Thanksgiving is the focus this week, at least until we wake up Friday morning in a mashed potato blur and wondering, okay, now what? (If you need things to do on Thanksgiving, like road races or theater, check our roundup. If you’re heading out for Black Friday, we’ve got that, too). But this weekend is full-on Christmas, from Victoria Mansion and The Nutcracker to candy cane making and tree lightings.
For the weekend of Nov. 28-30, 2014
11 a.m. to 4:30 pm. Friday & Saturday & Sunday | Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St., Portland | $15, $13.50 seniors,$5 students, under 6 free | www.victoriamansion.org
You might know how to decorate a home for the holidays, but no matter how elaborately dressed your home is, it can’t compete with the holiday grandeur on display at Portland’s Victoria Mansion. The historic home is beautiful any time of year, but when local designers take over during the holidays, this historic home becomes a Christmas wonderland. Christmas at Victoria Mansion continues through Jan. 4.
Read more: One Hundred Years Past: See the holiday splendor during Christmas at Victoria Mansion
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday | Portland Expo, 239 Park Ave., Portland | Free admission | www.downeastskiclub.com
Whether you’re a skiing master or you’ve decided that this is the year you learn how to get down the mountain without screaming the whole way, you need gear. The annual Down East Ski Sale has skis, boots and poles, of course, but also cross-country equipment, ski pants, gloves, goggles and more. You can even sell your own gear, too (but you’ll have to bring it in Friday).
Ski sales in Maine: Find your winter gear – cheap
Read more: Skiing: Great tips for buying skis and boots at ski sales and swaps
7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday | Theater at Monmouth, 796 Main St, Monmouth | $25, $10 for Thursday preview | theateratmonmouth.org
Theater at Monmouth isn’t wasting any time to start their performances of “This Wonderful Life.” It’s an adaptation of the iconic holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence the Angel, Mary, Old Man Potter and 20 more of Bedford Falls’ citizens guide George Bailey’s journey to discover that the actions of one person really can make a difference in the world. First performance is Thanksgiving night at 7:30 p.m. (the show runs through Dec. 7).
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday | Bethel Inn Resort, 9 Broad Street, Bethel | $30 | www.skimuseumofmaine.org
Ah, ski fashion. The sweaters, the jeans, the neon ski suits. Take a walk down mountain memory lane during the SUNRI Fashion Show, where there will be plenty of ski fashions from yesteryear and some modern-day apparel, too Proceeds benefit the Ski Museum of Maine and your $30 admission gets you a complementary glass of beer or wine.
Portland: 5:30 p.m. Friday in Monument Square (Live music from Rick Charette beforehand.)
Brunswick: 5 p.m. on the Town Mall (horse and carriage rides beforehand. Visit with Santa and Frosty from 3- 5 p.m.)
Gorham: 5 p.m. Sunday at Robie Park (light parade starts at 4 p.m.)
York: 6 p.m. Saturday at Sohier Park (Lighting of the Nubble. York High School Singer and hot cocoa beforehand)
The best time to be near a Christmas tree is on Christmas morning when it starts spitting out all the presents (get there early!). But the second-best time is when the tree is dressed with lights and lit up for all the world to see. The annual tree lighting is like the tree world’s version of a Debutante Ball. “World, I present to you this tree, all dressed up, looking her finest, and ready for marriage!” Or maybe it’s just fun to look at trees with lights and maybe sing along to some Christmas carols.
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday | Merrill Auditorium, Portland | $20-$60 | porttix.com
It’s tradition. And for good reason. The Nutcracker is a holiday staple in many households (I remember going to see this every year as a kid, and then returning again as an adult just to feel some of that Nutcracker magic). Performances continue through Dec 7.
Read more: Portland has two “Nutcrackers” for holiday crowds to choose from – and they’re very different
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (tickets are sold for a specific time slot) | Haven’s Candy Factory, Westbrook | $7 | www.havenscandies.com
Contrary to popular belief, candy canes aren’t made by a medical supply company in the North Pole that caters to elves recovering from knee surgery and/or hip replacement. They’re made by candy companies like Haven’s Candy. On Saturday, you can see exactly how those minty sticks are made and make one yourself (bend it into any shape you’d like! A cane, a crutch, a toe splint!). You need to buy a ticket in advance (last we checked, there were some still available at the Haven’s location in Westbrook, which you’ll need to buy in person with cash or check). Proceeds benefit Dream Factory Maine.
8 p.m. Monday | The State Theater, 609 Congress St., Portland |$30 in advance, $33 day of show | statetheatreportland.com
Enjoy a night of traditional Irish music that’s shaken and stirred with punk rock. Los Angeles-based post-grunge band Flogging Molly may induce both a jig and a slam dance.
Thank You Ramones – A Portland Maine Tribute To The Ramones
9 p.m. Friday. Asylum, 121 Center St., Portland, $5, portlandasylum.com
Celebrate one of the most storied bands in the history of punk rock as a group of local musicians play a night of music by The Ramones. You’ll hear a 30-song set featuring members of The Leftovers, The Connection, The Wildhearts, Planeside and Paranoid Social Club. Hey ho, let’s go!
Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse
5 p.m. Saturday. Nubble Lighthouse, Sohier Park Road, York, free. nubblelight.org
Ring in the holiday season with an enchanting night as the historic Nubble Lighthouse is festooned with lights. There will be music from the York High School Chamber Singers, hot cocoa, cookies and plenty of good cheer.
Various days and times, seven days a week. South Portland Municipal Pool, 21 Nelson Road, $3, $2 children and seniors residents. $4 non-residents, $3 for children and seniors non-residents. southportland.org
Take the plunge, literally, in South Portland. The city’s municipal indoor pool offers a huge schedule of swim times should you want stay ahead of the calorie curve as the holiday season kicks into high gear. From water aerobics to lap swims and open swims, there’s plenty of options for everyone in your family in this 6-lane, 25 meter pool.
Hike with the Ranger
2 p.m. Sunday. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, 426 Wolf Neck Road, Freeport, $1 for ages 5-11, $3 for Maine residents ages 12-64; free for children under 5 and Maine residents 65 and older. www.maine.gov
Lace up your hiking books, don some warm duds and meet at the benches by the second parking lot. That’s where you’ll rendezvous for a one-hour walk through Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park led by a ranger who will share their wisdom as you wind your way through the gorgeous woods that also offers scenic water views. The ranger-led hike is free with park admission.