Christmas in Edgartown dedicated to the true spirit of the holidays

Friday night, at Donaroma's on Main Street in Edgartown, eight-month-old Charlie Vieira was overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of his first Island holiday celebration. See C1 for more holiday photos.

Holiday gifts, delectable treats, Christmas music, activities for kids, spectacular displays, and, of course, Santa — all the seasonal cheer you could possibly want will be crammed into four days this long weekend during the annual Christmas in Edgartown celebration.

And while you’re enjoying the gala weekend, you will be helping to support some worthy causes. “We’re trying this year to promote how Christmas in Edgartown helps support nonprofits,” says Annie Cooke-Ennis who, along with Janice Wooden, is co-chairing the celebration this year. “In a time where there’s so much commercialism being shoved down your throat, we want this to be a time of not only joy and celebration, but also community giving.”

This year, according to Ms. Cooke-Ennis, over 70 organizations will be benefitted by various events or activities.

All of the favorite festivities will be back this year, including Donaroma’s Evening of Enchantment, the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse, the Christmas Parade, the Great Chowder Contest, the Teddy Bear Suite at the Harbor View Hotel, the MV Preservation Trust Cocktail Party at the Daniel Fisher House, and the Minnesingers Holiday Concerts at the Whaling Church

There are also a few new items adding to the growing roster of events and activities. For one thing, this year the festivities will begin on Thursday, instead of Friday. On December 11, Morning Glory will host a Farm Party with a train village, snacks, a bonfire and more from 4 to 6 pm. Holiday parties will follow at Backwater Trading Company and the Edgartown National Bank.

The spirit of charity is very much in evidence. This year, the community can help decorate six Christmas trees which will then be donated to families in need. Six children’s art groups from around the Island will hand-make ornaments and all can help trim the trees on Saturday, from 2 to 4:30 pm.

Lighthouse Properties, which recently relocated to downtown Edgartown, will host a gift wrapping station on Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 pm. Donations will go to Habitat for Humanity.

Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary will be moving its base of operations downtown this year. On Sunday, kids and adults are welcome to stop by the Anchors to make nature ornaments and crafts with proceeds benefitting Mass Audubon Felix Neck.

Joining the growing list of activities at the Harbor View Hotel will be entertainment provided by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Brian Ditchfield and Brooke Hardman will present a short dramatic reading of Mr. Ditchfield’s original story A Child’s Christmas in Edgartown which is adapted from the classic Holiday tale by Dylan Thomas. Following the reading, the Film Festival will screen A Christmas Story.

Entertainment Cinemas will also host two movie screenings on Saturday which are free with a donation to the Food Pantry of cash or non-perishable food items.

There will be quite a few opportunities to shop for unique gifts, including at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s Jewelry Jingle, featuring second-hand costume and fine jewelry at great prices; Hospice’s Handmade from the Heart sale with some fantastic items all donated to benefit Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard; the Arts and Crafts Festival at the Edgartown School featuring the work of 40 Island artisans; and the Local Arts and Crafts Fair at the Kelley House. Also, many — if not most — of the downtown area stores will hold special sales or donate part of their proceeds to charitable organizations.

So get into the holiday spirit this coming weekend, knowing that you’ll be helping to spread cheer far and wide. Ms. Cooke-Ennis says that last year the celebration raised $50,000 for charities both on and off Island. The organizers are hoping to meet or exceed that figure with this year’s festival.

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This article by Gwen McAllister originally appeared on