Celebrate Salem Holiday Happenings November 29-January 1, 2019

Salem Holiday Happenings run November 29, 2019-January 1, 2020, and our calendar is packed with ways to spend the season in Salem. With holiday markets throughout December, festive photo ops, and events for the whole family, there is always something merry and bright to explore this time of year in Salem.

Welcome Santa and attend the holiday tree lighting

Salem Holiday Happenings kicks off with Santa’s Arrival and the Holiday Tree Lighting on Friday, November 29! Santa will arrive atop the Hawthorne Hotel with assistance from the Salem Fire Department. This annual event offers festival fun for the whole family as all are welcome to join the procession down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall to Lappin Park. Once there, Santa will be joined by Mayor Driscoll for the Holiday Tree Lighting. We recommend arriving at Salem Common by about 5:45 pm so you don’t miss a thing. Learn more here.

Tour historic homes with Christmas in Salem

During Christmas in Salem, historic downtown homes are professionally decorated for the holidays and open for tours. Wander the McIntire Historic District and view the holiday decor by professional decorators and florists. Christmas in Salem runs December 6-8, and the weekend is filled with special promotions just for the occasion. Learn more here.

Pose for holiday photo ops

Krampus is making appearances at Vampfangs on weekends throughout the holiday season. Digital and printed photos with Krampus are available for $10, or free with any in-store purchase. See a list of event dates here.

Back for 2019 are Witch Pix‘s awkward holiday photo shoots! These hilarious photo shoots make for perfect cards for the holiday season or simply a fun outing with family and friends in Salem. Shoots are available during regular hours at Witch Pix. Learn more and make an appointment here.

Indulge your sweet tooth

Harbor Sweets is all set up to help your little ones write letters to Santa that can be sent right from the store. While you’re there, sip Cocoa Santé hot cocoa, sample our handmade chocolates and shop for the holidays! Offered select dates, learn more here.

Visit Ye Olde Pepper Companie for their annual holiday open house, and learn how candy canes are made while taking in some of the history behind this historic sweets shop. The Open House runs December 7 and 8, with Mary Spencer, founder of Ye Olde Pepper Companie visiting on Saturday and Santa stopping by on Sunday. Learn more here.

Shop local holiday markets

Salem has holiday markets that take place all around town throughout the season, each offering something for everyone on your list. Find everything from dark arts and oddities to uniquely handcrafted gifts, and made in Salem goods. Find markets at Old Town Hall and at hotels, restaurants, and breweries around Salem. Learn more here.

Join Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre for A Very Grinchy Holiday Special

Erik Rodenhiser from the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre returns as The Grinch for his 6th annual performance in Salem. Bring the whole family to the Saltonstall School Auditorium for the event and enjoy a retelling of the classic story with music, Max the dog, Thing One and Thing Two, and more! Stay after the show to meet The Grinch himself and arrive early to meet Mrs. Claus. Performances run December 7-8 and 14-15. Learn more here.

Run in the Festivus 5K

Lace up your running shoes and register for the Festivus 5K road race on December 15. The race is sponsored by the Friends of Northshore Education Consortium in Beverly and to date has generated $100,000 to help children with autism and their families. Proceeds from this year’s event will support education for local students with autism, and registration information is available here.

Ring in the New Year

Salem has ways for the whole family to celebrate 2020 this New Year’s Eve! Kids can enjoy an early countdown with Salem Main Streets during Launch! and adults have an array of parties and specialty dinners to send off 2019. Start planning for New Year’s Eve now, as many events for the evening sell tickets in advance. Learn more here.