By Annie Fitzsimmons
December 10, 2011

Sleigh bells ring and snow glistens this Christmas in the red-brick New England seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The 7th Annual Vintage Christmas celebration decks the halls with garlands of fresh greens and balsam wreaths, as the town aspires to be the Christmas Capital of America. If only we could tell Faith Hill as she croons "Where Are You Christmas" that it is here, wrapped up in a bow with fiddles, harpsichords, Victorian Christmas trees, and a free trolley through the downtown area.

Vintage Christmas events continue on December weekends this year, with historic homes dressed in their finest throughout the month. The cherished Candlelight Stroll at the Strawbery Banke Museum winds through homes twinkling in white lights, with costumed performers and hundreds of luminarias. New this year, the Market Square Carolers, a chorus of middle school students, belt out tunes as they walk around town. You just may glimpse a jolly, happy soul with a corncob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal.

At the Music Hall, Portsmouth’s performing arts center with a landmark theater from 1878, live holiday shows are staged, and the Great Bay Academy of Dance presents "An 1836 Portsmouth Nutcracker." Have kids in tow? They also perform "Nutcracker in a Nutshell," a one-hour condensed highlights show. A pop-up market (remember, New Hampshire has tax-free shopping!) sells jewelry, ornaments, books, stationery, and one-of-a-kind lanterns for all your gift-giving needs.

Portsmouth has even played a significant role in the quest for Peace on Earth; President Teddy Roosevelt won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for the 1905 Portsmouth Peace Treaty negotiated here that ended the war between Russia and Japan.

For more information on the events above, visit Portsmouth’s Vintage Christmas.