Make merry this season.

With the commercialism of Christmas fully upon us, New England seems to be a refuge that still retains a semblance of the season before hype and frenzy took over. Perhaps its strong attachment to the past stokes this appreciation and want of simpler pleasures.

Small, locally owned shops sell handcrafted items or imported fair trade goods, unique quality pieces and excellent fresh foods. With hometown crowds, picturesque village squares and small shops housed in historic buildings, there is time and reason aplenty to wrap oneself in the warmth of nostalgia.

A Wickford shop

A Wickford shop

Yes, of course the blaring clang of modern life also exists in this history-rich region, and it is amped up at Christmas, but it’s easier to ignore and push aside because charming retreats exist everywhere up and down the coast and inland.

Even in the region’s largest city of Boston, it is possible to step back and find those sweet nuggets that fortify the spirit of the season.

The  Very Merry Dickens Carolers, Cumberland, RI

The Very Merry Dickens Carolers, Cumberland, RI

The Little Brown Jug food shop

The Little Brown Jug food shop

That’s what’s so satisfying about this region. It has learned to embrace the ‘good stuff’ that has stood the test of time and gently fold them into the parts of time that keep rolling on.

Do yourself a favor: Go forth this holiday season and stay in touch with your inner Charlie Brown! Seek out the joys of this twinkly season that most resonate for you and your inner peace.

The following little pockets of Christmas in New England I share with you are among the Season’s best. Next year more will be added to the list–my version of what’s naughty or nice to make the season bright!

Merry Christmas!

Massachusetts (2011): Boston, Hingham, Scituate and Sandwich

Rhode Island:  Wickford (2011)