By Kim McNeill
Christmas in Connecticut is more than just a movie. The movie, starring Barbara Stanwyck, has a 1940s New York career women moving to the country to pretend to be the perfect housewife and mother planning the perfect Christmas homecoming. Her ruse fails, but it re-enforced the magical aura Connecticut has as the best place to celebrate the holidays — Add Bing Crosby’s Holiday Inn, which premiered the song “White Christmas” and Connecticut seems almost synonymous with Christmas to me.
Maple Hollow Christmas Tree Farm
53 Carpenter Road
New Hartford, CT 06057
The debate between live trees and artificial trees includes a number of hard facts. For those of us who prefer live, sometimes the choice is based on more ephemeral grounds. For me, I happen to love getting the kids bundled up in their snow suits, trudging through the first real snow of the season and looking for that tree that is just right for us. The trip is a bit more involved than going up the attic steps, but we appreciate it as a family tradition. Maple Hollow makes that tradition even more wholesome by using all natural management techniques on their farm. After picking out your tree, you can peruse the gift offerings and greenery in the Christmas Shoppe. The hot cocoa available in the Christmas Shoppe makes it very sweet indeed.
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Bushnell Park turns into a winter wonderland again this year with the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Winterfest. Running from November 25th through February 19th, the public is in for a real treat. The park features a skating rink with surrounding holiday lights. On Saturdays from 6 p.m.- 7 p.m. the rink will host performers of Olympic caliber to entertain. The public is invited to skate, during open skate times, for free, including free skate rental if needed. There will also be skating lessons given for free prior to some of the public skate sessions.
The Christmas Barn
832 Route 169
The Christmas Barn in Woodstock is larger than it first looks. There are 12 rooms to explore in this barn from 1795. Christmas villages, carolers, ornaments, snow babies and country décor are abundant. The barn also houses less holiday-centric gifts. Another reason for the trek to Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” is the proximity of antiquing and Old Sturbridge Village, which always has festive holiday happenings.
Christmas Village in Torrington, CT
150 Church Street
Christmas seems to live in Torrington. This attraction, which brings people from all over Connecticut, has been around for 62 years. It is a very festive way to visit Santa with your children. The lines can seem daunting, so dress warmly and enjoy the carols and hot chocolate. The Village opens after Thanksgiving and closes before the New Year.
The Town of Bethlehem, CT
With a name like Bethlehem, you can imagine that a town might get a little extra attention during Christmas. Bethlehem is very accommodating to the people who travel from all around to have that meaningful moniker adorning their holiday cards. New stamps and even a commemorative ornament are special changes just for the Christmastime rush. Additionally, Bethlehem embraces the Christmas origins of its name even more thoroughly by hosting a Christmas Town Festival early in December. Provided your Christmas cards are addressed in time, come to town to enjoy crafts, a Colonial Village, photos with Santa at the firehouse, carolers, sleigh rides and the Abbey of Regina Laudis.
Kim McNeill writes at Nutmeg Families, is a publisher mom with Macaroni Kid of Southbury, Middlebury, Roxbury, Bridgewater, and Oxford, Connecticut, a hyper-local community website for families, and also blogs about more Connecticut family fun at Hearst Connecticut Media Group.