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Invitation Nights Draw Crowds for Local Holiday Shopping

By Emily Cowan, Newburyport.Com Correspondent

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Newburyport-area residents seeking the ultimate holiday shopping experience tend to bypass the malls in favor of Invitation Nights – a series of shop-local events in which downtown retailers stay open late and spread the holiday cheer by offering discounts and light refreshments. Traditionally held in the first half of December, these Invitation Nights draw spirited crowds as shoppers enjoy all the merchant hospitality, live entertainment, and shopping and dining their downtown area has to offer.

In Newburyport, Invitation Nights are typically scheduled on the first two (and sometimes three) Friday evenings in December. Beautiful and festive holiday decorations line the streets of downtown from Merrimac Place and Horton’s Yard to the Tannery, including the main thoroughfares of State and Pleasant Streets. You’re likely to see plenty of tired holiday-shopping enthusiasts taking a break in Market Square, resting on the benches ringing the city’s giant Christmas tree.

The Custom House Maritime Museum frequently hosts an Invitation Night Open House, celebrating the Clipper City’s rich maritime heritage with museum gift shop specials, live musical performances, and “warm and historic holiday cheer.”

Parents who don’t want to miss out on the wine and hors d’oeuvres at their favorite stores have a unique and cost-effective option for childcare during these Invitation Nights. For the past few years, Newburyport Youth Services has seized the opportunity to entertain the kiddos while mom and dad do the family’s holiday shopping. Children in grades 1 through 5 are invited to City Hall Auditorium on Pleasant Street for the screening of a special holiday movie, popcorn and drinks included. For more information, call Newburyport Youth Services at 978-465-4434.

Newburyport Invitation Nights are presented by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Check the Newburyport.com Events Calendar for the specific days and times.

In Amesbury, Invitation Nights are typically scheduled for Thursday evenings in December, when downtown merchants greet patrons with refreshments, snacks, and special pricing on some of their merchandise. These events are hosted by the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce & Industrial Foundation.

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