Bath and Brunswick offer a variety of downtown holiday activities the next few weeks. Courtesy Kathleen Nadeau

BATH — Those seeking a holiday experience with a yesteryear vibe need look no further than Bath and Brunswick.

Bath’s annual “Old Fashioned Christmas,” which runs through New Year’s Eve, aims to do just that, according to Amanda McDaniel, executive director of Main Street Bath. And Patti Spencer-Yost, marketing and communications coordinator with the Brunswick Downtown Association, seeks to offer that same Norman Rockwellian feel.

“My personal favorite thing about ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ is how old-fashioned it is,” McDaniel said Nov. 21. “I’ve always considered myself an old-fashioned girl, and this is right in line with the traditions, customs and sweetness of simple activities like jingle-bell walking down the street with your children. We are shamelessly old-fashioned, and I think that that is something that’s missing in a lot of communities these days.”

“It almost feels like a black and white movie come to life,” McDaniel added.

Cue “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Both communities kick off the season Saturday, Nov. 30. In Bath’s Patten Free Library Community Room from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., ornaments can be made to hang on the Library Park gazebo’s community tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive there at 2 p.m. to light the Children’s Christmas Tree, and then lead a line of children via the “Jingle Bell Walk” to City Hall, where children can sit with the Clauses and enjoys caroling, cookies and refreshments.


Trolley caroling begins in Bath that day and continues every Friday and Saturday from 4-8 p.m. through Dec. 21. Free tickets will be available and reservations can be made at the trolley stop next to City Hall beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, at the Brunswick Town Mall on Maine Street, free horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered on Nov. 30, along with cocoa, cookies and coffee, from 2-5 p.m. Santa and Frosty the Snowman arrive on a fire truck at 3 p.m. and will visit with children at the gazebo. The Brunswick High School Chorus sings carols from 4-5 p.m., and Santa will light the Christmas tree at 5 p.m.

“It’s such a great holiday tradition; it’s sort of a classic Maine-New England traditional Christmas,” Spencer-Yost said. “It’s not a lot of hype from big business, it’s really just all about small, local businesses, and local community coming together.”

“If you are around any events in Brunswick, everybody says what a great community this is, because everybody comes and supports each other,” she said.

Back in Bath, red “Magic Letter Boxes” will be located downtown through Dec. 15 to allow notes to be sent to Santa’s headquarters. Return addresses must be listed on envelopes to receive a reply. Cards and letters to the area’s senior citizens can also be placed in the boxes.

Meanwhile, children and adults alike are asked to fill “Santa’s bags” that will be placed around the city to be filled with non-perishable foods, particularly those that can be included in a holiday meal. Bags can be found at the City Hall lobby, Bath Natural Market (36 Centre St.), Brackett’s Market (185 Front. St.), Bath Savings Institution (105 Front St.), First Federal Savings and Loan (125 Front St.), and Island Treasure Toys (70 Front St.).


The items will be distributed at the Bath Area Food Bank, 807 Middle St., in time for Christmas.

“Bright Night Bath” is back from 4-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, offering a fire sculpture where marshmallows can be roasted and a life-size snow globe in which family photos can be taken.

Luminaries and window displays will line the streets, and lights will flash on trees and light poles. Downtown shops remain open late to accommodate shoppers, offering music, refreshments and unique gifts.

The celebration ends at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, with the annual Paul Revere bell-ringing outside City Hall.

Other Brunswick offerings next month include the inaugural “Christmas on Maine” on Maine Street from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Participants can make their own s’mores while having cocoa and cookies, and photo opportunities with Santa, as well as Olaf from the movie “Frozen,” will be available. The Tontine Mall will host other activities.

Judging for the Brunswick Downtown Association’s window decorating contest takes place Dec. 4-5. About 20 downtown stores are participating.

Its theme this year? “Vintage Christmas,” of course.

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