Decorations.

Christmas Crafts Expo & Winter Wonderland Festival, 12/7-9, Connecticut Expo Center, 265 Reverend Moody Overpass, Hartford, 493-1300, ctexpocenter.com. 200 Crafters, enchanted Christmas Tree forest, sleigh rides. One-of-a-kind Holiday Shopping and fun for the whole family!

Ellie Toy, Storyteller, 12/8, New Britain Youth Museum, 30 High St, New Britain, 225-3020, newbritainyouthmuseum.org. Ms. Toy will do a performance geared for children under 10. Her program will feature multicultural stories of the season.

Carols, Crafts & Cookies!, 12/8, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St,
Hartford, 522-9258, harrietbeecherstowecenter.org.  Delight in the sounds of select choirs filling the magnificent Day House at the Stowe Center. Choirs being featured include Ethel Walker's Grapes; Hall High School's Choraliers; and Renbrook School's Renaissance. Violinist Ben Dean will be performing between choirs. Make a Victorian-era ornament to take home and sample a holiday goodie.

United Technologies Symphony on Ice, 12/8, Hartford Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, (860) 525-8629, letsgoarts.org.  Presented by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, The United Technologies Symphony on Ice®, is the largest single-day toy-raiser in Connecticut and one of the largest in the country. Admission to the show is a free ticket and a new, unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ Toys for Tots holiday campaign.

The Nutcracker Ballet, 12/8-12/9, Windsor High School, 50 Sage Park Rd, Windsor, 643-4796, ctconcertballet.org. A traditional, full-length, magical production of The Nutcracker will be performed on December 8th and 9th at Windsor High School and on December 15 and 16th at Tolland High School and will feature professional guest artists, fanciful choreography, beautiful costumes, a real magician playing the part of Heir Drosselmeyer, a twelve foot tall Mother Ginger, gingerbread girls, dueling mice, snow flakes and snow fairies.

The Nutcracker, 12/8-12/16, The Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, 987-5900, bushnell.org.  Enjoy yourself this yuletide season as you travel with young Clara to the enchanted Land of Sweets. Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts/Nutmeg Ballet bring Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker back to The Bushnell, delighting audiences young and old. This holiday favorite brings to life toy soldiers and dueling mice, princesses and sugarplums - a delicious treat for the child in all of us. Sponsored by Robinson & Cole.

Children's Holiday Party, 12/9, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Little ones enjoy crafts activities, live holiday music and homemade treats in Hill-Stead's Makeshift Theater. Each child receives a handmade Victorian party favor.

Holiday Celebration!, 12/9, New Britain Museum of American Art, 56 Lexington St, New Britain, 229-0257, nbmaa.org.  Highlights of this family friendly celebration include cookie decorating, ornament making, storytelling, music by the New Britain Chorale and Main Street Singers. Holiday shopping in the museum store.

Holiday Treats: Candy Canes, 12/9, Stanley-Whitman House, 37 High St, Farmington, 677-9222, stanleywhitman.org. Judy Witzke will teach you to make a special holiday treat - candy canes!  Learn the history of the candy cane as you stretch these delicious confections into shape.  Participants will also tour the historic house decorated for the holidays.  This program is open to children age 6 and up accompanied by an adult and adults.  Reservations.

Saint Nicholas Day, 12/9, New Britain Youth Museum, 30 High St, New Britain, 225-3020, newbritainyouthmuseum.org. Learn all about the historic 4th century Nicholas of Myra (in present day Turkey). Find out why he is still so popular today and the many ways in which children around the world celebrate his special day on December 6th each year. Participate in a Saint Nicholas Day craft.

A Christmas Carol SpringBoard Reception, 12/12, Hartford Stage, 50 Church St, Hartford, 527.5151, hartfordstage.org. SpringBoard is a unique group formed to encourage and promote the development of business and social relationships among area young professionals through participation in networking, creative events, and sharing the magic of live theatre at one of Connecticut's premier hot spots.

2nd Annual Kid’s Holiday Gift Shop, 12/13 and 12/15, Stanley-Whitman House, 37 High St, Farmington, 677-9222, stanleywhitman.org. The museum will open its special “kids only” shop for a limited time this season.  All items in the store will be $5.00 or less.  Volunteers will be on hand to help children select and wrap a perfect gift for mom, dad, siblings, friends, and family!  Parents- enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate while your children shop!  No registration required.

Drop-in Family Program: Holiday Ornament Making, 12/15, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St., Hartford, 522-1806, butler.mccook@ctlandmarks.org. Bring the children and come to the Butler-McCook House to create take-home ornaments.

Holiday Party, 12/15, Gallery on the Green, Rte 44 and Dowd Ave, Canton, 693-4102, galleryongreen.org.  Canton Artists’ Guild. Small works and art gifts. Spotlight gallery: Marcia Reid Marsted, photographs. Public invited.

The Nutcracker, 12/15-12/23, Carol Autorino Center, Saint Joseph College, 1678 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, 570-0440, ballettheatrecompany.org.  Ballet Theatre Company's classic holiday production features choreography and staging by Brett Raphael and guest artist's from Connecticut Ballet and a cast of sixty.

Drop and Shop Night, 12/20, Lutz Children's Museum, 247 South Main St, Manchester, 643-0949, lutzmuseum.org. Children aged 3-10 are invited to a fun filled pajama party at the museum while their parents make holiday preparations. Your contribution of $25 for the first child and $10 for each additional sibling (per night) includes a pizza dinner, activities, crafts, and a movie.

JANUARY

9th Annual Hartford Holiday Light Fantasia, through 1/1, Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Ave, Hartford, 343-1565. Leisurely 2-mile drive through a series of magical, animated lighting displays. A radio broadcast provides music and information as you slowly drive past a variety of holiday scenes.

Christmas with the Stowes, through 1/5, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St, Hartford, 522-9258, harrietbeecherstowecenter.org. Tour the historically decorated Harriet Beecher Stowe House, complete with family treasures, setting the stage for a holiday celebration.

An American Collector’s Christmas, through 1/6, Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Rd, Farmington, 677-4787, hillstead.org. Immerse yourself in the holidays of the early 1900s as you tour Hill-Stead's period rooms authentically decorated in the festive finery of the day. View dozens of rarely-exhibited decorative art objects from the Alfred Atmore Pope collection.

Home for the Holidays in Old Hartford: A Butler-McCook House Celebration, through 1/6, Butler-McCook House & Garden, 396 Main St., Hartford, 522-1806, butler.mccook@ctlandmarks.org. Come view the decorated Butler-McCook House and learn how the McCook family celebrated Christmas.

Celebrate a Victorian Holiday at The Mark Twain House & Museum, through 1/7, The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, 247-0998, MarkTwainHouse.org.  The Mark Twain House & Museum will be decorated in festive Victorian style when it welcomes visitors during the holiday season. From November 19 through January 7, Twain’s 19-room mansion, resplendent with Tiffany interiors, will be adorned as it was for holiday celebrations from 1874 to 1891, when the author, his wife and their three daughters lived in the house.