Holidays in New Haven

Elm City Elf
After a successful launch last year, the hybrid promotion of Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket and the popular Elf on the Shelf craze is back. Starting Friday, November 28 – Tuesday, December 23, Elm City Elf mugs will be placed in one store and/or restaurant per day throughout the city. Each day, a series of clues will be posted of where the Elf is "shopping" or "dining" via Twitter & Facebook.  Consumers following Elm City Elf will need to determine where the Elf is, physically locate the Elf mug and turn it in for a prize. The consumer will get to keep the Elf Mug along with the prize. Once the Elf is redeemed, a photo of the winner will be posted in the store with the Elf. This promotion is sponsored by: Economic Development Corporation of New Haven, Market New Haven & The shops at Yale. Official contest rules can be found at

Second Annual Holiday Windows on Chapel
The Shops at Yale celebrate this holiday season along the Chapel Street Historic District with windows that honor the 100th Anniversary of the Shubert Theater. Relive the magic of iconic musicals and plays as you visit the eleven participating stores and restaurants; Paier College of Art students and professors designed all windows.  Participating businesses include; Connecticut Running Company, INFO New Haven, Claire’s Corner Copia, Basta Trattoria, idiom, Raggs, Wave, Hello Boutique, Yurway Boutique, Hull’s Art Supply and Framing, and more.

Project Storefronts in Union Station
The Holiday Mart taking place on December 4, 5, 12, and 19 is an indoor street fair offering holiday gifts with a local flair.  The event will take place in the West Lobby of Union Station, located at 50 Union Ave.  Visitors will be offered a different line-up of vendors each evening. Participating vendors include; Chris Randall’s “I Love New Haven” calendars, Hats & Scarves handmade by Dixwell artisans, Jewelry and other fashion accessories in metal, leather and beads, Gift-Packs of Spicy Condiments, Prints & postcards from The Hill Museum of the Arts, Silk Road Gallery and more.

New Haven Tree Lighting
The New Haven Tree Lighting presented on December 4 by Peoples United Bank is a free event and kicks off the holiday season in the downtown area. The annual celebration geared to guests of all ages takes place on the city's historic Green and features live performances, refreshments and a variety of children’s activities. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa, ride the carousel or a horse-drawn carriage and enjoy holiday crafts. 

Fun facts about this year’s tree include:

  • The tree is a Norway Spruce and it's nearly 70 feet tall.
  • The tree is buried five feet into the New Haven Green for added stability.
  • The tree weighs 14,600 pounds - nearly 7 1Ž2 tons.
  • The crane that transported the tree had to be built-to scale.
  • The tree will be strung with between 26,000 – 30,000 lights.

Sleigh Rides Around The Green    
On the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas (December 6, December 13 and December 20), The City of New Haven Parks Recreation and Trees, Traffic and Parking and Town Green will be providing free sleigh rides around the green from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for all visitors to enjoy.

Holiday Tree on Broadway Island 
The Shops at Yale celebrate this holiday season with a gorgeous tree accompanied by a custom designed music and light show through Jan. 3, 2015. The tree, designed by American Christmas, plays the show every thirty minutes.

New Haven Board of Alders 3rd Annual Holiday Food Drive
The New Haven Board of Alders will host the 3rd Annual Holiday Food Drive now through Jan. 1, 2015. The Community Food Drive is held to benefit food pantries throughout New Haven. Alders will be at the Shubert throughout the holiday season to welcome patrons, collect food donations and volunteer as ushers during performances to promote the importance of community service and volunteerism. Collection sites include: Shubert Theatre (247 College Street), New Haven City Hall Aldermanic Chambers (165 Church Street), Crest Jaguar (185 Amity Road, Woodbridge) and Whitney Center (200 Leeder Hill Drive, Hamden).

For a complete list of all holiday related special events and programming, please visit the full calendar here.