39th Annual Lighting of the Trees and Community Carol
( November 23 ) Burn some of those turkey dinner calories and join the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce as the downtown is illuminated to kick off the annual, season-long Nantucket Noel celebration the Friday after Thanksgiving. More than 150 Fraser fir trees decorated by Chamber staff and volunteers will be lit at 5 p.m. Community caroling will follow to round out a magical start to the season.
( November 23 ) Don’t forget to sample white and red wines courtesy of the current Vintage shop before the tree-lighting ceremony. Store owner Elisabeth English, will be hosting a “Tree Lighting Tasting” in honor of the day’s festivities between 2 and 5 p.m at 4 Easy Street. Several restaurants throughout town, including American Seasons, offer special holiday beverages to spice up your island visit.
19th Annual Festival of Trees
( November 29 – December 31 ) The Nantucket Historical Association transforms the Whaling Museum into a winter wonderland to inaugurate Stroll Weekend. “It’s absolutely magical,” NHA’s Marjan Shirzad says. “More than 80 Christmas ‘trees’ fill every space imaginable. Much like the Festival of Wreaths, volunteers decorate, or more accurately fashion in some cases, their interpretation of a Christmas tree.” All of the trees have a theme, Shirzad says, which generally reflects the mission of the sponsor, many of which are island nonprofit organizations.
“The creativity is literally through the roof,” Shirzad marvels, noting that there are some guidelines for the designers. “You can’t use real food, but the sky’s the limit.” She isn’t exaggerating: The NHA has seen everything from a wooden shingled tree to a lighthouse to an actual Christmas tree decorated with Nantucket baskets. Cisco Brewery once made their tree out of beer bottles. You have to see this exhibit to believe it: Even the 46-foot sperm whale skeleton gets in on the action! This massive specimen is decorated with a Santa hat just for the occasion. A preview party will be held on Thursday, November 29 from 6 to 10 p.m. The trees will remain on display Thursday-Monday through December from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. New Year’s weekend.