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Santa Sightings … and More Make For a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - November 14, 2013

Christmas means carols and glittery cards and cookies and holiday trees and, of course, jolly old St. Nick! The red-suited fellow will be making appearances all around the Lakes Region in the upcoming weeks.

The little town of Bristol in the Newfound Region is a favorite place for Santa and he makes his annual visit each Christmas season. This is the 59th annual Santa’s Village at the Tapply-Thompson Community Center in downtown Bristol, and Santa will be on hand to greet children on Friday, Dec. 13, from 6 to 8 p.m. He also will be at the Center Dec. 14 and 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. The Community Center will be transformed into a holiday wonderland with Santa’s elves building toys and wrapping gifts, Mrs. Claus handing out her delicious homemade cookies, the North Pole Train Station, and lots more for young ones to explore. The event is free, and visitors are asked to bring a canned food item to donate to the local food pantry. While you and your family wait to see Santa, you may browse/shop the craft tables at the Center and do some extra holiday shopping. Call 603-744-2713 for details.

The Tapply-Thompson Community Center also will offer a One Stop Christmas Shop For Kids on Tuesday, Nov. 26, from 4 to 7 p.m., and also on Friday, Nov. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. The event will allow youngsters to shop for family and teacher gifts at reasonable prices. (Gifts are priced from just 25 cents to $5). Each child will be accompanied by one of Santa’s helpers to keep youngsters within their shopping budget. All gifts are wrapped and tagged while children are at the shop.

If you are a runner, Santa wants your help on Dec. 7 for the Tapply-Thompson Community Center Jingle Mingle 5K race. The event is a fundraiser for the Center to help with a much-needed electrical upgrade for the building. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the race begins at 10 a.m. Start and finish are at the Newfound Memorial Middle School at 155 North Main Street in Bristol. Soups and chowders will be offered after the race. Raffle prizes also will be offered. Call 744-2713 for information.

There is nothing like an old-fashioned Christmas celebration and the Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth will deck the halls and offer a Country Christmas event on Friday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a farmhouse kitchen dinner in the museum’s cozy hearth room. Following the meal, guests will take a candlelight stroll to the Captain Enoch Remick House for a special tour, cocoa, and cookies. Reservations are required at 603-323-7591 or visit

The Laconia Main Street Program and the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce are holding the annual Laconia Holiday Parade on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. in downtown Laconia.

The parade will begin at Wyatt Park, continue down Laconia’s Main Street, and end at the historic train station in Veterans Square with the lighting of the Christmas tree. Word from the North Pole is that Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be participating in this year’s parade. Local merchants will be open for holiday shopping. For more information, call 603-524-5531.

There is no doubt that the Shakers at Canterbury Shaker Village really knew how to celebrate Christmas in the late 1800s and into the mid 1900s. It was a merry and festive time for the religious sect and their tradition of welcoming one and all continues at Shaker Village on Dec. 7 and 14 at 3 and 8 p.m. for Christmas at Canterbury.

Bring the family and experience the delights of Christmas from a simpler time by taking a candlelight stroll through Shaker Village. Other offerings are the chance to watch an old-time magic show, ride in a horse-drawn wagon, and watch a silent film with live organ accompaniment. The event also will include musical performances, storytelling, craft demonstrations and activities, cookie decorating, hot chocolate and cider, chats with village characters like Dr. Seth Miller, 19th century physician, and more.

Call 603-783-9511 for admission information or visit

Santa loves wildlife and he and Mrs. Claus will be at the Loon Center on Lees Mills Road in Moultonborough on Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by this unique center for the 21st annual Holiday Open House featuring horse-drawn hayrides, balloon creations by Mo the Clown, face painting by Stacey, visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, children’s crafts, nature exhibits, free food, and holiday gift shopping discounts. Admission is free. Call 603-476-5666 for more information.

The annual Christmas in Wolfeboro Parade is Saturday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m. Santa arrives in Wolfeboro via the parade and will use his magic to light the town’s official Christmas tree. The family-friendly event is a great way to top off Thanksgiving weekend and start the celebration of the Christmas season. For more information, call 603-569-2200 or visit

On Dec. 14 at 8 a.m., Breakfast With Santa will feature a meal with that jolly fellow and a toy collection for the Wolfeboro Children’s Christmas Fund. The location will be announced; call 603-569-2200 for more information.

Santa and his elves bring their annual Christmas Village to the Laconia Community Center on Union Avenue in Laconia to offer kids a great way to spend a magical afternoon or evening. The Village will run from Dec. 5 to 8 (hours are Dec. 5 and 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 7 and 8 from 2 to 5 p.m.). Children will be able to sample refreshments, have cookies and a drink, and lots more. And, of course, Santa will be there to hear wish lists. The event is free; donations are welcome. Call 603-524-4081.

Plymouth will be bustling with activity during the holidays. The Hometown Holiday Celebration encompasses the weekend of Dec. 6-8 with events each day.

The fun-filled weekend kicks off with Plymouth State University’s sixth annual Festival of Trees, offering a display of beautifully decorated trees for viewing at the Plymouth Senior Center.

The centerpiece of the celebration is the holiday parade that begins at 5 p.m. on Dec. 7. Folks come early to meet their neighbors, enjoy a Christmas music sing-a-long, look at the lights, and decorate cookies with the Plymouth State University elves on the Common, do some holiday shopping, and enjoy a free hot chocolate at Main Street banks. The parade always bustles with brightly lit floats, high school bands, a color guard, business entries, decorated walking groups, decked-out animals, dance troupes and, of course, Santa!

After the downtown Plymouth parade, Santa will visit with the children at the local Senior Center. Alex Ray and the Rotarians will be holding a “Chill-buster” Bonfire and Barbecue on Green Street, across from the Senior Center. Fireworks end the day.

On Dec. 8, back by popular demand, everyone can skate for free with Santa at the new Plymouth State University ice arena from 1 to 3 p.m. Santa will be on the ice for visiting and for free photographs. Come with or without skates. (Free skates are available.)

Yuletide in Alton will feature a visit from Santa on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In the downtown area, there will be entertainment, food, crafts … and an appearance by Santa.

Mill Falls Marketplace is a magical shopper’s paradise at Christmas. On Dec. 8, the Mill Falls Marketplace Holiday Open House runs from 1 to 4 p.m., with strolling carolers and visits with Santa, who will be telling stories for children at the Oglethorpe atrium in the Mill complex. There will be refreshments, a chance to shop, and wagon rides for families.

Santa just loves to make a dramatic entrance. On Nov. 30 at 3:30 p.m., Santa and his elves ride into Waterville Valley pulled by a team of sled dogs. Santa will arrive in Town Square bearing gifts and candy for each child who comes to visit. Parents are welcome to take photos of their children with Santa. Hot cocoa and cookies will be offered, and a raffle will be held for an assortment of prizes donated by Waterville Valley area businesses. The suggested donation, for those who are able, is $5 per child/$10 per family.  All proceeds will be donated to the Whole Village Family Resource Center.

The tree-lighting ceremony is at 7 p.m. in Waterville Valley, followed by a spectacular fireworks display over Corcoran’s Pond. Call 603-236-8175 for more information.

A Greens and Gifts Boutique, Bake Shoppe and Raffle is scheduled Dec. 6 from 1 to 7 p.m. and Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is offered by the Opechee Garden Club in Laconia and will take place at the Belknap Mill on Beacon Street in downtown Laconia.

A huge variety of imaginative décor items made with fresh greens as well as handcrafted gift items will be offered for sale. Swags, centerpieces, unique candlesticks embellished with greens, boxwood trees, and much more will be on sale. Original and creative handcrafted gifts and accessories for the home, such as snowmen of burlap or wood, biscuit baskets, hand-painted and -decorated lights, and fun ornaments, along with returning favorites such as handcrafted birch candles and ribbon garland will delight holiday shoppers. A raffle will offer an array of items, including gift certificates to area jewelers, florists, and restaurants. Enjoy a complimentary cup of mulled cider and a cookie in the Holiday Bake Shoppe. Baked items, from cookies and breads to fudge, will be available for purchase.

Christmas on the farm is a New England tradition with no place more beautiful than at the NH Farm Museum in Milton. On Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Christmas on the Farm offers a tour of the beautifully decorated historic Jones Farmhouse with costumed role-players adding to the joy and wonder of a Victorian Christmas. Enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride through the fields, depending on the weather. Make a hand-dipped Christmas candle to take home, roast chestnuts over an open fire, and partake of gingerbread and hot cider in the farmhouse kitchen. Guests also will be able to explore the barns and meet the farm animals. Call 603-652-7840 for more information. 

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