The holidays are when Provincetown transforms into Tinsel Town, when the Bears come out of hibernation, and Broadway stars like Christine Ebersole come to town to welcome the winter. It’s a joyous time in this LGBTQ+ yuletide haven on Cape Cod, as the festive season ushers in celebrations and parties. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening:

The lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree in Lopes Square on November 26, 2022 has been an annual Provincetown tradition since 2004. That’s when artist Julian Popko conceived of this sculptural “tree” made from over 100 stacked lobster pots adorned with ribbons and lights, celebrating the resident fishing community.

The Canteen’s Holiday Market and Winter Lodge is a month-long pop-up celebration offering a place to gather, warm up, and enjoy holiday foods and drinks. It’s an opportunity to buy handcrafted goods from local artisans and catch live music and performances. The Winter Lodge is open evenings, Fridays through Sundays, and is a chalet-style pop-up restaurant featuring three heated, holiday-themed dining rooms serving classic European winter dishes like homemade pretzels, schnitzel, potato pancakes, and grilled sausages. Open from the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend and on weekends through January 2.

The holidays go into overdrive with the 25th-anniversary edition of Holly Folly, which runs all weekend from December 2 to December 4, 2022. The centerpiece will be Hung With Care: A Queer Holiday Burlesque Spectacular, featuring performances from premier cabaret artists. Expect burlesque, dance, circus acts, drag, and singing. Look for the Holly Folly Shop Hop and Stroll as well as the Jingle Bell Run & Champagne Brunch, a Santa run in bathing suits. There will be dance parties, sing-alongs, and drag bingo.

The festive spirit continues the following weekend with the Outer Cape Chorale singing “Songs to Light the Way” at Provincetown Town Hall on December 9th and 10th.

At the end of December, revelers usher in the New Year in spectacular fashion at First Light, which runs from December 30, 2022 to January 1, 2023. There are holiday parties galore and highlights such as the Light Bright Bike Ride on New Year’s Eve.

Christine Ebersole. Courtesy Provincetown Business Guild.

The entertainment highlight of First Light will be a New Year’s Eve performance by the legendary two-time Tony Winner Christine Ebersole, making her Provincetown debut with Billy Stritch at the piano. It’s part of the Broadway@Town Hall concert series, and there’s one show only on Saturday, December 31, at 7 PM. Presented by Mark Cortale, Christine Ebersole is currently co-starring on Chuck Lorre’s hit sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola for CBS. She starred most recently on Broadway in War Paint in her Tony-nominated role as Elizabeth Arden, opposite fellow Tony nominee Patti LuPone as Helena Rubinstein.

On New Years’ Day, Provincetown will celebrate the sixth annual Polar Bear Plunge. On that day, an intrepid group of people will gather in the Johnson Street parking lot, collect T-shirts, listen to some carefully selected music spun by our DJ, Chris Racine, and learn about the work of the Center for Coastal Studies. At noon, weather permitting, they will run, splash and plunge into the waters of Provincetown Harbor. This event, co-sponsored by the Harbor Lounge, Yolqueria, Mezzeterranean, and 8 Dyer Hotel, will feature warm-up cocktails and chili at Harbor Lounge. Registration this year is $60 and includes a t-shirt and a donation to the Center for Coastal Studies.

The weekend’s grand finale is the fantastic annual fireworks celebration on New Year’s Day at dusk, most easily watched from MacMillan Pier.

For holiday lodging, it’s wise to book soon. Close to two dozen inns and guesthouses will remain open through the festive season, including Pilgrim House, Aerie House & Beach Club, Anchor Inn Beach HouseRevere Guesthouse, and the Land’s End Inn.

This year’s festivities are one of the most sparkling and glorious ways to welcome 2023 in one of the most tinselly towns on the planet. For more on the holiday season in Provincetown, visit Provincetown Tourism.