Christmas in Rockport 2023
Join us in Rockport throughout the month of December for holiday fun and celebrations! Kicking off with Small Business Saturday on November 25, visit the local merchants for some great deals on holiday gifts. Your kids will love searching for clues to help answer Sammy the Seagull’s riddle to win prizes. Santa arrives in style by boat at T-Wharf on Saturday, December 2 for photos, followed by the Dock Square Tree Lighting ceremony. A Menorah Lighting will be held on December 7th, the first day of Chanukah. The Annual Holiday Shopping night is Friday, December 8 – get your passport stamped at various businesses and enter to win prizes. Strolling musician and carolers will entertain you while shopping on Saturday afternoon, December 9. The Christmas Pageant, a live nativity re-enactment, takes place on Saturday, December 16. For the shopping procrastinators, Last Minute Stocking Stuffer weekend is December 23 & 24, when you can get some great “last minute” deals. To cap off the month of festivities, Rockport New Year’s Eve offers a full night of entertainment, starting at 4 PM until the ball drop at midnight!
4th Annual Winter Lights
November 25 – January 1
Celebrate the spirit of the season on Cape Ann! Pack up the car and come enjoy the 4th Annual Winter Lights on Cape Ann! Local businesses throughout Gloucester, Essex, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport are getting into the festive spirit by decorating their storefronts with twinkling lights and creative window displays! Over 100 lighted locations will help bring joy to all those who visit. Visit Discover Gloucester for more information.
Sammy the Seagull Hide & Seek
November 25 – December 31
This fun scavenger hunt for kids is back this year for its 4th edition. Use you special decoder sheet to fill in the secret message and win real prizes. Pick up your decoder sheet at the downtown visitor information shed, the T-Wharf restrooms and a businesses throughout town. Sammy likes to hide in places all over Rockport. Each time that you find him, he will give you a clue to answer his question. If you can solve the riddle, he will give you prizes.
Santa Arrives at T-Wharf by Boat
Saturday, December 2 @ 1 PM
Santa will arrive at T-Wharf on Rockport Harbor on Saturday, December 2 at 1:00 PM, following a brisk lobster boat ride across Sandy Bay. Then Santa and Mrs. Claus will proceed along T-Wharf and Broadway to the First Baptist Church, led by a Rockport Forest Fire truck and local Cub and Brownie Scouts.
Kids Activities & Crafts
Saturday, December 2 @ 10 AM – 12 PM
Kids can enjoy some craft activities before or after their photo session with Santa & Mrs. Claus at First Baptist Church. This is a great time to enjoy some glitter and glue with the youngsters!
Photos with Santa
Saturday, December 2 @ 1:15 – 3:30 PM
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus at First Baptist Church to have photos taken with the children in the church hall until the Tree Lighting Ceremony begins.
Dock Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday, December 2 @ 4 PM
Santa will ascend the platform in Dock Square with Mrs. Claus to greet the crowd and kick off the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:00 PM. The Dock Square Singers will entertain the crowd with carols and a stirring rendition of “Christmas in Rockport”. After the ceremony, Santa & Mrs. Claus climb onto the fire truck to begin their return journey to the North Pole.
Calling ALL singers! Please join us on December 2nd as we light
the Tree in Dock Square. All ages are welcome. We will practice at 2pm at the First Baptist Church in Rockport and then proceed to the Tree at about 3:40. The entire event will be finished by 4:20 or so. Please invite all of the singers you know.
Menorah Lighting Ceremony
Thursday, December 7 @ 6 PM
Chabad of Cape Ann invites all to join them at the Barletta Park for a Menorah Lighting and Chanukah celebration. All are welcome to join in this program for all ages, with music, doughnuts, and latkes. Chabad will ignite a public 9-foot Hanukkah menorah erected in downtown Rockport, followed by a community-wide celebration on December 18, the first night of the eight-day holiday. The menorah lighting ceremony will include music, Hanukkah-themed refreshments, such as latkes and doughnuts, and children’s activities.
Holiday Shopping Night
Friday, December 8 @ 4 – 9 PM
Enjoy a night of Holiday Shopping with music and holiday treats. Featuring a Shopping Stamp Card, Drawing, & After-Party at the Fish Shack. There are three chances to win ‘Gift Card Stockings’ filled with gift certificates valued at $980, $700 and $420 from 28 Downtown Retailers!
Saturday, December 9 @ 1 – 3 PM
Quintessential Brass, Christmas in Rockport featured entertainers since the early 2000s, will be returning to perform a variety of “brassy” holiday music from traditional Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs to holiday classical tunes and jazzy settings of holiday pop favorites. Stroll with the QB Quartet from gallery to gallery and shop to shop throughout downtown Rockport, as they play traditional carols, holiday classics, and jazzy Christmas favorites.
Saturday, December 9 @ 1 – 3 PM
The Solstice Singers will be returning to Rockport strolling and caroling through the town. Founded over 30 years ago, this community choral group is open to anyone on the North Shore who loves to sing. The Solstice Singers and their strolling caroling have been a featured part of Christmas in Rockport on the second Saturday in December since the group was founded. The Solstice Singers have sung in places like St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC and St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec.
North Shore Christian Men’s Choir Concert
Saturday, December 16 @ 2:30 – 3:30 PM
The North Shore Christian Men’s Choir and the Rockport Baptist Church invite you to join them for their annual pre-Pageant Christmas concert in the church sanctuary. All are welcome to come celebrate the Christmas season with them, and enjoy an afternoon with good friends and great music.
Christmas Pageant: A Nativity Re-enactment
Saturday, December 16 @ 5 PM
In the spirit of the holidays, the Rockport Art Association and Museum once again presents the Annual Live Christmas Pageant, a torch-lit live re-enactment of the Nativity. Each year hundreds of spectators gather to watch the live re-enactment of the story of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Bethlehem inn and the stable. The pageant begins with a torch lit procession which starts at Dock Square and proceeds up Main Street to the Congregational Church. Here the story of Jesus’ birth is brought to life through a live narration.
Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, December 23 & 24
We invite you to come to downtown Rockport and Whistlestop Mall, and bring along your family and friends, for another festive weekend of shopping and strolling in our beautiful seaside village on Cape Ann. Our streets are lined with colorfully lit Christmas trees, and the Dock Square tree is shining brightly. Vote for your favorite storefront or gallery display as part of Cape Ann Winter Lights, and discover those perfect last-minute stocking stuffer gifts among the lovingly crafted creations available at scores of shops and galleries throughout Rockport.
Santa on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
Sunday & Monday, December 24 & 25
The Rockport Fire Department will give Santa and Mrs. Claus a special ride on their ladder truck on Christmas Eve. Come out and cheer them on as they come come through your neighborhood between 5 and 7 PM on Christmas Eve.
Bring the whole family to Dock Square in Rockport on Christmas Day, at 12:30pm! Santa will visit and every child will be given a bag of goodies as a special gift. Take photos with Santa before he heads out to rest after his busy holiday season!
Rockport New Year's Eve
Sunday, December 31
Rockport’s annual year-end celebration of the arts offers a wide range of entertainment for adults and children beginning at 4 PM and culminating with a midnight ball drop. The 12 downtown entertainment venues will include halls, churches, and restaurants, all within easy walking distance of one another. CATA trolleys will circulate among the venues and parking areas. Activities include all kinds of music, dance, poetry, magic, juggling, and puppetry. Purchase of a button allows access to all events, and some events are free. Buttons and much more information are available on the website at rnye.org.