Holiday Happenings 2023

Over the years Salem, Massachusetts has gained notoriety for the month-long October celebration of Salem Haunted Happenings, with 2023 marking the festival’s 41st year of festivities. As the Halloween decorations come down and the seasons begin to shift towards shorter days and longer nights, an air of merriment envelops the charming seaside town of Salem. The holiday charm seeps into the streets with the Christmas tree lighting, holiday window contest, and the smell of sweet and savory delicious creations hanging in the air. If you are looking to enhance your holiday spirit this year, plan a day of festivities around one of our upcoming events. 


November 24th Santa’s Arrival and Holiday Tree Lighting

A beloved annual tradition, Santa Claus will arrive at the top of the Hawthorne Hotel at 18 Washington Square – with assistance from the Salem Fire Department, of course! Santa’s arrival will be followed by a procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall for the annual lighting of Salem’s Holiday Tree at Lappin Park (next to the Bewitched Statue at the intersection of Essex Street and Washington Street). Santa will arrive promptly at 6pm, so make sure to get there early.


Saturday, November 26: Salem Arts Association Holiday Artists’ Market at Salem Old Town Hall 

Salem Arts Association is pleased to invite you to our Holiday Artists’ Market At Salem Old Town Hall. We are planning a festive market with live music and a holiday theme. We are looking forward to offering a broad collection of creative opportunities for our community to browse and find treasures for yourself, friends, and family. Featuring a variety of local artisans and crafters offering original fine art, unique gifts, and hand-made housewares to delight yourself or gift to others. The market will take place from 10am to 5pm.


Saturday, November 26 – Friday, December 23: Salem Trolley and “A Christmas Carol” – 

Now entering into its 34th Season, this humorous & whimsical interactive performance reanimates Dickens’ timeless seasonal holiday classic. Experience Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a twist. Ride along with Scrooge on the Salem Trolley as the classic tale is brought to life in a completely unexpected way. Shows sell out quickly and seats are limited. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 11, 2023.

Timeless Life Treasures
68 Wharf Street
Salem, MA 01970

Tis’ The Season with History Alive at The House of the Seven Gables December 1 – 3 and 8 – 10 at 7pm 

Join History Alive to experience the Christmastide season from before Christmas was a holiday in America. After premiering in 2021 at the Old Town Hall, this play-with-music moves to the House of the Seven Gables in 2023 to continue to spread the Yuletide cheer.


Saturday, December 2 through Sunday, December 3: Christmas in Salem Holiday House Tours

This year’s tour is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, and is themed “An On Common Christmas” as it features homes around the Salem Common.  In the 1600s the Salem Common was a swampy area used for livestock grazing and militia training.  In 1801 Elias Haskett Derby led an effort to fill in the swamp, plant trees and lay out walkways.  This made the surrounding area highly desirable for residential use.  Many of the homes featured on this year’s Christmas in Salem holiday house tour date back to this time when spacious Federal-style mansions were built.


The Salem Garden Club Christmas Boutique, December 2nd 9:30 am – 2 pm

The Boutique features uniquely decorated fresh wreaths, arrangements, swags, boxwood trees, and much more. You’re sure to find that special something to trim your home for the holiday or to find a gift for someone special! This event will take place at The First Church here in Salem, MA.


Saturday, December 9th: Holiday Window Decorating Contest 

Every year, downtown businesses decorate their windows especially for the holidays. Judges nominated by Salem Main Streets make the rounds to vote on the best windows, and the competition is always fierce! These innovative displays will set the stage for a day full of shopping and winter cheer. 


Saturday and Sunday December 9th – 10th Gingerbread Holiday Trolley ride with the Good Witch of Salem

Join the Good Witch of Salem on a quest to find the Gingerbread Man aboard the Holiday Trolley! The race through downtown Salem will begin at The Good Witch of Salem’s shop with a story time all about the Gingerbread Man! Attendees will take part and interact with the story through the use of motions, props, and baking tools. After story time, together we will view and discuss how gingerbread cookies are made. Be on the lookout because one of the adorable Gingerbread Men will come alive and run off into the streets of Salem! Once we spot him, we will board the Holiday Trolley to find that fast little cookie! Keep your eyes peeled while riding the Holiday Trolley…the Gingerbread Man can pop up anywhere along the way!


Sunday December 17th, Salem Main Streets Holiday Stroll 

Salem Main Streets wants to help you with your holiday shopping! Load up on sustenance at one of our many fine downtown breakfast and brunch establishments, then hit the bricks for great finds and specials at local retailers around town, all while serenaded by festive roaming carolers. Keep your eyes peeled for Santa! Follow along online for the latest list of participants and shopping details.


Sunday, December 17: Salem Common Neighborhood Association 8th Annual Free Holiday Concert  

The Salem Common Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce its Holiday Concert at The Bridge at 211. This includes free music by the Merrimack Valley Concert Band and Bake Sale. Donations of baked goods are greatly appreciated. All proceeds to benefit the SCNA and The Bridge at 211 to continue to bring free neighborhood programming that is open to all. Cider will be served at intermission in the gallery for those comfortable/interested.


Christmas Fireside Tales at the Daniels House (See the Daniel’s House website for official dates)

This evening of tales in one of America’s oldest houses is devoted to stories about early Salem, Winter traditions, and the festive season. Whether you are staying the night, on a day trip, or are a local to Salem, the Daniels House welcomes you to step inside of their cozy abode for an evening of festivities and yuletide joy!

Sunday, December 31: Launch! New Year’s Eve 

Come ring in the New Year in downtown Salem!  The City of Salem and Salem Main Streets are teaming up to throw a New Year’s Eve party, with live music and family-friendly activities.  There will be an early countdown promptly at 6 pm.

Frozen Fire Festival Dec 26 – Jan 1

Centerpiece for winter entertainment, seasonal shopping, dining and drinks in the heart of Salem, MA – FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! RAIN OR SHINE. Rent an igloo and make smores with friends, or play some outdoor winter themed games. 



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