The Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce will hold its 49th Annual Nantucket Christmas Stroll on December 1-3, 2023.
The holiday season begins with Nantucket Noel 2023 on November 24 at dusk with the celebratory Tree Lighting on Main Street. The dozens of decorated Christmas Trees that line downtown streets will be illuminated this Friday after Thanksgiving.
About Nantucket Christmas Stroll
Nearly 50 years ago, the originators of the first Nantucket Christmas Stroll were trying to prevent islanders from traveling to Cape Cod, 30 miles across Nantucket Sound, to do all their holiday shopping.
Rewind to 1973, a year when local merchants kept shops open late that first Friday in December, inviting locals to do all their holiday shopping on-island. That evening, christened as a “Christmas Shoppers Stroll,” was a mere three hours in duration and was a huge success. Shopkeepers entertained shoppers with wine, hot chocolate, tea, mulled cider, fruitcake, and holiday cookies while they perused crafts, books, clothes and wares, and other holiday gift items. In subsequent years, the event grew exponentially, drawing larger crowds until it became a nationally- and, ultimately, internationally-renowned holiday event.
Now organized by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, this popular and festive event is typically held during the first full weekend of December.
This year’s Nantucket Christmas Stroll – the 48th — will feature dozens of decorated holiday trees mounted throughout the downtown area, along with a 20-foot tree at the top of Main Street. All these trees will be lit up at dusk the day after Thanksgiving with a special Illumination ceremony led by Nantucket’s Town Crier, with caroling.
Once again this year, the Nantucket Historical Association is transforming their Whaling Museum into a glittering winter wonderland. Throughout the month of December, more than 50 uniquely decorated and crafted trees designed by local businesses, artists, individuals, and non-profit organizations make up the Festival of Trees showcase. The NHA often hosts additional holiday events: visit their website at nha.org for details.
In addition to its longstanding traditional events, the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce has announced weekend highlights and new activities on Stroll Saturday that include: the sale of Annual Stroll pins and merchandise; Storefront and Tree Decorating Contests; a downtown marketplace from 10am to 3 pm featuring food, crafts, beverages; live entertainment on a stage set up on Main Street; and the arrival by boat of Santa Claus announced by Nantucket’s Town Crier. Island business people are offering cookie decorating, walking tours, book signings, hikes, special sales, holiday theatre performances, concerts, and stroll receptions. For exact details, dates, times, and locations of this year’s events, visit the Insider’s Guide to Nantucket: Nantucket.net.
Over the decades, the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce has enlarged and improved Christmas Stroll weekend, but it is our island’s warm welcome and hospitality that add to the holiday spirit and feeling of fellowship on Nantucket Island.