Few communities have the rich legacy of historic houses that Salem, Massachusetts boasts. These homes, spanning four centuries, help define the character as well as the appearance of the city, and every year some of their owners invite visitors in to view their homes decked out in full holiday regalia, with the help of  professional decorators and florists.

Held annually the first weekend in December, Christmas in Salem inaugurates the holiday season, bringing thousands of visitors to see our homes and enjoy our city. The first Christmas house tour took place in 1979 under the combined auspices Historic Salem, Inc. and the Visiting Nurses Association of the North Shore. Historic Salem, Inc. has since assumed responsibility for the tour, and it is now the organization’s major fundraising effort.

Each year, the tour highlights properties in historic neighborhoods across Salem. In 2014, the organization explored South Salem and “La Pointe,” and the properties that either survived the Great Salem Fire of 1914 or those that were rebuilt in the grand Colonial Revival style just after. Our tour route for the 36th annual tour returned to the historic McIntire District where visitors were able to catch a glimpse of many of Salem’s grand Federal-style homes, while the 2016 tour wove through the Salem Commons. In 2017, Christmas in Salem will celebrate Salem’s vibrant downtown neighborhood and the McIntire District.

Proceeds of the tour support all aspects of HSI’s mission. Additionally, our successes in recent tours allowed HSI to begin interior renovations of the Nathaniel Bowditch House, a National Historic Landmark that serves as HSI’s headquarters.

To view highlights from the tours, please visit our Facebook page.