For some the Christmas season begins as the Thanksgiving dishes are washed. For others, the true beginning of Christmas is Christmas Eve. For Edgartown, it’s this weekend, when the harbor town identifiable by its whaling captain houses is turned into an evergreen forest where red velvet bows are the height of fashion.

Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday. — Alison L. Mead

Sponsored by the Edgartown Board of Trade, Christmas in Edgartown spans from Dec. 8 through 11, and throughout the weekend the town will be packed with so many holiday activities that even the grinchiest of Grinches will find their hearts doubling in size. A bowl of the best chowder from the chowder contest at the Kelley House on Saturday won’t hurt either.

Instead of a tree lighting, Edgartown hosted a lighthouse lighting on Friday night. The Harbor View Hotel provided an excellent view of the Christmas lights adorning the Edgartown lighthouse, complete with holiday music from The Joanne Cassidy Band.

The Minnesingers are also in town, with a show at the Old Whaling Church, beginning at 8 p.m., and a Saturday matinee at 4 p.m.

Saturday brims with Christmas possibility, highlighted by the parade, beginning at 11 a.m. and making its way down Main street. Expect to see all the favorites from fire trucks, floats and, of course, Santa. Though Saturday is expected to be cold (low 30s predicted) there will be plenty of chances to warm up with hot chocolate at Murdick’s Fudge or holiday cocktails from the Island Cocktail at 12 North Water street. Cookies, the widely recognized treat of the season, will be in high supply. In the Mini Park, Girl Scouts will be selling cookies for those who don’t have time to bake. Those who prefer decorations only can join in the frosting fun at Rosewater Market & Takeaway and the Espresso Love cookie contest.

Santa is on his way to many events this weekend. — Alison L. Mead

People looking for a craft with less calories can enjoy wreath making at Donoroma’s on Saturday after walking through the Evening of Enchantment at the nursery on Friday night.

The Elves Faire to benefit the Plum Hill School is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Port Hunter.

Last-minute shoppers will be treated to discounts and sales at many Edgartown stores throughout the weekend, their hustle and bustle serenaded by bell ringers and carollers at every turn.

Teddy bears have already taken over the Harbor View Hotel settling comfortably into their annual Teddy Bear Suite. After visiting the cuddly bears, take to the road Sunday morning at 10 a.m. for the Teddy Bear trot, running or walking a 5K to work off any bear-bellies.

For those of adventurous spirit, a lighthouse safari out to the remote Cape Pogue lighthouse dressed in its Christmas best is offered through The Trustees of Reservations. And the Scrooge in the family may enjoy the Bah Humbug walking tour of the town offered by Vineyard History Tours.

Horns for the holidays. — Alison L. Mead

Santa will be making several appearances over the weekend, riding in the parade, sharing in brunch at The Wharf and taking pictures at the Harbor View before he flies back to the North Pole to finish holiday preparations.

As the songs have told us, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but leading up to the holidays, Edgartown might just beat home sweet home.

Visit the Complete Martha's Vineyard Calendar for a full list of events during the four-day extravaganza.