10 Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA, 2016

See our Black Friday special segment on Mass Appeal: Click Here.
Download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.


10 Smart Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall
Friday, November 25th, 2016

In addition to community events for Black Friday, a self-initiated family activity might include visiting a local tree farm and cutting your own evergreen for the holidays. Linking the holidays and environmental science, an examination of evergreen tree farming can help children learn about a non-food related form of sustainable farming. Tree farming contributes to oxygen production, provides food and habitat for variety of animal species, and doesn’t have a huge impact on the location in which it takes place. Read more in our post, Local Christmas Tree Farms: A Lens Into Environmental Science.

In Amherst at 1pm and 2:30pm
Families who love Eric Carle’s artwork have the chance to see some of them brought to life by Picture Book Theater! The group will be performing The Very Quiet Cricket and The Lamb and The Butterfly, at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Each family will receive a copy of Carle’s The Very Quiet Cricket during the show. Older kids and parents will be able to think about how the theater troupe interpreted and performed their adaptation of a heavily visual story. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

In Cummington from 10am-12noon
Artists often draw upon time spent in nature, and natural scenes, as inspiration from their works. You are invited to do the same at William Cullen Bryant Homestead. For “Green Friday,” enjoy a guided hike to explore the Old Growth Forest. Walk leaders will read poetry inspired by the grounds, look at examples of nature drawings, and sketch some trees. Bring a sketchbook and pencil. For information call The Trustees at 413-628-4485 x3. 413-532-1631. 207 Bryant Road. Cummington, MA. (FREE)

In Deerfield from 9:30am-4:30pm
Teach your children the importance of giving this holiday season, and engage in an intergenerational craft activity. On the Day of Giving at Historic Deerfield, all visitors are invited to handcraft a special gift with simple and natural materials. Historic Deerfield is an outdoor history museum providing insight into the history and culture of early New England. 413-774-5581. 80 Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($; ages 6 to 17 <$; Under 6, member or Deerfield resident FREE)

In Florence
Holiday light displays add a festive touch to many neighborhoods and businesses at this time of year. Light displays can strengthen community ties as people flock to highly-decorated areas. The Look Park Winter Wonderland Light Display will be up the day after Thanksgiving. Take a stroll through the park to enjoy the winter sights. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

In Holyoke from 12pm-4pm
There is a seemingly endless list of ways to connect with your community during the holidays. The Holyoke Merry Go Round will be open the day after Thanksgiving. Visit with your children as an alternative to Black Friday shopping. The Holyoke Merry-Go-Round will also house a warming tree. Donate new winter hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens and receive a free ride. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$)

In Lenox at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm
This year, as a Black Friday alternative to shopping, you can ride the brand new Christmas themed train ride, The Tinseler. This one hour trip from Berkshire Scenic Railway will emulate Christmas in 1955 – the year the railway’s Budd Rail Diesel Car was built. Celebrate the holiday season with family fun and some historical learning. 10 Willow Creek Road. Lenox, MA. (Adult $; child under 4 FREE)

In Shelburne Falls from 4pm-9pm
The Friday after Thanksgiving does not have to be a day of incessant shopping at chain stores. It can instead be an opportunity to engage with your community and support local businesses. Moonlight Magic is a community tradition held on the Friday after Thanksgiving coinciding with the annual “Holiday Lighting of the Village” in Shelburne Falls, MA. This spirited festival is known across the region as a spirited event with holiday themed characters and a parade! The parade starts at 5:15 pm on Conway Street and ends at the Shelburne Senior Center. Downtown. Shelburne Falls, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

In Springfield from 10am-7pm
The holidays are not just a time for lots of eating and buying. This time of year can also be great for hands-on, intergenerational, and creative free play. The Springfield Museums “Holiday Happenings” family day is a celebration of the season which includes opportunities for learning. Kids can engage in hands-on activities in the Gingerbread Playland and the Art Discovery Center. Enjoy winter themed shadow theater at noon. Visit the website for a full schedule. The annual Lighting of the Quadrangle will take place from 5pm to 7pm. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE)

In Springfield from 11am-12pm
The day after Thanksgiving is a great time to get out in town with friends, neighbors, and family. The Spirit of Springfield is hosting the Parade of the Big Balloons on Friday, November 25. A variety of balloons will travel down Main Street in Springfield along with bands, and much more. Downtown. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

In Williamsburg from 10am-4pm
Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for utilitarian purposes, like containers, table wear and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60′s that glassblowing was raised to the level of art. This weekend families can try glassblowing hands-on at Snow Farm. Make your own glass ornament with the help of a master glass blower in the glass studio. This program is suitable for ages eight and up. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road. Williamsburg, MA. ($$)

[Photo credit: (cc) Evan]

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