Somerville’s Holiday Traditions Adapt to COVID-19

Annual Christmas tree lighting and community candle lighting with Temple B’nai Brith moved online; Arts Council map can help you plan your own Illuminations Tour

SOMERVILLE, MA – This year, the City of Somerville has rethought its annual holiday traditions so that we can still celebrate as a community while protecting against COVID-19.

“Holiday traditions help to bring the community together in celebration, and in such a difficult year, they are more important than ever,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone. “But this year we all need to think about what each of us can do to stop the spread of the coronavirus. For the City, that meant finding new ways to enjoy some of our favorite traditions, and I encourage everyone to think about their holiday plans and how they can make them as safe as possible.”

Christmas tree lighting
Earlier this month, Santa made a special trip to Somerville to help Mayor Curtatone light up the Christmas tree in front of City Hall. Starting Wednesday, December 9, you can watch a video of their Christmas messages on City Cable (channel 13 on RCN and 22 on Comcast) or the City’s YouTube page, The video also features Mayor Curtatone reading “The Night Before Christmas” and festive musical performances by the Somerville High School Chorus and the Somerville Community Chorus.

Community candle lighting
The community is invited to join Temple B’nai Brith, Mayor Curtatone, and members of the City Council on the first night of Hanukkah for a virtual candle lighting. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, and will be hosted on the Zoom virtual meeting platform.

Illuminations Tour
This year, instead of taking a trolley ride to see some of Somerville’s spectacular lights displays, you can walk, bike, or drive around the city on a self-guided tour. Starting Saturday, December 12, the Somerville Arts Council will have a map on its website,, showing homes and businesses that have been decked out for the holidays. If you plan to decorate your home or business and want to be included on the map, fill out the Arts Council’s online form.

For more information and regular COVID-19 updates, visit and sign
up for City alerts at We urge you to sign up for every alert method you are
able to receive: phone call, text, email. Also follow and @SomervilleCity.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings should contact Nency Salamoun in advance at 617-625-6600 x2323 or

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