’Tis the season for Christmas tree festivals, and several local events feature brilliantly decorated trees that visitors can win.  

For anyone who is tired of hanging the same ornaments on a tree every year, these festivals are a chance to brighten up the holidays with some new decorative spirit.

The festivals also offer a range of family entertainment, such as holiday music and Santa visits, to make each trip both fun and inspiring. 

And even if visitors don’t come home with a tree that has caught their eye, joining in the fun is a way to help local organizations do important work throughout the year. 


Nov. 22-Dec. 7

The Festival of Trees, now in its 26th year, raises money to help preserve historic buildings and monuments throughout the Merrimack Valley.  

In addition to raffling off more than 240 dazzling Christmas trees, the festival offers a chance at a prize of $5,000.

To kick off the fun, a “Tapas, ’Tinis and Trees” event will be held tonight from 6 to 9 and will be hosted by Taniya Nayak, an HGTV/Food Network star and judge on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight.” Tickets are $50. 

The following day from noon to 9 p.m., First Look Friday will offer a fair with 20 vendors to help visitors get a head start on their holiday shopping. Additionally, a gift shop will be open throughout the festival and is stocked with a range of items.

Shoppers can also take a break and purchase a snack, meal or daily special at the cafe. 

Special events will be held throughout the festival, including visits with Santa and discounted times for Facebook friends, educators and others.

Finally, for those who can’t make it in person, or who just can’t get enough of the festival, an online auction will offer desirable gifts for sports fans, foodies, travelers, collectors and many others. Visitors can bid on tickets to sports events or entertainment venues, on hotel getaways and skydiving excursions.

Where: Atrium at the office park at 13 Branch St., Methuen

Hours: Weekdays, 5 to 9 p.m.; weekends, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Special hours on Nov. 22 and Nov. 27, noon to 9 p.m., and Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day. 

How much: $10 admission. Tree raffle, $5 for 26 tickets. Mini-tree and wreath raffle, $1 for six tickets. Tickets for the $5,000 cash raffle are $5 for one, $10 for six and $20 for 26.

More information: www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com


Nov. 23-Dec. 6

This is the seventh year of the Sea Festival of Trees at Salisbury Beach. 

The 15-day event features a raffle for more than 150 beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and it raises money for the Salisbury Beach Partnership and its fund to bring back the historic carousel. 

The merriment gets an early start today at 6 p.m. with a giant gingerbread house lighting and continues Friday with a Spirits of Christmas Gala at 6:30 p.m. The latter event includes food with dessert stations and tastings from liquor, wine and beer vendors. Tickets are $25, available by calling 978-462-5888.

As the festival gets in full swing on Saturday, Nov. 23, visitors can count on daily visits with Santa and free access to the ice skating rink, where skates can be rented for $5. 

Everyone can join in a scavenger hunt that is held throughout the festival, while the Festival Cafe and Seaglass and Capri restaurants will be open every day for dining.

The special events will also include an arts and crafts show on Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and youngsters can have their picture taken with Elsa the Snow Queen from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Friday, Nov. 29.

The Grinch will be lurking between the trees on those same dates, interacting with families and visitors, and Spider-Man and Captain America will be in the house on Nov. 24, from noon to 3 p.m.

There will be a sea glass workshop on Nov. 25, and reduced admission, along with cookies and cocoa for kids, on Nov. 26 and 27 for folks from various local communities. 

Ugly Sweater Night on Nov. 29 will be followed by Santa’s arrival and brunch on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon, and a “Sip, Stroll and Shop” ladies night will be held on Dec. 5. 

A “Polar Express” pajama party and brunch will be held on Dec. 8, on the same day that the Seacoast Civic Dance Company will perform at 2 and 3 p.m., and then the tree raffle drawing is held at 5 p.m. 

Where: Blue Ocean Event Center, 4 Oceanfront North

Hours: Nov. 23, 29 and 30 and Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 and 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 2-6, 5:30 to 9 p.m.

How much: $7 admission; free for children 2 and under. $5 for 25 raffle tickets.

More information: www.seafestivaloftrees.com or 978-462-2512 


Nov. 29-Dec. 8

The Groveland Historical Society is holding its third A Festival of Trees this year, and the event continues to grow, with longer viewing hours than in years past. There will also be visits from Santa this year on each day of the event, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 29 and 30, 2 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, and 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Money raised will support maintenance at the society’s home in Washington Hall, as well as society programs throughout the year.

Where: Washington Hall, 101 Washington St.

Hours: Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 1, 6, 7 and 8, 1 to 8 p.m.

How much: $5 admission; free for children under 5. Raffle tickets are $1 each, or $5 for six.

More information: 978-376-6779


Nov. 29-Dec. 15

The Buttonwoods Museum Festival of Trees, now being held for the 18th year, raises money for the museum and its mission, which is to collect, preserve and present the history of Greater Haverhill.

This is an intimate festival where trees, wreaths and centerpieces decorated by individuals and businesses will be raffled off on Dec. 15. A silent auction will also be held throughout the festival. 

Special events will include free admission on different dates for donors and volunteers, seniors, educators, veterans and first responders, and women and educators.  

On Nov. 30, a holiday gala from 6 to 8 p.m. will include holiday music and a buffet with entrees from local chefs, all for $20. 

Then a business mixer luncheon will be held on Dec. 4, while a children’s scavenger hunt and holiday bingo will both be featured on Dec. 5 and 12.  

Senior day, on Dec. 6, will include a “comedy masque review” at 11 a.m. and a nostalgia Christmas from noon to 5 p.m., when classic radio shows will be played while coffee, tea and pastries are served. Then a candlelight Buttonwoods tour will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. For anyone who misses these events, they will be repeated on Dec. 13.

Family day on Dec. 7 will feature crafts and light refreshments for children, along with a Santa visit from noon to 1 p.m. and a holiday concert at 6 p.m., featuring Emily Forisso from Voices of Hope. 

Gospel readings and religious Christmas songs featuring local church choirs will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8.

Santa will be back at Buttonwoods on Dec. 14, from noon to 1 p.m., along with a Colonial cooking demonstration and a holiday coffeehouse concert from 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

Where: Buttonwoods Museum, 240 Water St.

Hours: Nov. 29, 5 to 8 p.m.; Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Dec. 1, 8 and 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12, noon to 8 p.m.

How much: Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. Raffle tickets are $1 each, or $5 for six and $20 for 25.

More information: www.buttonwoods.org or 978-374-4626


Nov. 29-Dec. 7

The Southern New Hampshire Festival of Trees is sponsored by Pelham Community Spirit, which uses the funds to sponsor community events throughout the year and also to provide a college scholarship.

This is the 11th year the event has been held, with special events that include a “Polar Express” story time on Nov. 29, plenty of Santa visits and train rides on the Village Green. There are also daily scavenger hunts for children. 

Entertainment is expected to include performances by the O’Halloran Irish Dancers, English Handbell Choir, the Pelham High School Band, Dance Concepts and the Lisa Pilato Dance Center.

New this year, the festival will also feature a giant snow globe that is perfect for taking pictures.

Concurrent with the festival, a Candy Cane Cafe will offer baked goods from community groups, and the Pelham Crafters Group will sell gifts from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.  

Where: Sherburne Hall, Municipal Building, 6 Village Green  

Hours: Nov. 29, 5 to 9 p.m.; Nov. 30, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Dec. 1, noon to 5 p.m.; Dec. 2-6, 5 to 9 p.m.; Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How much: Admission is $5 for ages 12 and over and free for under 12. Multiple day passes are available. $1 admission on opening night. Raffle tickets are $5 for 25.

More information: snhfestivaloftrees.pelhamcommunityspirit.org or 978-566-1507


Nov. 30

A Festival of Trees is being held at the Derry Opera House for the third year, featuring trees designed and contributed by local businesses. Proceeds will be used to support Community Caregivers of Greater Derry.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at the opera house or throughout the week at local businesses where trees are displayed. Some businesses, within walking distance of the opera house, will keep their trees at their premises.

The festival is part of a day’s worth of Christmas activities that begin with the Nutfield Holiday Parade through downtown Derry from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and includes children’s activities at Derry Parks and Recreation from 2 to 5 p.m. and a Downtown Holiday Stroll from 2 to 5 p.m.

Pictures with Santa will be held from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on the corner of Manning and Broadway.

Where: Adams Memorial Building, 29 West Broadway

Hours: Nov. 30, 2 to 5 p.m.

How much: Free admission. Raffle tickets $1.

More information: 603-432-8205 or thegrindnh@gmail.com


Dec. 3-8

The Danvers Historical Society’s 11th annual Parade of Trees Festival offers plenty of unique trees and wreaths, designed by local individuals and institutions.

The trees will be unveiled at a preview party on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. There is a suggested $20 donation, and catered food will be served along with beer samples from Newburyport Brewing Co., while music will be provided by Daren Muise of Music Connection.

The parade will resume the following day, Wednesday, from 1 to 8 p.m. Music will be provided by Dan and Lorraine from 1 to 2:30 p.m., while magic for all ages will be performed by Eddie Gardner from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. On Thursday, Dec. 5, there will be a theatrical reading of “The Polar Express” at 6:30 p.m. 

Children’s activities will be offered Friday, Dec. 6, when classic rock will be played by Barry and Sue of Reflections from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 7, entertainment will be provided by students from Music Connection from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., and surprise visitors will appear throughout the day.

Finally, on Sunday, Dec. 8, North Shore Dance Academy performs from 12:30 to 1 p.m. and an ice cream social is held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The tree raffle winners will be drawn at 3:15 p.m. 

Where: Tapley Memorial Hall, 13 Page St.

Hours: Dec. 3, 6 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 4, 1 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 5, 2 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 6, 2 to 8:30 p.m.; Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. 

How much: $20 for preview party; all other days are free. Raffle tickets are $10 for 10 and $20 for 25. 

More information: www.danvershistory.org or 978-777-1666


Dec. 6-15

More than 100 decorated trees and wreaths will be displayed over the first two weekends in December for the Tree Jubilee.

All proceeds raised will go to the Ipswich Humane Group, which supports the animals at the Ipswich Animal Shelter.

The Ipswich Humane Group is entirely donor-funded and volunteer-run and has assisted cats and dogs of Ipswich for more than 30 years, providing shelter, veterinary care and spaying/neutering. The adoption program has found permanent homes for over 3,000 cats and dogs.

Where: Marini Farm, 259 Linebrook Road

Hours: Dec. 6 and 13, noon to 8 p.m.; Dec. 7 and 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

How much: Free admission. Raffle tickets are $5 for 10. 

More information: www.ipswichhumanegroup.org/tree-jubilee


Dec. 13-15

The Salem High School Class of 2020 is hosting its second Festival of Trees and will use the proceeds to fund end-of-the-year and senior activities.

The three-day event will feature trees, wreaths and raffle baskets designed by local merchants, nonprofit organizations, artists, families and children.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase during viewing hours, and every tree will go home with a winner. 

Where: Salem High School, 77 Willson St.

Hours: Dec. 13, 5 to 9 p.m.; Dec. 14, noon to 8 p.m.; Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How much: Admission is $5, free for children under 10. Raffle tickets are $5 for 20.

More information: www.facebook.com/SalemHighFestivalofTrees 

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