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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – everywhere you go on Nantucket! The kids were out en masse this past week decorating all the trees on Main Street. Entire classrooms from the Nantucket Schools descended on downtown, arms laden with decorations. The children could hardly contain their enthusiasm as they took their turn adorning their respective trees while singing Christmas Carols at the top of their lungs. From my second story Main Street office I could hear the sounds of Jingle Bells ruminating from the street below. It made me smile…and made me wonder who the Scrooge was who made the rule that once you become an “adult” you can no longer scream Jingle Bells from the rooftops when you’re bubbling over with holiday enthusiasm?
The festive spirit continued into the weekend as we kicked off the official holiday season with the annual Nantucket Christmas Stroll. The island was bursting with weekend guests, decked out in their holiday attire, Santa hats and reindeer ears. Anticipation swelled Saturday morning as throngs of people followed the Town Crier to Straight Wharf to await the arrival of the Coastguard boat delivering Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Boys and girls, moms and dads and scores of curious onlookers vied for the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the white bearded jolly fellow and his bride. Some lucky attendees got to shake his hand and sit on his lap.
Mother Nature was on her best behavior for the weekend as the skies remained clear, the temps mild and the winds calm. Like over-anxious kids on Christmas morning, holiday revelers took to the Nantucket streets bright and early on Friday and continued their shopping, dining and jovial socializing through the weekend. There were a myriad of holiday activities to choose from ranging from browsing at the Christmas Market in the Grand Union parking lot to attending the Christmas Stroll Craft Show. Visitors meandered through the Festival of Trees, got a sneak peek into several of the islands most beautiful homes during the Holiday House Tour and had the opportunity to skate with Santa at Nantucket Ice. Several art galleries had openings, St. Mary’s featured a Christmas Bazaar and St Paul’s showcased dozens of crèche scenes in their “No Room at the Inn” display. There was no shortage of entertainment during the weekend. Live musicians were strategically located at various locations throughout the island causing onlookers to hum along or break into song with their favorite holiday carol. “Oliver!” was presented by Nantucket Theater Workshop, a Christmas Stroll Opera Gala was offered by Nantucket Island Arts and Music and the Atheneum showcased live readings and concerts.
If you missed this year’s Christmas Stroll festivities, it’s not too late to experience the holiday spirit in Nantucket. Many of the exhibits, local retail sales and restaurant specials continue throughout the month of December. Make plans for a day trip or set aside time for an extended stay on the island. Usher in the holidays in Nantucket’s Charles Dickens setting.
‘Tis the season.