39th Annual Christmas Stroll
( November 30 – December 2 ) The eagerly anticipated, three-day-long Christmas Stroll sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce begins Friday, November 30. More than 10,000 visitors flock to the island and nearly double Nantucket’s winter population for this island tradition. Residents and visitors alike take to the cobblestone streets for all things holiday. In addition to the Chamber’s Christmas trees, local shops will illuminate downtown in a competition for best-decorated storefront, and the Festival of Trees exhibit continues at the Whaling Museum.
Activities abound on Saturday, the stroll’s most popular day, when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive via Coast Guard vessel at 12:30 p.m., a Christmas tree comes to life between 12 and 3 p.m., a European market delights everybody’s taste buds from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and this year’s new “Sleigh Ride” bus service transports pedestrians to destinations around the island from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m for $15 ($10 for children and seniors). Each stop offers special activities, demonstrations, and special offers worth $15 or more as well as refreshments. Don’t forget to check out the houses competing in the Seventh Annual Christmas Light Decorating Contest! A map of the houses will be available at Visitor Services located at 25 Federal Street.
Family Drop-In Workshop: Holiday Ornaments
( December 2 ) Create festive holiday ornaments just in time to decorate the tree between 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 2 at the Whaling Museum. Free for members or with museum admission.
A Night of Holiday Magic
( December 15 ) Starting at 5 p.m. on this whimsical Saturday night, the Nantucket Historical Association presents an evening kids won’t want to miss. “We go all out,” NHA’s Marjan Shirzad says. In addition to the Festival of Trees ongoing exhibit, tree sponsors offer arts and crafts that supplement the theme of their tree and the NHA provides seasonal craft tables. The Nantucket Choral Group will present two concerts throughout the evening. Don’t leave early, because the NHA dims the lights at 7 p.m. so the museum is only lit by tree lights for the last hour, and serves hot cocoa. Admission is free for all children and $5 for accompanying adults.
Lighting Up Their Lives
Scott Bamber has consistently placed in the Christmas light decorating contest year after year. “I do it for the kids,” he says. “For my kids, and all the kids on Nantucket.”
Bamber, owner of Bamber Trucking and father of three, has been decorating his house at 24 Friendship Lane on the island for the past 15 years. Perhaps the biggest draw of his property is the 16-seat train that chugs its way through his display. Bamber gives free train rides and candy canes to all of the awestruck children. He does accept donations to his astronomical electric bill though, which averages a couple hundred dollars for the week! Although Bamber’s display will be admittedly different this year – he had five big trees which held 5,000 lights apiece taken down—children and adults alike will surely still be awed by his 650,000-light display!