Iannuccilli: Magical Memories of the Holiday Season
Monday, December 24, 2018
I remember that sleigh because Dick’s brother, Joe, was my treasured partner in the practice of medicine for many years. When their Dad died, Joe was the first to inherit the sleigh and proudly displayed it on his lawn as did his Dad. When Joe passed away, Dick inherited the prize and is now restoring it to its storied glory for his display. Tradition, love, and memories. That’s what defines the holidays. And thus my memories.
The advent of the holiday season transports me to days of joy, excitement, and family. Songs of Christmas filled the airwaves, announcing the start of the season, and decorations popped up magically in stores and homes. Ornamental lights, wreaths, trees, and nativity scenes were set. Anticipation and excitement filled the air.
It was a tradition for Mom to take me to downtown Providence. As we left the bus at LaSalle Square, we walked by the Majestic Theater and the City Hall Hardware Store where there was a toy department. Toys were spinning in my head. She pulled me from store to store, entering and exchanging the commotion of the city — cars, buses, walkers and talkers — for the softer sounds of the stores with the smells of wood and pine. We passed Gladdings, Kennedys, Shepard’s to Woolworth's, cutting through Pie Alley, stopping to look, maybe to buy, Mom never letting go of my hand.
The town was bubbling with people, sounds, tinsel, and bells. I have watched The Christmas Story movie many times. When Ralphie’s family journeys to downtown Hohman, Indiana, I am reminded of some of the same treasures we lined up to see at The Outlet Store window displays … toys, trains, dolls, sleds, and Santa’s animated string-puppet elves. Waves of people strolled the streets, admiring the windows and stopping to chat, sharing their day. “What did you buy?” “Very nice.” “Have you eaten?” “Where?” “Coffee?”
And then into the store and up the stairs to find Santa and the grab bag where a treasure awaited. Our Santa, unlike Ralphie's, was caring and convincing.
Before leaving the city, Mom was sure to take me to The Boston Store where I devoured the best custard pie and glass of milk ever. We then made our way to the bus stop where across the street was The Hong Hong Restaurant, its’ steamy aromas, and mystery of fortune cookies filling the air. Mom ordered our evening meal and toted it, along with her other bags, home on the bus.
I was tired, full enough of downtown with its sounds and spaces. But I felt so good, happy, so excited.
Related Slideshow: 20 Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit in New England - 2018
The Festival of Lights at La Salette Shrine
By far one of the coolest lighting displays you will see anywhere in New England and maybe even the country.
The festival features 300,000 lights over 10 acres of land.
The Festival of Lights runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night until January 6.
Do not miss out!
Riding the Polar Express
No better way to get into the holiday spirit than to hop aboard the Polar Express.
The train runs through December 23.
The trip includes a 90-minute excursion on a real-life train that is filled with a reading of the classic children’s story, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate served in a souvenir mug, delicious cookies, games, and a special visit from Santa where he personally delivers the first gift of Christmas to every child.
Tower Hill's Night Lights Display
Night Lights is a walking experience throughout 15 acres of glowing gardens, where more than 200,000 lights have been thematically placed among the trees, shrubs, fountains, and statuary to create a magical winter wonderland celebrating plants and nature.
The display runs from November 23 through December 30.
Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village is an evening filled with New England holiday traditions, live musical performances, storytelling, sleigh rides, festive foods, a roaring bonfire, and strolls around the decorated Village Common.
Christmas by Candlelight begins November 30 and runs through December 23.
No better way to get into the holiday spirit than by going down to Trinity Rep to see A Christmas Carol.
As is the company’s custom, the entire production will be completely new from casting to design and theatrical magic. This past season’s production became the highest selling show in Trinity Rep history.
Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire
At your own pace, visit 11 inns all dressed in their holiday finery; taste cookies and candy, and take home recipes in a keepsake book.
Artisan gifts will be on display at each inn.
Stay at one of the inns and receive a custom-made keepsake ornament.
Sing-a-Long with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall
Held at Symphony Hall, the Boston Pops holiday concert is filled with food, sing-a-longs and a visit from the one and only Santa Claus!
Have some holiday cookies as the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays holiday classics for you and your family.
The seven kids afternoon shows include post-concert photos with Santa as well as special treats.
The glitter of gold and the sparkle of silver will dazzle you as you tour three magnificent mansions decked out in Yuletide finery. Music, tours, and spectacular decorations highlight the celebration of Christmas at the Newport Mansions.
The Preservation Society of Newport County invites you to make holiday memories with your family by visiting The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House this holiday season.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont
This annual event showcases the rich downtown arts and culture scene, with much to see and do for the entire family.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides, winter-themed arts and crafts activities at Catamount Arts, a planetarium show at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, and story time at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum are among the family-friendly activities.
Climb aboard for a 30-minute boat ride along the Providence waterways with Santa.
Rides go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
World Class Holiday Beer Tap Takeover at Norey's
World Class Holiday Beers from Around the World. Three Taps are up already. Spencer Trappist Holiday Ale from the only Trappist Brewery in the US., Browerij De Glazen Toren, Winter Scotch Ale,”Canaster" & Almond ’22 Christmas Cru.
The event goes from 4 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Strawbery Banke Museum welcomes visitors to travel through 300 years of daily life in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock.
Along candlelit dirt lanes, visitors will walk through a historic portrayal of winter among the glowing historic homes and costumed role players
Santa is stopping by the Audrain Automobile Museum on his way to the North Pole. on December 9. Bring your cameras and take a one of a kind family photo.
Photo included in museum admission.
Tickets can be purchased at the door.
The event goes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visitors can delight in the jingle of sleigh bells and the clip-clop of hooves as riders dressed in Victorian Era Costumes ride around the Village Green.
Guests will experience the warm hospitality of New England when Woodstock’s most charming houses deck their halls and open their doors for what has become a quintessential holiday tradition.
Bath, Maine hosts an Old Fashioned Christmas where Santa joins the Children's Tree Lighting along with caroling, contests, live music and more.
The Christmas season can't begin without a Christmas tree and Borrelli's has just the trees for you.
Start your Christmas tree shopping now and get into the holiday spirit.
The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition that must be seen.
Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on a magical journey complete with beautiful sets, elegant choreography, and world-class dancers bringing this holiday tradition to life.
This interactive retelling of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol” by the Marley Bridges Theatre Company is an evening of music, laughter, food, and spirits which is certain to cure even the worst “Scrooge.”
Your ticket includes the performance, train ride, meal, tax, and gratuity. Entrees include sliced beef tenderloin, holiday ham dinner, and turkey dinner.
Across New England
Throw some money in the Salvation Army kettle. Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. The person who stands outside ringing the bell is often there for long hours.
Even if it's just some change, smile at them and wish them a happy holiday.
PHOTO: j_lai/ Flickr
Carolers, jingle bikes & more will help get you in the spirit all while strolling along Broadway and enjoying the local restaurants & merchants.
There will be local & regional makers and merchants lining the sidewalk from Corner Cafe to Farewell for your shopping pleasure! All will culminate with the Newport City Hall Tree Lighting
The walk-about goes from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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