Holiday Events for Families in Western MA: 2015

Find out about family holiday events in Western MA!
We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to
check back each week!

Friday, November 27th — Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
Friday, December 4th — Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Friday, December 11th — Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Friday, December 18th — Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Berkshire CountyFranklin CountyHampden CountyHampshire County

Tree LightingSantaHoliday StrollsMYO GiftsCaroling/Choral MusicHanukkahChristmasKwanzaaWinter Solstice

Suggest Event


Friday, November 27th — Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Friday, November 27, 9:30am-5pm — COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY/ART
Find unique gifts at Old Sturbridge Village‘s Winter Market. More than 30 juried craft vendors offer pottery, paper goods, arts and crafts, treats for your pets, ornaments, gourmet foods, artisan jewelry, and gorgeous home accessories. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, <$, MARKET/SALE)

Friday, November 27, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm — HOLIDAY/CULINARY ARTS/SCIENCE
Celebrate the season with a day of holiday activities at the Springfield Museums. This year’s gingerbread exhibition and competition is titled “Seussian Holiday” and features creations by bakeries, restaurants, schools, and area residents, on display until January 3. Vote for your favorite and find out who wins at 4pm. At 2pm, enjoy A Christmas Carol, presented by The Puppet People, who use a variety of puppets, lavish sets, and holiday music. From 3pm-4:30pm, kids can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy refreshments. Also, TEN31’s living red poinsettia sculpture, music by the Springfield Sci-Tech Band, drop-in art activities, family science adventures, planetarium shows (additional fee), gingerbread ornament-making. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm – AVIATION/HOLIDAYS
The New England Air Museum is holding their annual Santa visit and behind-the-scenes event the day after Thanksgiving. Come to the museum to meet Santa and pose for photos with him in front of some historic aircraft. Visitors can also tour the museum behind-the-scenes – check out the research library collection, restoration projects, and tons of vintage aircraft. Great for all ages, especially those interested in aviation! 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. ($-$$)

Friday, November 27, 11am — HOLIDAY/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Since 1991, the Spirit of Springfield has helped welcome Santa Claus to town with The Parade of the Big Balloons. Springfield’s own 75-foot inflatable “Cat in the Hat,” a few of his inflatable friends, bands, and colorful contingents will promenade down Main Street, entertaining young and old alike. 413-733-3800. Main Street from Lyman Street to Locust Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 5:30pm-7:30pm — FINE ART & CRAFT
The Good Purpose Gallery, which works to integrate young adults with autism and other learning differences into their communities and to enrich their lives through the arts and creativity, celebrates the holidays with a special exhibit featuring a diverse array of artwork and crafts from local artists. This year’s show, Holiday Glow, opens with a festive evening of music, food, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet the artists! The work of Terry Wise, a textile designer, and Susan Himmel, who works in paints and mixed media, will be featured. This show will run through January 12, 2016. 40 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 28, 9:30am-12:30pm — UPCYCLING/CRAFTS
Turn trash into treasure when you make your own upcycled ornament, using yarn and CDs, during Stop ‘n’ Craft at the Emily Williston Memorial Library. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 28, 9:30am-5pm — COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY/ART
Find unique gifts at Old Sturbridge Village‘s Winter Market. More than 30 juried craft vendors offer pottery, paper goods, arts and crafts, treats for your pets, ornaments, gourmet foods, artisan jewelry, and gorgeous home accessories. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, <$, MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, November 28, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 28, 10:30am-4pm — HOLIDAY/HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Step back in time at the Open House & Holiday Shop at Naumkeag, a Gilded-Age “cottage” — dressed out for the holidays. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a rare surviving example of a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. At its true heart a family home, Naumkeag was a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse – through their eyes – of a brief and now-vanished period of American history. 413-298-8138. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, $ for Non-members)

Sunday, November 29, 9:30am-5pm — COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY/ART
Find unique gifts at Old Sturbridge Village‘s Winter Market. More than 30 juried craft vendors offer pottery, paper goods, arts and crafts, treats for your pets, ornaments, gourmet foods, artisan jewelry, and gorgeous home accessories. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, <$, MARKET/SALE)

Sunday, November 29, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 29, 10:30am-4pm — HOLIDAY/HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Step back in time at the Open House & Holiday Shop at Naumkeag, a Gilded-Age “cottage” — dressed out for the holidays. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a rare surviving example of a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. At its true heart a family home, Naumkeag was a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse – through their eyes – of a brief and now-vanished period of American history. 413-298-8138. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, $ for Non-members)

Sunday, November 29, 11:30am-2pm — HOLIDAY FESTIVAL & PERFORMING ARTS
The Berkshire Theatre Group‘s Children’s Holiday Extravaganza is a lively event that includes performances by the dysFUNK Dance Crew, Eric the Illusionist, Roger the Jester, and carolers. In the theatre’s lobby, children can use a fun photo booth, meet a clown, get their faces painted, or enjoy a snack. A Santa character will give out children’s books, too! Folks are invited to bring non-perishable food items for donation to local food pantries, whose needs increase during holiday mealtimes. Advance ticket reservation required, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 29, 2pm — HOLIDAY CHORAL CONCERT/INTERGENERATIONALITY
The Berkshire Hills Chorus of the Sweet Adelines has sung barbershop music for 45 years. With members from throughout Berkshire County, ranging in age from 18-70, the group performs the close, four-part, a cappella music that is characteristic of this American genre that originated in the 1800s. Enjoy their holiday concert at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Monday, November 30, 12:30pm-3pm — MYO HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
Wreaths were used by various ancient cultures to symbolize success, eternal life, and victory. In more modern times, a wreath on the front door is a sign of welcome and generosity during the holiday season. Add a personal touch to your holiday decorations by adorning your own wreath or creating a table arrangement at the Storrs Library. The Longmeadow Gardeners will show you how. Bring your own wreath or container. Other materials provided. Call to register. 413-565-4181, ext. 1620. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (<$)

Monday, November 30, 5pm-8pm — HANDMADE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Learn to make beautiful natural wreaths, seasonal symbols of welcome, and help decorate the doorways of Historic Deerfield. Bring your creativity, enthusiasm, and an extra pair of pruning shears. No experience required. Supplies and refreshments provided. 413-775-7179. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 1, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS/COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute through December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Saturday, December 5, 10:30am — HOLIDAY/CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses first appeared in Germany in the early 1800s, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own fairy tale abodes out of graham crackers, white icing, assorted candy, and a milk carton base at the Westhampton Public Library. Please bring a bag of candy for decorating and sharing; all other supplies provided. Sign up in advance. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 1, 1pm-4pm — HOLIDAY/HANDMADE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Learn to make beautiful natural wreaths, seasonal symbols of welcome, and help decorate the doorways of Historic Deerfield. Bring your creativity, enthusiasm, and an extra pair of pruning shears. No experience required. Supplies and refreshments provided. 413-775-7179. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 1, 10am-4pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Ventfort Hall, a Gilded-Age “cottage,” will be decorated for the holidays throughout the month of December. Built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J.P. Morgan, this Jacobean Revival-style mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 2, 10am-5pm — NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Any time during library hours this holiday season, shop the “Meekins Market” for everyone on your list and support the Meekins Library and sustainability in the process. This “indoor tag sale” has something for everyone, at reasonable prices (most items are between 25 cents and 10 dollars). Find gently used stuffed animals, toys and games, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, holiday items, and of course books. Kids can shop for parents, teachers, and friends without breaking the (piggy) bank! Open during library hours through December 19. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (SALE)

Wednesday, December 2, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS/COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute through December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Thursday, December 3, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS/COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute through December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Thursday, December 3, 5:30pm — CAROLING
The West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s 28th annual Caroling on the Green invites everyone to join in a community sing-along, led by local artists and a children’s choir. Singing begins at 5:45pm, but be sure to arrive by 5:30pm to get your songbooks! This is an outdoor event, so dress warmly. 413-781-3020. Elm Street Gazebo, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, December 4th — Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Friday, December 4, 3pm-6:30pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/HOLIDAY
Don’t miss the 40th year of the lighting of the Merry Maple! Highlights include an open house at the fire station, hayrides by Muddy Brook Farms, a kids’ craft room, the Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus, and the UMass Marching Band. Sponsored by the Amherst Area Chamber and Amherst Business Improvement District. Cider doughnuts and hot apple cider for sale. 413-253-0700. Downtown Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Friday, December 4, 5pm — CHRISTMAS STORYTELLING
As part of the annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas event, everyone is invited to listen to classic holiday stories in a read-aloud presented by the Stockbridge Library. 413-298-5501. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6pm — CHRISTMAS/TREE-LIGHTING
Kick off the Lenox Chamber of Commerce‘s “Making Spirits Bright” celebration with the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck. Followed by refreshments and gift giving at the Lenox Community Center. 413-637-3646. Lilac Park, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6:30pm-7:45pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Kick off Williamstown’s Holiday Walk Weekend with an evening of festive sounds of the season, as Williams College alumnus Jonathan Dely leads a jazz ensemble performing a wide selection of holiday favorites at the Clark Art Institute. Dely is currently attending the Manhattan School of Music for a master’s degree in jazz trumpet performance. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College in 2015. Reservations required. 413-458-0524. Lower Level, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Friday, December 4, 6:30pm-8:30pm — HOLIDAY DANCE/ALL ABILITIES
Hit the dance floor and show off your moves as you celebrate the season in an inclusive environment at Whole Children and Milestones‘ Annual Holiday Dance. There will be quieter activities, such as Pokemon, Minecraft, and crafts, for those who prefer a more subdued celebration. Younger kids and their parents can enjoy the creative movement room. 413-585-8010. 41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA.

Friday, December 4, 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/DANCE/CONCERT
Jazz great Duke Ellington recorded his version of The Nutcracker Suite in 1960. The “University Dancers with Jazz Ensemble I” will mark the 35th anniversary of the recording with a performance choreographed by dance alumni at the UMass Fine Arts Center. Also works by Thomas Vacanti, Erica Wilson-Perkins, and Leslie Frye-Maietta. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 5, 9am & 11am — SANTA/COMMUNITY MEAL
All of your child’s favorite wintry and Christmas-y characters (Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Santa’s elves, and the Grinch) will be together at a holiday breakfast at the Pulaski Club of Easthampton. Breakfast will be served buffet-style, and each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-527-9847. 79 Maple Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 2)

Saturday, December 5, 9:30am-6pm — HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
Williamstown‘s 32nd annual Holiday Walk will include seasonal fun for all ages! The Run with the Reindeer Fun Run begins at 9:30am, and the Reindog Parade gets going at 3pm. Throughout the day, adults and kids can make holiday crafts, taste samples in a chili and soup cook-off, decorate gingerbread cookies, and watch an ice carving demonstration. Spring Street will be a festive place to stroll with music, hot chocolate, and cookies at every turn, and those who are present at the end of the day will be treated to a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, followed by the lighting of the town’s holiday trees! 515-708-1413. Downtown Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-12pm — MYO HOLIDAY GIFT
Handmade gifts come from the heart and allow children to share pieces of themselves with those they love. Children can make up to three nature-oriented gifts — including panpipes, leaf pendants, and gourd birdhouses — at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Recycled wrapping materials provided. Caregiver supervision and guidance expected. Registration required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm — CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Those who decorate their own trees or wreaths each year can be inspired by the variety of materials and styles of decoration on display! Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
Family recipes, or “receipts,” as they were called in earlier times, document culinary memories and play an important role in holiday celebrations. Learn some recipes from the past through demonstrations by Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooks and Dede Wilson, the founder of Bakepedia: The Baker’s Resource during Heritage Baking Day. Visitors can also see entries in the King Arthur Flour Heritage Recipe Baking Contest from 12pm-2pm. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES/LOCAL HISTORY/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish image of life and design from a golden time. This National Historic Landmark managed by the Trustees of Reservations, is host to several landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag served as a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse of American history during this seasonal open house. House tours depart every hour between 10:30AM – 3:30PM and are 45 minutes in length. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and browse the Naumkeag holiday shop, too! 413-298-3239 x3016. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS/COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute through December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-1pm — UPCYCLING/MYO GIFT/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
When your tea or coffee is gone, what do you do with the empty box or cup sleeve? Join Local Artisan Candace Bradbury-Carlin for “Coffee, Tea, and Bookmaking” at the Pelham Library, and learn how to make blank books from these cast-offs. Someone on your holiday list would certainly appreciate one! Space is limited so please sign up at the desk. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm — YULETIDE
Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-7pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Celebrate the season with the “Lenox Holiday Stroll, sponsored by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. Do some shopping while entertained by caroling from the Cantilena Chamber Choir and students from Lenox High School, Berkshire Country Day School, Berkshire Christian School, and Berkshire Montessori School. Enjoy performances by Shakespeare & Co. and WAM (Women Action Media). Make memories in the “Fabulously Fun Photo Booth.” 413-637-3646. Downtown Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-4pm — HOLIDAY/ARCHITECTURE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
What candy would you use to make realistic foliage for a gingerbread house yard? What could you do with a Lifesaver? Watch as teams of four compete to build the best gingerbread house at Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity‘s Fourth Annual Gingerbread Build at Eastworks. See if you can guess who will win judges’ awards such as “Best Use of the Color Green,” “Most Resembling a Sea Creature,” and “Most Resembling a Famous Landmark.” Intergenerational fun! Raffle for local prizes drawn at 3:30. 413-586-5430. 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm — CHRISTMAS CRAFT/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany in the early 19th century, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Mason Library. Ages 6 and up (with caregiver help as needed). All supplies included. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 4:30pm — TREE LIGHTING
Be a part of a new holiday tradition at the Whately Library when you join in its first annual tree lighting celebration. There will be hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, music, and a great community sing-along, led by the Damon Family Trio! 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 7pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Berkshire First Church of the Nazarene. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Dalton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/DANCE/CONCERT
Jazz great Duke Ellington recorded his version of The Nutcracker Suite in 1960. The “University Dancers with Jazz Ensemble I” will mark the 35th anniversary of the recording with a performance choreographed by dance alumni at the UMass Fine Arts Center. Also works by Thomas Vacanti, Erica Wilson-Perkins, and Leslie Frye-Maietta.
413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — CONCERT/WINTER SOLSTICE/YULETIDE
Welcome the winter solstice with the warm harmonies of folk duo Lynn and Will Rowan, as Maude’s Closet Concerts celebrates the release of their new CD, Sing the Sun’s Return: Wassails and Carols for Yuletide. Sing along to everything from boisterous old feasting songs to moving new melodies about the dark season. Special guest Aidan Talbot. 413-634-6199. Ashfield Community Hall, 521 Main Street, Ashfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS
Do you get inspired by talking to artists and seeing their wares? Would you like to support local artists in any holiday shopping you plan to do? The Whately Library‘s Handmade Holiday Fair will feature local, handmade goods and offer opportunities to talk to artists about their creative process. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 10:30am-12:30pm — MYO GIFT/STEM
Let it snow! Enjoy open-ended, creative activities focusing on snow at “The Family Snowflake Workshop” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Learn about the science of snow and make snowflake-themed artwork and gifts. Ages 6 and up; up to two children per adult. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Learn Yiddish holiday songs, hear readings of holiday-themed children’s books, make a seasonal craft, and go on a scavenger hunt exploration at the Yiddish Book Center‘s annual Hanukkah celebration. This fun day of Hanukkah-themed activities has something for visitors of all ages and faiths. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — MUSEUM ADVENTURES/LOCAL HISTORY/LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish image of life and design from a golden time. This National Historic Landmark managed by the Trustees of Reservations, is host to several landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag served as a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse of American history during this seasonal open house. House tours depart every hour between 10:30AM – 3:30PM and are 45 minutes in length. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and browse the Naumkeag holiday shop, too! 413-298-3239 x3016. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 11am-4pm — YULETIDE
Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-2pm — SANTA/MYO ORNAMENT
Visit Santa’s Workshop, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, and make your own holiday hat and ornament. Free with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas admission.
413-298-4100. 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 1pm-3pm — HANUKKAH/FOOD/KLEZMER MUSIC
What’s your favorite Hanukkah treat? Perhaps you’ll find that and some new taste sensations at “A Taste of Hanukkah” at the River Valley Market. Enjoy live music by the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 2pm-3:30pm — HOLIDAY TEA
Sip tea and nibble sweets in Belle Skinner’s Music Room at Wistariahurst Museum‘s Winter FestiviTea. Live music and festive holiday decor add to the merry atmosphere. Reservations required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — ART STUDIES/US HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Norman Rockwell painted Home for Christmas in 1967, capturing a quintessential small town at the holidays. Take a virtual stroll down Stockbridge’s Main Street in simpler times and learn details you may not known before in this Highlight Talk at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Reduced admission with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas button. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 3:00pm — HOLIDAY TEA
Are you in the mood for a fancy afternoon celebration with friends or family? Perhaps an elegant Victorian Tea is in order! Visit Ventfort Hall for a special holiday tea of sandwiches, cakes, and cookies, all made from the Hall’s own recipes. A concert of contemporary and classical music by pianist Karen Tchougourian will round out the occasion. Reservations required. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
The Cantilena Chamber Choir presents “Christmas at Trinity,” with music of Bach and Anderegg and your favorite carols. This a cappella choir has received the prestigious Choral Arts New England’s Alfred Nash Patterson award twice. Featuring The Berkshire Children’s Chorus. 518-791-0185. Trinity Church, 88 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm-5:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONALITY
The miracle of Hanukkah is that one vial of oil, enough for only one night, lit the menorah for eight. Start the Festival of Lights at the Springfield Jewish Community Center‘s First Light Community-wide Celebration. Play the eight games of Hanukkah, enjoy music and latkes, then go outside for the lighting of the largest menorah in Western Mass. 413-739-4715 x322. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Village Church. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Cummington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm & 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Amherst Choral Society will perform at a “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” the annual vespers concert at Johnson Chapel. Members of the Amherst College community will do readings interspersed with the songs. 413-542-2195. Amherst College, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 6pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
At Lenox Dale’s annual Christmas Tree lighting, hosted by the Lenox Dale Fire Company, Santa will arrive by fire engine and light the town’s tree, then greet children at the Elm Street fire station. Each child will receive a gift and refreshments will be available for everyone. Photos with Santa welcome. 413-637-5542. Veteran’s Memorial Park (Walker & Crystal Streets), Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 2pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day celebration which begins this year on Sunday, December 6th and ends Monday, December 14th. Join with other community members in a celebration of Hanukkah sponsored by West Springfield Park & Recreation. 413-263-3284. Elm Street Common, Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 5:30pm-8pm — KWANZAA CELEBRATION
In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created a new cultural holiday, Kwanzaa, based on traditional African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Organized around seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Kwanzaa aims to preserve, continually revitalize, and promote African American culture. The Malcolm X Cultural Center at UMass invites everyone to its annual community Kwanzaa Celebration to engage in celebration and reflection. 413-545-3042. UMass Student Union Ballroom, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm — HOLIDAY/CULINARY ARTS/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
The first recorded instance of gingerbread shaped like human figures is from the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I of England had likenesses of some of her esteemed guests made from biscuits. Whom will your gingerbread cookie look like? Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate pre-made gingerbread figures. Advance sign-up requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 10am-5pm — NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Any time during library hours this holiday season, shop the “Meekins Market” for everyone on your list and support the Meekins Library and sustainability in the process. This “indoor tag sale” has something for everyone, at reasonable prices (most items are between 25 cents and 10 dollars). Find gently used stuffed animals, toys and games, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, holiday items, and of course books. Kids can shop for parents, teachers, and friends without breaking the (piggy) bank! Open during library hours through December 19. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (SALE)

Wednesday, December 9, 3:30pm — CAROLING
Join “The Jolly Jinglers,” for some fun holiday songs at the Westhampton Public Library. This delightful group of children is led by Heather Paul. 413-527-5386. Community Room, 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 5:30pm — CONCERT/CULTURAL STUDIES/HANUKKAH
Enjoy festive world music as the Mount Holyoke College Klezmer Band performs its annual Klezmer Tants, directed by Andrianne Greenbaum. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-538-2000. The Warbeke Room, Pratt Music Hall, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6pm-8pm — CHRISTMAS/HISTORY
What was Christmas like before electricity? Find out during “Yuletide by Lantern Light” at historic Storrowton Village. Guests can tour the buildings and watch live 19th-century demonstrations of fireplace cooking in the Gilbert Farmstead and blacksmithing in the stone Blacksmith Shop, all by the light of lanterns and candles. The Village will be adorned with festive décor by several area garden clubs, florists, and designers who have donated their time, expertise, and materials to create a winter wonderland. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, December 9, 6:30pm — MUSIC STUDIES
The Northampton Community Music Center invites you to its 13th annual Holiday Choral Festival, featuring performances by Rock Voices, Luna, the Northamptones, High Definition, the Ku’umba Women’s Choir, the Hartsbrook Choir, and the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School Chorus. Proceeds benefit the NCMC’s scholarship fund. 413-585-0001. Helen Hills Chapel, 123 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Wednesday, December 9, 7pm — HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR
Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Take a tour of Forest Park’s “Bright Nights” holiday light display on a bus tour hosted by the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department. Interested residents of West Springfield should contact the Park & Rec Department to reserve a free bus voucher before December 8th. All children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Municipal Office Building, 26 Central Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 5pm-8pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
Enjoy a bit of festive, holiday magic at Springfield Museums‘ Culture & Cocktails: Merry & Bright celebration! Explore the whimsical gingerbread exhibition, enjoy holiday music, take in a planetarium show, gaze at the lights of the Quadrangle Green, design an edible holiday treat, and connect with others in your community at this special event. Ages 21 and up. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-314-6479. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (< $ for members; $ for non-members)

Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONAL
The Deerfield Arts Bank invites the community to bring their menorahs and candles for an evening of lighting candles together on the 5th night of Hanukkah (they’ll have lots of extra menorahs too). All are invited to this interfaith gathering. Rabbi Ben Weiner, a Deerfield resident, will officiate and explain Hanukkah traditions and history. There will be singing and playing dreidel. 413-665-0123. 413-768-8917. Deerfield Arts Bank 3 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 7:30pm — CONCERT/MUSIC STUDIES
The holiday season offers many great opportunities to explore music from different cultural traditions. Experience a Celtic Christmas performance by Cherish the Ladies, an ensemble that creates beautiful music using flute, tin whistle, guitar, accordion, fiddle, piano, and vocals. The program will include classic carols and step dancing. 413-545-2511. UMass Fine Arts Center, 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA. ($-$$)

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Friday, December 11th — Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Friday, December 11, 3pm-10pm — HOLIDAY/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Turners Falls RiverCulture presents “It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls.” Participate in family activities, including crafts, live music, and performances, while enjoying dining specials and eclectic shopping. Adults and kids alike are invited to write wishes for themselves or others and place them in the Magic Mailbox, to be collected by Santa when he arrives at Spinner Park at 6:30pm. 413-835-1390. Various locations, Turners Falls, MA.

Friday, December 11, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Friday, December 11, 5pm-8pm — CONSERVATION/OPEN HOUSE
Celebrate the season and learn about the important work of the Kestrel Land Trust at their Holiday Open House. Kestrel’s mission is to “conserve and care for forests, farms, and riverways in the Pioneer Valley, while nurturing an enduring love of the land.” It has conserved more than 19,000 acres of wildlands, woodlands, farmland, and riverlands. Refreshments provided. 413-549-1097. 284 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 9am-1pm — WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET
While summer is a robust growing season, there are an amazing variety of hardy vegetables that continue to grow into the winter months! This is also a time to explore the cheeses, baked goods, meats, and crafts produced by those in your community. The Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market will be open to help you choose locally-sourced goods for your upcoming holiday meals and celebrations. The festive atmosphere will be further enhanced by live music from 11am-1pm. The Boys and Girls Club, 16 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 9am-2pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/MAKE YOUR OWN GIFTS
Handmade gifts are special for both the crafter and the recipient. The crafter can spend time thinking about who the gift is for and why they would like to give this person a gift in the first place. Taking time to make something by hand shows care and investment in the relationship, and recipients’ hearts are warmed by the thought and effort behind the gift, reminding us all that gift-giving is less about any particular present than it is about letting someone know they are appreciated. People of all ages are invited to the Montague Common Hall‘s Make and Take Craft Day, where you can make beeswax candles, jewelry, spin art, magnets, votives, and more. Homemade breakfast and lunch foods will be available for sale as well, and visitors can also enjoy cozying up by the outdoor fire pit. 34 Main Street, Montague, MA. (FREE admission; < $ for each craft session)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm — HIKING & SANTA
Sometimes colder winter temperatures and blustery weather cause us to retreat into our homes. It is worth fighting this urge, and to get out and breathe some fresh, crisp air while exploring the natural world in its wintry state! Why not go for a child-friendly, half-mile walk along the nature trail at Bartholomew’s Cobble? This “Stroll with Santa,” hosted by the Trustees of Reservations, will include stories and snacks after the hike. Pre-registration recommended. 413-298-3239 x 3013. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm — SANTA/HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
The Easthampton Family Center is hosting its annual Milk and Cookies with Santa event, a fundraiser to help support the Center’s important community-based work. Visitors will be invited to sing holiday songs, play games, and make crafts, and each child will receive a book to take home. 413-527-5496. Old Town Hall, 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 12, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS
Balsam trees have a distinctive shape, texture, and aroma that evoke many wintertime and holiday associations. Learn how to create holiday crafts using balsam tree branches at Notchview’s Evergreen Craft Making event. While visiting this Trustees of Reservations property, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing on the trails (bring your own skis, and hope for snow!), or cut a balsam or Fraser fir tree to bring home. Hot chocolate and treats round out this cozy, crafty day of holiday fun. Reservations encouraged. 413-532-1631 x 10. Route 9, Windsor, MA. ($ for members; $$ for nonmembers)

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 12, 1pm and 4:30pm: Sunday, December 13, 1pm and 4:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/BALLET
The Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always new and always sweet, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Berkhard and Pablo Perez, of Carolina Ballet, as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Local favorite Meghan Mangsen returns as Clara. And introducing Cain Coleman, of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance, as The Prince. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. ($$-$$$)

Saturday, December 12, 1pm-4pm — CHRISTMAS/READING
Join actors Steve Angel and Dennis Quinn for a reading of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol at White Square Books. Listen to a little or a lot of the tale that teaches the true meaning of Christmas, while you enjoy Christmas Present (and maybe even buy one or two). 413-203-1717. 86 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm and 7pm– HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm-3pm — HOLIDAY STORYTIME/CAROLING
Enjoy King Frost and other winter stories, along with music and poetry, at the Mason Library. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm — SANTA
Children may visit Santa at the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s Santa House, a local holiday tradition that has been going since 1980! Santa’s House will be open through December 23rd. Hours are 5:30pm-7:30pm (Mon-Fri) and 2:30pm-4pm & 5:30pm-7:30pm (Sat & Sun). 413-263-3284. Mittineague Park, 1695 Westfield Street (main entrance off of Rt 20), West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm — CHRISTMAS CAROLS/INTERGENERATIONAL
Enjoy Christmas carols and holiday cheer with your neighbors at Williamsburg Congregational Church’s Caroling on the Green, outside Florence Savings Bank. Come for carols, cocoa, and horse-drawn wagon rides. A great way to celebrate the holidays with your community! 413-268-7557. 85 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm — PERFORMING ARTS
Whether you are familiar with the story of The Nutcracker or new to this traditional holiday story, you’ll likely find that the Celtic Heels Dance Company‘s performance offers a fresh, energetic interpretation on a classic. This dance company is based in Greenfield, MA and its dancers range from age 3 through adulthood. In their performance, Tchaikovsky’s original score is blended with Celtic music and original choreography incorporating Celtic dance. Discover what happens when these traditions intertwine! 413-475-3353. Bowker Auditorium, UMass, Amherst, MA. (< $ – $)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 12, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm — YULETIDE/PERFORMING ARTS
The Welcome Yule players will be hosting their annual Midwinter Celebration with delightful music, dance, songs and stories at the Shea Theater. This annual show close to the winter solstice celebrates the return of light at the heart of winter’s darkness. This year, the scene is a seaside village, where townsfolk celebrate the safe return of the fishing fleet on the eve of the winter solstice. The performance includes nautical tunes and a sailors’ jig. 413-863-2281. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm — STAGED READING/HOLIDAY CLASSIC
Experience the nostalgia and wonderment of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a young boy during the 1920s in A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Appealing to audiences young and old, this story is a reminiscent tale that beautifully “universalizes the essence of Christmas as any child anywhere might perceive it.” This production is being presented by The Silverthorne Theater Company and will be held at The Centennial House Bed & Breakfast, 94 Main Street, Northfield, MA. ($$$ FUNDRAISER)

Saturday, December 12, 9pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/CAROLING/LATIN DANCE
Jose Gonzalez y Banda Criolla brings his “Latin Christmas Show” to Gateway City Arts. His hot new Latin quintet will sing parrandas, an energetic form of Puerto Rican Christmas caroling, then play festive Latin dance music. 413-650-2670. 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 13, 9:30am-11am — COMMUNITY BREAKFAST & HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Do you love delicious, homemade foods and sharing conversation with new friends while you dine? The Katz Family Chanukah Breakfast, a treasured local holiday tradition, invites everyone to Congregation B’nai Torah to enjoy latkes, sufganiyot, music by a children’s choir, and an opportunity to paint and glaze your own Judaica. Those feeling adventurous can add on a ride on the Maccabee midwinter zipline! 413-567-0036. 2 Eunice Drive, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 13, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 13, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 13, 1pm and 4:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/BALLET
The Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always new and always sweet, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Berkhard and Pablo Perez, of Carolina Ballet, as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Local favorite Meghan Mangsen returns as Clara. And introducing Cain Coleman, of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance, as The Prince. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 13, 1:30pm-3pm; Monday, December 14, 1:30pm-3pm — CHRISTMAS TEA
Look Memorial Park‘s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting.The Garden House is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — YULETIDE/PERFORMING ARTS
The Welcome Yule players will be hosting their annual Midwinter Celebration with delightful music, dance, songs and stories at the Shea Theater. This annual show close to the winter solstice celebrates the return of light at the heart of winter’s darkness. This year, the scene is a seaside village, where townsfolk celebrate the safe return of the fishing fleet on the eve of the winter solstice. The performance includes nautical tunes and a sailors’ jig. 413-863-2281. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — INTERGENERATIONAL & INCLUSIVE/HOLIDAY CONCERT
Enjoy holiday favorites performed by singers of all ages and abilities as Whole Children‘s Joyful Chorus, appears with the Florence Community Band. 413-585-8010. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — CHRISTMAS CONCERT/TEA
The all-women Berkshire Concert Choir will perform “Voices of Christmas,” followed a Victorian tea, at Ventfort Hall. Known throughout the county for their joy of singing, the group will be led by conductor Paula Nuss and accompanied by Aurora Cooper, as they perform a wide range of traditional Christmas songs. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm — CHRISTMAS/LITERATURE
We all know the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but how many of us have read this classic piece of literature? Borrow a copy from the Cushman Library, then join your neighbors for a discussion of this “Ghost Story of Christmas.” Copies available at the circulation desk. Feel free to bring Christmas treats to share; hot beverages provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm — CHRISTMAS SERVICE/INTERGENERATIONAL
The First Church of Deerfield will hold A Community Service of Lessons and Carols, including readings from Hebrew, Christian, and other religious traditions, choral and instrumental music, and a Christmas-carol sing. Choirs from Deerfield Academy, The Bement School, and The First Church of Deerfield will participate. 413-773-5323. 71 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 4pm & 7:30pm — CAROLING
Mount Holyoke‘s annual Christmas Vespers is a time-honored musical tradition and a popular event, drawing many community members of all ages and faiths. This year’s performance will include a candlelight processional and community carol singing. The college’s Chamber Singers, Chorale, Glee Club, Vocal & Chamber Jazz ensembles, and the English Handbell Ensemble will all contribute their talents to this beautiful musical event. 413-538-2000. Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm-6pm — COMMUNITY BOOK READING/DONATIONS
Join friends and neighbors at the Meekins Library for the annual reading of holiday classics that celebrate this time of wonder. First, David Adler’s Hanukkah story, One Yellow Daffodil. This sensitive and heartwarming story tells how, through the generosity of young Jonathan and Ilana’s loving family, Morris Kaplan comes again to embrace the traditional Hanukkah celebration of his Polish childhood and to remember that kindness can truly create miracles. Next, local author Patricia MacLachlan’s Christmas story, True Gift. This new classic about a small town, one lonely white cow, and the joys of family and community, tells the tale of how two children find out the meaning of a true gift. Come read or listen and enjoy holiday treats and warm drinks. Please bring a donation of food for the Williamsburg Council on Aging Pantry, a warm coat for the Northampton Survival Center, or something special for our animal friends at the Dakin Shelter. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 13. 5-7pm – CHANUKAH
Latke vs. Hamantashen Debate/Throw-Down and Chanukah Party at Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton. CBI warmly welcomes everyone to attend a fun and festive Chanukah party to include a hilarious debate on the topic of whether the latke or hamantashen reigns supreme. The program will include a communal menorah lighting and singing and, of course, latkes! At 5pm, Refreshments, Chillin’ and Dreidel Spinnin’. At 5:30pm, Latke vs Hamantashen Debate or Songs and Stories for kids ages 2-6 with Felicia Sloin. At 6pm, Communal Menorah Lighting and Singing. At 6:30pm, Latkes and Other Treats. Suggested donation of $5 per person. Check out more here. Northampton, MA. (>$)

Wednesday, December 16, 10am-5pm — NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Any time during library hours this holiday season, shop the “Meekins Market” for everyone on your list and support the Meekins Library and sustainability in the process. This “indoor tag sale” has something for everyone, at reasonable prices (most items are between 25 cents and 10 dollars). Find gently used stuffed animals, toys and games, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, holiday items, and of course books. Kids can shop for parents, teachers, and friends without breaking the (piggy) bank! Open during library hours through December 19. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (SALE)

Wednesday, December 16, 4pm-5pm — SANTA/STORYTELLING
Welcome the Jolly Old Elf to Cushman Library! Kids can listen to Santa share a story, tell him their Christmas wishes, and have their pictures taken with him. Snack provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 16, 7pm; Thursday, December 17, 7:30pm; Friday, December 18, 8pm– HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 17, 12:15pm-1:15pm — HOLIDAY/ASTRONOMY
Christians sing about it every year: “O Star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy Perfect Light.” But was the star that led the Three Kings to Bethlehem real? For this month’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, join Richard Sanderson and Jack Megas in the Seymour Planetarium to explore the mystery. Feel free to bring a lunch to enjoy. 413-263-6488. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (<$)

Thursday, December 17, 3:30pm-4:30pm — HOLIDAY STORY/CRAFT
Listen to the classic story of the “Tomten’s nocturnal visits to all of the residents of a wintry farm” and make your own elf for the holidays at Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 17. 7pm. — HOLIDAY THEATER/SANTA CLAUS
Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Thursday, December 17, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Friday, December 18th — Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Friday, December 18, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Friday, December 18. 7pm. — HOLIDAY THEATER/SANTA CLAUS
Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Friday, December 18, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 10am — KINDNESS/MOVIE/CHRISTMAS
The Christmas comedy Elf (PG, 2003) is shown as part of the Family Film Series at Amherst Cinema. Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a baby who crawls into Santa’s pack at an orphanage, is adopted by one of his elves, and grows up at the North Pole. When he learns he is human and has a biological father in New York City, Buddy sets off to find him. Buddy’s sweetness and naivete are in stark contrast to the coarseness of the city and greed of his biological father, a driven publisher of children’s books. Humorous and touching adventures ensue. Afterward, families can discuss how to treat others, what values are important in life, and staying true to one’s beliefs. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-12pm — SANTA/MYO ORNAMENT
Enjoy brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make your own ornament to take home and hang on the tree at A Notion to Quilt. 413-625-9644. 623 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne, MA. (FREE w/a canned good for the food pantry)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-2pm — HOLIDAY FARMERS’ MARKET
While summer is a robust growing season, there are an amazing variety of hardy vegetables that continue to grow into the winter months! This is also a time to explore the cheeses, baked goods, meats, and crafts produced by those in your community. The Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market will be open to help you choose locally-sourced goods for your upcoming holiday meals and celebrations. The festive atmosphere will be further enhanced by music and activities for kids. 413-528-0041. Monument Valley Middle School, Monument Valley Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 19, 10:30am & 4pm — HOLIDAY THEATER/SANTA CLAUS
Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 19. 11am, 1pm, & 2pm. — MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Trace the history of Emily Dickinson’s Christmas celebrations during A Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Evocative decorations, seasonal music, new objects, and the words of Emily Dickinson and her family will bring their Christmas experiences to life. A Museum guide will serve as host for this special holiday visit, which concludes with an intimate reading in The Evergreens from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a Dickinson favorite, by award-winning author and Dickens fan, Tony Abbott! 413-542-2034. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, December 20, 2pm and 7pm — HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm & 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 11am — CHRISTMAS/ARCHITECTURE/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
Gingerbread houses gained popularity in the early 19th century, possibly inspired by the Grimms’ fairytale Hansel and Gretel. Put your creativity to the test and craft your own edible abode at the Hatfield Public Library. Open to all ages, but younger children may need a caregiver’s help. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 19, 6pm-9pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/HOLIDAY/CULTURAL STUDIES
Florence will be aglow with candlelight during the 14th Annual Luminary sponsored by the Florence Civic & Business Association. The tradition of lighting roadways at Christmas time can be traced to 16th century-Spain. There, people built bonfires to guide the faithful to midnight mass on the last night of La Posadas, the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. The tradition traveled to Spanish-held territory in North America in the form of candles placed in sand in paper bags. This Southwest custom has now spread throughout the country and is generally considered secular in nature. Bring the family to enjoy live entertainment, horse-drawn hayrides, a bonfire, and refreshments. Luminary bags will be for sale at many local merchants. 413-584-5048. Florence Civic Center, 90 Park Street, Florence, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 20, 10am-2pm — HOLIDAY FARMERS’ MARKET
While summer is a robust growing season, there are an amazing variety of hardy vegetables that continue to grow into the winter months! This is also a time to explore the cheeses, baked goods, meats, and crafts produced by those in your community. The Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market will be open to help you choose locally-sourced goods for your upcoming holiday meals and celebrations. The festive atmosphere will be further enhanced by music and activities for kids. 413-528-0041. Williams College Towne Field House, Latham Street, Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 20, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival will be held on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 20, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 20. 10:30am & 4pm — HOLIDAY THEATER/SANTA CLAUS
Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 20, 12:55pm — CHRISTMAS/BALLET
Experience the legendary Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker in HD at the Amherst Cinema. This classic story, told through dance with music by Tchaikovsky, is about a girl who receives a wooden nutcracker for Christmas, which comes alive at midnight, along with all the other toys. It has delighted young and old alike for generations. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 1pm — CHRISTMAS/BALLET
Experience the legendary Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker in HD at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. This classic story, told through dance with music by Tchaikovsky, is about a girl who receives a wooden nutcracker for Christmas, which comes alive at midnight, along with all the other toys. It has delighted young and old alike for generations. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 7pm — KINDNESS/MOVIE/CHRISTMAS
Enjoy It’s a Wonderful Life (PG, 1946), the classic Frank Capra film about the difference one person can make in the lives of many, on the big screen at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Its messages of standing up for what’s right, even when it’s difficult and unpopular, and taking care of your neighbors, underscore the meaning of the season. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 20, 2pm & 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 4pm-9pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Monday, December 21, 7pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Join the String City Orchestra for seasonal music at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing. 413-732-8428. 807 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA. (FREE))

Monday, December 21, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Join the String City Orchestra and CitySounds for a holiday concert — and cookies, too — at the Community Music School of Springfield. 413-732-8428. Robyn Newhouse Hall, 127 State Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm-8:30pm — SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
Since mid-June, our minutes of daily sunlight have been steadily decreasing, leading us towards the winter solstice, the “shortest” day of the year. The winter solstice marks an important seasonal transition, when we begin to add minutes of daylight back into our lives and offers an opportunity to reflect on embracing inevitable changes. Celebrate this year’s solstice at Arcadia, a Mass Audubon sanctuary, with songs, warm drinks, and a crackling bonfire. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 22, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 23, 4pm-5pm — CREATIVE FREE PLAY/STORYTIME/HOLIDAY
Celebrate Christmas Eve’s Eve at the Cushman Library with Christmas stories followed by cookie decorating and eating! Decorating cookies encourages creativity and builds fine motor skills, while eating them is a wonderfully sweet reward. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 24, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday December 24, 10am-2pm — SANTA/TRAINS
Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Memorial Park! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station where you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and board the Look Park Holiday Express for a ride around the park to see the lights! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (FREE, Train Ride <$)

Thursday, December 24, 10am-4pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Ventfort Hall, a Gilded-Age “cottage,” will be decorated for the holidays throughout the month of December. Built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J.P. Morgan, this Jacobean Revival-style mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 26, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 26, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 27, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 27, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

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Berkshire County

Beginning Friday, November 27, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/HOLIDAY MARKET
Perusing markets filled with wares created by local artisans inspires one’s creative spirit and puts one in touch with the interests and talents of community members. It can also teach about local materials such as clays and animal/plant fibers that artists use in their creations. A trip to the Sheffield Historical Society‘s 16th Annual “Festival for the Holidays” craft and gift market allows visitors to observe a wide variety of crafts and connect with the local art scene. And, for those planning on giving gifts this year, keeping your money local and supporting artists in their work is a great way to go! This festival runs each weekend through December 20th, and on Dec 24th as well. 413-229-2694. Old Stone Store, 137 Main Street, Sheffield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, November 27, 5:30pm-7:30pm — FINE ART & CRAFT
The Good Purpose Gallery, which works to integrate young adults with autism and other learning differences into their communities and to enrich their lives through the arts and creativity, celebrates the holidays with a special exhibit featuring a diverse array of artwork and crafts from local artists. This year’s show, Holiday Glow, opens with a festive evening of music, food, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet the artists! The work of Terry Wise, a textile designer, and Susan Himmel, who works in paints and mixed media, will be featured. This show will run through January 12, 2016. 40 Main Street, Lee, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, November 28, 10:30am-4pm; Sunday, November 29, 10:30am-4pm
Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm; Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm
HOLIDAY/HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Step back in time at the Open House & Holiday Shop at Naumkeag, a Gilded-Age “cottage” — dressed out for the holidays. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead, & White, this architectural masterpiece is a rare surviving example of a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage,” intact with original 19th- and 20th-century artwork, furnishings, decorative arts, and the personal and household items of daily life. At its true heart a family home, Naumkeag was a summer retreat for three generations of the fascinating Choate family and their staff. Hear their stories and catch a glimpse – through their eyes – of a brief and now-vanished period of American history. 413-298-8138. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE for Members, $ for Non-members)

Sunday, November 29, 11:30am-2pm — HOLIDAY FESTIVAL & PERFORMING ARTS
The Berkshire Theatre Group‘s Children’s Holiday Extravaganza is a lively event that includes performances by the dysFUNK Dance Crew, Eric the Illusionist, Roger the Jester, and carolers. In the theatre’s lobby, children can use a fun photo booth, meet a clown, get their faces painted, or enjoy a snack. A Santa character will give out children’s books, too! Folks are invited to bring non-perishable food items for donation to local food pantries, whose needs increase during holiday mealtimes. Advance ticket reservation required, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, November 29, 2pm — HOLIDAY CHORAL CONCERT/INTERGENERATIONALITY
The Berkshire Hills Chorus of the Sweet Adelines has sung barbershop music for 45 years. With members from throughout Berkshire County, ranging in age from 18-70, the group performs the close, four-part, a cappella music that is characteristic of this American genre that originated in the 1800s. Enjoy their holiday concert at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Tuesday, December 1, 10am-5pm — ART STUDIES/BOOKS/COMMERCIAL-FREE HOLIDAY
Give the gift of art this holiday season! Shop beautiful, discounted art books for all ages at the Clark Art Institute through December 6. Browse a wide selection of remainders, markdowns, and sale books about artists, art history, architecture, photography, gardening, decorative arts, and other illustrated topics. 413-458-2303. Michael Conforti Pavilion, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. (SALE)

Tuesday, December 1, 10am-4pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/ARCHITECTURE
Ventfort Hall, a Gilded-Age “cottage,” will be decorated for the holidays throughout the month of December. Built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J.P. Morgan, this Jacobean Revival-style mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 4, 5pm — CHRISTMAS STORYTELLING
As part of the annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas event, everyone is invited to listen to classic holiday stories in a read-aloud presented by the Stockbridge Library. 413-298-5501. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6pm — CHRISTMAS/TREE-LIGHTING
Kick off the Lenox Chamber of Commerce‘s “Making Spirits Bright” celebration with the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck. Followed by refreshments and gift giving at the Lenox Community Center. 413-637-3646. Lilac Park, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6:30pm-7:45pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Kick off Williamstown’s Holiday Walk Weekend with an evening of festive sounds of the season, as Williams College alumnus Jonathan Dely leads a jazz ensemble performing a wide selection of holiday favorites at the Clark Art Institute. Dely is currently attending the Manhattan School of Music for a master’s degree in jazz trumpet performance. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College in 2015. Reservations required. 413-458-0524. Lower Level, 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 9:30am-6pm — HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
Williamstown‘s 32nd annual Holiday Walk will include seasonal fun for all ages! The Run with the Reindeer Fun Run begins at 9:30am, and the Reindog Parade gets going at 3pm. Throughout the day, adults and kids can make holiday crafts, taste samples in a chili and soup cook-off, decorate gingerbread cookies, and watch an ice carving demonstration. Spring Street will be a festive place to stroll with music, hot chocolate, and cookies at every turn, and those who are present at the end of the day will be treated to a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, followed by the lighting of the town’s holiday trees! 515-708-1413. Downtown Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-7pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Celebrate the season with the “Lenox Holiday Stroll, sponsored by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. Do some shopping while entertained by caroling from the Cantilena Chamber Choir and students from Lenox High School, Berkshire Country Day School, Berkshire Christian School, and Berkshire Montessori School. Enjoy performances by Shakespeare & Co. and WAM (Women Action Media). Make memories in the “Fabulously Fun Photo Booth.” 413-637-3646. Downtown Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm — CHRISTMAS CRAFT/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany in the early 19th century, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Mason Library. Ages 6 and up (with caregiver help as needed). All supplies included. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 7pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Berkshire First Church of the Nazarene. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Dalton, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-2pm — SANTA/MYO ORNAMENT
Visit Santa’s Workshop, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, and make your own holiday hat and ornament. Free with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas admission.
413-298-4100. 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm — ART STUDIES/US HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Norman Rockwell painted Home for Christmas in 1967, capturing a quintessential small town at the holidays. Take a virtual stroll down Stockbridge’s Main Street in simpler times and learn details you may not known before in this Highlight Talk at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Reduced admission with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas button. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 6pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
At Lenox Dale’s annual Christmas Tree lighting, hosted by the Lenox Dale Fire Company, Santa will arrive by fire engine and light the town’s tree, then greet children at the Elm Street fire station. Each child will receive a gift and refreshments will be available for everyone. Photos with Santa welcome. 413-637-5542. Veteran’s Memorial Park (Walker & Crystal Streets), Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm — HIKING & SANTA
Sometimes colder winter temperatures and blustery weather cause us to retreat into our homes. It is worth fighting this urge, and to get out and breathe some fresh, crisp air while exploring the natural world in its wintry state! Why not go for a child-friendly, half-mile walk along the nature trail at Bartholomew’s Cobble? This “Stroll with Santa,” hosted by the Trustees of Reservations, will include stories and snacks after the hike. Pre-registration recommended. 413-298-3239 x 3013. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS
Balsam trees have a distinctive shape, texture, and aroma that evoke many wintertime and holiday associations. Learn how to create holiday crafts using balsam tree branches at Notchview’s Evergreen Craft Making event. While visiting this Trustees of Reservations property, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing on the trails (bring your own skis, and hope for snow!), or cut a balsam or Fraser fir tree to bring home. Hot chocolate and treats round out this cozy, crafty day of holiday fun. Reservations encouraged. 413-532-1631 x 10. Route 9, Windsor, MA. ($ for members; $$ for nonmembers)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm-3pm — HOLIDAY STORYTIME/CAROLING
Enjoy King Frost and other winter stories, along with music and poetry, at the Mason Library. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 7pm — PERFORMING ARTS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — CHRISTMAS CONCERT/TEA
The all-women Berkshire Concert Choir will perform “Voices of Christmas,” followed a Victorian tea, at Ventfort Hall. Known throughout the county for their joy of singing, the group will be led by conductor Paula Nuss and accompanied by Aurora Cooper, as they perform a wide range of traditional Christmas songs. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 20, 1pm — CHRISTMAS/BALLET
Experience the legendary Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker in HD at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. This classic story, told through dance with music by Tchaikovsky, is about a girl who receives a wooden nutcracker for Christmas, which comes alive at midnight, along with all the other toys. It has delighted young and old alike for generations. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 7pm — KINDNESS/MOVIE/CHRISTMAS
Enjoy It’s a Wonderful Life (PG, 1946), the classic Frank Capra film about the difference one person can make in the lives of many, on the big screen at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Its messages of standing up for what’s right, even when it’s difficult and unpopular, and taking care of your neighbors, underscore the meaning of the season. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA. ($)

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Franklin County

Monday, November 30, 5pm-8pm; Tuesday, December 1, 1pm-4pm — HANDMADE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Learn to make beautiful natural wreaths, seasonal symbols of welcome, and help decorate the doorways of Historic Deerfield. Bring your creativity, enthusiasm, and an extra pair of pruning shears. No experience required. Supplies and refreshments provided. 413-775-7179. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Runs 12/5-12/6, 12/12-12/13, 12/19-12/20, 12/26-12/27, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
To make the holidays special, we often splurge on things we wouldn’t buy at other times of the year. In the time before easy international transportation, that included cooking ingredients such as chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. In the open-hearth cooking demonstration “Sugar and Spice – Holiday Baking,” the cooks at Historic Deerfield will prepare traditional holiday recipes. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-4pm — US HISTORY/CULINARY ARTS/CHRISTMAS
Family recipes, or “receipts,” as they were called in earlier times, document culinary memories and play an important role in holiday celebrations. Learn some recipes from the past through demonstrations by Historic Deerfield‘s Open Hearth Cooks and Dede Wilson, the founder of Bakepedia: The Baker’s Resource during Heritage Baking Day. Visitors can also see entries in the King Arthur Flour Heritage Recipe Baking Contest from 12pm-2pm. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Runs 12/5-12/6, 12/12-12/13, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 4:30pm — TREE LIGHTING
Be a part of a new holiday tradition at the Whately Library when you join in its first annual tree lighting celebration. There will be hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, music, and a great community sing-along, led by the Damon Family Trio! 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — CONCERT/WINTER SOLSTICE/YULETIDE
Welcome the winter solstice with the warm harmonies of folk duo Lynn and Will Rowan, as Maude’s Closet Concerts celebrates the release of their new CD, Sing the Sun’s Return: Wassails and Carols for Yuletide. Sing along to everything from boisterous old feasting songs to moving new melodies about the dark season. Special guest Aidan Talbot. 413-634-6199. Ashfield Community Hall, 521 Main Street, Ashfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/LOCAL HOLIDAY GIFTS
Do you get inspired by talking to artists and seeing their wares? Would you like to support local artists in any holiday shopping you plan to do? The Whately Library‘s Handmade Holiday Fair will feature local, handmade goods and offer opportunities to talk to artists about their creative process. 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 11am-3pm — HOLIDAY/US HISTORY/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
How did folks get to Christmas celebrations before automobiles? By horse, of course. Enjoy a ride through Historic Deerfield in a wagon pulled by horses from the Karas Farm. Weather permitting. Dress warmly. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm — HOLIDAY/CULINARY ARTS/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
The first recorded instance of gingerbread shaped like human figures is from the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I of England had likenesses of some of her esteemed guests made from biscuits. Whom will your gingerbread cookie look like? Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate pre-made gingerbread figures. Advance sign-up requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONAL
The Deerfield Arts Bank invites the community to bring their menorahs and candles for an evening of lighting candles together on the 5th night of Hanukkah (they’ll have lots of extra menorahs too). All are invited to this interfaith gathering. Rabbi Ben Weiner, a Deerfield resident, will officiate and explain Hanukkah traditions and history. There will be singing and playing dreidel. 413-665-0123. 413-768-8917. Deerfield Arts Bank 3 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 3pm-10pm — HOLIDAY/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Turners Falls RiverCulture presents “It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls.” Participate in family activities, including crafts, live music, and performances, while enjoying dining specials and eclectic shopping. Adults and kids alike are invited to write wishes for themselves or others and place them in the Magic Mailbox, to be collected by Santa when he arrives at Spinner Park at 6:30pm. 413-835-1390. Various locations, Turners Falls, MA.

Saturday, December 12, 9am-2pm — ARTS & CRAFTS/MAKE YOUR OWN GIFTS
Handmade gifts are special for both the crafter and the recipient. The crafter can spend time thinking about who the gift is for and why they would like to give this person a gift in the first place. Taking time to make something by hand shows care and investment in the relationship, and recipients’ hearts are warmed by the thought and effort behind the gift, reminding us all that gift-giving is less about any particular present than it is about letting someone know they are appreciated. People of all ages are invited to the Montague Common Hall‘s Make and Take Craft Day, where you can make beeswax candles, jewelry, spin art, magnets, votives, and more. Homemade breakfast and lunch foods will be available for sale as well, and visitors can also enjoy cozying up by the outdoor fire pit. 34 Main Street, Montague, MA. (FREE admission; < $ for each craft session)

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-4:30pm — MYO GIFT/MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm — YULETIDE/PERFORMING ARTS
The Welcome Yule players will be hosting their annual Midwinter Celebration with delightful music, dance, songs and stories at the Shea Theater. This annual show close to the winter solstice celebrates the return of light at the heart of winter’s darkness. This year, the scene is a seaside village, where townsfolk celebrate the safe return of the fishing fleet on the eve of the winter solstice. The performance includes nautical tunes and a sailors’ jig. 413-863-2281. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm — STAGED READING/HOLIDAY CLASSIC
Experience the nostalgia and wonderment of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a young boy during the 1920s in A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Appealing to audiences young and old, this story is a reminiscent tale that beautifully “universalizes the essence of Christmas as any child anywhere might perceive it.” This production is being presented by The Silverthorne Theater Company and will be held at The Centennial House Bed & Breakfast, 94 Main Street, Northfield, MA. ($$$ FUNDRAISER)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm — CHRISTMAS SERVICE/INTERGENERATIONAL
The First Church of Deerfield will hold A Community Service of Lessons and Carols, including readings from Hebrew, Christian, and other religious traditions, choral and instrumental music, and a Christmas-carol sing. Choirs from Deerfield Academy, The Bement School, and The First Church of Deerfield will participate. 413-773-5323. 71 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 4pm — CHRISTMAS/LITERATURE
We all know the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but how many of us have read this classic piece of literature? Borrow a copy from the Cushman Library, then join your neighbors for a discussion of this “Ghost Story of Christmas.” Copies available at the circulation desk. Feel free to bring Christmas treats to share; hot beverages provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 16, 4pm-5pm — SANTA/STORYTELLING
Welcome the Jolly Old Elf to Cushman Library! Kids can listen to Santa share a story, tell him their Christmas wishes, and have their pictures taken with him. Snack provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-12pm — SANTA/MYO ORNAMENT
Enjoy brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make your own ornament to take home and hang on the tree at A Notion to Quilt. 413-625-9644. 623 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne, MA. (FREE w/a canned good for the food pantry)

Saturday, December 19, 11am — CHRISTMAS/ARCHITECTURE/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
Gingerbread houses gained popularity in the early 19th century, possibly inspired by the Grimms’ fairytale Hansel and Gretel. Put your creativity to the test and craft your own edible abode at the Hatfield Public Library. Open to all ages, but younger children may need a caregiver’s help. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 23, 4pm-5pm — CREATIVE FREE PLAY/STORYTIME/HOLIDAY
Celebrate Christmas Eve’s Eve at the Cushman Library with Christmas stories followed by cookie decorating and eating! Decorating cookies encourages creativity and builds fine motor skills, while eating them is a wonderfully sweet reward. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

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Hampden County

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 through the New Year. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. $$

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm — HOLIDAY/CULINARY ARTS/SCIENCE
Celebrate the season with a day of holiday activities at the Springfield Museums. This year’s gingerbread exhibition and competition is titled “Seussian Holiday” and features creations by bakeries, restaurants, schools, and area residents, on display until January 3. Vote for your favorite and find out who wins at 4pm. At 2pm, enjoy A Christmas Carol, presented by The Puppet People, who use a variety of puppets, lavish sets, and holiday music. From 3pm-4:30pm, kids can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy refreshments. Also, TEN31’s living red poinsettia sculpture, music by the Springfield Sci-Tech Band, drop-in art activities, family science adventures, planetarium shows (additional fee), gingerbread ornament-making. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 27, 11am — HOLIDAY/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
Since 1991, the Spirit of Springfield has helped welcome Santa Claus to town with The Parade of the Big Balloons. Springfield’s own 75-foot inflatable “Cat in the Hat,” a few of his inflatable friends, bands, and colorful contingents will promenade down Main Street, entertaining young and old alike. 413-733-3800. Main Street from Lyman Street to Locust Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 30, 12:30pm-3pm — MYO HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
Wreaths were used by various ancient cultures to symbolize success, eternal life, and victory. In more modern times, a wreath on the front door is a sign of welcome and generosity during the holiday season. Add a personal touch to your holiday decorations by adorning your own wreath or creating a table arrangement at the Storrs Library. The Longmeadow Gardeners will show you how. Bring your own wreath or container. Other materials provided. Call to register. 413-565-4181, ext. 1620. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (<$)

Thursday, December 3, 5:30pm — CAROLING
The West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s 28th annual Caroling on the Green invites everyone to join in a community sing-along, led by local artists and a children’s choir. Singing begins at 5:45pm, but be sure to arrive by 5:30pm to get your songbooks! This is an outdoor event, so dress warmly. 413-781-3020. Elm Street Gazebo, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm; Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm — CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Those who decorate their own trees or wreaths each year can be inspired by the variety of materials and styles of decoration on display! Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm; Sunday, December 6, 11am-4pm — YULETIDE
Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm — CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION
Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm-5:30pm — HANUKKAH/INTERGENERATIONALITY
The miracle of Hanukkah is that one vial of oil, enough for only one night, lit the menorah for eight. Start the Festival of Lights at the Springfield Jewish Community Center‘s First Light Community-wide Celebration. Play the eight games of Hanukkah, enjoy music and latkes, then go outside for the lighting of the largest menorah in Western Mass. 413-739-4715 x322. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 2pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day celebration which begins this year on Sunday, December 6th and ends Monday, December 14th. Join with other community members in a celebration of Hanukkah sponsored by West Springfield Park & Recreation. 413-263-3284. Elm Street Common, Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6pm-8pm — CHRISTMAS/HISTORY
What was Christmas like before electricity? Find out during “Yuletide by Lantern Light” at historic Storrowton Village. Guests can tour the buildings and watch live 19th-century demonstrations of fireplace cooking in the Gilbert Farmstead and blacksmithing in the stone Blacksmith Shop, all by the light of lanterns and candles. The Village will be adorned with festive décor by several area garden clubs, florists, and designers who have donated their time, expertise, and materials to create a winter wonderland. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, December 9, 7pm — HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR
Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Take a tour of Forest Park’s “Bright Nights” holiday light display on a bus tour hosted by the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department. Interested residents of West Springfield should contact the Park & Rec Department to reserve a free bus voucher before December 8th. All children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Municipal Office Building, 26 Central Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 5pm-8pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
Enjoy a bit of festive, holiday magic at Springfield Museums‘ Culture & Cocktails: Merry & Bright celebration! Explore the whimsical gingerbread exhibition, enjoy holiday music, take in a planetarium show, gaze at the lights of the Quadrangle Green, design an edible holiday treat, and connect with others in your community at this special event. Ages 21 and up. Reservations strongly recommended. 413-314-6479. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (< $ for members; $ for non-members)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm and 7pm– HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm — SANTA
Children may visit Santa at the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s Santa House, a local holiday tradition that has been going since 1980! Santa’s House will be open through December 23rd. Hours are 5:30pm-7:30pm (Mon-Fri) and 2:30pm-4pm & 5:30pm-7:30pm (Sat & Sun). 413-263-3284. Mittineague Park, 1695 Westfield Street (main entrance off of Rt 20), West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 9pm — PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/CAROLING/LATIN DANCE
Jose Gonzalez y Banda Criolla brings his “Latin Christmas Show” to Gateway City Arts. His hot new Latin quintet will sing parrandas, an energetic form of Puerto Rican Christmas caroling, then play festive Latin dance music. 413-650-2670. 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. ($)

Wednesday, December 16, 7pm; Thursday, December 17, 7:30pm; Friday, December 18, 8pm– HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 17, 12:15pm-1:15pm — HOLIDAY/ASTRONOMY
Christians sing about it every year: “O Star of wonder, star of night, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy Perfect Light.” But was the star that led the Three Kings to Bethlehem real? For this month’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, join Richard Sanderson and Jack Megas in the Seymour Planetarium to explore the mystery. Feel free to bring a lunch to enjoy. 413-263-6488. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm & 8pm; Sunday, December 20, 2pm and 7pm — HOLIDAY/VARIETY SHOW
Home for the HOLLY-Days has become a tradition for many Pioneer Valley theater-goers, and this year’s show is bigger than ever! Come see Buddy, Elvis, Richie, and the Big Bopper in the concert they never gave, featuring musical performances by local favorites such as Ray Guillmette, Jr., Ben Ashley, Frank Manzi, and more. Santa will also be making a special appearance! Suitable for audiences of all ages, this show offers the perfect opportunity to join in the spirit of the holidays with your family and local community. Performances are presented by The Majestic Theater. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Monday, December 21, 7pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Join the String City Orchestra for seasonal music at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing. 413-732-8428. 807 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA. (FREE))

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm — HOLIDAY CONCERT
Join the String City Orchestra and CitySounds for a holiday concert — and cookies, too — at the Community Music School of Springfield. 413-732-8428. Robyn Newhouse Hall, 127 State Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

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Hampshire County

Saturday, November 28, 9:30am-12:30pm — UPCYCLING/CRAFTS
Turn trash into treasure when you make your own upcycled ornament, using yarn and CDs, during Stop ‘n’ Craft at the Emily Williston Memorial Library. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

NON-COMMERCIAL HOLIDAY SHOPPING/COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION
Any time during library hours this holiday season, shop the “Meekins Market” for everyone on your list and support the Meekins Library and sustainability in the process. This “indoor tag sale” has something for everyone, at reasonable prices (most items are between 25 cents and 10 dollars). Find gently used stuffed animals, toys and games, decorative objects, household items, jewelry, holiday items, and of course books. Kids can shop for parents, teachers, and friends without breaking the (piggy) bank! Open during library hours through December 19. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (SALE)

Friday, December 4, 3pm-6:30pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/HOLIDAY
Don’t miss the 40th year of the lighting of the Merry Maple! Highlights include an open house at the fire station, hayrides by Muddy Brook Farms, a kids’ craft room, the Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus, and the UMass Marching Band. Sponsored by the Amherst Area Chamber and Amherst Business Improvement District. Cider doughnuts and hot apple cider for sale. 413-253-0700. Downtown Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6:30pm-8:30pm — HOLIDAY DANCE/ALL ABILITIES
Hit the dance floor and show off your moves as you celebrate the season in an inclusive environment at Whole Children and Milestones‘ Annual Holiday Dance. There will be quieter activities, such as Pokemon, Minecraft, and crafts, for those who prefer a more subdued celebration. Younger kids and their parents can enjoy the creative movement room. 413-585-8010. 41 Russell Street, Hadley, MA.

Friday, December 4, 7:30pm; Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/DANCE/CONCERT
Jazz great Duke Ellington recorded his version of The Nutcracker Suite in 1960. The “University Dancers with Jazz Ensemble I” will mark the 35th anniversary of the recording with a performance choreographed by dance alumni at the UMass Fine Arts Center. Also works by Thomas Vacanti, Erica Wilson-Perkins, and Leslie Frye-Maietta. 413-545-2511. 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 5, 9am & 11am — SANTA/COMMUNITY MEAL
All of your child’s favorite wintry and Christmas-y characters (Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Santa’s elves, and the Grinch) will be together at a holiday breakfast at the Pulaski Club of Easthampton. Breakfast will be served buffet-style, and each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-527-9847. 79 Maple Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 2)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-12pm — MYO HOLIDAY GIFT
Handmade gifts come from the heart and allow children to share pieces of themselves with those they love. Children can make up to three nature-oriented gifts — including panpipes, leaf pendants, and gourd birdhouses — at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Recycled wrapping materials provided. Caregiver supervision and guidance expected. Registration required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 10:30am — HOLIDAY/CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARCHITECTURE
Gingerbread houses first appeared in Germany in the early 1800s, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own fairy tale abodes out of graham crackers, white icing, assorted candy, and a milk carton base at the Westhampton Public Library. Please bring a bag of candy for decorating and sharing; all other supplies provided. Sign up in advance. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-1pm — UPCYCLING/MYO GIFT/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
When your tea or coffee is gone, what do you do with the empty box or cup sleeve? Join Local Artisan Candace Bradbury-Carlin for “Coffee, Tea, and Bookmaking” at the Pelham Library, and learn how to make blank books from these cast-offs. Someone on your holiday list would certainly appreciate one! Space is limited so please sign up at the desk. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 1pm-4pm — HOLIDAY/ARCHITECTURE/COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
What candy would you use to make realistic foliage for a gingerbread house yard? What could you do with a Lifesaver? Watch as teams of four compete to build the best gingerbread house at Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity‘s Fourth Annual Gingerbread Build at Eastworks. See if you can guess who will win judges’ awards such as “Best Use of the Color Green,” “Most Resembling a Sea Creature,” and “Most Resembling a Famous Landmark.” Intergenerational fun! Raffle for local prizes drawn at 3:30. 413-586-5430. 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10:30am-12:30pm — MYO GIFT/STEM
Let it snow! Enjoy open-ended, creative activities focusing on snow at “The Family Snowflake Workshop” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Learn about the science of snow and make snowflake-themed artwork and gifts. Ages 6 and up; up to two children per adult. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm — HANUKKAH CELEBRATION
Learn Yiddish holiday songs, hear readings of holiday-themed children’s books, make a seasonal craft, and go on a scavenger hunt exploration at the Yiddish Book Center‘s annual Hanukkah celebration. This fun day of Hanukkah-themed activities has something for visitors of all ages and faiths. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 1pm-3pm — HANUKKAH/FOOD/KLEZMER MUSIC
What’s your favorite Hanukkah treat? Perhaps you’ll find that and some new taste sensations at “A Taste of Hanukkah” at the River Valley Market. Enjoy live music by the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 2pm-3:30pm — HOLIDAY TEA
Sip tea and nibble sweets in Belle Skinner’s Music Room at Wistariahurst Museum‘s Winter FestiviTea. Live music and festive holiday decor add to the merry atmosphere. Reservations required. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street, Holyoke, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Village Church. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Cummington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm & 7:30pm — CHRISTMAS/CONCERT
The Amherst Choral Society will perform at a “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” the annual vespers concert at Johnson Chapel. Members of the Amherst College community will do readings interspersed with the songs. 413-542-2195. Amherst College, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 8, 5:30pm-8pm — KWANZAA CELEBRATION
In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created a new cultural holiday, Kwanzaa, based on traditional African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Organized around seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Kwanzaa aims to preserve, continually revitalize, and promote African American culture. The Malcolm X Cultural Center at UMass invites everyone to its annual community Kwanzaa Celebration to engage in celebration and reflection. 413-545-3042. UMass Student Union Ballroom, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 3:30pm — CAROLING
Join “The Jolly Jinglers,” for some fun holiday songs at the Westhampton Public Library. This delightful group of children is led by Heather Paul. 413-527-5386. Community Room, 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 5:30pm — CONCERT/CULTURAL STUDIES/HANUKKAH
Enjoy festive world music as the Mount Holyoke College Klezmer Band performs its annual Klezmer Tants, directed by Andrianne Greenbaum. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-538-2000. The Warbeke Room, Pratt Music Hall, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6:30pm — MUSIC STUDIES
The Northampton Community Music Center invites you to its 13th annual Holiday Choral Festival, featuring performances by Rock Voices, Luna, the Northamptones, High Definition, the Ku’umba Women’s Choir, the Hartsbrook Choir, and the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School Chorus. Proceeds benefit the NCMC’s scholarship fund. 413-585-0001. Helen Hills Chapel, 123 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Thursday, December 10, 7:30pm — CONCERT/MUSIC STUDIES
The holiday season offers many great opportunities to explore music from different cultural traditions. Experience a Celtic Christmas performance by Cherish the Ladies, an ensemble that creates beautiful music using flute, tin whistle, guitar, accordion, fiddle, piano, and vocals. The program will include classic carols and step dancing. 413-545-2511. UMass Fine Arts Center, 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA. ($-$$)

Friday, December 11, 5pm-8pm — CONSERVATION/OPEN HOUSE
Celebrate the season and learn about the important work of the Kestrel Land Trust at their Holiday Open House. Kestrel’s mission is to “conserve and care for forests, farms, and riverways in the Pioneer Valley, while nurturing an enduring love of the land.” It has conserved more than 19,000 acres of wildlands, woodlands, farmland, and riverlands. Refreshments provided. 413-549-1097. 284 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm — SANTA/HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
The Easthampton Family Center is hosting its annual Milk and Cookies with Santa event, a fundraiser to help support the Center’s important community-based work. Visitors will be invited to sing holiday songs, play games, and make crafts, and each child will receive a book to take home. 413-527-5496. Old Town Hall, 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 12, 1pm and 4:30pm; Sunday, December 13, 1pm and 4:30pm — PERFORMING ARTS/BALLET
The Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always new and always sweet, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Berkhard and Pablo Perez, of Carolina Ballet, as The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Local favorite Meghan Mangsen returns as Clara. And introducing Cain Coleman, of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance, as The Prince. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street, Northampton, MA. ($$-$$$)

Saturday, December 12, 1pm-4pm — CHRISTMAS/READING
Join actors Steve Angel and Dennis Quinn for a reading of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol at White Square Books. Listen to a little or a lot of the tale that teaches the true meaning of Christmas, while you enjoy Christmas Present (and maybe even buy one or two). 413-203-1717. 86 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm — PERFORMING ARTS
Whether you are familiar with the story of The Nutcracker or new to this traditional holiday story, you’ll likely find that the Celtic Heels Dance Company‘s performance offers a fresh, energetic interpretation on a classic. This dance company is based in Greenfield, MA and its dancers range from age 3 through adulthood. In their performance, Tchaikovsky’s original score is blended with Celtic music and original choreography incorporating Celtic dance. Discover what happens when these traditions intertwine! 413-475-3353. Bowker Auditorium, UMass, Amherst, MA. (< $ – $)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm — CHRISTMAS CAROLS/INTERGENERATIONAL
Enjoy Christmas carols and holiday cheer with your neighbors at Williamsburg Congregational Church’s Caroling on the Green, outside Florence Savings Bank. Come for carols, cocoa, and horse-drawn wagon rides. A great way to celebrate the holidays with your community! 413-268-7557. 85 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 1:30pm-3pm — CHRISTMAS TEA
Look Memorial Park‘s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting.The Garden House is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — INTERGENERATIONAL & INCLUSIVE/HOLIDAY CONCERT
Enjoy holiday favorites performed by singers of all ages and abilities as Whole Children‘s Joyful Chorus, appears with the Florence Community Band. 413-585-8010. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 4pm & 7:30pm — CAROLING
Mount Holyoke‘s annual Christmas Vespers is a time-honored musical tradition and a popular event, drawing many community members of all ages and faiths. This year’s performance will include a candlelight processional and community carol singing. The college’s Chamber Singers, Chorale, Glee Club, Vocal & Chamber Jazz ensembles, and the English Handbell Ensemble will all contribute their talents to this beautiful musical event. 413-538-2000. Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm-6pm — COMMUNITY BOOK READING/DONATIONS
Join friends and neighbors at the Meekins Library for the annual reading of holiday classics that celebrate this time of wonder. First, David Adler’s Hanukkah story, One Yellow Daffodil. This sensitive and heartwarming story tells how, through the generosity of young Jonathan and Ilana’s loving family, Morris Kaplan comes again to embrace the traditional Hanukkah celebration of his Polish childhood and to remember that kindness can truly create miracles. Next, local author Patricia MacLachlan’s Christmas story, True Gift. This new classic about a small town, one lonely white cow, and the joys of family and community, tells the tale of how two children find out the meaning of a true gift. Come read or listen and enjoy holiday treats and warm drinks. Please bring a donation of food for the Williamsburg Council on Aging Pantry, a warm coat for the Northampton Survival Center, or something special for our animal friends at the Dakin Shelter. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13. 5-7pm – CHANUKAH
Latke vs. Hamantashen Debate/Throw-Down and Chanukah Party at Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton. CBI warmly welcomes everyone to attend a fun and festive Chanukah party to include a hilarious debate on the topic of whether the latke or hamantashen reigns supreme. The program will include a communal menorah lighting and singing and, of course, latkes! At 5pm, Refreshments, Chillin’ and Dreidel Spinnin’. At 5:30pm, Latke vs Hamantashen Debate or Songs and Stories for kids ages 2-6 with Felicia Sloin. At 6pm, Communal Menorah Lighting and Singing. At 6:30pm, Latkes and Other Treats. Suggested donation of $5 per person. Check out more here. Northampton, MA. (>$)

Monday, December 14, 1:30pm-3pm — CHRISTMAS TEA
Look Memorial Park‘s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting.The Garden House is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. ($)

Monday December 14, 4pm-8pm — SANTA/TRAINS
Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Memorial Park! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station where you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and board the Look Park Holiday Express for a ride around the park to see the lights! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day through December 23 (and 10am-2pm on December 24). 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (FREE, Train Ride <$)

Thursday, December 17, 3:30pm-4:30pm — HOLIDAY STORY/CRAFT
Listen to the classic story of the “Tomten’s nocturnal visits to all of the residents of a wintry farm” and make your own elf for the holidays at Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Thurday, December 17-Sunday, December 20 — HOLIDAY THEATER/SANTA CLAUS
Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 10am — KINDNESS/MOVIE/CHRISTMAS
The Christmas comedy Elf (PG, 2003) is shown as part of the Family Film Series at Amherst Cinema. Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, a baby who crawls into Santa’s pack at an orphanage, is adopted by one of his elves, and grows up at the North Pole. When he learns he is human and has a biological father in New York City, Buddy sets off to find him. Buddy’s sweetness and naivete are in stark contrast to the coarseness of the city and greed of his biological father, a driven publisher of children’s books. Humorous and touching adventures ensue. Afterward, families can discuss how to treat others, what values are important in life, and staying true to one’s beliefs. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 19. 11am, 1pm, & 2pm. — MUSEUM ADVENTURES
Trace the history of Emily Dickinson’s Christmas celebrations during A Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Evocative decorations, seasonal music, new objects, and the words of Emily Dickinson and her family will bring their Christmas experiences to life. A Museum guide will serve as host for this special holiday visit, which concludes with an intimate reading in The Evergreens from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a Dickinson favorite, by award-winning author and Dickens fan, Tony Abbott! 413-542-2034. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 6pm-9pm — COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/HOLIDAY/CULTURAL STUDIES
Florence will be aglow with candlelight during the 14th Annual Luminary sponsored by the Florence Civic & Business Association. The tradition of lighting roadways at Christmas time can be traced to 16th century-Spain. There, people built bonfires to guide the faithful to midnight mass on the last night of La Posadas, the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. The tradition traveled to Spanish-held territory in North America in the form of candles placed in sand in paper bags. This Southwest custom has now spread throughout the country and is generally considered secular in nature. Bring the family to enjoy live entertainment, horse-drawn hayrides, a bonfire, and refreshments. Luminary bags will be for sale at many local merchants. 413-584-5048. Florence Civic Center, 90 Park Street, Florence, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 20, 12:55pm — CHRISTMAS/BALLET
Experience the legendary Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker in HD at the Amherst Cinema. This classic story, told through dance with music by Tchaikovsky, is about a girl who receives a wooden nutcracker for Christmas, which comes alive at midnight, along with all the other toys. It has delighted young and old alike for generations. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm-8:30pm — SOLSTICE CELEBRATION
Since mid-June, our minutes of daily sunlight have been steadily decreasing, leading us towards the winter solstice, the “shortest” day of the year. The winter solstice marks an important seasonal transition, when we begin to add minutes of daylight back into our lives and offers an opportunity to reflect on embracing inevitable changes. Celebrate this year’s solstice at Arcadia, a Mass Audubon sanctuary, with songs, warm drinks, and a crackling bonfire. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Thursday December 24, 10am-2pm — SANTA/TRAINS
Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Memorial Park! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station where you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and board the Look Park Holiday Express for a ride around the park to see the lights! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (FREE, Train Ride <$)

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Tree Lighting

Friday, December 4, 3pm-6:30pm: Don’t miss the 40th year of the lighting of the Merry Maple! Highlights include an open house at the fire station, hayrides by Muddy Brook Farms, a kids’ craft room, the Amherst Regional Middle School Chorus, and the UMass Marching Band. Sponsored by the Amherst Area Chamber and Amherst Business Improvement District. Cider doughnuts and hot apple cider for sale. 413-253-0700. Downtown Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6pm: Kick off the Lenox Chamber of Commerce‘s “Making Spirits Bright” celebration with the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck. Followed by refreshments and gift giving at the Lenox Community Center. 413-637-3646. Lilac Park, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm : Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4:30pm: Be a part of a new holiday tradition at the Whately Library when you join in its first annual tree lighting celebration. There will be hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, music, and a great community sing-along, led by the Damon Family Trio! 413-665-2170. 202 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 6pm: At Lenox Dale’s annual Christmas Tree lighting, hosted by the Lenox Dale Fire Company, Santa will arrive by fire engine and light the town’s tree, then greet children at the Elm Street fire station. Each child will receive a gift and refreshments will be available for everyone. Photos with Santa welcome. 413-637-5542. Veteran’s Memorial Park (Walker & Crystal Streets), Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 7pm: Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Take a tour of Forest Park’s “Bright Nights” holiday light display on a bus tour hosted by the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department. Interested residents of West Springfield should contact the Park & Rec Department to reserve a free bus voucher before December 8th. All children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Municipal Office Building, 26 Central Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

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Santa

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm: Celebrate the season with a day of holiday activities at the Springfield Museums.  From 3pm-4:30pm, kids can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and enjoy refreshments. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm: The New England Air Museum is holding their annual Santa visit and behind-the-scenes event the day after Thanksgiving. Come to the museum to meet Santa and pose for photos with him in front of some historic aircraft. Visitors can also tour the museum behind-the-scenes – check out the research library collection, restoration projects, and tons of vintage aircraft. Great for all ages, especially those interested in aviation! 860-623-3305. 36 Perimeter Road. Windsor Locks, CT. ($-$$)

Friday, December 4, 6pm: Kick off the Lenox Chamber of Commerce‘s “Making Spirits Bright” celebration with the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck. Followed by refreshments and gift giving at the Lenox Community Center. 413-637-3646. Lilac Park, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 9am & 11am: All of your child’s favorite wintry and Christmas-y characters (Mr. & Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Santa’s elves, and the Grinch) will be together at a holiday breakfast at the Pulaski Club of Easthampton. Breakfast will be served buffet-style, and each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Advance ticket purchase recommended. 413-527-9847. 79 Maple Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $; FREE for children under 2)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm : Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-2pm: Visit Santa’s Workshop, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, and make your own holiday hat and ornament. Free with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas admission. 413-298-4100. 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm: Sometimes colder winter temperatures and blustery weather cause us to retreat into our homes. It is worth fighting this urge, and to get out and breathe some fresh, crisp air while exploring the natural world in its wintry state! Why not go for a child-friendly, half-mile walk along the nature trail at Bartholomew’s Cobble? This “Stroll with Santa,” hosted by the Trustees of Reservations, will include stories and snacks after the hike. Pre-registration recommended. 413-298-3239 x 3013. 105 Weatogue Road, Sheffield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 12, 10am-12pm: The Easthampton Family Center is hosting its annual Milk and Cookies with Santa event, a fundraiser to help support the Center’s important community-based work. Visitors will be invited to sing holiday songs, play games, and make crafts, and each child will receive a book to take home. 413-527-5496. Old Town Hall, 43 Main Street, Easthampton, MA. (< $ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 12, 1pm-4pm: Join actors Steve Angel and Dennis Quinn for a reading of Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol at White Square Books. Listen to a little or a lot of the tale that teaches the true meaning of Christmas, while you enjoy Christmas Present (and maybe even buy one or two). 413-203-1717. 86 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 2pm: Children may visit Santa at the West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s Santa House, a local holiday tradition that has been going since 1980! Santa’s House will be open through December 23rd. Hours are 5:30pm-7:30pm (Mon-Fri) and 2:30pm-4pm & 5:30pm-7:30pm (Sat & Sun). 413-263-3284. Mittineague Park, 1695 Westfield Street (main entrance off of Rt 20), West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday December 14, 4pm-8pm: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Memorial Park! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station where you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and board the Look Park Holiday Express for a ride around the park to see the lights! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day through December 23 (and 10am-2pm on December 24). 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (FREE, Train Ride <$)

Wednesday, December 16, 4pm-5pm: Welcome the Jolly Old Elf to Cushman Library! Kids can listen to Santa share a story, tell him their Christmas wishes, and have their pictures taken with him. Snack provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Thurday, December 17-Sunday, December 20: Santa Claus is coming to town, and so is a rather silly dog! PaintBox Theatre presents their third annual, all new, The Santa Show! Everyone deserves a Christmas present, but what about Santa? Mrs. Claus has the perfect idea: a doggie. In spite of the title, he’s not really a puppy: he’s a full-grown hound and very, very smart. Perfect for Santa! Hijinks will ensue. The Santa Show is at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Thursday & Friday, December 17-18 at 7pm, and Saturday & Sunday, December 19-20 at 10:30am & 4pm. Thursday is 2 for 1 night, for teens who bring their favorite little kid(s). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com. Northampton, MA ($$)

Thursday December 24, 10am-2pm: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Memorial Park! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station where you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and board the Look Park Holiday Express for a ride around the park to see the lights! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. (FREE, Train Ride <$)

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Holiday Strolls

Saturday, December 5, 9:30am-6pm: Williamstown‘s 32nd annual Holiday Walk will include seasonal fun for all ages! The Run with the Reindeer Fun Run begins at 9:30am, and the Reindog Parade gets going at 3pm. Throughout the day, adults and kids can make holiday crafts, taste samples in a chili and soup cook-off, decorate gingerbread cookies, and watch an ice carving demonstration. Spring Street will be a festive place to stroll with music, hot chocolate, and cookies at every turn, and those who are present at the end of the day will be treated to a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, followed by the lighting of the town’s holiday trees! 515-708-1413. Downtown Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-7pm: Celebrate the season with the “Lenox Holiday Stroll, sponsored by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. Do some shopping while entertained by caroling from the Cantilena Chamber Choir and students from Lenox High School, Berkshire Country Day School, Berkshire Christian School, and Berkshire Montessori School. Enjoy performances by Shakespeare & Co. and WAM (Women Action Media). Make memories in the “Fabulously Fun Photo Booth.” 413-637-3646. Downtown Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 11, 3pm-10pm: Turners Falls RiverCulture presents “It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls.” Participate in family activities, including crafts, live music, and performances, while enjoying dining specials and eclectic shopping. Adults and kids alike are invited to write wishes for themselves or others and place them in the Magic Mailbox, to be collected by Santa when he arrives at Spinner Park at 6:30pm. 413-835-1390. Various locations, Turners Falls, MA.

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MYO Gifts, Cards & Crafts

Friday, November 27, 10am-5pm: Celebrate the season with a day of holiday activities at the Springfield Museums. Drop-in art activities & gingerbread ornament-making. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, November 28, 9:30am-12:30pm: Turn trash into treasure when you make your own upcycled ornament, using yarn and CDs, during Stop ‘n’ Craft at the Emily Williston Memorial Library. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, November 30, 12:30pm-3pm: Wreaths were used by various ancient cultures to symbolize success, eternal life, and victory. In more modern times, a wreath on the front door is a sign of welcome and generosity during the holiday season. Add a personal touch to your holiday decorations by adorning your own wreath or creating a table arrangement at the Storrs Library. The Longmeadow Gardeners will show you how. Bring your own wreath or container. Other materials provided. Call to register. 413-565-4181, ext. 1620. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (<$)

Monday, November 30, 5pm-8pm; Tuesday, December 1, 1pm-4pm: Learn to make beautiful natural wreaths, seasonal symbols of welcome, and help decorate the doorways of Historic Deerfield. Bring your creativity, enthusiasm, and an extra pair of pruning shears. No experience required. Supplies and refreshments provided. 413-775-7179. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-12pm : Handmade gifts come from the heart and allow children to share pieces of themselves with those they love. Children can make up to three nature-oriented gifts — including panpipes, leaf pendants, and gourd birdhouses — at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Recycled wrapping materials provided. Caregiver supervision and guidance expected. Registration required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 5, 10:30am :Gingerbread houses first appeared in Germany in the early 1800s, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own fairy tale abodes out of graham crackers, white icing, assorted candy, and a milk carton base at the Westhampton Public Library. Please bring a bag of candy for decorating and sharing; all other supplies provided. Sign up in advance. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-1pm: When your tea or coffee is gone, what do you do with the empty box or cup sleeve? Join Local Artisan Candace Bradbury-Carlin for “Coffee, Tea, and Bookmaking” at the Pelham Library, and learn how to make blank books from these cast-offs. Someone on your holiday list would certainly appreciate one! Space is limited so please sign up at the desk. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road, Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 12pm-4:30pm; Sunday, December 6, 12pm-4:30pm: Give a handmade gift to someone special on your list this year. Choose from three gifts to make at Historic Deerfield. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm: Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany in the early 19th century, perhaps inspired by the edible house in Grimm’s fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” Kids can build their own structures out of edible items at the Mason Library. Ages 6 and up (with caregiver help as needed). All supplies included. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA, (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 10:30am-12:30pm: Let it snow! Enjoy open-ended, creative activities focusing on snow at “The Family Snowflake Workshop” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Learn about the science of snow and make snowflake-themed artwork and gifts. Ages 6 and up; up to two children per adult. 413-658-1126. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 6, 12pm-2pm: Visit Santa’s Workshop, presented by the Norman Rockwell Museum, and make your own holiday hat and ornament. Free with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas admission. 413-298-4100. 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (<$)

Tuesday, December 8, 6pm-7pm: The first recorded instance of gingerbread shaped like human figures is from the 16th century, when Queen Elizabeth I of England had likenesses of some of her esteemed guests made from biscuits. Whom will your gingerbread cookie look like? Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate pre-made gingerbread figures. Advance sign-up requested. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 12, 9am-2pm: Handmade gifts are special for both the crafter and the recipient. The crafter can spend time thinking about who the gift is for and why they would like to give this person a gift in the first place. Taking time to make something by hand shows care and investment in the relationship, and recipients’ hearts are warmed by the thought and effort behind the gift, reminding us all that gift-giving is less about any particular present than it is about letting someone know they are appreciated. People of all ages are invited to the Montague Common Hall‘s Make and Take Craft Day, where you can make beeswax candles, jewelry, spin art, magnets, votives, and more. Homemade breakfast and lunch foods will be available for sale as well, and visitors can also enjoy cozying up by the outdoor fire pit. 34 Main Street, Montague, MA. (FREE admission; < $ for each craft session)

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-3pm: Balsam trees have a distinctive shape, texture, and aroma that evoke many wintertime and holiday associations. Learn how to create holiday crafts using balsam tree branches at Notchview’s Evergreen Craft Making event. While visiting this Trustees of Reservations property, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing on the trails (bring your own skis, and hope for snow!), or cut a balsam or Fraser fir tree to bring home. Hot chocolate and treats round out this cozy, crafty day of holiday fun. Reservations encouraged. 413-532-1631 x 10. Route 9, Windsor, MA. ($ for members; $$ for nonmembers)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-12pm: Enjoy brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus and make your own ornament to take home and hang on the tree at A Notion to Quilt. 413-625-9644. 623 Mohawk Trail, Shelburne, MA. (FREE w/a canned good for the food pantry)

Saturday, December 19, 11am: Gingerbread houses gained popularity in the early 19th century, possibly inspired by the Grimms’ fairytale Hansel and Gretel. Put your creativity to the test and craft your own edible abode at the Hatfield Public Library. Open to all ages, but younger children may need a caregiver’s help. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

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Caroling/Choral Music

Sunday, November 29, 2pm: The Berkshire Hills Chorus of the Sweet Adelines has sung barbershop music for 45 years. With members from throughout Berkshire County, ranging in age from 18-70, the group performs the close, four-part, a cappella music that is characteristic of this American genre that originated in the 1800s. Enjoy their holiday concert at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield, MA. ($ Members, $$ Non-members)

Thursday, December 3, 5:30pm: The West Springfield Park & Recreation Department’s 28th annual Caroling on the Green invites everyone to join in a community sing-along, led by local artists and a children’s choir. Singing begins at 5:45pm, but be sure to arrive by 5:30pm to get your songbooks! This is an outdoor event, so dress warmly. 413-781-3020. Elm Street Gazebo, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 7pm: The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Berkshire First Church of the Nazarene. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Dalton, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm: The Hilltown Choral Society presents its Christmas Concert, directed by Jeffrey Hunt, with accompanist Amy Renak and the Hilltown Ensemble, at the Village Church. This intergenerational chorus, in its 59th year, includes singers from Northampton west to the New York State line. Fragrance-free. Cummington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 6, 4pm & 7:30pm: The Amherst Choral Society will perform at a “Festival of Lessons and Carols,” the annual vespers concert at Johnson Chapel. Members of the Amherst College community will do readings interspersed with the songs. 413-542-2195. Amherst College, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 3:30pm: Join “The Jolly Jinglers,” for some fun holiday songs at the Westhampton Public Library. This delightful group of children is led by Heather Paul. 413-527-5386. Community Room, 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 6:30pm: The Northampton Community Music Center invites you to its 13th annual Holiday Choral Festival, featuring performances by Rock Voices, Luna, the Northamptones, High Definition, the Ku’umba Women’s Choir, the Hartsbrook Choir, and the Hilltown Cooperative Charter School Chorus. Proceeds benefit the NCMC’s scholarship fund. 413-585-0001. Helen Hills Chapel, 123 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($ SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 12, 4pm: Enjoy Christmas carols and holiday cheer with your neighbors at Williamsburg Congregational Church’s Caroling on the Green, outside Florence Savings Bank. Come for carols, cocoa, and horse-drawn wagon rides. A great way to celebrate the holidays with your community! 413-268-7557. 85 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 2pm — INTERGENERATIONAL & INCLUSIVE/HOLIDAY CONCERT
Enjoy holiday favorites performed by singers of all ages and abilities as Whole Children‘s Joyful Chorus, appears with the Florence Community Band. 413-585-8010. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 2pm: The all-women Berkshire Concert Choir will perform “Voices of Christmas,” followed a Victorian tea, at Ventfort Hall. Known throughout the county for their joy of singing, the group will be led by conductor Paula Nuss and accompanied by Aurora Cooper, as they perform a wide range of traditional Christmas songs. Reservations recommended. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm: The First Church of Deerfield will hold A Community Service of Lessons and Carols, including readings from Hebrew, Christian, and other religious traditions, choral and instrumental music, and a Christmas-carol sing. Choirs from Deerfield Academy, The Bement School, and The First Church of Deerfield will participate. 413-773-5323. 71 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA.

Sunday, December 13, 4pm & 7:30pm: Mount Holyoke‘s annual Christmas Vespers is a time-honored musical tradition and a popular event, drawing many community members of all ages and faiths. This year’s performance will include a candlelight processional and community carol singing. The college’s Chamber Singers, Chorale, Glee Club, Vocal & Chamber Jazz ensembles, and the English Handbell Ensemble will all contribute their talents to this beautiful musical event. 413-538-2000. Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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Hanukkah

Sunday, December 6, 10am-4pm: Learn Yiddish holiday songs, hear readings of holiday-themed children’s books, make a seasonal craft, and go on a scavenger hunt exploration at the Yiddish Book Center‘s annual Hanukkah celebration. This fun day of Hanukkah-themed activities has something for visitors of all ages and faiths. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 1pm-3pm: What’s your favorite Hanukkah treat? Perhaps you’ll find that and some new taste sensations at “A Taste of Hanukkah” at the River Valley Market. Enjoy live music by the Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-584-2665. 330 North King Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm-5:30pm: The miracle of Hanukkah is that one vial of oil, enough for only one night, lit the menorah for eight. Start the Festival of Lights at the Springfield Jewish Community Center‘s First Light Community-wide Celebration. Play the eight games of Hanukkah, enjoy music and latkes, then go outside for the lighting of the largest menorah in Western Mass. 413-739-4715 x322. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 7, 2pm: Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day celebration which begins this year on Sunday, December 6th and ends Monday, December 14th. Join with other community members in a celebration of Hanukkah sponsored by West Springfield Park & Recreation. 413-263-3284. Elm Street Common, Elm Street, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 9, 5:30pm: Enjoy festive world music as the Mount Holyoke College Klezmer Band performs its annual Klezmer Tants, directed by Andrianne Greenbaum. Klezmer music originated in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe centuries ago and was meant to emulate the voice and music of the cantor in the synagogue. 413-538-2000. The Warbeke Room, Pratt Music Hall, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 10, 6:30pm — The Deerfield Arts Bank invites the community to bring their menorahs and candles for an evening of lighting candles together on the 5th night of Hanukkah (they’ll have lots of extra menorahs too). All are invited to this interfaith gathering. Rabbi Ben Weiner, a Deerfield resident, will officiate and explain Hanukkah traditions and history. There will be singing and playing dreidel. 413-665-0123. 413-768-8917. Deerfield Arts Bank 3 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 13, 9:30am-11am: Do you love delicious, homemade foods and sharing conversation with new friends while you dine? The Katz Family Chanukah Breakfast, a treasured local holiday tradition, invites everyone to Congregation B’nai Torah to enjoy latkes, sufganiyot, music by a children’s choir, and an opportunity to paint and glaze your own Judaica. Those feeling adventurous can add on a ride on the Maccabee midwinter zipline!

Sunday, December 13, 4pm-6pm: Join friends and neighbors at the Meekins Library for the annual reading of holiday classics that celebrate this time of wonder. First, David Adler’s Hanukkah story, One Yellow Daffodil. This sensitive and heartwarming story tells how, through the generosity of young Jonathan and Ilana’s loving family, Morris Kaplan comes again to embrace the traditional Hanukkah celebration of his Polish childhood and to remember that kindness can truly create miracles. Next, local author Patricia MacLachlan’s Christmas story, True Gift. This new classic about a small town, one lonely white cow, and the joys of family and community, tells the tale of how two children find out the meaning of a true gift. Come read or listen and enjoy holiday treats and warm drinks. Please bring a donation of food for the Williamsburg Council on Aging Pantry, a warm coat for the Northampton Survival Center, or something special for our animal friends at the Dakin Shelter. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 13. 5-7pm: Latke vs. Hamantashen Debate/Throw-Down and Chanukah Party at Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton. CBI warmly welcomes everyone to attend a fun and festive Chanukah party to include a hilarious debate on the topic of whether the latke or hamantashen reigns supreme. The program will include a communal menorah lighting and singing and, of course, latkes! At 5pm, Refreshments, Chillin’ and Dreidel Spinnin’. At 5:30pm, Latke vs Hamantashen Debate or Songs and Stories for kids ages 2-6 with Felicia Sloin. At 6pm, Communal Menorah Lighting and Singing. At 6:30pm, Latkes and Other Treats. Suggested donation of $5 per person. Check out more here. Northampton, MA. (>$)

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Christmas

Runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, 4pm-9pm: Old Sturbridge Village invites you to return to a simpler time, when Christmas meant carols and community, not catalogs and chaos, at their annual Christmas by Candlelight event. Enjoy sleigh rides, carols, model railroads, holiday magic shows, dances, and story readings. Watch demonstrations of gingerbread baking and cider making, and learn about the history of holiday traditions such as roasted chestnuts, yule logs, mistletoe, and more! Visitors will also have an opportunity to make a Christmas keepsake to take home. This event runs December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, and advance ticket purchase is recommended. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA. ($)

Friday, December 4, 5pm: As part of the annual Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas event, everyone is invited to listen to classic holiday stories in a read-aloud presented by the Stockbridge Library. 413-298-5501. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 29 Main Street, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 4, 6pm: Kick off the Lenox Chamber of Commerce‘s “Making Spirits Bright” celebration with the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck. Followed by refreshments and gift giving at the Lenox Community Center. 413-637-3646. Lilac Park, Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 10am-3pm; Sunday, December 6, 10am-3pm: The Palmer Historical and Cultural Center hosts its 4th annual Christmas Tree & Wreath Festival on December 5th and 6th. Highlights include a tree and wreath raffle, fun activities for children, and live music. Those who decorate their own trees or wreaths each year can be inspired by the variety of materials and styles of decoration on display! Attendees are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Lions Club of Palmer toy drive. 413-284-0357. 2072 Main Street, Three Rivers, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 11am-4pm; Sunday, December 6, 11am-4pm: Celebrate the holidays at Storrowton Village’s Yuletide! This winter festival brings the community together with traditional Yuletide activities, shopping, and entertainment. There will be traditional music, storytelling, craft demonstrations, ice sculpting, a Sweet Shoppe, kids’ crafts, Santa, and more. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 5, 4pm: Launch Holyoke’s holiday season at this year’s festive, family-oriented, tree lighting event. The merry-go-round will be running, and Santa will arrive right in front, via the Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Polar Express train, to greet visitors. Other highlights include music, crafts, horse drawn carriage rides, carolers, ice sculpting, and refreshments. The lighting of the city’s tree will take place at City Hall; all other events take place in and around City Hall and in Holyoke Heritage State Park. Hosted by the Holyoke Parks & Recreation department. 413-322-5620. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 6, 3pm: Norman Rockwell painted Home for Christmas in 1967, capturing a quintessential small town at the holidays. Take a virtual stroll down Stockbridge’s Main Street in simpler times and learn details you may not known before in this Highlight Talk at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Reduced admission with Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas button. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183, Stockbridge, MA. (FREE Members, $$ Non-members)

Wednesday, December 9, 6pm-8pm: What was Christmas like before electricity? Find out during “Yuletide by Lantern Light” at historic Storrowton Village. Guests can tour the buildings and watch live 19th-century demonstrations of fireplace cooking in the Gilbert Farmstead and blacksmithing in the stone Blacksmith Shop, all by the light of lanterns and candles. The Village will be adorned with festive décor by several area garden clubs, florists, and designers who have donated their time, expertise, and materials to create a winter wonderland. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue, West Springfield, MA. (<$)

Runs December 12th-December 22nd: What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs December 12th-December 22nd. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 12, 7:30pm; Sunday, December 13, 2pm: Experience the nostalgia and wonderment of Christmas as seen through the eyes of a young boy during the 1920s in A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Appealing to audiences young and old, this story is a reminiscent tale that beautifully “universalizes the essence of Christmas as any child anywhere might perceive it.” This production is being presented by The Silverthorne Theater Company and will be held at The Centennial House Bed & Breakfast, 94 Main Street, Northfield, MA. ($$$ FUNDRAISER)

Sunday, December 13, 1:30pm-3pm; Monday, December 14, 1:30pm-3pm — CHRISTMAS TEA
Look Memorial Park‘s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting.The Garden House is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street, Florence, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 13, 4pm: We all know the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but how many of us have read this classic piece of literature? Borrow a copy from the Cushman Library, then join your neighbors for a discussion of this “Ghost Story of Christmas.” Copies available at the circulation desk. Feel free to bring Christmas treats to share; hot beverages provided. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19. 11am, 1pm, & 2pm: Trace the history of Emily Dickinson’s Christmas celebrations during A Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Evocative decorations, seasonal music, new objects, and the words of Emily Dickinson and her family will bring their Christmas experiences to life. A Museum guide will serve as host for this special holiday visit, which concludes with an intimate reading in The Evergreens from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a Dickinson favorite, by award-winning author and Dickens fan, Tony Abbott! 413-542-2034. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 12:55pm: Experience the legendary Bolshoi Ballet performing The Nutcracker in HD at the Amherst Cinema. This classic story, told through dance with music by Tchaikovsky, is about a girl who receives a wooden nutcracker for Christmas, which comes alive at midnight, along with all the other toys. It has delighted young and old alike for generations. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 23, 4pm-5pm — CREATIVE FREE PLAY/STORYTIME/HOLIDAY
Celebrate Christmas Eve’s Eve at the Cushman Library with Christmas stories followed by cookie decorating and eating! Decorating cookies encourages creativity and builds fine motor skills, while eating them is a wonderfully sweet reward. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street, Bernardston, MA. (FREE)

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Kwanzaa

Tuesday, December 8, 5:30pm-8pm: In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga created a new cultural holiday, Kwanzaa, based on traditional African “first fruit” (harvest) celebrations. Organized around seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), Kwanzaa aims to preserve, continually revitalize, and promote African American culture. The Malcolm X Cultural Center at UMass invites everyone to its annual community Kwanzaa Celebration to engage in celebration and reflection. 413-545-3042. UMass Student Union Ballroom, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Winter Solstice

Saturday, December 5, 7:30pm: Welcome the winter solstice with the warm harmonies of folk duo Lynn and Will Rowan, as Maude’s Closet Concerts celebrates the release of their new CD, Sing the Sun’s Return: Wassails and Carols for Yuletide. Sing along to everything from boisterous old feasting songs to moving new melodies about the dark season. Special guest Aidan Talbot. 413-634-6199. Ashfield Community Hall, 521 Main Street, Ashfield, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 17, 3:30pm-4:30pm: Listen to the classic story of the “Tomten’s nocturnal visits to all of the residents of a wintry farm” and make your own elf for the holidays at Meekins Library. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm-8:30pm: Since mid-June, our minutes of daily sunlight have been steadily decreasing, leading us towards the winter solstice, the “shortest” day of the year. The winter solstice marks an important seasonal transition, when we begin to add minutes of daylight back into our lives and offers an opportunity to reflect on embracing inevitable changes. Celebrate this year’s solstice at Arcadia, a Mass Audubon sanctuary, with songs, warm drinks, and a crackling bonfire. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

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