Take a Stroll on These Cape Holiday Traditions


After a pandemic-muted 2020 that saw the cancellation of so many traditional events, Christmas on Cape Cod is making a comeback this year. Christmas strolls, caroling, festive harbor lights and holiday fairs have returned, bringing residents and visitors together to celebrate.


One of the most important events takes place on Nov. 27 with Small Business Saturday, when consumers are urged to “shop small” and support local business owners who are still attempting to recover from the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.


A national effort that was launched in 2010, Small Business Saturday is observed in all 50 states and is a way to redirect holiday shopping to local stores. Each Cape town will be taking part in recognizing the day.


Discover a holiday experience where customers not only receive more attentive service from store workers, but also receive holiday offers from locally owned boutiques, charming antique shops, and independent art galleries that’ll make each gift exchanged this year more special.


One Cape holiday tradition took place on Nov. 11 with the lighting of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, which is certainly worth checking out if you’re spending an afternoon shopping along Commercial Street.

Provincetown's Lobster Pot Christmas Tree

Provincetown’s Lobster Pot Christmas Tree


Later this month, on Nov. 27, the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree will be lit. This unique tree is built each year in the heart of Provincetown’s Lopes Square and is stacked with more than 100 lobster pots borrowed from local fishermen.


Christmas in Harwich kicks off on Dec. 3 with the Harwich Port Stroll, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with caroling in Doane Park. At 6 p.m., trees will simultaneously be lit at Doane Park, Hinckley’s Home Center, Pilgrim Masonic Lodge Park, the Harwich Transfer Station, Cape Cod Tech and Chase Library.


Santa Claus will arrive by fire truck shortly after, and the stroll through Harwich Port for shopping and dining will last until 9 p.m.


Finally, on Dec. 4-5, you can take a trolley to “Christmas Town” between 5:15 and 7:15 p.m. to enjoy all the fun.


Nearby, enjoy local theater during the holidays with the classic and timeless tale, A Christmas Carol at the Harwich Junior Theater throughout most of December.


Another holiday stroll filled with tradition and Christmas joy is in Hyannis on Dec. 4. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy the many activities on Main Street, including a petting zoo and pony rides. A holiday fest will take place on the Village Green, and the Gingerbread Lane artist shanties, with crafts by local artists, will be stationed along Hyannis Harbor. At 4:30 p.m., Bismore Park will be the site of a boat parade and, of course, Santa will be around throughout the day.


One week later is the annual Chatham Christmas Stroll, beginning at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 10, with a light parade from Carmine’s Pizza to Kate Gould Park. The kids will have an opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa in the gazebo.


The annual tree lighting follows, with carolers, festive characters and all sorts of holiday entertainment filling the shops and restaurants throughout Main Street.


The activities continue on Dec. 11, when many local businesses will have pop-up shops offering sales to get your holiday shopping started off right.


Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums

Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums

For a truly glittering light display, head to Sandwich, where the Heritage Museum and Gardens will be decked out with a million lights on over 100 acres of gardens from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31. They also have indoor Victorian displays, a holiday boutique, holiday treats and free rides on an antique carousel.


Cape Cod Central Railroad's Polar Express

Cape Cod Central Railroad’s Polar Express

If you’re at that part of the Cape, you could venture to Buzzards Bay and hop aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad’s Polar Express, which from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23 transports families on a magical, one-hour storybook ride that’ll captivate kids, parents and grandparents.


Vintage cars transport passengers to the “North Pole,” where Santa and his merry elves greet riders and offer a special holiday gift.


Although winter certainly isn’t Cape Cod’s peak season, November and December come with a magical feeling that just might have you returning year after year as part of a holiday tradition.


All photos via Facebook.