Planning your trip to Vilnius in December? Good news! Here’s our monthly guide to most of the events and cultural happenings taking place in Vilnius in December.
It’s the last month of the year and that means that the Christmas spirit truly arrived in the city. The streets are bright, the city center is buzzing with charming Christmas markets, wonderful shows, and concerts. So don’t think much, pack your things and visit magical Vilnius in December.
1st of December: Lightning of Vilnius Christmas tree
Each year the main Vilnius Christmas tree is lighted in the heart of the city, Vilnius Cathedral Square. This Christmas tree is the biggest in Lithuania and technically the most complicated one. It is 27 meters long and formed from more than 70 000 flashing light bulbs. The idea of this type of decoration born last year and it was so welcomed by residents that this year the Christmas tree looks very similar. The same proportions of Christmas tree were taken, just in 2017 new purple color light bulbs were added to composition together with snowflakes decorations. The purple color is rare in Lithuanian traditions of decorating, so it was an unexpected but welcomed decision.
The lightning of the Christmas tree will be followed by a live festive Christmas concert where a lot of Lithuanian celebrities participate.
The tree will stay until the 7th of January, so there will be plenty of time to enjoy it together with a cozy Christmas market around.
Check out how our Christmas tree looks like in 2017. It is so bright that if you visit Vilnius by plane, you should see it before you take off.
3rd of December: Beginning of Advent
Have you know that despite Advent calendars starting on December the 1st, the real begin of Advent can fall as early as November 27 or as late as December the 3rd.
And here is the explanation.
In religious tradition, Advent is the period of four Sundays before Christmas, so traditionally it starts on Sunday. Celebrating it with an Advent wreath is a popular Christian custom. One candle is lit each Sunday as a part of the Advent services. The middle or separate candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Jesus, the light of the world.
Advent means “Coming” in Latin, so for Christians, it’s the time of concentration, fasting, and preparation of the coming of Christ at Christmas.
The whole month of December: Christmas markets
Traditionally, the main Vilnius squares, Vilnius Cathedral Square and Vilnius Town Hall, will be buzzing with Christmas markets accompanied by Christmas songs, hot-wine, cinnamon smell and colorful gingerbread.
The 9th of December: The Biggest Christmas market in Litexpo
The whole day in Litexpo exhibition center will be dedicated to Christmas gifts market. More than 200 salesmen from the whole Lithuania and neighboring countries will offer their food, drink, clothes, little things for home and other cozy gifts.
The place: Litexpo Exhibition center.
The entrance is free.
From 21st to 23rd of December: Uptown Christmas: Last minute Market
Traditionally arts’ factory “Loftas” just a few days before Christmas organizes the last minute market for those who run, rush and did not find the right gifts yet. Like the organizers say, this is untraditional Christmas fair with trendiest designers and creators gifts and original Christmas soundtracks. Don’t expect to hear the “boring shopping mall Christmas music” here.
More information can be found here.
The entrance is free.
The whole month of December: Christmas Concerts
Festive December at “Vilnius Teacher’s House”
Plenty of free of charge Christmas concerts of choirs, schoolchildren, young performers and folklore ensembles from all over Lithuania will take place in “Vilnius Teacher’s House”.
The program can be found here
“Musical Christmas” at “White Piano Hall”
The concerts in white Piano Hall are special, because of the place. Located in the former Franciscan Monastery this concert hall creates the magical atmosphere for Christmas music. This year a wide range of concerts for different tastes from Classics and Romanticism to Gospel and Jazz will take place there.
Check the program here.
Buy tickets here.
Christopher’s summer festival is one of the biggest music festivals in Lithuania. A few years ago it started organizing festive winter season concerts and does it well! It is one more opportunity to feel Christmas spirit in Vilnius. This year carefully selected programs offer different genres of music from well-known films (such as Harry Potter, Amelie, Pirates of the Caribbean, Schindler’s List) to the passionate tango and brilliant musicals.
Check out the program here.
Buy tickets here
Christmas at the palace of the Grand Dukes
Finally, at the end of December, when the belly is full and the Christmas is over, the palaces of Grand Dukes of Lithuania invites you to join their magical concerts. It is a unique opportunity to listen to Christmas carols, winter songs in the historical place.
Check the program here.
17th of December: Cheerful Christmas run
Since 1976 the Vilnius Christmas run invites hundreds of male and female runners to jog around the old town in freezing temperatures. Most of the participants prepare special clothing for a race. The crowd of Santa Claus, Snowflakes and Dwarfs will rock the city center of Vilnius. For that reason, it is super fun not only to participate but also to watch the crowd! The strongest runners will run 12 km that symbolizes 12 months of the year.
Winter is cold, running is warm!
Registration and more information here
Last tips about the weather in December
If you visit Vilnius in December, have in mind that the weather is the lottery. It can be cold, rainy or snowy. Most people wear warm gloves, waterproof heavy coats, and caps.
Warm socks and good shoes is a must for comfortable walks in a chilly weather. So before your trip to Vilnius, check the weather forecast very carefully and prepare accordingly.