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Downtown New Haven for the Holidays!

Temperatures drop, tinsel goes up, and 30,000 glimmering lights return to the New Haven Green for the 110th year in a row. The holiday season is upon us, and if you don’t believe us, check out the Green. There, you’ll find that 50 ft tall 7,000lb Norway Spruce waiting to be lit. Holiday Hallmark Charm will return to the Elm City on November 30 at 5:00 PM, as neighbors, visitors, and friends make their way to the New Haven Green to celebrate the annual tree lighting. 

New Haven was one of the first cities in the nation to host a tree lighting, with our festive event dating back to 1913. These days, we celebrate the lighting with boundless Christmas cheer. Beyond the glow of the tree, you’re invited to join in New Haven’s Holiday Village, complete with live entertainment from our city’s best talent, photo opportunities and storytime with Santa and Mrs. Claus, plenty of local vendors ready to help shoppers breeze through holiday gift lists, a beer garden, and festive surprises for the whole family. 

Let’s get back to talking about that tree, though. Our city’s 110th holiday tree comes from the Drapeau family in Meriden, CT, who planted the spruce in 1980. One of the donors, Kelly Drapeau, says, “Our dad and three children planted it, and we would put lights on it every Christmas. It became a tradition for our family, and as the tree got larger, we would stand on step stools and ladders; eventually, the tree grew too large. Our mom and dad have since passed away. Still, we wanted to donate our tree to New Haven in honor of our father, who attended the University of New Haven after his time in the Navy and graduated with a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering.”

We take the holidays seriously here in New Haven, here is everything happening this holiday season in downtown, and below are a few highlights NOT to miss!

“Christmas in the Americas”

Open to visitors through February 4, 2024, at the Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center, this holiday exhibit spotlights more than 50 festive crèches (three-dimensional Nativity scenes) representing 18 countries across North and South America.

Annual Menorah Lighting on the New Haven Green

Join us on the New Haven Green on December 7 at 4:30 pm as we celebrate another time-honored holiday tradition, the annual Menorah Lighting, to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.

Ice Carving Competition and Acapella Concert presented by The Shops at Yale

Watch five professional ice carvers from all over New England mold 900 pounds of ice into a spectacular sculpture in only four hours on December 10, from 12:00 to 4:00 pm on Broadway Island. 

The New Haven Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”

On stage at the Shubert Theatre December 15-17, the New Haven Ballet will put on a full length production of “The Nutcracker” performed by students of the New Haven Ballet and featuring guest artists from New York City Ballet. 

“A Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens’ Classic Holiday Tale

On stage at the Shubert Theatre December 22-23, the beloved  classic will return to New Haven in a brand-new production . 

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