Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard

Holiday Happenings for Your December Visit: If you’re visiting the island this December, there is so much to see and do. Whether you like to shop for great bargains or stroll through an enchanted “forest” of Christmas trees, there’s something for the whole family. Here’s a sampling:

The Gatchell House Lights

It began on Thanksgiving evening, just as it has for the past 37 years. Lynn and Robert Gatchell of Oak Bluffs switch on thousands of Christmas lights, including choir singers, talking Santas and flying reindeer, candy canes, a nativity scene, a toy train and much more. Their tree lighting marks the beginning of the family’s donation drive for the Island Food Pantry. If you’d like to see this amazing holiday spectacle, the Gatchell house is located at 148 County Road in Oak Bluffs, between the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the Oak Bluffs fire station. You can enjoy the lights from 5 to 8 p.m. every evening, and one week before Christmas the hours are extended from 5 until 9 p.m.

Holiday Gift Show

Come and browse the many gifts available, all made from local artists on the island. Gifts range from $5 to $200. Shop for apparel and accessories, cards and calendars, special soaps, items for your dog, jewelry, pottery, photography, paintings, ornaments and stocking stuffers. The Gift Show is open every day from noon until 4 p.m. through December 20. Located at Featherstone Center for the Arts (off Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs), all sales go to benefit Vineyard Artists and Featherstone.

34th Annual Christmas in Edgartown

This is a favorite weekend (December 10-13) for locals and visitors alike, with many traditional events taking place. You’ll want to take your family to the “forest” of Christmas trees at the Christmas Tree Art Display. Here you’ll find all kinds of trees decorated by various local groups on the island—you may get some ideas for your own tree at home. All the trees in the festival will be donated to families in need. There will also be a Local Arts and Crafts Fair, where you can take home gifts and souvenirs made on the Vineyard. The Fair is located in the Chappy Room of the Kelly House. Next, you can shop til you drop at Edgartown’s best stores, including Hannah B., Backwater Trading Co. and Vintage Jewelry, to name a few. All stores will be offering discounts up to 50 % off. Then take a break from shopping to have some hot apple cider and cookies in many of these stores.

On Saturday morning of this special weekend is the annual Christmas in Edgartown Parade. Santa hats are passed out to help you get in the spirit, and candy is thrown from parade floats. Bring the whole family to watch the floats, alpacas, elves and angels all passing by. You’ll also spot some famous Christmas characters like Frosty the Snowman, the Grinch, and the big jolly guy himself—Santa.

Celebration of Local Authors

Visit Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven and Book Den East in Oak Bluffs to check for local author appearances and to get copies of their latest books. This past year, Pulitzer-prize winner Geraldine Brooks released her historical novel that chronicles the life of King David. Jennifer Tseng of West Tisbury library made her fiction debut with a novel about a small-town librarian who has a scandalous affair. Chris Fischer, a local chef and farmer, published his first cookbook, which includes stories about growing up on the island. There are many more authors and stories about the Vineyard that have been recently published. So if you’re a bookworm, or know someone on your gift list who is, be sure to visit these bookstores.

‘Tis the season to contact A-A Island Auto Rental to fully experience Martha’s Vineyard during the holidays. Contact us today!

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