Free horse-drawn hayrides kick off the 20th annual Christmas in the Square celebration in Hingham, Mass. Starting this Saturday and running through December 23, the hayrides take shoppers through Hingham’s historic downtown.
When people in New England say something is “historic,” they are not talking about the 1960s. The town, founded by a handful of people from Hingham, England, dates back to 1633 — at least that is the best year anybody has come up with yet for its origins. Records were a little sketchy back in the 17th century.
In addition to the hayrides, Christmas in Hingham offers caroling on the steps of St. Paul’s Church, on Dec. 1, also the day Santa arrives on a fire truck and the day the Festival of Trees and Gingerbread Houses opens at the Old Derby Academy, which was founded in 1784 and is the oldest co-educational school in the country. The next day, the Merrie Market offers homemade baked goods, wreaths and tree ornaments made by parishioners of the Old Ship Parish House of the Old Ship Church. The latter is the oldest wooden structure in the United States in continuous use as a house of worship.
Kids can make crafts for free at the Sherwin Williams store, and Talbots sponsors children’s storybook hour complete with juice and cookies. Victorian carolers sing on the square, and the Hingham Symphony Orchestra performs.
All the while, downtown merchants serve refreshments and provide in-store entertainment. Hingham is 15 miles southeast of Boston.