The E List

An Excruciatingly Opinionated Guide to the Shoreline

November 17, 2015

44 Things To Do for the Holidays

There’s nothing like a Holiday Tea or an afternoon spent browsing Maynard’s Christmas Shop (only open from Thanksgiving through Christmas) to get me in the mood for decking the halls! We’ve put together an essential list of all the fun things we like to do on the Shoreline during the holiday season.

Holiday Teas:

Florence Griswold Museum Christmastime Teas, Tuesdays thru Saturdays at 3pm. Scones, tea sandwiches and cookies with Miss Florence’s Tea. $35 includes museum admission and 10% off at the Museum Store. December 4 – 23

Lyman Allyn Art Museum: celebrate the wonderment of the holiday season at one of their children’s tea parties! Enjoy splendid tea and desserts and then immerse yourself in hands-on fun with a scavenger hunt through the galleries and an enchanted dance workshop. Sundays 2-3:30  $15.00/child $10/adult

Bee & Thistle Inn offers Afternoon Tea, Thursday through Saturday, beginning December 4th from 12 – 2:30 for $35. $40 for Royal Tea. Enjoy savory and sweet goodies and tea of your choice while enjoying the Inn’s over-the-top holiday decor!

Savvy Tea is offering Holiday Afternoon Tea in their new tearoom in Madison, every Saturday through December at 2pm.  $40.00


Pop-Up Holiday Shops:

Chester Holiday Market: The Chester Farmers’ Market resumes on Sundays during December.

Artistry at the Guilford Art Center – Over 300 fine American crafters, artisans and jewelers are featured at this celebrated annual sale, open through January … Save the date for Jewelry and Champagne on 12/ 3, 5-8pm. Enjoy a sparkling glass while you shop!

Florence Griswold Museum Shop is all stocked up with ornaments, children’s toys, books, jewelry and gifts for the holidays.

Hillstead Museum Holiday Boutique features 25 artists and crafters who bring their best to this two day sale,  12/5 and 12/6.

Wesleyan Potters Annual Exhibit and Sale:  This is a must-see for ceramics lovers: 11/27 thru 12/13, 10am – 6pm and Thursday and Friday evenings til 9pm with Friday Night live music and refreshments.

Holiday Haven 2015: CT Made for the Holidays is a creative collective of local designers and makers present a Holiday Sale on 12/5 from 2-9pm at the Happiness Lab on Chapel Street, New Haven.

Madison Winter Farmer’s Market – Fridays, 3-6 pm.

Farmer’s Market  Saturdays, 10-1pm and the Winter Weekend Vintage Market Saturdays, 9-3pm at the Velvet Mill in Stonington.

Mystic Arts Center Holiday Gift Show is now open every day from 11am-5pm (except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) and features hand carved wooden wares, stoneware pottery, notecards, natural soaps/balms, stained glass, ornaments, fine art and more! Through 12/27.


Looking for a little inspiration for decking the halls? Here are some favorite shops for everything from decorations to ribbons to greens.

Saybrook Country Barn is a feast of inspiration for the holidays, with room after room of ornaments, trees, swags, centerpieces, candles and gifts.

Madison Flower Shop, for trees, swags, greenery, centerpieces and an enormous selection of ribbons and ornaments.

J. Vickers Herbery, Chester for handmade, one-of-a-kind wreaths, topiary, ribbon and dried herbs and flowers.

Maynard’s Greenhouse, a fantasy land of fairy dust and holiday trimmings inside, and trees, roping, wreaths and greens outside.


A few shops that are over the top at Holiday Time:




Taken For Granite

Saybrook Country Barn


Get in the holiday mood with these upcoming events:

Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport through 12/20

The Nutcracker performed by the Eastern CT Ballet at The Garde, 12/12 and 12/13

It’s a Wonderful Life at The Goodspeed, through 12/6

I’ll Be Home For Christmas at The Ivoryton, 12/10 – 12/20

A Christmas Carol at the Shubert, 11/27 – 11/29

The Magic of Christmas at Florence Griswold Museum, 12/3 – 1/3

Essex Trees in the Rigging Community Carol Sing and Boat Parade on 11/29

George Flynn Classical Concerts presents The Swingles on 12/13 in Clinton

Musical Masterworks  celebrates it’s 25th Anniversary with exciting Holiday Performances at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 12/5 and 12/6

Cappella Cantorum Messiah Singalong on 12/20 at The Kate

Munchkin Morning With Santa at Mystic Aquarium, 12/4

Mystic Seaport Community Carol Sing on 12/20

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in Downtown Mystic on 11/28

Con Brio Christmas Concerts at Christ The King Church, Old Lyme on 12/11 at 8pm and 12/13 at 3pm

Essex House Tour  in the Essex Village on 12/4, 10-4pm

Annual Guilford Holiday Tree Lighting takes place on the Green on 12/4


Holiday strolls in Shoreline villages feature Santa visits, sleigh rides, caroling, tree lightings and special events in the shops. Here are some dates:

Niantic on 11/28

Ivoryton Illuminations   on 12/5

Madison on 12/5

Deep River on 12/6

Old Saybrook on 12/4

Chester on 12/4

Essex on 12/5

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