Suggested Events for December 21st-27th, 2013

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families has been our family go-to place to know what’s going on in the community and find the fun. I am grateful for Sienna’s dedication to making the Valley accessible to all families and keeping us connected. Most recently we had a chance to start listening to the Hilltown Family Variety Show. We played the Hanukkah show over and over and the 4 year old and 9 year old BOTH loved it. As did I. Thank you so much!” – Liz Friedman (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Dec 14, 20 & 21

The Adventures of Santa Claus starring Santa! Paintbox Theatre issues your special invitation to a party at Santa’s Workshop. As always, there will be hilarity, song and artwork by local kids. Santa, with the help of the audience and elves, is going to bring to life three little known stories: How Santa Met His Elves?, Why Santa Climbs Down Chimneys?, and How Santa Knows Who Has Been Good and Bad? Guaranteed Christmas spirit for all. Saturday, December 14: 10:30 & 1pm Friday, December 20: 7:00pm Saturday, December 21: 10:30 & 1pm Northampton High School. A dollar from each ticket sale benefits the Northampton Education Foundation. $10 per ticket/$7.00 for groups www.BrownPaperTickets.com. More info: PaintBoxTheatre.com

Dec 21

This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will blend the Tchaikovsky score with Celtic music and original choreography by Celtic Heels Director Cara Leach. Mark your calendars for this single performance event, held on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 7pm at The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Performance Company, special Narrator John T. Allan, and live music by Adam Sweet and friends, this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $18/adults $15/seniors + students and $12 for children under 12. Tickets are available at www.academyofmusictheatre.com or by calling 413-584-9032 x105.

Dec 23-28

Celebrate the season at Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. Join the Museum during school vacation week, December 23-28, and learn about the art of the picture book as featured in the exhibitions, Wendell Minor’s America, Dancing Princesses: The Fairy Tale Art of Ruth Sanderson, and Norman Rockwell: Home for the Holidays. Starting at 1 p.m., create your own picture books, inspired by the work on view. Invent your own storylines, design characters and settings during drop-in art workshops for all ages. Visitors will also have the chance to meet the artists (Wendell Minor: December 23; Ruth Sanderson: Saturday, December 28) for special talks and book signings. The events are free with Museum admission. www.nrm.org for more details. Closed Christmas Day.

Dec 27-30

There’s tons to see and do at the Springfield Museums during the holidays! See The Magic of Gingerbread exhibit with creations by local bakers amidst a backdrop of holiday trees and colorful murals. Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus each weekend and enjoy crafts & gallery games with the Elves. Shop the award winning Museum Store and stop by the Blake House Café for their signature hot chocolate. During the school break, there’s “Wacky Week 3.0” (Dec. 27-30), with fun activities and top family performers like Gustafer Yellowgold. Admission is $15/adults, $10/seniors & college students, $8/children 3-17, and free for members and children under three. General admission is free for Springfield residents. Visit springfieldmuseums.org for information.

Dec 31

Why should the grownups get to have all of the fun? Come celebrate New Years Eve for the KIDS at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield on December 31st from 11am – 1pm. Countdown to 12NOON instead of Midnight with interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full award winning kids menu & lunch menu will be available. Noise makers will be handed out and an apple cider toast … Just for fun! Please call for reservations. 413-665-1277.

Jan

Looking for pottery classes for your child or yourself… or classes you can do together? Kathryn Roszko, a functional stoneware potter of CyclePottery in Hatfield, is offering Beginner Wheel Throwing Classes for adults and children interested in pottery. New classes begin in January: Adults Classes are on Tues. nights from 6-8:30pm with open studio time on Sun. from 12-2pm beginning Jan. 7 for 8 weeks (no class 2/18), $260. Classes for Kids ages 6+ begin Wed., Jan. 8 from 4-5:30pm for 6 weeks, $110. One day Parent/Child Workshops happen on Sun. afternoons from 2:30-4pm, $25/pair (Kathryn will glaze work). See www.cyclepottery.com for more info or call 413-219-9594. Classes have a max of 4 students, allowing for individualized from Kathryn.

30-Day Transformation for only $400. Get a month’s worth of wellness services at Window of Heaven Acupuncture & Yoga for only $400. Imagine how you would look and feel after 3 acupuncture treatments a week, one private yoga lesson a week, personalized Chinese herbal supplements, nutritional counseling and manageable lifestyle suggestions based on your individual constitution. All these services would normally cost over $1000, but now is available for $400. It is time to face up to your age-old health concerns and make a commitment to your wellbeing. Sleep better, digest better, be pain-free and have the energy you need! For more information about this deal and services we offer visit www.windowofheavenacupuncture.com or call 413-303-1246. Northampton, MA.

Have you heard about the new Central Berkshire Parent Child Home Program offered by Child Care of the Berkshires? The mission of CCB is to strengthen families through high quality child care, education, support services and advocacy. One way they accomplish this is through their Central Berkshire Parent Child Home Program, a free home visiting program. Enrollment is currently taking place for families of children, 18 mos-3 yrs, in the towns of Becket, Dalton, Hinsdale, Peru, Washington, Windsor, and Cummington for free home visits, books, and toys. For more information, please call 413- 672-2577 or email emorris@ccberkshire.org.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your afterschool class, community event, open house, auditions,homeschool program, community event, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 21st-27th, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | School Closings

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. – Christmas Episode with Guest DJ, Ashley Albert of The Jimmies. Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from 6 years of archived show.

Saturday, December 21st, 7am & 3:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: See the sun rise (7am) and set (3:30pm) at the UMass Sunwheel today.  There will be presentations that describe the significance of the solstices and equinoxes, the cause of seasons and moon phases, and the history of the Sunwheel and other calendar sites around the world.  Those who are interested in astronomy or who want to learn more about the Sunwheel, the sun, moon, and seasons would enjoy these events.  More information and directions available here.  Rocky Hill Road.  Amherst, MA.  >$

Saturday, December 21st from 11:30am-9pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Starseed Sanctuary, an interfaith healing sanctuary in the northern Berkshires, is hosting a daylong Winter Solstice celebration. Come together in community. Enjoy delicious food and enlivening company. Commune with the land. Enjoy music and song; meditation and ceremony; gift-making and gift-giving; gift-purchasing and fun-raising. 413- 743-0417. 672 Chapel Rd. Savoy, MA

Saturday, December 21st, 9:30am – HOLIDAYS/STORYTIME: Kids ages 3-5 are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum for a Holiday Tea, where there will be stories, songs, apple juice tea, and a snack.  This is a fun way for kids to spend time together and get in the holiday spirit.  Please register in advance.  413-562-6158 x5.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, December 21st, 10am-12noon – HOLIDAYS/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: The Pelham Library and Historical Society are co-sponsoring the annual Holiday Tea, featuring an appearance by Santa and a performance by That Long Tall Sword.  They will perform traditional songs, a mummers’ play, and longsword and Abbotts Bromley horn dances.  There will also be a seasonal sing-along with Roger Conant.  This event is a good way to spend time with community members during the holidays.  413-253-0657.  2 South Valley Road.  Pelham, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 10:30am – DRAWING/HOLIDAYS: Artist Paul Merklein will be at the Holyoke Public Library for a Holiday Drawing Program.  He will draw famous characters from children’s books to celebrate the holidays.  413-420-8105.  250 Chestnut Street.  Holyoke, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 10:30am & 1pm – THEATER/SANTA: Paintbox Theatre presents “The Adventures of Santa Claus” at Northampton High School.  This exciting holiday performance is fun for the whole family!  413-210-1898.  380 Elm Street.  Northampton, MA.  $

Saturday, December 21st, 10:30am-11:30am – HOLIDAYS/ARTS & CRAFTS: Kids are invited to the Storrs Library for “Donuts and Decorations.”  Come eat doughnuts and make holiday decorations!  Sign up in advance.  413-565-4182.  693 Longmeadow Street.  Longmeadow, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 11am-1pm – NATURE STUDIES/CRAFTS: Join naturalist/educator Aimee Gelinas at Tamarack Hollow to learn all about balsam fir and make simple balsam crafts, such as wreaths, door hangings,  balsam balm, and fir needle sachets.  These handmade crafts will make great holiday gifts and are an excellent way to learn more about the balsam fir.  This is an adult program, but may be appropriate for older students.  Call or email aimee@gaiaroots.com to register.  413-522-1505.  1515 Savoy Hollow Road.  Windsor, MA.  $$

Saturday, December 21st, 11am-2pm – SANTA: Wilson’s Department Store is one of only a handful of family-owned department stores left in the country.  This downtown Greenfield landmark has been in the same location since it first opened in 1882, under the name “The Boston Store.”  This is Wilson’s 131st year of holiday shopping, and you can celebrate and get in the holiday spirit by coming to the store and meeting Santa.  Celebrate Christmas and this department store tradition at this unique family-owned store!  413-774-4326.  258 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 12noon – ARTS & CRAFTS: Are you looking to learn a new skill or discover a new hobby?  Linda Balk, of Balky Farm, is leading a Needle Felting Workshop at the Amherst Winter Market, which takes place at Amherst Regional Middle School.  At this workshop, you can learn basic felting techniques to create ornaments and wool balls.  Best for older students.  Pre-registration is required.  More info here.  413-259-3149.  170 Chestnut Street.  Amherst, MA.  $$

Saturday, December 21st, 12noon-2pm – HOLIDAYS: Come to the East Springfield Branch Library to drink hot chocolate and decorate gingerbread cookies.  Family members of all ages are invited to spend time together at the library doing this fun holiday activity.  413-263-6840.  21 Osborne Terrace.  Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 1pm – BANNED BOOKS/DRAWING: Paul Merklein will be at the Holyoke Public Library today to see artist Paul Merklein draw famous characters from popular banned books.  This program is for teens and tweens.  413-420-8105.  250 Chestnut Street.  Holyoke, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 1:30pm – LITERACY: The Westfield Athenaeum is hosting a Read to Rover event for kids ages 3-9.  Young readers can practice reading stories aloud to specially-trained dogs, who offer non-judgmental, non-threatening attention.  This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to improve their reading skills and their confidence in reading aloud.  Please register in advance.  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, December 21st, 1:30pm-3:30pm – POETRY/HOLIDAYS: Local poets will be at the Springfield Central Library for “Poems of the Season: A Celebration of Winter and its Holidays.”  This family-friendly, bilingual (English and Spanish) event features poets sharing their poems about winter and the holidays, and is a great way to celebrate both winter and poetry.  Poets are welcome to call the library to register to read their work aloud.  413-263-6828 x213.  220 State Street.  Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 2pm – STORYTIME: Come to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for a special storytime with Deborah Freedman, author/illustrator of Blue Chicken and The Story of Fish and Snail.  She will read aloud from her books then offer a chance for audience members to help write Fish and Snail’s next adventure!  Book signing to follow.  Free with museum admission.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  $

Saturday, December 21st, 2pm – TEEN YOGA: The Westfield Yoga Center and the Westfield Athenaeum are teaming up to offer an introductory teen yoga class at the library for kids in grades 6-12.  The Yoga Center focuses on Hatha yoga, which uses warm-ups, physical postures, and breathing exercises in order to bring about union of body, mind, and spirit.  Please register in advance.  413-562-6158 x5.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, December 21st, 2pm & 7:30pm – THEATER/RADIO: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play!  The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more.  This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas!  More information and a full list of showtimes can be found here.  413-637-3353.  70 Kemble Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$-$$$

Saturday, December 21st, 2pm & 8pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year!  The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers.  The whole family will enjoy this holiday production.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-747-7797.  131 Elm Street.  West Springfield, MA.  $$

Saturday, December 21st, 3pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Western Gateway Heritage State Park is offering an educational astronomy lecture on the Winter Solstice.  413-663-6312.  115 State Street, Building #4.  North Adams, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 3-4:30pm: CAROLING: Start a new family tradition and take the kids to go Christmas Caroling in a horse drawn wagon with Blue Star Equiculture Horse Rescue. After your ride, warm up with hot cider and refreshments and visit their rescue horses. 413-289-9787. 3090 Palmer Street Rte 181. Palmer, MA ($)

Saturday, December 21st, 4pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Join the Guthrie Center at the old Trinity Church for Circle of Sound – A Global Sound Meditation in Honor of the Winter Solstice.  Bring a drum, bowl, or your voice and come meditate for “joy, harmony, acceptance, unity, and compassion for all beings on Mother Earth.”  Please RSVP.  413-528-1955.  2 Van Deusenville Road.  Great Barrington, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 4pm-6pm -WINTER SOLSTICE: Celebrate the Winter Solstice at Bartholomew’s Cobble.  Hang out around the campfire, enjoy solstice stories and songs, and eat marshmallows and hot chocolate.  Spend time with family and friends while welcoming the winter season.  Free with admission.  Please RSVP.  413-229-8600.  105 Weatogue Road.  Sheffield, MA.  >$

Saturday, December 21st, 4pm-6pm – CAROLING: Take part in Creative Community Caroling in South Deerfield. Meet at the Deerfield Arts Bank, then travel all over town singing Christmas classics.  Candles and song books will be provided.  3 Sugarloaf Street.  South Deerfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21st, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train!  The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express!  Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs until Christmas Eve.  You can find more information here.  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  >$

Saturday, December 21st, 4pm-9pm - CHRISTMAS/HISTORY: Take a step back in time this holiday season at Sturbridge Village, where you can celebrate “Christmas by Candlelight.”  This exciting event happens every weekend leading up to Christmas, and features sleigh rides, a recreation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, a gingerbread house contest,  Christmas traditions, carolers, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, a puppet show, music, dancing, and much more.  This event allows visitors to experience the Christmas holiday as it was in the past in colonial New England.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  $$$

Saturday, December 21st, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.  More information and a schedule available here.  Runs until the New Year.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  $$

Saturday, December 21st, 6pm-8:30pm - WINTER SOLSTICE: Celebrate the shortest day of the year at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary!  This annual winter solstice celebration features music, a bonfire, hot drinks, and fun for all ages.  Please bring a nonperishable food item for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.  413-584-3009.  127 Combs Road.  Easthampton, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, December 21st, 6pm-9pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/HIKING: Enjoy a headlamp hike to celebrate the Winter Solstice at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center.  Hike Northfield’s ski trails on the longest night of the year and share solstice facts and quotes about the night.  There will also be a campfire, cider, and snacks.  If it is snowy, you must wear snowshoes.  The hike is 1.5 miles with a 300 foot elevation gain.  Ages 11 and up.  Pre-registration required.  800-859-2960.  99 Millers Falls Road.  Northfield, MA.  (FREE)

Saturday, December 21st, 7pm - THE NUTCRACKER: This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will blend the Tchaikovsky score with Celtic music and original choreography by Celtic Heels Director Cara Leach at  The Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032 x105. Northampton, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 21st, 7pm – THEATER/CHRISTMAS: Celebrate Christmas at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s performance of A Christmas Carol.  This classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge will take you back in time to Victorian England and entertain you with holiday music.  All ages will enjoy this holiday performance.  Show takes place at the Colonial Theatre.  413-997-4444.  111 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  $$$

Saturday, December 21st, 7pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: The Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra & Chorus will perform their Annual Family Holiday Concert at Greenfield High School.  All Greenfield Public School choirs will be performing making this a fun event for community members of all ages.  The concert will include both classical and popular favorites, and there will be musical puzzles and games for younger audience members.  More information on this exciting holiday performance can be found here.  413-772-1300.  141 Davis Street.  Greenfield, MA.  $$

Saturday, December 21st, 7:30pm – CHRISTMAS CONCERT: The Berkshire Lyrics Chorus and the Blafield Children’s Chorus come together tonight for “Making Spirits Bright,” a Christmas concert at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.  The featured work at this concert will be Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.”  This Christmas concert is appropriate for all ages and is a great holiday event for the whole family.  413-499-0258.  67 East Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  $$

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Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see 6 years of archived shows.

Sunday, December 22nd, 1pm-3pm – SANTA: Wilson’s Department Store is one of only a handful of family-owned department stores left in the country.  This downtown Greenfield landmark has been in the same location since it first opened in 1882, under the name “The Boston Store.”  This is Wilson’s 131st year of holiday shopping, and you can celebrate and get in the holiday spirit by coming to the store and meeting Santa.  Celebrate Christmas and this department store tradition at this unique family-owned store!  413-774-4326.  258 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.

Sunday, December 22nd, 1pm-4pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Are you interested in learning about animal tracking?  Join Earthwork Programs for an animal tracking workshop.  You can learn to identify tracks and sign, discover local wildlife, learn about animal behavior and local ecology, and explore your understanding and appreciation for the natural world.  This workshop is good for the whole family.  More information can be found here and registration is required.  413-340-1161.  Conway, MA.  $$$

Sunday, December 22nd, 2pm – FILM: Celebrate the shortest day of the year all cozy indoors with a short film festival at the Wilbraham Public Library!  Come to the library to watch a variety of short films.  Best for older students interested in film.  413-596-6141.  25 Crane Park Drive.  Wilbraham, MA.

Sunday, December 22nd, 2pm – THEATER/RADIO: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play!  The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more.  This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas!  More information and a full list of showtimes can be found here.  413-637-3353.  70 Kemble Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$-$$$

Sunday, December 22nd, 2pm – THEATER/CHRISTMAS: Celebrate Christmas at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s performance of A Christmas Carol.  This classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge will take you back in time to Victorian England and entertain you with holiday music.  All ages will enjoy this holiday performance.  Show takes place at the Colonial Theatre.  413-997-4444.  111 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  $$$

Sunday, December 22nd, 2pm & 7pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year!  The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers.  The whole family will enjoy this holiday production.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-747-7797.  131 Elm Street.  West Springfield, MA.  $$

Sunday, December 22nd, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train!  The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express!  Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs until Christmas Eve.  You can find more information here.  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  >$

Sunday, December 22nd, 4pm-9pm – CHRISTMAS/HISTORY: Take a step back in time this holiday season at Sturbridge Village, where you can celebrate “Christmas by Candlelight.”  This exciting event happens every weekend leading up to Christmas, and features sleigh rides, a recreation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, a gingerbread house contest,  Christmas traditions, carolers, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, a puppet show, music, dancing, and much more.  This event allows visitors to experience the Christmas holiday as it was in the past in colonial New England.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  $$$

Sunday, December 22nd, 5pm-7pm – HOLIDAY LUMINARIUM: Hatfield’s annual Luminarium will include a special holiday exhibit at the Hatfield Historical Museum, “The Elsa Slattery Santa Letters (1898-1904): From the North Pole to North Hatfield and Northampton.”  On view from 5-6pm. Holiday storytime at the Hatfield Public Library happens at the same time with caroling at Town Hall at 6pm.  Bell & Choral Concert at the Congregational Church begins at 6:45pm. Hatfield, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 22nd, 5pm-9pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.  More information and a schedule available here.  Runs until the New Year.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  $$

Sunday, December 22nd, 6pm – COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: Did you know that Easthampton is thought to be the inspiration for Dr. Seuss’s Whoville, the town in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?” Bundle up the kids and meet at the town Christmas tree at Easthampton Center for a “Whoville Flash Mob!” Sing with neighbors and friends like the Whos in Whoville, spending time with community members to celebrate the holidays.  Please bring an unwrapped toy under $10 to donate to the Easthampton Community Center, who will distribute the gifts to local families in need.  Downtown.  Easthampton, MA.

Sunday, December 22nd, 7pm – CHRISTMAS/FILM: The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is screening It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).  This classic Christmas film will delight all ages and get everyone in the Christmas spirit!  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

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Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Monday, December 23rd, 1pm-4pm – PICTURE BOOKS: There will be a drop-in picture book activity at the Norman Rockwell Museum,  Kids can come make up characters and design their own storylines, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display at the museum.  Kids can even come dressed as princes and princesses when they come to make their picture books.  Free with museum admission.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  $

Monday, December 23rd, 3pm-8pm – FAMILY MOVIE/HOLIDAYS: The Whately Library is having a Family Holiday Movie Marathon to get the whole family in the holiday spirit!  Movies are TBA, but all are rated PG.  For more information, call the library.  413-665-2170.  202 Chestnut Plain Road.  Whately, MA.

Monday, December 23rd, 4pm-6pm – LEGOS: Kids can come have fun with Legos and Duplos today at the East Longmeadow Public Library’s “Legos Block Party!”  Stop by and use your imagination to create a Lego masterpiece!  413-525-5400 x1511.  60 Center Square.  East Longmeadow, MA.

Monday, December 23rd, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train!  The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express!  Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs until Christmas Eve.  You can find more information here.  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  >$

Monday, December 23rd, 6pm - FAMILY MOVIE: The Sunderland Library is screening Despicable Me 2 (2013; rated PG)!  This fun kids’ movie will entertain all ages.  413-665-2642.  20 School Street.  Sunderland, MA.  (FREE)

Monday, December 23rd, 7pm – THEATER/HOLIDAYS: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year!  The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers.  The whole family will enjoy this holiday production.  Tickets can be purchased in advance.  413-747-7797.  131 Elm Street.  West Springfield, MA.  $$

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Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Tuesday, December 24th, 10am-2pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train!  The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express!  Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs until Christmas Eve.  You can find more information here.  413-584-5457.  300 North Main Street.  Florence, MA.  >$

Tuesday, December 24th, 10am-2pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Berkshire Museum presents the 29th annual Festival of Trees 2013: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow featuring more than 100 dazzling holiday trees sponsored by local businesses, schools, and community organizations and decorated to express the nostalgia of years past, the excitement of today’s hustle-bustle lifestyle, and the endless possibilities of the future. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA ($)

Tuesday, December 24th, 11am-1pm – SANTA: Wilson’s Department Store is one of only a handful of family-owned department stores left in the country.  This downtown Greenfield landmark has been in the same location since it first opened in 1882, under the name “The Boston Store.”  This is Wilson’s 131st year of holiday shopping, and you can celebrate and get in the holiday spirit by coming to the store and meeting Santa.  Celebrate Christmas and this department store tradition at this unique family-owned store!  413-774-4326.  258 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.

Tuesday, December 24th, 1pm-4pm - PICTURE BOOKS: There will be a drop-in picture book activity at the Norman Rockwell Museum today!  Kids can come make up characters and design their own storylines, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display at the museum.  Kids can even come dressed as princes and princesses when they come to make their picture books.  Free with museum admission.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  $

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Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS

  Ice Skating in Western MA

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Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Thursday, December 26th, 10am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: MASS MoCA’s December Break for Art is the “One-Minute Art-Making Festival” in their Kidspace.  Kids can exercise their creativity with several different projects – kids make 15 different projects for 60 seconds each, making this a fun, fast-paced art-making event.  Please reserve your space in advance.  413-662-2111 x1.  1040 MASS MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  >$

Thursday, December 26th, 11am-12noon – CHILDREN’S CONCERT: Join Berkshire South Regional Community Center for a post-holiday family concert with Terry A La Berry and Friends!  The concert will get you singing and dancing and having fun!  413-528-2810.  15 Crissey Road.  Great Barrington, MA.

Thursday, December 26th, 1pm-4pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: There will be a drop-in picture book activity at the Norman Rockwell Museum today!  Kids can come make up characters and design their own storylines, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display at the museum.  Kids can even come dressed as princes and princesses when they come to make their picture books.  Free with museum admission.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  $

Thursday, December 26th, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.  More information and a schedule available here.  Runs until the New Year.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  $$

Thursday, December 26th, 7:30pm - THEATER/RADIO: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play!  The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more.  This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas!  More information and a full list of showtimes can be found here.  413-637-3353.  70 Kemble Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$-$$$

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Friday, December 27th, 2013

Friday, December 27th, 1-5pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: We had a great time making placemats last week to donate to Stone Soup Café in Greenfield during the Hilltown Families community service evening, “A Serving of Art.” If you missed this community-service project, there will be another one this afternoon. Drop in any time to The Art Garden between 1-5pm to paint canvas placemats to donate to Stone Soup Cafe, or an elder in your community. This a free event and all supplies are provided. 14 Depot Street. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE) – DIRECTIONS

Friday, December 27th, 10am – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: MASS MoCA’s December Break for Art is the “One-Minute Art-Making Festival” in their Kidspace.  Kids can exercise their creativity with several different projects – kids make 15 different projects for 60 seconds each, making this a fun, fast-paced art-making event.  Please reserve your space in advance.  413-662-2111 x1.  1040 MASS MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  >$

Friday, December 27th, 10am-10:50am – ICE SKATING: The West Springfield Park and Recreation Department is holding a Free Family Skate at Amelia Park Ice Arena today.  West Springfield families can come pick up a voucher at the Park and Rec office anytime prior to the event.  Bring your own skates or rent a pair for $2.  More information here.  413-263-3284.  21 South Broad Street.  Westfield, MA.  >$

Friday, December 27th, 11am – FAMILY MOVIE: The Sunderland Library is screening Planes (2013; rated PG)!  This fun kids’ movie will entertain all ages.  413-665-2642.  20 School Street.  Sunderland, MA.  (FREE)

Friday, December 27th, 11am & 1pm – PUPPET SHOW: CactusHead Puppets will perform Little Red Riding Hood at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  They will tell this classic story using both hand and shadow puppets.  Call ahead or stop by the Museum to purchase tickets for this fun-filled storytelling performance.  413-658-1126.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  >$

Friday, December 27th, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun!  Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display.  More information and a schedule available here.  Runs until the New Year.  Sumner Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  $$

Friday, December 27th, 11am-1pm – CRAFTS: Stop by the Monson Free Library to try out their button maker and enjoy a homemade cupcake!  413-267-3866.  2 High Street.  Monson, MA.

Friday, December 27th, 1pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: As part of School Vacation Week, the Springfield Museums presents a special performance by Lucky Bob!  He will perform magic tricks, juggling, and comedy to entertain all ages.  More information and other school vacation events/activities can be found here.  Free with museum admission.  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  $$

Friday, December 27th, 1pm – CHRISTMAS/STORYTIME: All ages are invited to the Berkshire Athenaeum for Wilton Wilberry’s Magical Christmas Wishing Well!  The event features Christmas music and storytelling by A. Mifflin Lowe.  413-499-9480 x5.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

Friday, December 27th, 1pm-4pm – PICTURE BOOKS: There will be a drop-in picture book activity at the Norman Rockwell Museum today!  Kids can come make up characters and design their own storylines, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display at the museum.  Kids can even come dressed as princes and princesses when they come to make their picture books.  Free with museum admission.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  $

Friday, December 27th, 3:30pm – MARIONETTE SHOW: Come to Ventfort Hall for refreshments and a Cinderella Marionette Show with Carl Sprague.  All ages will enjoy this classic story acted out with marionettes.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$

Friday, December 27th, 5pm - FAMILY MOVIE: The Polar Express (2004; rated PG), based Chris Van Allsburg’s book of the same name, is about a boy who boards a magical train headed for the North Pole.  The film is known for its use of live action performance capture technique, which used the movements of live actors and turned these into 3D animation.  The movie is a great Christmas story for kids of all ages, so come to Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and enjoy the screening of this fun holiday film!  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  $

Friday, December 27th, 7pm – PERFORMANCE: Come to Ventfort Hall for tea and a dramatic reading of “The Abduction of Mona Lisa.”  Older students and adults will enjoy this dramatic performance.  413-637-3206.  104 Walker Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$

Friday, December 27th, 7pm - THEATER/CHRISTMAS: Celebrate Christmas at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s performance of A Christmas Carol.  This classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge will take you back in time to Victorian England and entertain you with holiday music.  All ages will enjoy this holiday performance.  Show takes place at the Colonial Theatre.  413-997-4444.  111 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  $$$

Friday, December 27th, 7:30pm - THEATER/RADIO: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play!  The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more.  This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas!  More information and a full list of showtimes can be found here.  413-637-3353.  70 Kemble Street.  Lenox, MA.  $$-$$$

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