The Holidays are Here in Salem, MA

Over the years Salem, Massachusetts has gained notoriety for the month-long October celebration of Salem Haunted Happenings, with 2022 marking the festival’s 40th anniversary. 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. The sweetest part is that free parking will be available in municipal lots, garages, and meters will be free on November 25, 26,  27, as well as December 23, 24, 25, and 26, 2022.

November 25th Santa’s Arrival and Holiday Tree Lighting

Santa Claus will arrive at the top of the Hawthorne Hotel at 6 p.m. with assistance from the Salem Fire Department. Santa’s arrival will be followed by a procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall to Lappin Park, next to the Bewitched Statue. The tree lighting event includes carols, festivities, and more.


Saturday, November 26: Holiday Marketplace at Finz Seafood

Finding the perfect gift for the Holiday season doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. Peruse through a selection of artisan vendors for the perfectly crafted unique holiday gift. This annual Holiday Marketplace hosts 30 vendors featuring hand-crafted items. The event takes place from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m and will provide you with the holiday cheer that you need to help you complete all of your holiday shopping.

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

Looking for a fun event for you and your group of friends, or perhaps a family outing with the in-laws? Hop aboard the Salem Trolley to experience an interactive version of “A Christmas Carol”. This humorous and whimsical interactive performance reanimates Dickens’ timeless seasonal holiday classic. Scrooge will ride along on the Salem Trolley as the classic tale is brought to life in a completely unexpected way. Meet the ghosts of past, present, and future while taking in the historic panoramic views of Salem, MA. 


Saturday, December 3 through Sunday, December 4: Christmas in Salem Holiday House Tours

This traditional long-standing favorite is back in person and virtual. Historic, beautiful homes are professionally decorated for this annual event spanning four centuries of Salem’s past. The weekend also includes a series of holiday-themed walking tours, wine tastings, and more. Enjoy the cool crisp New England air while enjoying the beautiful architecture that makes our community so unique.

Saturday, December 3: Holiday Window Decorating Contest –  

December 3rd is a great day to stroll through Downtown Salem to take in the newly decorated display windows that will be up in all of their glory. Downtown businesses will have decorated their windows, especially for the holidays, and judges will make the rounds to vote on the best windows. These innovative displays will set the stage for a day full of shopping and winter cheer. 


Saturday, December 10: Winter Walk on the Wharf – 

Enjoy the breathtaking waterfront views of the Salem Harbor from the wharf while popping into an eclectic selection of local Salem, MA shops on Pickering Wharf. The shops and restaurants at Pickering Wharf will be hosting a spectacular Holiday Winter Walk on the wharf. Stop by and join in for a weekend filled with fun, raffles, food, and Santa!


Saturday, December 10: The Holiday Trolley (Let’s Catch the Gingerbread Man) – 

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 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, all 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.


Saturday, December 17: Santa in Salem – 

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to Phillips House! Take a photo with Santa and see the elegant Chestnut Street mansion aglow with holiday cheer. Before or after meeting Santa, join the Phillips House for stories with Mrs. Claus, cookies, cider, and a drop-in Christmas craft workshop, where you can make festive creations to take home and even write your letter to Santa! Craft activities are recommended for families with children ages 4 to 10. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive shortly after 12 p.m.


Sunday, December 18: 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 18: Salem Common Neighborhood Association 7th 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.

Each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday throughout December: Christmas Fireside Tales at the Daniels House – 

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!


Saturday, December 31: Launch! New Year’s Eve – 

This event is hosted by Salem Main Streets and is a way to gather as a community to celebrate the 2023 New Year. 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 p.m. 

Sunday December 11th: Meet Santa at the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites 

Take picture of Santa arriving on the Lobster Boat, enjoy holiday shopping on Pickering Wharf, watch the tree lighting and so much more! Santa will be arriving by the Marina Beer Garden where there will be igloos set up for pictures and festivities. This event will take place from 11am to 3pm.


There are many ways to connect to the local community and all of the holiday cheer that there is to be had during this season of the year. Shopping local and supporting small business, indulging in locally crafted culinary goods, or getting together with loved ones to take in a holiday experience here in town. The spirit of merriment can be felt across every corner of town without the overwhelming crowds of larger cities getting in the way of your excursion. Come and enjoy the excitement of Salem Holiday Happenings and end your 2022 on a positive note. Happy Holidays!

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