Light Up the Night!

Love the holidays? Love decking the halls? Southern New Hampshire has the perfect fix for you—the Southern NH Tour of Lights! “We all need a little extra magic this year,” says Sheena Royce, recreation department director for Fitzwilliam.

Fitzwilliam Light Up the Night - Christmas Lights

Her town is just one of many across the region holding friendly holiday light competitions to see who can spread the most cheer! Neighbors are being called to outdo one another with sparkle, all in an effort to put on a magical show for people throughout the Monadnock area.

Lighting Up the Season

Each town has its own name for the extravaganza; Swanzey’s is the Festival of Lights and Fitzwilliam is calling theirs Light Up the Night. Area recreation departments are gathering addresses of participating households and readying maps.

Banner for Swanzey Festival of Lights - building with Christmas lights

The homeowner with the most elaborate display will win a fabulous locally themed gift basket or gift certificate from their town. Adding to the competitive spirit and supporting local businesses at the same time—what a great way to go! And of course, the winners will also earn bragging rights for the year ahead.

So when will it all get started? From mid-December until the 27th, Southern New Hampshire’s most creative and celebratory houses will be shining brightly for all to enjoy. Now is the time to start planning your evening road trip. First pull out your favorite pair of cozy pajamas and have your map at the ready!

You can get yours by reaching out to your town’s recreation department or checking their social media page. Once you have the route in hand, it’s time to set off. Spend the evening listening to holiday tunes as you buzz from house to house, reveling in the spirit of the season.

The Tallest Tree of All

Once your grand adventure is underway, don’t forget to circle your town center, where you’ll likely find a tree that can’t be beat. Soft white lights or strings of bright color? Won’t know until you get there!

Downtown Keene Central Square with beautiful lighted Christmas tree

Central Square Keene – Keene Sentinel photo by Dan Most

Rindge, Keene, Walpole, Fitzwilliam, and a plethora of other beautiful villages here in the Monadnock Region have already lit up their town greens and gazebos with stunning light shows. A few held physically-distanced events to mark the occasion and others counted down and lit their lights via Zoom.

Main Street Keene - all lit up

Main Street Keene – Sentinel Photo by Dan Most

Despite the current circumstances, towns all over the region have gotten remarkably creative when it comes to celebrating. For instance, Peterborough hosted Santa inside a snow globe at the start of the month. And the town also featured “Home Sweet Home,” a holiday lantern display in Peterborough’s Putnam Park, December 4th through the 6th, in lieu of the town’s annual lantern parade, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19. The three-night display included dozens of small illuminated structures depicting typical New Hampshire village scenes.

Peterborough's Home Sweet Home lantern display - a village of miniature lanterns

Peterborough’s Home Sweet Home lantern display – Keene Sentinel photo by Bill Gnade

Neighborhoods with Lights

While 2020 may not be a year in which we can all gather together to light up the sky and sing carols, it is a year marked by incredible heart and resilience. Our communities have come together in so many ways over the last many months, and December’s Light Tour is just one more example of people spreading joy in difficult times.

House lit up for Christmas with illuminated snowman

So take advantage of this fun, safe way to be together in spirit and celebrate what makes the Monadnock Region unique. December brings snow just in time to make the perfect backdrop, a classic winter wonderland. And though it may be chilly as the sun goes down, a warm car and the warm glow of lights are sure to keep you feeling cozy.

Beautiful house with white outdoor lights



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