Suggested Events for December 19th-25th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Hilltown Families helped me get out after I had my first baby and was feeling a bit isolated. Everyday there was a list of things on the website to help me connect with the community and other new mothers. Now I have two kids and never have trouble finding things to do as a family thanks to Hilltown Families.” – Erin Murphy (Sunderland, MA)

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

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

Hilltown Families’ Events

Jan 1

Join us on New Year’s Day at Flywheel in Easthampton from 10am-12noon.

On the first day of 2016, Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! Takes place at Flywheel in the old town in Easthampton, MA. Who needs night clubs when you have our Morning Dance Parties with Hilltown Families and Flywheel?! Save on the babysitter and dance the morning away! This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun! 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FUNDRAISER)

Bulletin Board

Dec 17-20

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.

Dec Vac

Stone House Farm in Amherst has Vacation Day Programs offered from 9am-3pm during December school vacation: Monday, December 28 – Gingerbread Houses (grades 1-6); Tuesday and Wednesday, December 29 & 30 – Sewing Flannel PJ’s (2-day project for grades 4 & up); December 31 – Cooking New Year’s Eve Appetizers (grades 1-6). These classes are limited to 6 students each. Cost is $75 per day. Please see www.stonehousefarmbb.com or email candi@stonehousefarmbb.com for more information and to register.

Jan 10

Interested in filmmaking? Perhaps you have a friend or family member that is and you need to find them a unique holiday gift! In this new one-day intensive Filmmaker Workshop at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on January 10th each student will learn basic aspects and best practices of production, editing, and how to use websites like YouTube to upload and share work. The class is ideal for artists, students, communications professionals, beginning filmmakers, and anyone interested in DIY video. In today’s world, entire films are shot on iPhones, edited on laptops, and then shared to a worldwide audience with websites like YouTube. Now learn how to be a part of it! For more info and to sign up, visit: www.lindsayvandyke.com

Lui Collins' Upside Up MusicAll children are musical! Winter classes start January 12 in Ashfield, Shelburne Falls, Williamsburg & Online. Comfortable, welcoming. Meet other families and give yourself time to enjoy your child. No experience necessary. Music Together (birth-5) and Kids’ Jam (5-7) provide singing, large & small movement, singing games, and ear training exercises through play to prepare a child for a lifetime of musical expression. Tuition includes 2 CDs, Songbook. Music at Home family homeschool music curriculum for grades K-2 or 1-3 and siblings. Music at Home support materials include interactive videos with Lui Collins, making music accessible to all families regardless of parental musical experience. Information and registration at UpsideUpMusic.com

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in their Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to their Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

Central Rock Gym is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, their program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, engage in exciting games and group activities, and concludes with a pizza party on the final day. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for more information and to register. www.centralrockgym.com

Apr 15 & 16

Save the Date. On April 15 and 16, 2016, the Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses and Communities Conference will come to Pioneer Valley. The public event connects grassroots, government, business, and education and features best practices. Call to Participate. Currently seeking speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and conference staff. Join hundreds who are moving sustainability forward. Info at www.MaSustainableCommunities.com.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer camp, class, community event, school, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business, program, after school class, or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org. Find out more about this targeted marketing opportunity HERE.

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


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 19th-25, 2015

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Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 19th, 2016

Ongoing Saturday Events

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Join Sonia De Los Santos (from Dan Zanes and Friends) as she presents this episode on “The Sound of Mexican Music Made in the USA.” She’ll play some of her favorite songs from a variety of Mexican genres like: Son Jarocho, Norteño, Mariachi, Son Guerrerense, Banda, Huapango and Corrido. Learn about Mexican Traditional instruments and get to know who’s making Mexican music in the USA! Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from over 8 years!

Saturday, December 19 —
CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY
Participate in the longest-running citizen science bird project in the country by joining a local team for the 116th Christmas Bird Count. In early winter, volunteers count every bird they see or hear during a 24-hour period within a designated 15-mile radius. Beginners are matched with experienced counters to learn and help at the same time. Data from the count, which occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere, are used to monitor bird populations and identify species in decline. This is a rewarding activity for all ages, and you can join a team for whatever period of time you like. Call a local coordinator for more information. Central Berkshire: 413-684-3724. Northern Berkshire: 413-458-3538. Springfield: 413-525-6742. Locations vary. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 9:30am-12:30pm —
LOCAL VALUES/SOCIAL JUSTICE
Come share your concerns, hopes, and suggestions regarding racial equity in Amherst schools at the UROC Amherst Racial Equity meeting, in the Amherst Room of the Jones Library. Parents, caregivers, and community members are invited to discuss the racial climate in the schools and offer ideas for improving it. The committee will bring anonymous feedback to school and community leaders. Transportation available. 413-362-1700. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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. Learn where your food comes from and share your experience at family dinner time. The festive atmosphere will be further enhanced by music and activities for kids. SNAP accepted. 413-528-0041. Monument Valley Middle School, 313 Monument Valley Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-2pm —
FARMERS’ MARKET
Explore the sometimes surprising bounty of the winter harvest, and explore other wonderful, local delights such as honey, breads, pastries, cheeses, jewelry, and more at the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market, which runs most Saturdays through April 2, 2016. SNAP accepted throughout the market. Amherst Regional Middle School, 170 Chestnut Street, Amherst, 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. Also, It’s hot chocolate season, and we have the Aztecs to thank for the sweet, comforting drink we all enjoy. More than 500 years ago, in current-day Mexico, they mixed cacao with water and flavored it with chili, honey, and spices. Later, Europeans added sugar and milk. Make your own hot chocolate mix from a colonial recipe. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 19, 10am-4:30pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/GAMES
Put away your electronic devices and try your skill at some colonial games at Historic Deerfield. Learn to play checkers, fox and geese, merelles, table-top nine pins, Jacob’s ladder, and ball and cup. Special group games and songs at 11am and 2pm. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Saturday, December 19, 10:30am —
PERFORMING ARTS/SANTA
What do you think Mrs. Claus gets Santa for Christmas? How about a puppy? In Paintbox Theater‘s The Santa Show — Santa Gets a Puppy, she does just that, except, well, it’s actually a full-grown hound, and he’s super smart. Mayhem ensues…along with lots of audience participation and a sing-along of Santa songs. 413-923-7159. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 19, 11am —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/STAR WARS
Pretend play allows children to step into others’ shoes and builds empathy, along with self-esteem. Become a Jedi knight and make your own light saber at the Jones Library. Then, test your skills on a Jedi obstacle course! Also do a Star Wars-themed craft. For ages 7 and up. Costumes encouraged. Registration required for craft project, but drop-ins welcome for obstacle course. 413-259-3091. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 11am, 1pm, and 2pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Step into the world of Emily Dickinson at Christmastime as the Emily Dickinson Museum presents “A Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons.” Take a guided tour of the Homestead and the Evergreens, in their Victorian holiday finery, and hear, in their own words, how the Dickinsons celebrated the season. Following the tour, enjoy an intimate reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by award-winning children’s author Tony Abbott. Advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended. 413-542-8161. 280 Main Street, Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 19, 11am-1pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/HOLIDAY
Kids can decorate their own gluten-free gingerbreads at Cookie Works at Thornes Market. Cookie decorating fosters imaginative thinking and promotes hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity. For children 10 and under accompanied by an adult. One gingerbread per child. 413-570-0010. 150 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 11am-1:30pm —
STEAM
Who can resist slime? It’s a viscous substance, which means it acts like both a liquid and a solid. Come to Meekins Library for a winter-themed STEAMcraft program and make arctic slime while learning about the science behind slime. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 11:30am —
STORYTELLING
Humans have an innate love of stories. Through the ages, storytelling has been used to pass on family history, spark imagination, and teach values. Try your hand at storytelling, or just listen to others, at the Storytelling and Writing Group at Emily Williston Memorial Library. Open to kids and adults. Meets the third Saturday of every month. 413-527-1031. 9 Park Street, Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 12pm-2pm —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/ARCHITECTURE/TEENS
Test your design skills by building a house (or church or barn) from edible items at the Monson Free Library‘s Gingerbread House Contest. What works best for trees? How can you make a sturdy structure? Materials provided. For grades 5-12. Registration required. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street, Monson, MA. (FREE)

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, 1pm —
THEATER/SHAKESPEARE
Believed by some to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone, The Tempest tells the story of the sorcerer Prospero, dethroned Duke of Milan, who creates a storm to entice his brother and the King to a remote island in order to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful royal status. The Young Shakespeare Players East, with actors ages 7-18, present the play at the Sloan Theater at Greenfield Community College. All ages welcome. Run time is approximately two hours and 45 minutes. 802-258-7922. 1 College Drive, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 1pm and 4pm —
PERFORMING ARTS/STORYTELLING
Amherst Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty, the traditional ballet by Marius Petipa, condensed to about one hour, and presented without intermission, at Bowker Auditorium. Watch the captivating story of Princess Aurora, who, cursed by an evil fairy to die on her 16th birthday, is rescued by a good fairy and instead put to sleep for 100 years. A century hence, she is awakened by her prince’s kiss and lives happily ever after. Appropriate for ages 4 and up. 413-549-1555. UMass, Stockbridge Hall, 100 Holdsworth Way, Amherst, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 1pm-3pm —
ART STUDIES/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
What’s it like to be an artist? How do artists come up with their ideas? See local artists performing their crafts, ask some questions, and get in on the fun yourself, at “Local Artist Works in Progress,” sponsored by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. 413-663-7588. 49 Main Street, North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 1pm-3am —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/SOLSTICE
Come to the Unifier Transformational Healing & Expressive Arts Festival Solstice Gathering at the Montague Retreat Center for an organic celebration of sacred art, ceremony, dance, kids’ programming, and live music. Enjoy local organic food, a tea lounge, visionary art, a circus, yoga, henna, and more. Children 11 and under free. 177 Ripley Road, Montague, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 1:30pm —
HOLIDAY/STORYTIME
Come to the East Longmeadow Public Library for a Frozen Holiday Party! Listen to a special story, watch Frozen Fever (G, 2015), an animated short about Anna’s birthday, and play Frozen-themed games. 413-525-5400, ext. 1511. 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm-4pm —
FAMILY FILM/SCIENCE FICTION
While you’re waiting for the new Star Wars movie to come out, take in Spaceballs (PG, 1987) at the Jones Library. This Mel Brooks movie parodies not only Star Wars, but also Star Trek and Planet of the Apes. Test your sci-fi cred by looking for the references as you watch Space Bum Lone Starr and his half-man, half-dog co-pilot Barf the Mawg, try to rescue Princess Vespa from the evil Lord Dark Helmet. 413-259-3223. Woodbury Room, 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm & 7pm —
CLASSICAL THEATER/CHRISTMAS
A Christmas Carol. This classic tale by Charles Dickens has become a holiday tradition for audiences of all ages. Journey back to Victorian England and revisit the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways, prompting redemption. Filled with holiday carols and wonderment, this story teaches of charity and fellowship, love and generosity, and how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round. The production is being presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group and performances will be held at The Colonial Theater, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm and 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. ($$)

Saturday, December 19, 2pm-3:30pm —
STEAM
Do you have (or know) a child who loves to tinker and create? Check out the ARPS-Jones Library Makerspace, where kids can try out robotics kits, 3D printing, littleBits circuitry components, die-cut shape makers, LEGOs, and an assortment of craft supplies. An adult facilitator will be present to help participants explore new materials, but the session is, by design, very open-ended, and everyone is welcome to pursue her/his own interests and ideas! Intended for ages 8-13. Pre-registration requested. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 4pm —
CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS/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 Hatfield Public Library. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 19, 10:30am and 4pm —
PERFORMING ARTS/SANTA
What do you think Mrs. Claus gets Santa for Christmas? How about a puppy? In Paintbox Theater‘s The Santa Show — Santa Gets a Puppy, she does just that, except, well, it’s actually a full-grown hound, and he’s super smart. Mayhem ensues…along with lots of audience participation and a sing-along of Santa songs. 413-923-7159. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

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, 5pm-10pm —
KINDNESS/HOLIDAY CONCERT
Celebrate the season with music and giving at the Thread Arts Collective‘s Holiday Concert & Bash to benefit Whole Children. Whole Children provides programs for children and teens of all abilities. Featuring The Thread House Band, Whole Children’s Joyful Chorus and Friendship Band, and special guests. Silent auction and raffle prizes. 413-835-8048. 64 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA. (FUNDRAISER )

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)

Saturday, December 19, 6:30pm —
COMMUNITY CELEBRATION/SOLSTICE
Brighten this season of darkness with stories, music, puppets, and juggling at the Center for Cultural Evolution‘s 30th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration, held in The Round House. All proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and partners in Health. Please bring donations for the Franklin County Survival Center. 413-624-5140. 68 Van Nuys Road, Colrain, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION $$)

Saturday, December 19, 7pm-10pm —
TWEENS
Looking for a place to spend time with friends and maybe play pool, foosball, video games, ping pong, air hockey, or a little basketball? Kids in grades 6-8 are invited to SNL at the Springfield Jewish Community Center, a safe, chaperoned time for tweens. Snacks available for purchase. Please bring gently used coats, hats, or gloves for the teen Adopt A Village program, which helps families in need during the holidays. 413-739-4715 x322. 1160 Dickinson Street, Springfield, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 19. 8pm – 11:30pm —
COMMUNITY DANCE
Experience the joy of contra dance, a social folk dance that resembles square dancing, hosted by Lenox Contra Dance. Bring a partner or find one at the dance! This week’s music is by Nor’easter. A great opportunity to get to know children, adults, and elders in your community. Beginners are encouraged to attend! 413-528-4007. 65 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. (< $)

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Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Ongoing Sunday Events

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

Sunday, December 20 —
CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY
Participate in the longest-running citizen science bird project in the country by joining a local team for the 116th Christmas Bird Count. In early winter, volunteers count every bird they see or hear during a 24-hour period within a designated 15-mile radius. Beginners are matched with experienced counters to learn and help at the same time. Data from the count, which occurs throughout the Western Hemisphere, are used to monitor bird populations and identify species in decline. This is a rewarding activity for all ages, and you can join a team for whatever period of time you like. Call a local coordinator for more information. 413-585-0145. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 20, 10am-11:30am —
CREATIVE FREE PLAY/MUSIC
PJ Pals presents “It’s a Winter Jewish Family Jam” at Lander-Grinspoon Academy. Sing, dance, and play instruments with musician, recording artist, and Jewish educator Felicia Sloin. Ages 3-5. 413-584-6622. 257 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA.

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. Learn where your food comes from and share your experience at family dinner time. The festive atmosphere will be further enhanced by music and activities for kids. SNAP accepted. 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 —
LOCAL 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. Also, It’s hot chocolate season, and we have the Aztecs to thank for the sweet, comforting drink we all enjoy. More than 500 years ago, in current-day Mexico, they mixed cacao with water and flavored it with chili, honey, and spices. Later, Europeans added sugar and milk. Make your own hot chocolate mix from a colonial recipe. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 20, 10am-4:30pm —
LOCAL HISTORY/GAMES
Put away your electronic devices and try your skill at some colonial games at Historic Deerfield. Learn to play checkers, fox and geese, merelles, table-top nine pins, Jacob’s ladder, and ball and cup. Special group games and songs at 11am and 2pm. 413-774-5581. Visitor Center at Hall Tavern, Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA. (FREE Members and Deerfield Residents, $ Non-members)

Sunday, December 20, 10:30am  —
PERFORMING ARTS/SANTA
What do you think Mrs. Claus gets Santa for Christmas? How about a puppy? In Paintbox Theater‘s The Santa Show — Santa Gets a Puppy, she does just that, except, well, it’s actually a full-grown hound, and he’s super smart. Mayhem ensues…along with lots of audience participation and a sing-along of Santa songs. 413-923-7159. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

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, 1pm-4pm —
WINTER SOLSTICE/MUSIC/ART
Celebrate the start of winter at Singing Bridge Performing Arts Lodge‘s Honoring the Winter Solstice. Appearances by the Ice Queen and Snowflake Fairy, family art projects, interactive song and movement, and a solstice ritual. Wear white and bring food to string and hang on the Wild Animal Tree. Snack provided. 617-623-3521. 21 West Main Street, Cummington, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 20, 2pm & 7pm —
CLASSICAL THEATER/CHRISTMAS
A Christmas Carol. This classic tale by Charles Dickens has become a holiday tradition for audiences of all ages. Journey back to Victorian England and revisit the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways, prompting redemption. Filled with holiday carols and wonderment, this story teaches of charity and fellowship, love and generosity, and how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round. The production is being presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group and performances will be held at The Colonial Theater, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

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. ($$)

Sunday, December 20, 4pm —
MOVIE/MUSIC HISTORY
The Carters and the Cashes are the First Families of country music. The Winding Stream (Unrated, 2015), showing at Amherst Cinema, examines the families’ musical and cultural contributions, along with their personal stories. Includes appearances by Johnny Cash, George Jones, Rosanne Cash, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and more. Director Beth Harrington will provide an introduction and answer questions. Appropriate for teens. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street, Amherst, 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. ($)

Sunday, December 20,  4pm —
PERFORMING ARTS/SANTA
What do you think Mrs. Claus gets Santa for Christmas? How about a puppy? In Paintbox Theater‘s The Santa Show — Santa Gets a Puppy, she does just that, except, well, it’s actually a full-grown hound, and he’s super smart. Mayhem ensues…along with lots of audience participation and a sing-along of Santa songs. 413-923-7159. Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, Northampton, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 20, 6pm —
THEATER/SHAKESPEARE
Believed by some to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone, The Tempest tells the story of the sorcerer Prospero, dethroned Duke of Milan, who creates a storm to entice his brother and the King to a remote island in order to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful royal status. The Young Shakespeare Players East, with actors ages 7-18, present the play at the Sloan Theater at Greenfield Community College. All ages welcome. Run time is approximately two hours and 45 minutes. 802-258-7922. 1 College Drive, Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

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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Monday, December 21st, 2015

Monday, December 21, 7am and 3:30pm —
NATURE-BASED/ASTRONOMY
As long ago as 4,800BC, people used sunwheels to track the change of seasons and solar cycles. Stonehenge is the most famous sunwheel. On the shortest day of the year, experience the winter solstice directly as you watch the sun rise and/or set straight over the tall standing stones of the UMass Sunwheel. Learn about solstices and equinoxes, seasons, and the phases of the moon. Honoring seasonal cycles connects us with other cultures throughout space and time. 413-545-4311. Rocky Hill Road, Amherst, MA. (DONATIONS APPRECIATED)

Monday, December 21, 7pm —
CLASSICAL THEATER/CHRISTMAS
A Christmas Carol. This classic tale by Charles Dickens has become a holiday tradition for audiences of all ages. Journey back to Victorian England and revisit the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways, prompting redemption. Filled with holiday carols and wonderment, this story teaches of charity and fellowship, love and generosity, and how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round. The production is being presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group and performances will be held at The Colonial Theater, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

Monday, December 21, 7pm —
CONCERT/UKULELES
The ukulele, once found in most American homes, is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. It’s easy to learn, but can be taken to virtuoso levels. Come hear some masters, as The Well Tempered Ukes play in the Calvin Coolidge Library at Forbes Library. The group specializes in early music and parlor and art songs and performs monthly as artists-in-residence at the library. They will sing and play selected old and new songs, share cultural and historical background about the songs and their instruments, and offer tips for playing the ukulele. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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))

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ONGOING FOR MONDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9:30am-11am – STORYTIME & MUSIC: Families with young children are invited to the Spear Memorial Library every Monday for a “Tales & Tunes” program with Katie Tolles, sponsored by the Community Network for Children. 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road, Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 3-5 and their caregivers can join the Play N Learn playgroup each Monday morning, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Advance registration required. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – KNITTING: The Sunderland Public Library has a knitting group that runs every Monday. The group is open to knitters of all levels and ages. Great intergenerational activity to do with young homeschoolers. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – LITERACY: Young children can have fun with books and reading at Wee Read at the Worthington Library every Monday. 413-238-5565. 1 Huntington Road. Worthington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for ages walking to 5 years every Monday at the Williamstown Youth Center. 413-458-5925. 66 School Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12pm – PLAYGROUP: Young children and their caregivers are invited to Gym Fun, a playgroup that incorporates lots of movement. This group meets on Mondays and is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. Town Hall, 21 State Line Rd., West Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Come to Books and Babies at the East Longmeadow Public Library every Monday. Kids ages 2 and under can hear stories, see fingerplays, and have fun together. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Forbes Library for a fun storytime every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Storrs Library offers a drop-in playgroup for kids ages 3 and under every Monday morning, ongoing. Come hear a story, sing songs, and enjoy free play. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30 am – STORYTIME: The Indian Orchard Library invites 3-5 year olds for stories, songs, movement, a craft, and playtime. Runs through Oct. 26, Adult must accompany children, siblings welcome. Registration required if you bring more than three children. 413-263-6846. 44 Oak Street, Indian Orchard, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can come to tummy time at the Forbes Library every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:00am – 4:00pm – STEM: The Berkshire Museum’s Spark!Lab is open for drop in play. In Spark!Lab, everyone is an inventor! Spark!Lab is a hands-on, creative laboratory that engages children and families in the process of innovation: try the variety of activities, from creating a wheeled vehicle to experimenting with percussion to assembling safe electrical circuits. Visitors of all ages can work together to combine skills and ideas to create inventions with real-world applications. 413-443-7171. Berkshire Museum, 39 South St., Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – PARENTING SUPPORT: Are you helping raise your grandchildren, nieces & nephews, or other family members? Join others who are doing so at a parenting support group every third Monday of the month at the Williamsburg Senior Center. Childcare available if you call in advance. 413-563-1981. 141 Main Street, Haydenville, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:00pm-5pm – ART: Do you know a teen who loves to draw? The Hubbard Library offers “Sketchy Ato,” a drop-in session in which all genres are welcome – manga, comics, western, or anything else. Artists can share their work (if they want) with fellow art maniacs! For middle & high schoolers. Every two weeks. 413-583-3408. 24 Center St., Ludlow, MA.. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – LITERACY: You’re never too old for a good picture book! Join Sprinfield’s Central Library and enjoy a terrific picture book together, followed by a creative activity inspired by the story. ages 8-10, siblings welcome. Runs through November 16. Registration recommended/limited space. 413-263-6828 x201. Children’s Room, Central Library, 220 State Street, Springfield, MA.. (FREE)
  • 5:30-6:30pm – GYM GROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a Gym Group at the Haskins Center for ages walking to 8 years old. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:00pm-6:00pm – COMMUNITY MEAL: Gathering around a table and sharing a meal is a foundation of community building. Greet your neighbors and make new friends over a delicious meal prepared by some of the finest chefs in the Berkshires at Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Donations are gratefully accepted, as are non-perishable food items for local food banks. Please contribute if you can. Runs through December 21. (No Suppers on 11/23 or 12/28) No reservations required. 15 Crissey Rd., Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – KNITTING: All skill levels can attend a knitting group at the Westhampton Public Library every Monday evening. Come learn and share tips and tricks with knitters of all ages and levels. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-7pm – STORYTIME: Kids can unwind at the end of the day at the Montague Center Library‘s ongoing weekly evening storytime. Kids are welcome to come to the storytime in their pajamas. 413-367-2852. 17 Center Street. Montague, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm – PARENTING: Parents of transgender, gender nonconforming, or questioning children are invited to participate in a new support group that meets on the first Monday of every month (excepting Labor Day). 413-695-7686. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – MUSIC: The ukulele is a small stringed instrument, similar to a guitar, that originated in 19th Century Hawaii. The ukulele has enjoyed a revival in recent years that can be attributed to its accessibility, affordability and popularity. Julieann Stepanek wants to inspire budding ukulele players by teaching four monthly classes at Storrs Library. Once a month, through December 28th. Come to one session or all four! Registration required. 413-565-4181. Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-8pm — BOOK CLUB: The Emily Williston Memorial Library invites you to Monday Night Book Club, which meets the fourth Monday of each month (except in May). For adults and/or young adults who are mature readers. 413-527-1031. Emily Williston Memorial Library, 9 Park St., Easthampton, MA (FREE)
  • 7pm – POETRY: Forbes Library holds a poetry discussion group every Monday in the Coolidge Museum. Come discuss the works of famous poets with community members of all backgrounds – lifelong poets and those who are new to reading poetry. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – COMMUNITY SING: Join friends and neighbors at the Westhampton Public Library for a monthly get together of people who love to play music and sing! Bring your instrument(s) and copies of songs you would like to share with the group. Meets the first Monday of the month. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road, Westhampton, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 3:30pm-4:30pm —
LEGOS/ARCHITECTURE/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
LEGOs are the quintessential toy for open-ended play. They can be snapped together in an infinite number of ways, to make anything a child can imagine. There are lots of LEGOs and big ideas at the Meekins Library LEGO Club! This month’s theme is “Winter Wonderland.” For school-aged children. Young children must have caregiver supervision. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street (Route 9), Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 22, 4-5pm —
MUSIC INSTRUCTION/CREATIVE FREE PLAY
Learning an instrument promotes whole-brain engagement, self-discipline, and academic achievement…plus it’s a fun way to express oneself! Kids can learn bucket drumming during “Rock the Stacks” sessions at the Mason Square Branch of Springfield City Library. Community Music School Instructor Rick Marshall will lead the class in using five-gallon pails as instruments, an inexpensive and creative way to make music. Participants will have an opportunity to be part of the bucket-drumming ensemble performing in the community-wide Dr. King Day celebration at the MassMutual Center on January 18, 2016. Ages 6-14. Sessions continue on 1/5, and 1/12. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street, 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)

Tuesday, December 22, 5:30pm-8:30pm —
WINTER 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, 6pm-7pm —
BOARD GAMES/INTERGENERATIONAL
The Free All-Ages Chess Club at the Sunderland Public Library starts from square one, so beginners and more advanced players are all welcome. Club leader Andy Morris-Friedman will guide you as you learn how to play the game, use different techniques and strategies, and use all of your pieces to your best advantage. The club will study famous games and will help you discover new ways to improve your play. Chess is one of the great classic games of the world. It teaches sportsmanship and cooperation, builds confidence, and exercises your brain. Children in third grade or below must be accompanied by an adult. 413-665 2642. 20 School Street, Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 22, 7pm —
CLASSICAL THEATER/CHRISTMAS
A Christmas Carol. This classic tale by Charles Dickens has become a holiday tradition for audiences of all ages. Journey back to Victorian England and revisit the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is shown the error of his ways, prompting redemption. Filled with holiday carols and wonderment, this story teaches of charity and fellowship, love and generosity, and how to keep the Christmas spirit alive all year round. The production is being presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group and performances will be held at The Colonial Theater, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

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ONGOING FOR TUESDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 8:45am-10:15am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children hosts a playgroup for newborns through preschool-aged children with their caregivers at the Swift River School every Tuesday through June 30, 2016. It may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-5157. 201 Wendell Road, New Salem, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Every Tuesday, Community Health Programs of Berkshire County hosts Toddler Steps, a playgroup for children ages 18 months- 3 years with their caregivers. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for young kids ages birth-preK at the Dickinson Memorial Library with Deb Wood features fun toys and more! Every Tuesday. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Frontier Regional CFCE is offering a playgroup for kids ages 5 and under every Tuesday and Friday at Sunderland Elementary School through June 10, 2016. Follows Sunderland school schedule. 413-665-8928. 1 Swampfield Drive. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – SCHOOL READINESS: There will be a school readiness program every Tuesday at the Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Young children and their caregivers are invited to participate in the Explore & Play playgroup, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County, which meets Tuesday mornings. 413-644-0104. 1 North Main Road, Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PARENT GROUP: Nursing Families group every Tuesday at the Haskins Center. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – STEAM: Preschool-age children can learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and math at the Dalton Free Public Library every Tuesday! There will be a story, a lesson, and a STEAM project. 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street. Dalton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – STORYTIME: Join the Greenfield Public Library for a weekly storytime year-round! This event includes stories, songs, fingerplays, and crafts for kids age five and under. 413-772-1544 x5. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30pm – PLAYGROUP: The Westhampton Public Library will have a baby and toddler play time every Tuesday at 11am. They also offer a playgroup for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month which begins at 10am. Kids can come play with toys, do a craft, read a book, and make new friends at this fun playgroup, year-round. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – LITERACY: Kids ages 2-5 can attend a literacy group at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Come with a parent or caregiver and practice reading skills! Runs every Tuesday. 413-568-5242. 28 West Silver Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: It Takes a Village Mother’s Circle runs every Tuesday at St. John’s Corner House. Come talk about motherhood with others in a supportive and caring environment. Expectant mothers welcome, and infants can attend, and there is childcare for older children. Follows the Mohawk Trail school schedule. 413-650-3640. 469 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-5pm – WOODWORKING:The Shakers are known for their beautiful and simple handcrafted utilitarian objects. Visit the Hancock Shaker Village any Tuesday to watch master woodworkers create oval boxes using traditional tools and techniques. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)
  • 10:15am-11:45am – CRAFTING: What better way to prepare for a cozy New England winter than to complete those knitting projects? Knitting alongside others also builds community and increases skills. The Storrs Library in Longmeadow offers a Novel Knitters drop-in program for adults where you can bring your own projects and supplies or participate in ongoing community projects. All levels of expertise are welcome. 413- 565-4182. Storrs Library, 693 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Preschoolers can attend a fun storytime at the Chicopee Public Library the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Come for songs, finger plays, movement, stories, activities, and crafts. 413-594-1800 x107. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime and music for ages 1-3 every Tuesday at the North Adams Public Library. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11am – MUSIC: The Hubbard Library is offering a music program for preschoolers every Tuesday. Come for singing, clapping, and dancing. 413-583-5646. 24 Center Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STEM & LITERACY PLAYGROUP: The Mason Library invites children ages 0-5 with their caregivers to its Brain Builders Play & Learn Playgroup every Tuesday. Activities will include reading, singing, playing, circle time, and engaging table-time activities that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) themes! 413-528-1720. 231 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Toddlers aged 12-36 months and their caregivers are welcome at the bilingual toddler storytime at the Forest Park Library. stories, songs, fingerplays, and playtime. Registration required if you bring more than three children. Runs through December 8. Registration required/limited space. Adult must be present. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Ave., Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires, Inc. holds a playgroup every Tuesday at the Adams Youth Center. 413-664-4821. 20 East Street Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Westhampton Public Library is holding a baby and toddler playtime every Tuesday. Come to the library and meet other kids and parents. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:00am – 12:00pm – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a playgroup at Adams Youth Center for infants to 5 year olds. 413-664-4821. 20 East St., Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12pm – PLAYGROUP: Facilitator MaryBeth leads Baby Steps, a playgroup that meets Tuesdays. This playgroup is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-1pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every second and fourth Tuesday in Turners Falls. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 294 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)
  • 12:30pm-2pm – TECHOLOGY SUPPORT: The Storrs Library’s Tech Tuesday ongoing, drop-in sessions allow folks to receive coaching in various skills with which they’ve been needing support. Learn how to use your new computer, send email, operate an e-reader, and more. Bring your phone, e-reader, or other relevant device. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street, Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-2pm – BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT: Are you or your partner facing breastfeeding challenges? Is nursing not what you thought it would be? Stop in to MaryBeth’s breastfeeding support group, which meets Tuesday afternoons, for advice, techniques, and emotional support. Babies and children welcome, of course! This group is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm-6:30pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Northampton’s Tuesday Market runs through the fall. Tuesday Market features delicious local fruits, vegetables, bread, syrup, fish, honey, and much more! Come each Tuesday for food, community, and entertainment. Takes place between Thornes Market and the parking garage. Downtown. Northampton, MA.
  • 2pm – FILM: Amherst Cinema offers weekly matinees every Tuesday, especially for people with babies! This is a great chance to get out and see a movie without having to worry about finding a sitter. Check their website to see what’s playing each week. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. >$
  • 3pm – KNITTING: On the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, the Stockbridge Library hosts a Sit & Knit group. All levels of knitters and crocheters can come spend time knitting with others. 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 3pm-5pm – GAMES: Kids can play Magic the Gathering every Tuesday at Comics N’ More. A great chance for kids to make new friends with similar interests and learn how to play this fun card game! 413-529-0800. 31 Union Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – LEGOS: The Family Resource Center is offering a LEGO group for ages 4-8 the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. 413-664-4821. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 4:30pm – AFTERSCHOOL & YO-YO: Not many toys can boast over 2,500 years of use worldwide, but the yo-yo has enjoyed consistent use in hundreds of cultures for nearly three millenia. The popular Northampton education-based store A to Z hosts Yo-Yo School three times a week inside their store, and their teachers are true masters. Open to all ages, although older elementary children often have the motor skills and coordination needed for it to be a bit easier to learn. Read more about Yo-Yo school on Hilltown Families. Call 413-586-1611. 57 King St., Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:15pm-6:45pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every first Tuesday (5:15pm-6:45pm) and third Wednesday (12:30pm-2pm) in Greenfield. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-8pm – FILM STUDIES: The Red Gate Farm Film Club meets on the third Tuesday of every month to watch and discuss films in the farm’s program building. A homemade dinner is served, with an optional small donation to cover food costs. All ages welcome, but parents should know that PG and PG-13 movies are shown. Anyone in 3rd grade or younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and participants under 17 must have a signed parental/guardian consent form in order to attend. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road, Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – LITERACY/GAMES: Meet up with other community members at the Monson Library each Tuesday for a game of Scrabble! 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – PARENTING & CLIMATE CHANGE: Mothers Out Front is a group of “mothers and others” who are concerned about climate change and passionate about creating a cleaner energy future for future generations. Learn more about the group’s work and meet other parents with whom to share your stories, hopes, and fears at their monthly climate support gatherings, held every 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday of the month. RSVP via the MOF site. Sunderland, MA (Tuesdays) and Florence, MA (Thursdays). (FREE)
  • 6pm-7pm – WRITING: The Sunderland Public Library hosts a Teen and Tween Writing Club the last Tuesday of each month. Students can come practice writing from prompts and doing activities and exercises – this is a great way to make friends and improve writing skills! Please sign up in advance. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Is the health of our Earth on your mind? Gather with others who are contemplating the same topic at the Environmental Awareness Discussion Group, which meets on the last Tuesday of the month at the Dickinson Memorial Library. Members of the group use both non-fiction and fiction books and films as launching off points for meaningful conversations about the environment. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street, Northfield, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2016

Wednesday, December 23, 8am-8pm —
MUSIC INSTRUCTION
Do you know a child interested in playing the piccolo, oboe, or clarinet? He or she can try these and more wind instruments for free at the Community Music School during the whole month of December. Music lessons improve academic, physical, and social skills and develop discipline and self-esteem. Call to schedule a free trial lesson. 413-732-8428. 127 State Street, Springfield, MA, (FREE)

Wednesday, December 23, 1pm-2:30pm —
OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Counter less daylight with more exercise and embrace the season! Join the Great Falls Discovery Center for a Winter Solstice Walk on the level Canalside rail trail. This two-mile jaunt is for adults and sturdy young hikers with adult companionship. Meet at main entrance. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 23, 2pm —
KINDNESS/MOVIE/CHRISTMAS
Enjoy It’s a Wonderful Life (Not Rated, 1946), the classic Frank Capra film about the difference one person can make in the lives of many, on the big screen at Amherst Cinema. 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. 413-253-2547. 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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ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAY (To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 8am-10am – COMMUNITY BREAKFAST: Whether you are seeking a nutritious meal to start your day, hoping to make new connections in the community–or both!–everyone is welcome to attend a community breakfast each Wednesday, hosted by Craig’s Doors, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. 413-437-0776. Willie Eaton Social Hall, Unitarian Meetinghouse, 121 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12pm – STEM & FARMING SKILLS: Red Gate Farm‘s homeschool day program meets each Wednesday through November 18, 2015. This fall’s program will incorporate many farming skills with a particular emphasis on construction and building, all with an authentic purpose. Please contact the farm before your first session. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road, Ashfield, MA. ($)
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can play, learn, and discover at a weekly program every Wednesday at Kittredge Elementary School. 413-655-0146. Maple Street. Hinsdale, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Cummington Family Center is holding a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday through May 2016. Young kids can come play and make friends. Takes place in old Berkshire Trail Elementary School. 2 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: You and your young children are welcome to join other kids and caregivers each Wednesday at the Lenox Community Center’s weekly playgroup, sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 65 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 3-5 years old and their caregivers can join Kim each Wednesday for Play N Learn, a playgroup sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. Advance registration required. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Parents and their preschoolers can come to the Westhampton Public Library for coffee and storytime every Wednesday. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Westhampton Public Library on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month for playgroup. Storytime, games, and arts and crafts are featured. For kids 8 and under. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA.
  • 10am – COMMUNITY: The Westhampton Public Library‘s weekly Coffee and Chat runs every Wednesday at 10am. Come together with community members to share stories, news, and to stay connected. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-10:45am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday and Wednesday at 10am for stories with Nathan! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup every Wednesday at the Lanesborough Town Hall’s Community Room. For ages walking to 5 years. Run by The Family Center. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – 11:30am – MUSIC AND LITERACY: Young children and their caregivers can visit the Wendell Free Library on Wednesdays through June 30, 2016 for Tunes and Tales with Sylvia Wetherby, organized by the Community Network for Children. This group may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-3559. 7 Wendell Depot Road, Wendell, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children hosts a playgroup for newborns through preschool-aged children with their caregivers at the Erving Elementary school every Wednesday through June 30, 2016. It may not run on school holidays and in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 413-423-3326. 28 Northfield Road, Erving, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:00am-11:00am – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc.is offering a toddler playgroup at Haskins Center for ages 1 to 2.5 years. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: There will be a playgroup every Wednesday and Friday at the Hilltown Family Center. 413-667-2203. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12pm – STORYTIME: Enjoy a morning of stories at the New Marlborough Library’s weekly storytime, held each Wednesday. This storytime series is sponsored by Community Health Programs of Berkshire County. 413-644-0104. 1 Mill River-Great Barrington Road, New Marlborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Meekins Library librarian, Rochelle Wildfong, will host a story time in the children’s department every Wednesday, all year round. Fingerplays, songs, picture books, and circle games for pre-schoolers and their caregivers. After story hour, take the kids sledding behind the school, then head down to Bread Euphoria for a warm something to eat & drink! A delightful way to spend a Wednesday morning in the Hilltowns with your preK kids! 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: There is a storytime for preschool-age kids every Wednesday at the Monson Free Library! Come for stories and fun. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime and crafts for ages 3-6 every Wednesday at the North Adams Public Library. 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Stop by the Edwards Library on the first and third Wednesday of each month for playgroup. Storytime, games, and arts and crafts are featured. For kids 8 and under. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Storytime for ages 3-8 at the Mason Square Branch Library. Come every Wednesday for stories, songs, and crafts. 413-263-6853. 765 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11am – STEM: The Berkshire Museum is offering a Parent/Child STEM Session the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Come explore science, technology, engineering, and math through books, hands-on activities, and play. Registration is required. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-7171 x21. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12pm – STORYTIME: The Community Network for Children offers a story hour every Wednesday at the Leverett Library. Children ages 5 and under can come for music, movement, books, and hands-on activities. Runs through June 30, 2016. May not run on holidays or in inclement weather; please call ahead to check. 978-544-5157. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am & 2pm – FIBER ARTS:The Shakers are known for their beautiful and simple fiber crafts. Visit the Hancock Shaker Village any Wednesday to watch flax-processing and felted bead-making demonstrations by talented artisans who use traditional tools and techniques. Borrow a free museum pass from the library. 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE for members and children 12 and under; $)
  • 11:00am-11:30am – STORYTIME Toddlers and their caregivers can come to the Forbes Library for Toddler Time, which includes stories, bubbles and songs with friends every Wednesday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12pm – STORYTIME: Preschool storyhour every Wednesday at the Dickinson Memorial Library with Ruthanne Paulson includes stories, music, movement, crafts, and a snack. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – GYM GROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a Gym Group at Haskins Center for ages walking to 5 years old. 413-664-4821. 210 State St., North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 12pm-1:30pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Every Wednesday there will be a support group for pregnant and postpartum mothers of children ages 0-5 at Square One’s Family Square, facilitated by MotherWoman. This group is a great place to talk about motherhood in a safe and confidential space. Childcare provided. 413-858-3122. 1095 Main Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 12:30pm-2pm – SUPPORT GROUP: Grandparents and great-grandparents who are raising their grandchildren – “grandfamilies” – can attend a support group every first Tuesday (5:15pm-6:45pm) and third Wednesday (12:30pm-2pm) in Greenfield. Come to the group to learn about resources, meet other grandfamilies, share experiences, and seek support. Run by United Arc. 413-563-1981. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – MOTHER SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group every Wednesday at Midwifery Care of Holyoke. Expectant mothers and moms of babies under age 1 can come discuss all aspects of motherhood. 413-534-2700. 230 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-2:30pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Parents, caregivers, and grandparents are invited to attend a Parents Supporting Parents Support Group every Wednesday at the Salasin Center. 413-775-0010. 474 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Preschool-aged kids can attend Kidleidoscope every Wednesday at Natural Bridge State Park. This weekly program features forest-themed educational activities. 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 3pm-5:30pm – MAKER SPACE: Every Wednesday, Amherst Media hosts a drop-in group for makers of all ages and experience levels. Whether you’re working on computer programming, tech projects, knitting, other projects, or are just curious, stop by and check it out! 413-259-3300. 246 College Street. Amherst, MA.
  • 3:15pm – 4:15pm – AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
    When you see a piece of art, how deeply do you explore the artist behind the work, and the context in which is was created? Young people can practice asking these questions when they explore pieces of art & the artist that made it during a four-week “After School Art” program at the Bushnell Sage Library. Four sessions on Wednesdays: October 7, October 21, November 4, November 18. Artists explored will be Edward Hopper, Picasso and others. All participants are encouraged to sign up for all four classes. 413-229-7004. Bushnell-Sage Library, 48 Main St., Sheffield, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-5pm – STORY/CRAFT: Join the Cushman Library during the school year for thematic picture book/craft activities, snacks and opportunity to meet other parents while the kids get crafty together. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – WRITING/STORYTELLING: Adults and older students are invited to the Forbes Library‘s reading series, “The Modern Real and Surreal: Writers and Artists on Our Age,” which meets on the first Wednesday of each month. This series invites the community to examine the relationships among story, art, empathy, and insight in our modern age. 413-587-1014. Coolidge Museum, 20 West Street, Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-7:30pm – KNITTING: Knitting provides an excellent base for intergenerational skill sharing every Wednesday through Dec 23 at the Cushman LIbrary. Bring your current project or one you’ve been meaning to start! All levels of knitters are welcome at this Wednesday knitting circle. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-6:30 pm – LITERACY: How might books be like video games? Head to Sprinfield’s Central Library for Book and Build. Hear a book (or a chapter) then work together to three-dimensionally recreate the scene. Ages 8-12. Runs through November 18. Children’s Program Room. 413-263-6828 x201. Children’s Room, Central Library, 220 State Street Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-6:30pm – STORYTIME: Stories, songs, and movement for children ages 3 to 10 at the East Springfield Library. Runs through November 18. No registration required. Adult must accompany children, siblings welcome. 413-263-6840. 21 Osborne Terrace Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime for kids ages 3-6 at the East Longmeadow Library. Runs every Wednesday evening. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-8pm — CRAFTING: Sheep & Shawl yarn and fiber arts shop in South Deerfield offers Knit/Crochet/Spin Circles every Wednesday night. 413-397-3680. 265 Greenfield Rd., South Deerfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm – FILM STUDIES: New Asia Cinema and Arab Cinema Panorama screen a film as part of their “Fantastic Animals” series every Wednesday at the Flavin Theater School of Management at UMass. Each film deals with the connections between humans and animals around the world. See the Fine Arts Center website for a full schedule and list of films. Runs through December 9, 2015. 413-577-2486. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group the fourth Wednesday of each month in Conference Room D at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. This is a bereavement group for infant and pregnancy loss. Please contact emptyarmsbereavement@gmail.com for more information. 413-387-0703. 30 Locust Street. Northampton, MA.
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: There will be a MotherWoman support group the second Wednesday of each month in the Owl and Raven Community Space. The group is for mothers and partners who have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Please email lexi.walters@gmail.com for more information. 413-387-0703. 2 Conz Street, Unit 42. Northampton, MA.
  • 7pm-9pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: The Creacion Latin Big Band has open practice sessions every first and third Wednesdays. Enjoy salsa, cha cha, mambo, and more, and enjoy food and drink from the beer garden, too. Audience members are invited to dance to their hearts’ content! 413-650-2670. Gateway City Arts, 92-114 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 7:30pm-10:30pm – DANCE: Beginners and people of all skill levels can come dance the night away at Downtown Amherst Contra! This is a great way to have fun and meet new people in a low-pressure environment. Beginners can show up at 7 for a learning session. Best for teens and adults. Every Wednesday except the second Wednesday of each month. 99 Main Street. Amherst, MA. $

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Thursday, December 24th, 2015

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-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-4pm —
HOLIDAY/LOCAL 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. ($$)

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Friday, December 25th, 2016

Originally broadcasted out of Northampton, MA on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM for the holidays, we’ve gathered eight holiday episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show from over the years to share with your family as we celebrate the season. Enjoy these hour long, commercial-free podcasts that celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, the New Year and the spirit of peace and giving.

Friday, December 25, 5pm-11pm —
CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY LIGHTS
Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Take a drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park, a spectacular holiday lights display like none other! Can’t make it there in person? Take a dazzling virtual tour instead! 413-733-3800. 300 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA. ($$)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Goshen, Heath, Holyoke, Leyden, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Warwick, Williamsburg and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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