Posted: December 18, 2018
7 ways to get out of your house on Christmas Day
Written by: Ray Routhier
Up Next: What to buy (and not to buy) for the beer lover on your holiday list
Certainly, there’s a lot to be said about gathering by the hearth and tree and staying in your cozy home all day on Christmas.
But what if your home’s not so cozy, or you have no hearth, or you’re just the kind of person who never wants to be in one place for too long?
Lucky for you, there are lots of fun things to do on Christmas Day in southern Maine. There will even be business as usual at some local stores, in case you forgot the wine, the cheese or the kayak.
Here are some ideas for places to get holiday cheer beyond your own four walls on Christmas Day.
And don’t forget to check out our list of bars and restaurants that will also be open on Christmas Day.
Yes, Virginia, there is Christmas on the Casco Bay islands. So, of course, the Casco Bay Lines ferries have to run. Winter can be a lovely time at
sea, cold and clear. You can take a short round-trip to Peaks Island and back, in less than an hour, or you could take the longer and more scenic mail boat
run. Those leave Portland at 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. and take two and a half to three hours. Stops are at Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague and
Cliff islands. The cost is $8.50 for children and $16.50 for adults.
Press Herald photo by Gordon Chibroski
YOU FORGOT THE KAYAK
L.L. Bean in Freeport never closes. Ever. There are no locks on the main doors. That means the flagship store and all the other stores – hunting and
fishing, home plus boat, bike and ski – will be open on Christmas Day. And L.L. Bean's massive Northern Lights Celebration will still be set up, meaning you
can peruse a veritable Christmas village of trees and lights and decorations outside, as well as a model train village inside. And, of course, you can shop.
So if you forgot to get that kayak you promised the kids, or need a last minute Baxter State Parka because your furnace quit working, you're in luck.
Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean
IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE: CHEAPER MOVIES
The Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland have a great deal, $5 admission all day on Bargain Tuesdays. But if you work every Tuesday, or you're too tired to go out on a weeknight, you may never know the glory of a Bargain Tuesday. Thank goodness Christmas is on a Tuesday this year, and the good folks at Nickelodeon are keeping the bargain price in place. At press time, the movie schedule had not been finalized, but Nickelodeon managers said the Christmas Day selections could include "Mary Poppins Returns" and "Mary Queen of Scots." So you can go see a movie and have a truly "Mary" Christmas. Other movie theaters will be open as well, including the Cinemagic theaters in Saco, Westbrook and South Portland.
Press Herald photo by Ben McCanna
A STROLL IN THE PARK
State parks are open on Christmas? Who knew? Well, Gary Best, regional manager for all the state parks in the southern half of Maine knows. He says that state parks all over Maine are open on Christmas Day, though they may not be staffed. That means you'll have to use the honor system and pay your admission by slipping cash in an iron box, where fees are posted. But you can park and enjoy all the parks offer in winter. Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal is particularly popular in winter, for snowshoeing and riding fat-tire bikes. But you can also take a leisurely walk at places like Crescent Beach State Park and Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Mackworth Island in Falmouth or Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park in Freeport. Fees at most parks range from about $3 to $6 per adult.
Press Herald photo by Fred J. Field
LET IT GLOW
If you've already seen all the best holiday light displays in your neighborhood, head up to Boothbay. The annual Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine
Botanical Gardens features some 650,000 lights on trees and garden areas all over the property. You can walk through woods and see nothing but lights in every
direction. And it's open on Christmas night, with timed admissions at 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. This event, in it's fourth year, can get pretty crowded on
weekends, so a Tuesday holiday might be the perfect time to go. Admission is $8 for children and $14 for adults, or $36 for a family of four.
Press Herald photo by Ariana van den Akker
HO HO YOGA
Here's a chance to feel good about yourself, for a couple of different reasons. Tula Studios Health & Wellness in South Portland is hosting a two-hour "reTreat" on Christmas at 10 a.m. The idea is that people can do something good for themselves – a 45-minute spin class followed by 45-minute aerial yoga class and 10 more minutes of yoga Nidra – while helping others. The helping others part is that the price of admission is a new or slightly used children's winter jacket, to be distributed to South Portland neighbors in need.
Most of the big chain stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Christmas. But the neighborhood store, a dying breed, will often stay open just in case a neighbor needs something. The Hilltop Superette in Portland's Munjoy Hill neighborhood will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. if you have a last-minute need for bread or milk or whatnot. They won't be making food to order as much as normal, but will be serving pizza and some breakfast items. DiPietro's Market, in the Meetinghouse Hill/Willard Beach area of South Portland, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store has basics you might need, plus a big wine selection, which you definitely need on Christmas. Owner Sam DiPietro, who lives next door to the store, said that one year on Christmas a man came in looking for a light bulb for his daughter's new Easy-Bake Oven. The store doesn't sell light bulbs, but DiPietro took one from a light fixture and gave it to the man.
"It's a nice day to work. People are so thankful we're open," said DiPietro.
Press Herald photo by Derek Davis