Logo   December in New England
Winter begins in earnest: ice-skating, skiing, cozy log fires, and preparations for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve and First Night festivities.

Snow shovels, Concord MA


Winter comes to northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont) in November, but by December the entire region is in its thrall.

High temperatures may be about 30° to 40°F (-1.1° to 4.4°C), but are often lower. Low temperatures may be 10° to 20°F (-12° to -7°C).

Usually there is some snow, although in a snowless winter December is best for ice skating on New England's thousands of glacial lakes and ponds. Once snow arrives in quantity after the ponds freeze, degrading the ice surface, the skating season may be over for the winter (barring a January thaw and re-freeze.)

New England ski resorts are open in December, and though they may be fairly busy on weekends, innkeepers offer special low prices on weekdays to lure vacationers.


Until the national holiday of Christmas (December 25th), this is not a busy month for tourism. Travel is heavy on the day or two preceding Christmas and the day or two following, then there is a lull until New Year's, when travel intensifies again.

Between Christmas and New Year's, many New Englanders go skiing and snowboarding, or take short vacations to New York City, which is very busy then.

First Night/New Year's Eve

As in most of the world, the last day of the year, December 31st, is a perfectly good excuse for a party—in this case, New Year's Eve and First Night.

Some cities in the region, especially Boston, organize special amusements and entertainments as the festival of First Night.

Boston's First Night features indoor and outdoor concerts, an ice sculpture show and competition on Boston Common, fireworks over the river, and a dozen other activities.

Burlington VT also has elaborate First Night activities and entertainments. More...

New Year's Day

New Year's Day is a national holiday. Virtually everything is closed for the holiday: offices, businesses, museums, attractions—all closed.

—by Tom Brosnahan



Tom's New England Almanac

New England's Climate

Festivals & Holidays

When to Go to New England

New England Transportation

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Lighting the holiday tree, Concord MA

Winter decorations in Concord MA.

Horses in the snow, Concord MA

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