On the 12th day of the holidays, the state of Maine gave to me: Twelve community craft fairs. Eleven gingerbread houses. Ten lobster boat Santas. Nine sugar plum fairies. Eight bluegrass carols. Seven menorah candles. Six turkey sandwiches. FIVE POUNDS OF FRUITCAKE! Four carriage rides. Three snow shovels. Two pints of egg nog. And a happy Maine holiday! Now, here’s a list things to do this holiday season that involve some the above, plus much more.
1. Bath Old-Fashioned Christmas, through Dec. 31
One of the most scenic, charming towns in Maine hosts holiday events all month long, starting early with a tree lighting and Santa visit from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the park and the library; caroling on board the town’s trolley from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 7, 14 and 21; a storefront decorating contest from Dec. 3-16 and a downtown open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 14; and finally, a toy and food drive all month at city hall, the library and the YMCA. For more information, visit Bath’s website at visitbath.com.
2. Holiday theater, statewide, all month.
There are so many ways to enjoy the holidays on stage, statewide. In Bangor, you can check out Penobscot Theatre’s big holiday show, “Annie,” running through Dec. 29. And at Portland Stage in Portland, “A Christmas Carol,” through Dec. 23.
3. Christmas at Woodlawn Museum, through Dec. 23, Ellsworth
The beautiful Woodlawn Museum hosts a full month of holiday activities, not limited to daily tours of the mansion, decorated by eight gardeners, designers and artists, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are Christmas High Teas at 3 p.m. on Dec. 5, 12, 14 and 19. On Dec. 8, 15 and 22, Margaret Ames will lead Froebel Star workshops, in which participants can make a traditional German wax and paper star. From 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 8, there’s a holiday open house ($25) with food and carriage rides, and from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8 and 20 the museum will host a traditional English Christmas feast, catered by Chippers Restaurant in Hancock, featuring a roast goose ($80). And, Ten Bucks Theatre will do a special reading of “A Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. Dec. 8.
4. Christmas at Victoria Mansion: The Gilded Age, through Jan. 6, Portland
Portland’s ornate Victorian-era mansion hosts a special holiday exhibit featuring decor from the Gilded Age, the late 19th century era of romantic opulence. It’s open for self-guided tours daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; admission is $15 for adults, $13.50 for seniors and $5 for children under 17; there’s a family rate of $35.
5. Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Polar Express
A live action version of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic holiday tale is yours to experience on Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad’s annual Polar Express, with train rides available Friday through Sunday, through Dec. 23, at 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Elves serve you hot chocolate and cookies, carols and sung, and Santa himself pays a visit – it’s heartwarming family fun. The train station is at 58 Fore St. in Portland.
6. Choral Art Society holiday concerts, Jan. 5, Portland
An Epiphany concert featuring a Bach cantata and other early music, set for 7:30 p.m. at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland. For information, visit www.choralart.org.
7. Stone Mountain Christmas shows, Brownfield, Dec. 21-22
On Dec. 21-22 there’s the Stone Mountain LIVE for Christmas shows, the musical and culinary baby of Stone Mountain’s owner, Carol Noonan, who hosts this unique revue style show and dinner with her house band the Stone Mountain Boys, featuring guitarists Duke Levine and Kevin Barry, and special guests the bluegrass kings the Gibson Brothers. For ticket information, visit stonemountainartscenter.com.
8. Vivid Motion Nutcracker Burlesque, Dec. 18-21, St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland
There’s the traditional Nutcracker, and then there’s Vivic Motion’s Nutcracker Burlesque, a PG-13 version of the holiday classic with some extra cheesecake. The ladies of Vivid Motion tell the tale of Clara and her magical friends with lots of fishnets, bustiers and enchanting dance moves. All show are at 8 p.m. at the St. Lawrence Art Center on Congress Street, and all shows are $15. For more info, visit vividmotion.org.
9. One Longfellow Square holiday concerts, all Dec. 21, Portland
Inanna Winter Solstice concert on Dec. 21. For info and tickets, visit onelongfellowsquare.com.
10. Downtown Countdown, Dec. 31, throughout downtown Bangor.
The biggest and best New Year’s event in the state boasts countless bands, children’s activities, dance performances, comedy, film and much more. You can also expect a few new additions — keep the name Paul Bunyan in mind. And don’t forget the “ball drop” in West Market Square. Too much fun! Visit downtownbangor.com for updates.
11. New Year’s By the Bay, Dec. 31, Belfast
This family-friendly, chem-free event is great for little ones and retirees alike – just good old-fashioned fun, from curling at the Belfast Curling Center, to jazz, blues, mime, juggling and more. The fireworks and community parade near the big midnight hour is not to be missed. For information, visit nybb.org.
12. Super Lucha Explosiva, Space Gallery, Dec. 31, Portland
Did you know that Portland has a Mexican luchadore wrestling league? Well, it does now, and they’ll be fighting on New Year’s Eve at the Space Gallery on Congress Street. Featuring high-flying matches between Tecnicos (the good guys) and Rudos (the bad guys),we’re sure this will be a New Year’s like no other. With all sorts of little surprises, curious cocktails and killer DJ sets from Nan’l Meiklejohn and Gabe FM. Tickets are $15 before Dec. 21, $20 after. For info, visit space538.org.
13. Festival of Trees, through Dec. 30, Dyer Library and Saco Museum
Eighth annual Festival of Trees through Sunday, Dec. 30, at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. Dozens of gorgeously decorated trees and wreaths based upon the theme of “Olden Times and Ancient Rhymes” from Vince Guaraldi’s classic tune written for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will fill the museum. The Festival of Trees is free and open to the public.
Great Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop, Dec. 31, Eastport
14. For the seventh year, Eastport will celebrate New Year’s Eve with the annual Great Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop at the Tides Institute and Museum of Art. This year the event will be marked by the first countdown from the new community clock projecting from corner of the second story of the former Masonic Hall, across the street from the Tides Institute and Bank Square. Restaurants, shops, galleries open for the night. The ‘Sardine’ will be lowered at midnight Eastern Time. A ‘Maple Leaf’ will be lowered at midnight Atlantic Time (or 11 p.m. Eastern).