Christmas in Edgartown, 2020 style

Keeping the tradition alive, Christmas comes to Edgartown.


Borrowing the lyrics from the popular Johnny Mathis holiday classic, we really do “Need a Little Christmas Now,” and though they’ve had to scale things back considerably, Christmas in Edgartown will still be happening this year to help raise our holiday spirits.

The tagline for the celebration is “Keep the cheer here this year,” and the events will be spread out throughout the month of December

“Our No. 1 priority is giving our retailers and downtown businesses an end-of-year boost,” says Erin Ready, executive director of Visit Edgartown/Edgartown Board of Trade. “This year we’re all working together to try to find creative ways to make things 2020-friendly.”

While many of the cornerstone events, like the Chowder Contest and the Minnesingers concerts, won’t be on the agenda this year, some of the traditional favorites have been reconfigured for pandemic times. The Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt has been replaced by something called Teddies Around Town. A series of riddles will guide kids to the hiding places in local businesses where teddies can be found hibernating. According to Ready, “fuzzy prizes” will provide an incentive. Teddies Around Town was conceived by Point B Realty to replace its popular Teddy Bear Suite fundraiser.

Speaking of Teddies, the annual Teddy Bear Trot will be a “virtual” event this year, with participants invited to run or walk the 5K route on their own schedule and then provide photos and submit them with their race results. Of course, festive wear (for humans as well as canines) is encouraged. Proceeds benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club.

There will be no shortage of decorations this year, as Main Street will be dressed in its holiday best as always, and merchants are making more of an effort this Christmas season to put on a show for the window decorating contest. Fortunately, the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse will be taking place as usual. Although there will be no viewing party per se, the Harbor View Hotel will be offering a special Lighting of the Lighthouse dinner at its Bettina Restaurant.

The Harbor View will also be sponsoring Horse and Carriage Rides around town again this year on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12. For safety’s sake, each carriage ride is booked by parties of up to six people traveling together.

Adding something new to the mix, the annual spring Dog Show has been rescheduled for Dec. 12 and rechristened the Holiday Dog Show. Participants are encouraged to dress their pets in their holiday finest, stop by the Mini Park from 11 am to 1 pm to enter the contest, take a photo and continue on your merry way. The winner will be announced later in the day.

The Edgartown Board of Trade, which sponsors the festivities every year, is referring to the 2020 celebration as “magically modified Christmas in Edgartown.”

“We’re taking things that existed and finding ways to keep them meaningful,” says Ready. “Everybody should be proud that they’ve been able to maneuver what’s been thrown their way.” She adds that many local businesses have partnered this year to help come up with some creative adaptations.

For a full listing of events and activities, visit New listings will be posted every day as further events are scheduled.