Chatham is no longer simply a summer resort. Each season brings something special in my hometown. For the past 36 years people in the know have come to celebrate our Christmas By the Sea Festival with us. This year's motto: "Make It Merry, Make It Special, Make It Chatham!" and many new activities have been added.
"Christmas by the Sea" begins the Friday after Thanksgiving with our annual Festival of Trees at the historic Atwood House. During the afternoon, you can bid on designer table-top trees -- including one commemorating the 2007 Red Sox (unless you are a Yankees fan), browse for decorations and gifts or pick up a holiday wreath.
Our Tree Decorating and Lighting Ceremony happens the next weekend. And, it has a couple of Chatham twists. While Town officials are responsible for flipping on the lights, children decorate the tree with homemade ornaments they are encouraged to make and bring. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies are served and bell ringers help to set the mood. This also marks the beginning of hay rides up and down Main Street.
This year, the third Annual Holiday Scavenger Hunt begins that night. You can pick up a scavenger list for a fun-filled search for clues. Winners are announced and receive rewards at a special ceremony the next day.
Saturday bring the famous Chatham Christmas Stroll. During the stroll numerous food vendors are on the street so you can eat on the go while popping into various shops many of which have their own special activities. You can also just enjoy the decorated decorations on Main Street. And, hayrides continue for the kids. The shops remain open until 9 p.m. with refreshments, raffles, book signings and more.
Santa arrives by Coast Guard Cutter, of course, on Sunday, at the Chatham Fish Pier. For years this was my family's favorite event, until my kids got too old. Now my youngest a precocious teenager, insists that he has proof that I misled him as a child because I foster his belief in St. Nick!
It's great fun watching Santa arrive by sea. He then makes his way to the community center where he takes children's requests. While Santa is in the house, Chatham's Town Band play holiday tunes.
Santa's back the next weekend starting with breakfast at one of our famous inns . Hayrides continue up and down Main Street. Santa takes the first hayride of the morning with the kids. The stroll continues and all the stores are open late. There are cookies and hot drinks galore and complimentary photos with Santa.
Chatham's Historic Inn Tour takes place on Saturday. Chatham is home to a plethora of fine inns, and one truly grand hotel. The tour takes in 10 of them decked out in all their holiday finery. While there is an small admission price, there is free food and drink and the chance to get behind the scenes of some unique establishments. Other events include: the Christmas Cookie Express at the First Congregational Church, and the Atwood House Museum's Annual Hearth Warming.
Ongoing events include: candy cane making demonstrations at Chatham Candy Manor and holiday tea at The Captain's House Inn. People can also stop at the Giving Tree at the Chatham Bars Inn, the grand hotel, any afternoon and drop off a donation for local Cape charities and enjoy hot cider and cookies.
The Chatham Bars Inn (or CBI as it is known to us locals) has a gingerbread village - "It's Chatham done in gingerbread,"according to Heather McGrath, an organizer of this year's events. You can also sign up for a course for making gingerbread houses at CBI for a small fee.
CBI also suggests reservations for their "Teddy Bear Tea," and "Holiday Express" on the Cape Cod Railroad Train. Children and those young at heart are encouraged to wear their jammies, as "Polar Express" is read.
There are also wonderful light displays as Chatham and its neighbors celebrate the holiday season. Our Christmas By the Sea celebration gives you an opportunity to create one of a kind memories that your family, especially your children, will always cherish. For details and complete information check out: www.chathaminfo.com. or drop us a line Contact Us. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
And, if you can't come for Christmas, join us for Chatham First Night, the only First Night celebration on the Cape.
To learn more about what Chatham has to offer, click on one of the links below