Sparklefest 2017 in Harvard Square

Friday, December 1, 2017 - Sunday, December 24, 2017 all-day

The Harvard Square Business Association is thrilled to announce the schedule for Sparklefest 2017!  Sparklefest is a five week celebration of the holiday season in Harvard Square that begins on Plaid/Black Friday and culminates on New Year’s Eve. With stunning holiday lights adorning the trees and street lamps, Harvard Square becomes the perfect festive location to shop and dine during the holiday season. Harvard Square is more than just a world class destination for shopping and dining! Set aside time to enjoy all the holiday events offered this season. More events are being added - be sure to check back for updates!

CASPAR Winter Coat Drive
CASPAR’s Homeless Shelter provides hot meals, warm showers and clean beds to our homeless neighbors in Cambridge.  Last year alone, they provided shelter for over 1,350 homeless neighbors while serving more than 90,000 meals.  Please help our most vulnerable neighbors stay warm this winter!  CASPAR clients are in need of winter coats for both men and women.  Thank you for your generosity!  For more information, please visit or contact us at or (617) 619-5930.
November 20th & December 1st & December 2nd
Something Strange: a Music and Burlesque Tribute to The Nightmare Before Christmas at OBERON
A live music and burlesque tribute to The Nightmare Before Christmas by Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys. Though Something Strange is not specifically a children's show, audience members under 18 are welcome as long they are with a parent, guardian, or other responsible adult. The 12/2 matinee performance will have generally brighter lighting in the audience area and a lower sound profile; Ticket prices $10 - $20
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, (617) 547-8300,
November 25
Annual Tree Lighting at the Charles Hotel
Join us as we kick off the holiday season with the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration in Charles Square!
We invite families to come around 4:00pm to the upper courtyard to have their children help decorate the trees with ornaments. Santa Claus’ Jazz Band will perform at 5:00pm, and then we will light the trees at 5:30pm, followed by a visit from Santa! The performances will continue until 6:30pm, allowing everyone a chance to visit with Santa.  Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate from Shake Shack and holiday cookies and brownies from Henrietta's Table.  This year's event will help to benefit Cradles to Crayons (C2C®), a nonprofit organization that equips children from birth through age 12 living in homeless or low-income situations with the essential items they need to thrive.
Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett Street, (617) 864-1200,
November 29 - December 31
Toys for Tots Collection at LF Stores
LF Stores received their Toys for Tots box and we will be accepting toys from now until December 31st. All donations are greatly appreciated. \
LF Stores, 26 Church Street, (617) 492-7700,
December 2
Nutcracker Tea Party with Children's Author Kristin Kladstrup at the Harvard COOP
On December 2nd, at 1:00 p.m. we will be hosting Kristin Kladstrup, author of the middle grade chapter book, Nutcracker Mice, for a tea party.  The tea party will include a reading and signing of Nutcracker Mice, decorating a keepsake ornament, and, of course, refreshments. Space is limited for this seated event. Tickets are required and INCLUDE a copy of Kristin’s book, Nutcracker Mice, Tea Party Refreshments and ornament decorating.
ONE (1) ticket is required for EACH child* attending, and at least one (1) care giver must accompany the child (maximum of 2 caregivers per child/ticket). Do NOT order tickets for adults attending this event.
*For children ages 6 to 12. There is a limit of 50 children for this event. Event will be held on Level 3 of The Coop / Harvard Square location.  
DETAILS: Ticket admits ONE (1) CHILD with caregiver (maximum of 2 caregivers) and includes ONE (1) Copy of The Nutcracker Mice. Check In starts at 12:45 pm, and the event starts at promptly 1:00 pm. Seating is first come first-served. The book bundled with this ticket may only be picked up at the venue the day of the event and cannot be picked up beforehand. Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable. Those unable to attend the event will be able to pick up their book at The Coop (as of the day after the event). This offer expires after one month. Additional copies of the featured book will be available for sale at the event. Thank you for choosing to join us!  Recommended for children ages 6 to 12.  Not appropriate for children under 5 years of age.
Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, (617) 499-2000,
December 3 & 10
Celebrations of Christmas - St. Paul's Choir
St. Paul's Choir invites you to join us in celebrating the Christmas season with a glorious celebration of timeless Christmas music.  Concerts are on Sunday, December 3, 2017, and Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. You will hear a range of festive and atmospheric traditional Christmas music in the beautiful St. Paul Parish.  Accompanied by the Back Bay Brass Quintet. $25 -$35
Saint Paul’s Choir School, 29 Mount Auburn Street, (617) 868-8658,
December 8
A Fine Winter's Night with Matt & Shannon Heaton at Passim
With engaging stage presence and masterfully-crafted music, Boston-based Matt & Shannon Heaton offer well-travelled Irish music from the heart. Steeped in sessions in County Clare and brewed in the acoustic music scenes of Chicago & Boston, their flute/guitar/bouzouki instrumentals and sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing draw deeply from the Irish tradition.  Matt and Shannon are poised, passionate American performers with Irish roots and universal appeal. They are comfortable onstage and have a warm connection with their audiences. They move listeners with their love of traditional music (and each other), and their sense of adventure and fun in exploring new directions and possibilities. $20
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-5300,
December 8 – 27
The Christmas Revels: A Venetian Celebration of the Winter Solstice at Sanders Theatre
A holiday tradition for more than four decades, The Christmas Revels is a joyful theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that travels the world each year showcasing cultural traditions including music, dance, folktales and rituals. This year we explore the magical city of Venice!
The Doge of Venice has had it. It is time for the solstice Feast of the Seven Fishes and everyone wants his opinion - merchants, lawyers, politicians, artists, even the fishwives want him to rule on who makes the best spaghetti putanesca. So he is going to take a little unauthorized vacation and meet some of his more lowly subjects. The wild adventures ahead involve reckless actors, jailbreaks, itinerant musicians, English Morris men and maybe even the Spanish Armada! A beloved holiday tradition since 1971, The Christmas Revels features luscious music, tricky sets and gorgeous costumes, superb musical guests, a tuneful, dancing chorus, some familiar Revels touchstones, and street kids who sing like angels. See you in Venezia this Christmas! $10 - $75
The Christmas Revels, Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, (617) 496-2222,
December 9
11th Annual “Everyone Loves Latkes” Free Tasting Event
The “Everyone Loves Latkes” Free Tasting Event takes place on Brattle Plaza (in front of Crema Café, 27 Brattle Street) from 1pm – 2pm, featuring the most delicious, creative and best looking latkes and condiments around, all supplied by Harvard Square eateries.  More information coming soon.
December 9
Fifth Annual Santa Brunch with Live Jazz Music and Visit from Santa at Beat Brasserie
Join us for a very special brunch event with live holiday music, food and libations for the whole family, and a visit from the one and only Santa Claus himself!  On Saturday, December 9th, 2017 Santa Claus will be paying Harvard Square a special visit at Beat Brasserie for its fifth annual family-friendly Santa brunch from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. Guests of the Santa Brunch can count on amazing food and drink, live holiday music, photo opportunities and mingling and jingling with the big man himself...Santa Claus!
The Beat’s acclaimed kitchen will serve a delicious selection of brunch fare such as French toast bread pudding with fresh berry compote and walnuts ($14.50), braised short rib eggs benedict ($16) and quiche with a house salad, made with Swiss chard, Romanesco, red pepper and feta ($15). For more lunch-like fare guests can opt for the prime natural beef hamburger with port wine aioli, crispy fried onions and frites ($16) or the Natural Bowl with Multigrain Farro Pilaf, Beets, Kale, Radishes, Cara Cara Oranges, Parmesan, Citrus Vinaigrette ($13.50) with the optional addition of: artichoke falafel, roasted free range chicken, all natural shrimp, salmon, slow cooked Mexican pork shoulder, grilled skirt steak and seared za'atar spiced ahi tuna. Children can order scrumptious selections off the “Flower Children” menu including kiddie scrambled eggs & toast ($7.50), grilled cheese ($7.50), chocolate chip pancakes ($9), and chicken dinos & frites ($7.50).
While the little ones are running around with Santa, parents can sneak in one of Beat’s hand-crafted cocktails. Wine enthusiasts can warm up with one of Beat’s 36 artisanal American wines on tap all available in 2.5 oz, 5oz, or 12oz pours. This is an event for kids of all ages and is not to be missed! Santa will be available for photos opportunities, but cameras will not be provided. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 617-499-0001. Regular brunch pricing and specials offered. No cover charge.
Beat Brasserie, 13 Brattle Street, (617) 499-0001,
December 9
Opera Winter Gala: Let Heaven & Nature Sing!  At Longy School of Music
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall, 8:00 pm
An evening of opera scenes and chorus from The Magic Flute, Merry Wives of Windsor, Paris & Helen, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Carmen, Hansel & Gretel, as well as music of the season.
Longy School of Music, 27 Garden Street, (617) 876-0956,
Multiple Dates Beginning December 9th
Harvard Square Holiday Fair
Upstairs at 50 Church Street at the Atrium between Mass Ave and Brattle Streets
December 9 -10; 15 – 17; 20 – 23 
Sats:  10am-7pm, Suns:  12-6pm, Weekdays:  11:30am-7pm
The Harvard Square Holiday Fair is one of the oldest and most popular fairs in Boston - the original rock and roll holiday fair.   Now in its 32nd year, the fair runs for nine days upstairs at 50 Church St, and outside in the courtyard on the corner of Mass. Ave. & Church St. in Harvard Square.   The fair is juried and includes a changing mix of New England craftspeople and world travelling importers featuring many wonderful gift items - clocks, photographs, hand printed cards and calendars, fleece hats and accessories, all kinds of jewelry: funky, hip and classic, pottery, silk screened clothing for adults and kids, and much more - a great selection of beautiful, original and affordable gifts. Talking to the craftspeople that make what they sell gives shoppers a connection to what they are buying that is just not possible at the mall, through a catalog or online. This is not your average craft fair - it's more like a party where you can buy stuff!   It’s a high energy alternative marketplace with a great soundtrack - a taste of the old Harvard Square.
Harvard Square Holiday Fair, (413) 625-9779,
December 9 & 10
The Sweetback Sisters' Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular at OBERON
For nine years running, The Sweetback Sisters have been selling out theaters across the Northeast with their signature take on the holiday sing-along: The Sweetback Sisters' Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular. This wildly popular show, back for its second year at OBERON, requires a bit of audience participation and a love for all genres of holiday music (Fear not! Songbooks are provided). Add in a healthy dose of trivia, prizes, and matching outfits and we think it’s safe to say you’ve got yourself a bona fide spectacular!  $25
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, (617) 547-8300,
December 9 – 21
2nd Annual Harvard Square Gingerbread Village – The Charles Hotel
Enchanting Gingerbread Village on display, 12/09 -12/21 in the Charles Hotel Lobby
Season’s Greetings!  The Harvard Square Business Association is delighted to announce the 2nd Annual Harvard Square Gingerbread Village.  Creative and enchanting gingerbread houses created by Harvard Square businesses will be on display in the Charles Hotel lobby from December 9th – 21st.  Would you like to have one of these festive displays on your holiday table?  We will be selling raffle tickets that will benefit a Harvard Square charity.  More information coming soon.
December 10
Cambridge 5k – Yulefest
Long before Christmas, there was a quirky winter festival named "Yule" that people really loved. Join us in Harvard Square on Sunday, Dec 10th for a 5k race that takes the holidays back to their old school roots! Race registration includes a cozy Yulefest knit hat plus a festive post-race party featuring DJ Renselect & Mr. Energy.
Cambridge 5k – Yulefest,
December 10
Winterbloom (Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson, and Natalia Zukerman) at Passim
Winterbloom is a collective of four successful, internationally touring singer-songwriters – Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson, and Natalia Zukerman. While carving their own paths in indie Folk, Americana, Pop and Singer-Songwriter music, each have celebrated one another’s accomplishments on the road, and fostered the spirit of collaboration back at home (at one time they all lived in Boston – Anne is now in Chicago, Natalia in Brooklyn).  One magical show in December 2008 moved them to tour together in 2009 as “Winterbloom” with a winter/holiday album they wrote and recorded called “Winterbloom: Traditions Rearranged.”  $35
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-5300,
December 12
Ben Abercrombie Day at El Jefe’s Taqueria
Tuesday, December 12th is Ben Abercrombie Day in Harvard Square.  Ben was a first year student at Harvard and a defensive back on the Crimson Football Team when in his first game on September 16th suffered a catastrophic cervical neck injury.  The total revenue from every sale at El Jefe's Taqueria that day will go to The Benson M. Abercrombie ’21 Fund to assist Ben in his long and arduous rehabilitation process.  So be sure and come to El Jefe's on Tuesday, December 12th and let Ben know that Harvard Square takes care of its own!  You can also donate online to Ben at the following website:
El Jefe’s Taqueria, 83 Mount Auburn Street, (617) 945-1986,
December 13
The Buttcracker at OBERON
It's the most bum-derful time of the year! Join Madge of Honor and Johnny Blazes at the holey-day clASSic you've come to love: The Buttcracker VIII! The Buttcracker will have you bent over with laughter for the whole night, delivering enough booty-shaking and butt puns to get your cheeks rosy and your ass clapping. Featuring your favorite anal all-stars along with some virgin Buttcracker contributors, come prepared for drag, burlesque, story-telling, comedy, music, and interactive games.  It only comes butt once a year - don't miss out! $20
Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, (617) 547-8300,
December 13
Robinson & Rohe: Longest Winter Christmas Concert and Singalong at Passim
Liam Robinson and Jean Rohe bring their folk-music roots and contemporary sensibilities to songs new and old. Robinson & Rohe go deep into the Christmas repertoire: the mystical, the melancholic, the soulful, the sublime. Expect songs you may not know: haunting melodies of old Europe, joyful singalongs of the Southern US, and modern takes on the strange and ancient Christmas tale. Please join us for this special evening. $15
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-5300,
December 15 – 17
Shop Over Weekend
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and there is no better place to spend it than Harvard Square!  Boasting unique stores, over 100 restaurants, historic sites, traditional and offbeat events and the sparking holiday tree in Winthrop Park, Harvard Square offers an unparalleled festive environment.  With so much to see and do, come for the weekend!  More information coming soon.
December 15 – 17
Brattle Theatre Presents:  It’s a Wonderful Life
A Holiday Traditon! (1946) dir Frank Capra w/Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers [130 min; 35mm]
Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, a forlorn small-town banker with a serious case of regret who, while considering suicide, meets Clarence (Travers), an angel in training. Clarence shows George what life would be like if he had never been born, and through this George is able to realize how valuable one person’s life can be. This film, which offers one of the most memorable (and bittersweet) Christmas stories ever, is a wonderful reminder that life may not be what we expected but it is still sweet and rich. Forget about watching this classic film at home on TV, we’re showing it the way it was meant to be seen: on the Big Screen on real-live 35mm film!
Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, (617) 876-6837,
December 16
Santa Claus at The Coop! An Annual Harvard Square Tradition
It's Time for our Annual Visit from Santa! This is a FREE event but registration is requested so we know how many children to expect and we can keep you and your child updated with e-mails from SANTA himself prior to the big day!
ONE (1) ticket is required for EACH child attending. Do NOT order tickets for adults attending this event.
The Coop is a Toys For Tots drop off location. This is a free event ... please show your generosity and bring a new, unwrapped toy or book for Toys for Tots! Event will be held on the Lower Level of The Coop.  Check In starts at 10:30 am, and the event starts at promptly 11:00 am. Your visit with Santa is first come first-served. Santa will hear wishes, and please remember to bring your own camera / phone / mobile device to capture your child's photo with Santa!
Thank you for choosing to join us! Ho, Ho, Ho.......Santa and his Coop Elves!
The Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, (617) 499-2000,
December 16
Harvard Square Celebrates the Holidays
Join the Harvard Square Business Association as we celebrate the season in grand style.  At 10am, the man of the month, Santa Claus will be riding his red sleigh (aka Jeep) through the Square as he makes his way to the Harvard COOP to meet kids of all ages (full details on the Harvard COOP website  From 11:30am – 1:30pm in the Pit, the Santa Claus’ Jazz Band and the Elf on Stilts will be performing.  Stop by and enjoy some hot chocolate and treats in between shopping at Harvard Square’s unique stores and pop up holiday art fairs! 
December 16 & 17
Mistletoe Art Fair at Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Handmade, local art & crafts for the holiday and beyond!  The Mistletoe Art Fair is bigger and better than ever with two floors of talented artisans and a variety of gifts for all.  The Cambridge Center for Adult Education is located in the yellow house at 42 Brattle Street.
Mistletoe Art Fair, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle Street, (617) 547-6789,
December 17
21st Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride
What has 200 wheels and antlers? The Jingle Ride of course! The 21st Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride is one of the longest-running Boston holiday sporting events and certainly one of the most colorful. What started out as a simple and fun idea to bring some cycling magic to the holidays has evolved into an annual event that many come to year after year. For those who love a parade, love to sing, or who get a kick out of wearing antlers or a holiday costume, the Jingle Ride is a must for your holiday calendar. This year’s ride starts and ends at the Kickstand Café, the popular café in Arlington Center next to the Minuteman Bikeway. Registration begins at 10:15. They'll provide some delicious hot beverages and pastries to fuel us up!
The 22-mile ride (round-trip) follows the Minuteman Bikeway and then heads for Harvard Square, the Esplanade, Boston Common, and Newbury Street. The group makes occasional stops to sing carols for passersby, and enjoys bringing some unexpected holiday cheer to all who witness the group. The most-beloved stop is at Harvard Square, where the Harvard Square Business Association serves cookies and hot cocoa to the group – an especially welcome treat in chilly December! We also make an optional warm-up stop at the Menotomy Grill & Tavern just a mile from the ride's end - come enjoy some free appetizers and more!  It’s a parade, not a race – so if you have a bicycle, we’d love your holiday spirit along for the ride!
December 17
Ceremony of Carols & Dancing Day – St. Paul’s Choir
Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols & John Rutter's Dancing Day, performed by St. Paul's Choristers & harp. $25-$35
Saint Paul’s Choir School, 29 Mount Auburn Street, (617) 868-8658,
December 19
Wintery Songs In Eleventy Part Harmony with Jennifer Kimball, Rose Polenzani, Mariel Vandersteel, Deni Hlavinka, Hannah Read & Valerie Thompson at Passim
Wintery Songs in Eleventy Part Harmony is a collaborative group of Boston-based singers and string players who gather once a year to reinvent the sound of the holidays. With new arrangements of classics (both sacred and secular) and a throng of unlikely additions to the seasonal lexicon, Wintery Songs is anchored by major-label veterans and highly acclaimed harmony singers Jennifer Kimball and Rose Polenzani. Re-arranging hymns and pop gems, Wintery Songs celebrates the sacred tradition and also represents the fascinating sonic melting pot of December sounds: the pagan, the schmaltz, the pop, and new ‘cold’ songs by alt-pop bands Real Estate and Mt. Eerie, and new songs by Jennifer Kimball, Laura Cortese and Brittany Haas. $25
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-5300,
December 22 & 23
Blue Heron’s Christmas in Medieval England
Our very popular program of music for Advent and Christmas from 15th-century England, including motets by Leonel Power and John Dunstaple, English carols, and Sarum plainchant.
Sarum plainchant
Angelus ad virginem
Gabriel fram Heven-King
Carols: Hayl Mary, Ther is no rose, Nowel: Owt of your slepe aryse, Ecce quod natura, Ave rex angelorum
John Dunstaple: Gaude virgo
Leonel Power: Gloria, Ibo michi ad montem mirre
Doors open 1 hour before each concert / Pre-concert talk by Daniel Donoghue (Harvard University) beginning 45 minutes before each concert
$10 - $68
First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, (617) 960-7956,
December 24
JEWMONGOUS, a comedy song concert with occasional guests, is the colicky, uncircumcised brain child of Sean Altman: the golden-voiced song-writing wiz and former leader/founder of Rockapella (yes - of "Where in The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" TV fame). Sean was featured in Time Out New York's cover story "The New Super Jews" and in the New York Times feature about "the Jewish Hipster Movement." He debuted JEWMONGOUS in 2006 and has drawn press accolades and sold-out audiences in 25 major U.S. cities. $20
Passim, 47 Palmer Street, (617) 492-5300,
Harvard Square Business Association
Harvard Square Cambridge, MA 02138