So here it is, the end of October, and Halloween is upon us. That can only mean one thing: the holiday season is unofficially here!

Too soon, you say?

Don’t you believe it. In my opinion, it’s never too early to get into the holiday mood, which will hopefully carry us all into the new year, when we can wind down and settle into winter mode!

But it’s not just me. Despite Halloween being three days away and Thanksgiving almost four weeks, others are also ready to bring it on. Holiday-related events, parades, lightings and Santa arrivals, as well as some great holiday gift-buying opportunities (especially if you’re wearing your pajamas), all start in the next few weeks.

Most importantly, the upcoming events — with their food, music, merchandise and fun — are bound to bring together family and friends for good holiday times. So let’s get started!

Maine Crafts Guild Show at the Maine State Museum

Saturday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4

Maine State Museum Cultural Building

230 State St.

Augusta

contact: The Maine Crafts Guild @ 557.3276

http://www.mainecraftsguild.com/shows/15th-annual-maine-state-museum-show/

Looking for some great gifts to give? Experience the Maine Crafts Guild’s fantastic show filled with enough homemade goodness to satisfy everyone’s whims. This is the 16th annual show. Start the season with all the heirloom quality work you’ll find there.

Annual Early Bird Pajama Sale and Bed Races

Saturday, Nov. 10

Downtown Bar Harbor

http://www.barharborinfo.com/events/

Shop in your pajamas from 6 to 9 a.m. (maybe wear your long johns under them for warmth) for extra discounts. A bed and pajama parade will begin at the Village Green at 10 a.m. and bed races will immediately follow on Cottage Street.

L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights

Nov. 16 through Dec. 31

95 Main St.

Freeport

755-2326

http://100.llbean.com/event/northern-lights-at-l-l-bean-freeport-me/

It’s almost time for the annual L.L.Bean Northern Lights celebration, a month-and-a-half-long string of events. The lighting ceremony of the gigantic Christmas tree in front of the L.L.Bean store on Friday, Nov. 16 at 6:45 p.m. is the first of a series of events right through the end of the year. For more information check out their website.

Kora Shrine’s FEZtival of Trees

Nov. 17 through 24

Kora Temple, 11 Sabattus St.

Lewiston

782-6831

http://www.korashriners.org/kora-feztival-of-trees

This is the 7th Annual FEZtival of Trees. Last year they had more than 60 decorated trees, along with Santa coming down from the North Pole to have his photo taken with the kids and have a look at their wish lists. There will also be a silent auction and a raffle for the many trees on display.

Lighting of the Nubble

Saturday, Nov. 24

York Beach

York

363-1040

Homepage

This is one of Maine’s traditions – the annual lighting of Cape Neddick “Nubble” lighthouse is always the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Make sure you dress warmly, as it will likely be cold out. Festivities are from 5 to 7 p.m., with the lighting held at 6. Santa will be on hand, as well as hot chocolate, cookies and a holiday sing. For more information visit their website.

Polar Express Train

Nov. 23 through Dec. 23

Portland

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

Boarding at the Ocean Gateway Pier

http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/

828-0814

Kids are encouraged to wear their PJs on this mile-and-a-half ride from the pier to the North Pole, which will include hot chocolate, cookies, a reading of the “Polar Express” story and a carol sing. It is suggested you get your tickets in advance.

Country Christmas in Bethel

Nov. 23 through Dec. 24

Bethel

http://www.bethelmaine.com/index.php?page=country-christmas-in-bethel

824-2282

This monthlong celebration of Christmas includes too many activities to mention here, but it includes horse-drawn wagon rides, crafts and wares fair, a living Nativity on the Bethel Commons, breakfast with Santa, the Jingle Bell Run and holiday tree lighting. Visit the website for dates and times of activities, then mark your calendar.


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