Sparklefest in Harvard Square 2021

November 26th – December 31st

The Harvard Square Business Association is excited to announce the schedule for Sparklefest 2021! Sparklefest is a five-week celebration of the holiday season in Harvard Square that 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!

December 4th
14th Annual Everyone Loves Latkes

2:00pm – 3:00pm on Brattle Plaza
The Harvard Square Business Association is delighted to celebrate Hanukkah by serving complimentary latkes on Saturday, December 4th at the 14th Annual ‘Everyone Loves Latkes” Party! Hot and delicious potato pancakes will be sampled between 2:00pm and 3:00pm on Brattle Plaza in front of Bluestone Lane Coffee (27 Brattle Street). Joe Kessler and his Klezmer band, Klezwoods, will be on hand to entertain the crowd with traditional songs of the season.
Harvard Square Business Association, (617) 491-3434

December 4th
Holidays in Japan: Japanese New Year (Oshōgatsu) In-Person Class

2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education
From New Year’s Eve (Omisoka) to New Year (Oshogatsu) is the most important holiday period for Japanese families and it is rich in tradition. However, for many non-Japanese, many customs and traditions may seem hard to understand. For example, why do people do a thorough house cleaning at the end of the year (why not in spring!)? What is the iconic meaning of the soba noodles dinner on New Year’s Eve? What is the traditional New Year feast called “Osechi Ryori”, and how is the New Year celebrated? We are going to look through these unique customs in Japan and discuss them together! Also, let’s try Japanese calligraphy (shodo) with a brush in a Japanese ink, and prepare a nengajo, a special postcard for New Year greetings! This class is for students who have completed Beginner Level 2 class or equivalent/higher, who have learned hiragana, katakana, and have some knowledge of basic conjugations of verbs (masu-form etc.). Instructor: Tomoko TakagiFor additional information and to register, please click here.
Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle Street, (617) 547-6789

December 7th
4th Annual Ben Abercrombie Day at El Jefe’s Taqueria

8:00am – 4:00pm at El Jefe’s Taqueria
Ben was a two-sport star in football and baseball at Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama, helping the Buccaneers win Alabama 7A State Championships in both sports (football in 2014 & 2016, baseball in 2017). He was selected All-State first team at the end of his senior year. Upon arriving at Harvard, Ben quickly became one of the most respected and talented players on the football field and was the only first-year on the defensive side of the ball to make the travel squad for the season opener at the University of Rhode Island. In his collegiate debut, Ben made a tackle that resulted in a catastrophic spinal cord injury and caused him to lose mobility and feeling throughout his body.
After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, El Jefe’s Taqueria owner John Schall is striving to make the 4th Ben Abercrombie Day the biggest and best fundraising event yet. The first three iterations of this fundraiser have resulted in more than $78,000 being donated to the Abercrombie Fund, with more than 6,000 members of the Harvard community stopping by the restaurant to support Ben in his recovery.
El Jefe’s Taqueria, 83 Mount Auburn Street, (617) 945-1986

December 10th
Easy Holiday Cookies Class

6:00pm – 9:00pm at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Everyone likes to have festive cookies on hand around the holidays, but it’s hard to find time to bake. With a little planning, some super simple recipes, and a few baker’s tips, you can bake a variety of cookies in a single afternoon or evening. Learn to make sugar cookies, gourmet chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, no-bake rum balls, and more. We’ll experiment with rolled, cut, decorated, drop, and bar cookies. And best of all, you’ll get to take home a box of cookies. Instructor: Dagmar SmithFor more information and to register, please click here.
Cambridge Center for Adult Education, 42 Brattle Street, (617) 547-6789

December 10th – 12th
Shopover Weekend in Harvard Square

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and there is no better place to spend it than historic Harvard Square. With so much to see and do, come for the weekend! Hotels! Shopping! Dining! Ticketed Events! Outdoor family-friendly free events! Come Friday and stay for the weekend. Shop until you drop! Dine on the run or sit down for a luxurious dinner; there are over 100 eateries for your dining pleasure. When you have shopped and eaten your way through the Square, take some time to enjoy a show, concert, movie or play.
Harvard Square Business Association, (617) 491-3434

December 10th – 12th, 17th – 19th
Harvard Square Holiday Fairs

Friday 12pm – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm
One of the oldest and most popular fairs in the Boston areaHeld in Harvard Square for 8 or 9 days with free admissionJuried, with a mix of craftspeople from the region and world-traveling importersA great selection of beautiful, original, affordable giftsTalking with the artist gives us a connection to what we are buyingA high energy marketplace with a great soundtrackSee old friends and make new onesA taste of the old Harvard Square!
Harvard Square Holiday Fairs, 33 Dunster Street, (413) 625-9779

December 11th
Holiday Magic for COOP Kids

12:00pm – 3:00pm at the Harvard Coop
Join us for a very special COOP Kids event in Harvard Square, because nothing is as MAGICAL as a bookstore on a winter’s afternoon. A bookstore wonderland station, I Spy Snowflakes interactive game, an outdoor piano playing and holiday sing-a-long and more! Appropriate for age 8 and under. FREE, but a registration ticket is required, please. Register as 1 ticket per family group! For more information and to register, please click here.  
Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, (617) 499-2000

December 11th
Harvard Square’s Holiday Giving Tree Kickoff Celebration

3:00pm – 4:00pm on Brattle Plaza
The Harvard Square Business Association (HSBA) members and friends are generously donating hats, gloves, socks, mittens, t-shirts, and scarves. These items will be placed in water-tight zipper bags along with candy canes, chocolates and treats and will be hung on the Holiday Giving Tree. Please bring your own items similarly packaged, or come and help us place ours.

To kick off the installation of the Giving Tree, the boys of the St. Paul’s Choir School will perform joyous hymns and songs. These young boys have performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein on the legendary stage of Carnegie Hall, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican for Pope Francis, and countless Boston Red Sox and Celtics games. Consisting of singers who are both artistically and technically highly developed, it may be surprising to discover that the boys range from grades 3 through 8. Complimentary hot chocolate and yummy cookies for those attending and for passersby will be served by HSBA staff.
Harvard Square Business Association, (617) 491-3434

December 12th & 19th
Christmas Season Performances by The Boys’ Choir of Saint Paul’s | Harvard Square

3:00pm at The Church of St. Paul’s Harvard Square
Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys presents a spectacular celebration of Christmas and the holiday season when its beloved “Christmas in Harvard Square” program returns this year with live, in-person concerts on Sundays, December 12th and 19th at 3pm at Saint Paul’s Church. The performances feature the boy choristers of Saint Paul’s Choir School and the Back Bay Brass ensemble, conducted by SPCS Director of Music James Kennerley. 

This season’s iteration of “Christmas in Harvard Square” features a Christmas program that originates across the globe – including music from Nigeria, Germany, France, the Ukraine, the West Indies, Austria, and Harvard Square itself! Immerse yourself in a holiday tradition like no other and enjoy audience favorites like “Joy to the World”, “Carol of the Bells” and “O Holy Night”, as well as a medieval French processional hymn, a lively West Indian Calypso carol, and John Rutter’s powerful, uplifting work, “Gloria”. The boy choristers are joined by the professional male singers from Saint Paul’s Choir, an ensemble renowned for its audible beauty and passionate performances. The concert also features audience sing-alongs, accompanied by the virtuosic Back Bay Brass ensemble, together with percussion and the majestic Saint Paul’s pipe organ. A cameo appearance by the youngest choristers of the choir delight in a beloved arrangement of “Silent Night”, originated by SPCS Founder Theodore Marier.

For additional information and to purchase tickets, please click here.
Choir of Saint Paul’s Church, 29 Mount Auburn Street, (617) 868-8658

December 17th & 18th
Christmas in Baroque Germany by Blue Heron Renaissance Choir

Friday, December 17th 8:00pm
Saturday, December 18th 2:30pm & 8:00pm
In-person at First Church in Cambridge, Congregational and virtually.Music by Michael Praetorius, Samuel Scheidt, Johann Hermann Schein, and other early 17th-century masters brought to glorious life by a dozen singers, a five-part violin band, organ, theorbo, and the brilliant cornetts, sackbuts, and recorders of the Dark Horse Consort. For additional information and to buy tickets, please click here.
Blue Heron, (617) 760-7956

December 17th – 20th
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at The Brattle

Times vary by date at The Brattle
Director: Frank Capra Run Time: 130 min. Format: 35mm Film Release Year: 1946Starring: Donna Reed, Gloria Grahame, Henry Travers, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

75th Anniversary!
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!

For additional information and to purchase tickets, please click here.
The Brattle, 40 Brattle Street, (617) 876-6837

December 17th – December 29th
The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice at Sanders Theatre

Time vary by date at Sanders Theatre
The Christmas Revels is a cherished holiday tradition for over 70,000 people throughout the country. Every December, the Cambridge Revels community gathers in Harvard University’s historic Sanders Theatre to celebrate the season through the traditional songs, dances, and stories of cultures from around the world. 

Welcome to the George & Dragon! The pub’s regulars are looking forward to re-establishing the traditional sing-along but the hiccup in tradition has disturbed the space/time continuum and triggered an audit by a fussy Revels bureaucrat from the 17th century. Along with his Elizabethan entourage, he will be making an official visit to the 21st century to put things back in order.

Will the current managers of the George & Dragon be able to regain their license for revelry? What will Elizabethans think of the modern song list? What happens when music and dance from the Renaissance collides with the horn section of a pub band and the street-wise locals from the 21st century? In our telling of the story, old and new ways meet, and the world gets a little bigger. There is something here for everyone to enjoy as we celebrate the season as only Revels can!

Virtual Performance
We are excited to offer a fully virtual Christmas Revels experience once again to audiences around the world! If you are unable to attend The Christmas Revels live this year (or just want to see it again!), join us for a virtual extended run, streaming from December 30th to January 9th. Your virtual Event Pass includes unlimited access during the viewing period to a digitally enhanced version of this year’s Christmas Revels, recorded during a live performance in Sanders Theatre.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, please click here.
Revels, (617) 972-8300

December 18th
Santa Claus Jazz Band

1:00pm – 3:00pm on Brattle Plaza
Join the Harvard Square Business Association as we celebrate the season in grand style. From 1:00pm – 3:00pm on Brattle Plaza (in front of Brattle Florist, 31 Brattle Street), the Santa Claus Jazz Band will be performing Holiday classics. Stop by and enjoy some hot chocolate and treats in between shopping at Harvard Square’s unique stores.
Harvard Square Business Association, (617) 491-3434

December 18th
Nat King Cole Christmas with Terri Lyne Carrington and Special Guests

8:00pm at Scullers Jazz Club
NAT KING COLE CHRISTMAS is a special new holiday concert celebrating one of America’s greatest music legends. Showcasing the impact of Cole’s seminal musical talents, this show will feature some of the best songs ever written, performed by an all-star ensemble, led by three-time GRAMMY Award-winning music director and drummer, TERRI LYNE CARRINGTON.  Featuring GRAMMY nominated vocalist, JEAN BAYLOR of THE BAYLOR PROJECT; vocalist MICHAEL MAYO; GRAMMY nominated pianist, CHRISTIAN SANDS; bassist, RUSSELL HALL and guitarist, DAN WILSON, along with trumpeter, Tanya Darby, trombonist, Steve Davis and saxophonist, Veronica Leahy, the show will include historical anecdotes and some of Nat’s most memorable hits. Nat King Cole Christmas is a holiday musical tribute to the inspirational icon, Nat King Cole. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please click here.
Scullers Jazz Club, 400 Soldiers Field Road, (617) 783-0090

December 18th & 19th
Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre’s Tribute to the Nutcracker at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre

Join JMBT for a special celebration of the beloved Holiday Classic, The Nutcracker!

Saturday, December 18, 202112:00-5:00pm Crafts Fair – Free Admission 5:00-7:30pm Benefit Celebration – Tickets $65
Sunday, December 19, 20213:00-5:30pm Benefit Celebration – Tickets $65
Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, 400 Harvard Street, (617) 945-1944

Cambridge Fire Department Toys for Tots Drive

Cambridge Firefighters will once again partner with the United States Marine Corps Reserve in collecting toys in the annual “Toys for Tots” drive. New, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at any Cambridge firehouse until Thursday, December 9, 2021. All toys will be delivered to USMCR by December 10th.
Monetary donations can also be made via the Toys-for-tots website: 
Thank you for your help again in this worthy cause!

Cambridge’s Winter Warmth Drive

For the past seven years, Councillor Marc McGovern has launched an effort called the Winter Warmth Drive. This project raises money to purchase sleeping bags for unhoused individuals in Cambridge. Over the course of the past several years, they have purchased over 1,000 sleeping bags, which have been lifelines to those experiencing homelessness.

Of course, we know that this is only a stop gap. What people need are homes, but we also know that people are cold tonight and they need immediate help. Our goal this year is to raise $20,000. McGovern has once again partnered with First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist, Harvard Square Business Association, Central Square Business Improvement District, the East Cambridge Business Association and Hilton’s Tent City.

Please consider making a contribution today. It is getting cold fast, and the sooner we raise the funds the sooner we can purchase the bags and distribute them.

If you would like to make an online contribution, please click here or mail a check make out to: First Parish UU Church and write “Winter Warmth Drive” in the memo section, and mail to First Parish, 3 Church St., Cambridge, MA 02138.
Thank you!

Cambridge Police’s Donation Drive for Secret Santa for Seniors

The Cambridge Police Department, in collaboration with other community donors, is once again organizing a gift drive in which gift bags will be dropped off this holiday season to senior citizens who may not have any remaining family members or nearby loved ones.

This program relies solely on the generous donations from Cambridge businesses, residents, community members, and CPD employees, who assist us in providing this service. Their support allows us to brighten the day of otherwise lonely seniors on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with small gifts that let them know they are not alone or forgotten.

Donations will be accepted now through Friday, December 17th. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the gift drive will primarily be online to make it easier and safer for people seeking to purchase gifts for seniors. Residents are encouraged to support local businesses by purchasing gifts online through the various Cambridge business associations. A Secret Santa for Seniors “Wish List” has also been created on Amazon.

Amazon Wish List:
Cambridge Local First:
Central Square Business Improvement District:
East Cambridge Business Association:
Harvard Square Business Association:

Gifts can also be dropped off 24/7 at drop boxes in the first floor main lobby of the Robert W. Healy Public Safety Facility at 125 Sixth Street or gifts can be shipped to Sgt. Susan Kale, Cambridge Police Department, 125 6th Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.