A packed calendar of family-friendly holiday events is reason to plan time in Rockport this holiday season.

Rockport, MA ‘ Just about everywhere else in New England Santa arrives by sleigh, fire engine, or on a wagon. However, it’s only natural that in Rockport, MA Santa arrives by lobster boat. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, Rockport has packed the calendar with a multitude of singing, ringing and mingling events, perfect for the whole family.

This holiday season, plan to spend some time in Rockport, finding the perfect hand-made gift for that someone special, enjoying strolling minstrels, or attending one of the oldest Christmas Pageants in New England, now in its 69th year. It all kicks off on December 6 with Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting ceremony and continues with events lasting throughout December.

December 5: Shop Rockport Night: Over 60 shops and galleries will be open for extended evening hours, offering exclusive promotions and special events. Shop amidst Rockport’s enchanting display of brightly lit, colorfully adorned Christmas trees.

December 6: Santa arrives by Lobster Boat & Annual Tree Lighting: Where else can you see Santa arrive by lobster boat? Santa arrives in downtown Rockport at 3:45 p.m., followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony and caroling.

December 7: ‘Seashells & Jingle Bells’ Inn & Home Kitchen Tour: Come experience holiday cheer, goodies, and hospitality. There will be demonstrations and fun events at several locations along with wonderful winter scenes, 1 ‘ 5 pm. Rockport Inn and Suites, 183 Main Street, is the place to buy tickets: $20 in advance, $25 on day of tour.

December 13: Scandinavian Jul Fest: The annual Scandinavian Jul Fest takes place at Spiran Hall (corner of School Street and Broadway), 9 am ‘ 1 pm. Take in the Santa Lucia Pageant, children’s dancing, Spiran musicians, the Cape Ann Finnish Singers, traditional foods and gifts, holiday greens, and a luncheon. Admission is free, food and gifts will be sold.

December 13-14: Seaside Village Open House Weekend: Saturday and Sunday, get in on the Seaside Village Open House as shops present special gift ideas and refreshments. Also on Saturday, beginning at 9:30 am, enjoy free demonstrations of candy-cane making at Tuck’s Candy Factory. Featuring music by the Solstice Singers from Noon – 2 pm, and holiday favorites by Quintessential Brass from 1- 3 pm. A special added attraction this year is the return of Hayrides pulled by a team of Belgian Draft Horses, presented by Cape Ann Savings Bank, from 1 – 3 pm on Saturday.

December 13-14: 13th Annual Holiday Gallery Stroll: Rockport’s finest artists at galleries throughout town participate in this popular two-day event. Refreshments, demonstrations, and great gift opportunities are among the many reasons to participate. Pick up a free Gallery Stroll map at shops, inns, restaurants, and galleries throughout Rockport. Stroll hours are Noon – 4 pm.

December 14: Rockport Legion Band Annual Christmas Concert: Get yourself into the spirit of the season with this special free concert by Rockport’s beloved Legion Band, beginning at 2 pm at the Rockport Congregational Church.

December 20: 69th Annual Christmas Pageant: One of the oldest Christmas pageants in New England, this torchlight re-enactment of the Nativity will take place starting at 5:00 pm along Dock Square and Main Street. Come witness the spectacle of this free performance. Cap off the evening with a traditional ham and baked bean supper at the Congregational Church, or dinner at Emerson Inn by the Sea prime rib dinner. (Ten-percent of the Emerson’s dinner sales will be donated to the Rockport Christmas Tree fund. Dinner reservations required, call 978-546-6321.) At 7 Rockport Music presents a free community sing-along, featuring the Rockport High School Madrigals at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

December 25: Santa Visits Dock Square: Santa makes one more stop to greet the children of Rockport at Dock Square at 10:30 am after his long night of gift deliveries.

December 31: New Year’s Rockport Eve, 18th Anniversary Celebration: Plan to enjoy six hours of continuous family entertainment with 85 shows to choose from, starting at 6:00pm. You will be entertained with clowns, magicians, music of all genres ‘ classical, jazz, folk, country, songs of the sea, and rock and roll ‘ story tellers, puppets, and much more! A spectacular midnight celebration in Dock Square with the ball drop and count down will cap a truly memorable welcome to the New Year. For a complete schedule of New Year’s Rockport Eve, visit

There are so many more wonderful Rockport community events offered throughout the holiday season. For more information and a detailed schedule of Christmas in Rockport events, visit . Call 978-283-1601 to request your free Christmas in Rockport Holiday Calendar and Guide, or email