Suggested Events for December 17th-23rd, 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)

“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! 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

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

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), 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! It takes place at Flywheel in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. 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!

Bulletin Board

Local Organic Christmas Trees! Justamere Tree Farm in Worthington, MA, has cut your own and pre-cut Christmas trees available Friday, Saturday, & Sunday after Thanksgiving, and weekends in December. Come by the farm between the hours of 9am-4pm to select your very own locally grown Christmas Tree. Their gift shop, in the post and beam barn, will feature their very own artisanal maple products for sale. Also, handcrafted wreaths and swags made on the farm are available. Experience a wonderful destination and a beautiful drive into the Hilltowns, creating a new tradition with your family. Visit them at www.justameretreefarm.com/trees for more information & directions or email them at welch@justameretreefarm.com.

Dec 26-30

Let your imagination soar at the New England Air Museum this holiday season! The museum is offering an exciting array of family fun activities during December School Vacation Week, Monday, December 26 through Friday, December 30. Explore 3 giant exhibit hangars filled with over 60 historic aircraft, and experience the wonders of flight through hands-on activities including: Daily hands-on Build & Fly Challenges; Interactive Flight Science Demonstrations; Computerized Flight Simulators; and Open Cockpit experiences in historic aircraft. Visitors can also take to the skies at the museum’s Virtual Flight Center using advanced, three screen yoke and pedal flight simulators (ages 10+). Visit their website www.neam.org for day to day activities.

Jan 7

Amherst Montessori School invites parents to an Open House on Saturday, January 7th at 10am. Meet teachers and administrators, tour AMS’ beautiful new school in South Amherst, and learn about the Montessori curriculum for infants through sixth grade. Amherst Montessori is a warm, safe, and supportive community that nurtures a lifelong love of learning. Learn more and register online at amherstmontessori.org.

Dec 16-18

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—when PaintBox Theatre presents its annual holiday extravaganza! The Santa Show: Reindeer to the Rescue—featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, Roscoe the dog, and a bunch of reindeer—takes us back to Santa’s first year delivering toys. The gifts are done, but how will Santa travel around the world in one night? Spoiler alert: the reindeer come to the rescue. Audience participation, songs, stories, and hijinks! Fri. Dec. 16 at 7pm. and Sat. & Sun. Dec. 17-18 at 1pm & 4pm. Northampton High School (380 Elm Street). Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or online. Group discounts: $7 for groups of 14+. paintboxtheatre@gmail.com, www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Dec 24

Looking for something to do on the first night of Chanukah? On Sat., Dec 24 at 5pm join Congregation B’Israel, Lander-Grinspoon Academy, Beit Ahavah ~ The Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton and PJ Library of the Upper Pioneer Valley of Western Mass to celebrate with the lighting of Chanukah candles, the singing of Chanukah songs and playing dreidel under one roof. The festivities will be held at Congregation B’nai Israel (257 Prospect St., Northampton) and will continue after candle lighting with kosher Chinese food catered by Pengyew Chin, two movies (one for kids & one for teens/adults), and a dance party. Tickets: $10/adult; $5/child under 12. Reservations are requested by Dec 16 and may be made at Chanukah Chinese Food & a Movie.

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. Students 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. Use promo code HTF201617 and receive $10 OFF your entire purchase of any instructional program!

Dec 28 & 29

SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 6-12 this December in Easthampton: December 28 and 29. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $65/day. For registration & more information please visit www.showcircusstudio.com.

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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 17 – 23, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an EventCultural Itineraries | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets | Storyhour & Playgroups| Berkshire Family Fun | Advertise/Sponsorship | en Español

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: This week, listen to The Heart of Chanukah, hosted by Guest DJ Mama Doni (Doni Zasloff Thomas), with special guests Millie, Alexander, and Chris Thomas. Learn more at www.MamaDoni.com. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. An encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and the 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 9 years!

Saturday, December 17, 10am-12pm
CHRISTMAS/FUNDRAISER
The Easthampton Family Center provides families with free programs, field trips, and resources to strengthen our community. You can show your support by attending their annual Cookies With Santa holiday fundraiser. Each child in attendance will receive a free book! For more information call 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 17, 10am-12pm
ART STUDIES/CARTOONS
One possible vocation for a talented illustrator is the creation of cartoons. This program at the Norman Rockwell Museum will explore the history of animation with a screening of classic cartoons from Hanna-Barbera studios. continental breakfast will be served. This program is free with museum admission. Young children will likely be entertained while adults will be offered the opportunity to think about the progression of animation over the decades. 413-298-4100. 9 Glendale Road. Stockbridge, MA. ($. College students with ID <$. Ages 6-18 <$. Under 5 and museum members FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 10am-2pm
LOCAL FOOD/WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET
Want to purchase more locally-grown foods? There’s no need to drive around to every local farm; you can meet peruse items from all over at the Farmers Market at Forest Park. This market has everything from fish, to donuts, to herbs. After December 17, the market will continue to take place every second and fourth Saturday, January through March. Old Monkey House, Trafton Road Entrance. Forest Park. Springfield, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, December 17, 10am-2pm
LOCAL FOOD/WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET
What kinds of vegetables can you buy fresh in the cold months? Find out by shopping and connecting with local farmers at Berkshire Grown’s Holiday Farmers’ Market! Bring along your children to teach them about the changing of the seasons through food. Local meats, cheeses, and vegetables will be available as well as craft items. There will also be live music and activities for kids. 413-528-0041. Monument Valley Middle School. 313 Monument Valley Road. Great Barrington, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, December 17, 10am-2pm
LOCAL FOOD/WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET
Still shopping for the holidays? You may be able to find a unique gift at the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market where there are crafts for sale as well as high quality, locally produced foods. The market also features live music and activities for kids. In addition to scheduled activities the kids table will always have coloring books, crayons, stamps and other DIY activities. Amherst Regional Middle School. 170 Chestnut Street. Amherst, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Saturday, December 17, 10:30am-1pm
LOCAL HISTORY/INDUSTRIAL HISTORY
Studying mills and canals can relate to an interest in local history, natural history, industry, and architecture. The Holyoke Historical Committee is sponsoring a bus tour for community members who wish to explore the canal system in Holyoke. The tour will cover the canal’s historical background, as well as its physical and mechanical properties, and its development. In case of significant snow, the tour will December 18, 10:30am-1pm. Please call for reservations 413-322-5634. Meet at City Hall Parking Lot. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 10:30am-11:30am
STEM/PASTRY ARTS
 S.T.E.A.M. refers to the important subjects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. STEAM programs encourage an interest in both creativity and scientific topics, bringing together kids with an interest in either or both. This STEAM craft program at the Meekins Library will combine scientific learning with the craft of designing a miniature gingerbread house. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 11am-2pm
MUSIC & DANCE STUDIES
Join the Pelham Historical Society and Pelham Library for their annual Holiday Tea and Music Program. Santa will be there, along with a performance by That Long Tall Sword, with songs, antler dances, and a mummer’s play and sword dance. Tea, sandwiches, and sweets will be provided. Tea begins at 11:00 am, and the Program begins at noon, at the Pelham library. For more information contact Bruce Klotz, 413-695-1797. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 11:30am and 2pm
HISTORY/THEATER
Wistariahurst brings you a festive, theatrical performance with an added dose of history. Within the historic setting of Wistariahurst, this performance of Nutcracker and Sweets provides a unique, historical interpretation of this classic ballet. This performance is presented through both narration and dance. This interpretation will include local history in addition to elements of the classic performance. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($; Children under four FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 1pm-3pm
ORNITHOLOGY/OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
 Bird watching is the perfect educational, outdoor activity for the winter. Bring your children to “Backyard Birds for Kids” at Notchview for them to learn all about local winter birds like cardinals, woodpeckers, and juncos. A naturalist will teach participants all about these birds’ habits, and afterwards your child will make a birdseed pinecone feeder. Reservations are recommended. For more information please call 413.628.4485 x3. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 17, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
TRANSPORTATION HISTORY/LOCOMOTIVE
This holiday season 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)

Saturday, December 17, 1pm and 4pm
HOLIDAY/FAMILY THEATER
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—when PaintBox Theatre presents its annual holiday extravaganza! The Santa Show: Reindeer to the Rescue—featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, Roscoe the dog, and a bunch of reindeer—takes us back to Santa’s first year delivering toys. The gifts are done, but how will Santa travel around the world in one night? Spoiler alert: the reindeer come to the rescue. There will be audience participation, songs, stories, and hijinks! Northampton High School. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 17, 3pm
LITERACY/CHRISTMAS
 This holiday season you can teach your child about your seasonal traditions, while modeling the importance of literacy. The Grace Hall Memorial Library invites families to this Holiday Read Along. Participants are invited to either listen or volunteer to read. All levels of readers are welcome. There will be cookies and a visit from Santa. 413-862-3894. 161 Main Road. Montgomery, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 3pm
NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Celebrate Christmas this year with food, community, music, and historical learning at Old Sturbridge Village. “Christmas By Candlelight” will include lots of New England holiday traditions such as festive foods, sleigh rides, a bonfire, storytelling, and strolls around the decorated Village Common. Kids can participate in a holiday craft workshop and everyone can gather for the tree lighting. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. (Adults $$; ages 4-12 $; 3 and under FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 5pm-9pm
TRANSPORTATION HISTORY/LOCOMOTIVE
Kick off the holiday season with a ride at the Connecticut Trolley Museum! This winter, the museum will feature a “Tunnel of Lights,” Christmas themed ride. You can choose to ride in a closed car the “electric sleigh.” There will be traditional Christmas carols and a Winter Wonderland full of decorated model trains. Families can enjoy hot cocoa and kids can pose for a picture with Santa. Visit the Connecticut Trolley Museum website for more information. 860-627-6540. 58 North Road. East Windsor, CT. (<$; under two FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 5:30pm-730pm
MUSIC STUDIES/FUNDRAISER
 Enjoy local music while supporting your pioneer valley community at Saturday Night Rise. Local musician Ray Mason will be bringing his forty-plus years of experience as a performer and songwriter to this even at Bread Euphoria. He will be playing with keyboardist Ken Maiuri. This event is a fundraiser for Springfield No One Leaves, an organization which assists families and individuals facing foreclosure. There will be handmade, wearable arts and crafts for sale including earrings, pins, scarves, and more! 413- 268-7757. 206 Main Street. Haydenville, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday, December 17, 5:30pm-7:30pm
HOLIDAY/SANTA
Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors! Get out to Buttery Brook Park with your friends and neighbors and your child will have the chance to meet Santa! There will also be hot chocolate, a train ride, and a lights display. Please donate five dollars for a professional picture with Santa, or take your own for free. 123 Willimansett Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 17, 6pm-9pm
HOLIDAY/PLACEMAKING
Holiday light displays support placemaking by encouraging community members to gather downtown in common spaces. The Florence Civic and Business Association will be hosting its 15th annual Luminary Display in downtown Florence. In addition to the light display, you can enjoy hayrides, a bonfire, caroling, and live music with “The Paul Collins Quartet.” All proceeds support the the ongoing renovations of the Florence Civic Center. Downtown. Florence, MA. (FREE

Saturday, December 17, 6:30pm
WINTER SOLSTICE
 As the Winter Solstice approaches, you may feel like you want to reflect on the changing seasons or create new, positive memories with your community. You are invited to the 1st annual Winter Solstice Storytelling and Song Festival to enjoy local entertainment and support organizations in need of funds. Families are also encouraged to bring a canned food item for donation to the survival center. Teach your kids about giving by getting them involved in the donation process. In addition to storytellers and musicians there will be jugglers. This event is appropriate for both families and single adults. Reservations are encouraged. Round House. 413-624-5140. 68 Van Nuys Road. Colrain, MA. (DONATION)

Saturday, December 17, 7pm
DANCE STUDIES/IRISH DANCE
A Celtic Nutcracker combines the classic nutcracker story with Irish customs and Celtic Dance! Scottish Sword Dancers, Cornish Cloggers, and Galician Dancers feature in this story of a young Irish girl who is transformed into a princess. This performance is set to the original Tchaikovsky score as well as live Celtic Music. The performance will be held at the Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 17, 7pm-11pm
PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT/CHANUKAH
You can support your local Jewish community while celebrating with friends and neighbors at the “Night of a Thousand Lights.” This adult Chanukah party is a school fundraiser for Lander Grinspoon Academy. There will be karaoke, a silent auction, and food from Holyoke Hummus Company. 413-584-6622. 257 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Saturday, December 17, 5pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY
The festive light display, Bright Nights in Forest Park, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America seven times! The light displays creatively celebrate not only the themes of Christmas, Santa, and winter, but also branch into other subjects with displays like the Victorian Village. Bright Nights invites visitors on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st. For a full list of open hours and other details visit the Bright Nights website. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($)

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM, Northampton, MA,airs encores of the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. This week, you’ll hear a rebroadcast of The Heart of Chanukah, hosted by Guest DJ Mama Doni (Doni Zasloff Thomas), with special guests Millie, Alexander, and Chris Thomas. Learn more at www.MamaDoni.com. Tune in to 103.3 Valley Free Radio for commercial-free, family radio 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 9 years of archived shows.

Sunday, December 18, 10am-11am
HANUKKAH/MYO CRAFTS
Celebrate Hanukkah at Lander Grinspoon Academy with stories, hands-on activities, and crafts! Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz will be running a story time. Attendees will have the chance to make their own menorahs. Activities are especially suited for three to five year olds, but all ages are welcome to this community celebration. 413-584-6622. 257 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. (DONATION)

Sunday, December 18, 10am-2pm
WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET
What kinds of vegetables can you buy fresh in the cold months? Find out by shopping and connecting with local farmers at Berkshire Grown’s Holiday Farmers’ Market! Bring along your children to teach them about the changing of the seasons through food. Local meats, cheeses, and vegetables will be available as well as craft items. There will also be live music and activities for kids. 413-528-0041. Williams College Town Field House. Latham Street. Williamstown, MA. (MARKET/SALE)

Sunday, December 18, 10am-4pm
HANUKKAH
The word “Hanukkah” is derived from a Hebrew verb which translates to the English: “to dedicate.” The holiday celebrates the regaining of Jewish control over Jerusalem. This year, Hanukkah takes place from December December 24 to January 1. You can begin your celebration early with family activities at the Yiddish Book Center. There will be a Yiddish holiday song workshop, stories, crafts, and scavenger hunts. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 11am
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
The well-known ballet The Nutcracker is the final product of many creative minds. The ballet was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. Tchaikovsky wrote the musical score and the story was an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. With so many brilliant creative minds on the project, it is no wonder that The Nutcracker has become a timelessly popular production. All ages are welcome to attend an HD screening of The Nutcracker and enjoy sugar plum fairy tea at the Clark Art Institute! 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 18, 11am-4pm
HANUKKAH
Want to connect with your Jewish heritage or learn about traditional Hanukkah celebrations? The Springfield Museums will be offering “Illuminating Gallery Activities” including dreidel games, candle rolling, and more. Participants can craft their own Star of David out of frosted paper. Decorate Suf Ganiyot, a round jelly doughnut often eaten in celebration of Hanukkah. These programs are free with museum admission. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. ($. Ages 3-17 <$. Children under two FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 11:30am, 2pm and 4:30pm
DANCE STUDIES/BALLET
Wistariahurst brings you a festive, theatrical performance with an added dose of history. Within the historic setting of Wistariahurst, this performance of Nutcracker and Sweets provides a unique, historical interpretation of this classic ballet. This performance is presented through both narration and dance. This interpretation will include local history in addition to elements of the classic performance. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($; Children under four FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 1pm
JEWISH CULTURE/LITERACY
The Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to children’s books of high literary standards which accurately portray the Jewish experience. Five local winners of this award (Barbara Diamond Goldin, Mordicai Gerstein, Rich Michelson, Lesléa Newman, and Jane Yolen) will be discussing their work at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. This program is free with museum admission. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Sunday, December 18, 1pm and 4pm
HOLIDAY/FAMILY THEATER
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—when PaintBox Theatre presents its annual holiday extravaganza! The Santa Show: Reindeer to the Rescue—featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, Roscoe the dog, and a bunch of reindeer—takes us back to Santa’s first year delivering toys. The gifts are done, but how will Santa travel around the world in one night? Spoiler alert: the reindeer come to the rescue. There will be audience participation, songs, stories, and hijinks! Northampton High School. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. (<$)

Sunday, December 18, 1pm-3pm
HANUKKAH/MYO CRAFT
Want to get your child involved in your Hanukkah traditions? You can teach them about the significance of the menorah at this children’s menorah workshop. Participants will also have the chance to create their own dreidel to take home. The event will feature holiday music and donuts. Space is limited. Call 413-567-8665 to reserve your spot. This event is sponsored by the Aleph Bet Hebrew School and will be held at Lowe’s. 1560 Boston Road. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 1pm-6pm
COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION/SWAP
Need some warm clothes for winter? Want to get rid of things you aren’t wearing anymore? The North Adams Makers’ Mill is having a swap of unwanted clothing, accessories and more. All genders and sizes are welcome. If you don’t have clothing to swap, feel free to bring a canned item for the food pantry. 413-749-2073. 73 Main Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 3pm
NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS
Celebrate Christmas this year with food, community, music, and historical learning at Old Sturbridge Village. “Christmas By Candlelight” will include lots of New England holiday traditions such as festive foods, sleigh rides, a bonfire, storytelling, and strolls around the decorated Village Common. Kids can participate in a holiday craft workshop and everyone can gather for the tree lighting. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. (Adults $$; ages 4-12 $; 3 and under FREE)

Sunday, December 18, 4pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CULTURE
The winter season is a good time to learn about the holidays and traditions of other cultures. The Greenfield Harmony Holiday Concert will include celebratory songs from South Africa, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, as well as the United States. Several members of the North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens community will be singing. Proceeds from this event will go towards bringing teens from around the world together to sing at Village Harmony camps. The concert will take place at the Wesley Methodist Church. 98 North Maple Street. Hadley, MA. (Adults $; Students and seniors <$)

Sunday, December 18, 5pm-8pm
SANTA/LOCOMOTIVE
Trains are often incorporated into Christmas village displays. Trains have symbolic ties to Christmas since they are one way for families to travel to one another. Toy trains are also a popular Christmas gift. You can celebrate the history of these symbolic ties to the holidays by visiting Santa’s Trains at Look Park. The Garden House has been transformed into a historic railway station, complete with decorated trees and model trains. Chat with the conductor, meet Santa’s helpers, and enjoy festive treats. Santa’s Trains at Look Park is open to the public daily through December 23 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM and on December 24th from 10am-2pm. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, December 19, 10:30am
PARENTING/LITERACY
Literacy skills are essential for everyday life as well as many career paths. Teaching your child to love reading can also open up a world of learning and enjoyment.
“Books and Babies! Pathways for Parents” is sponsoring a program at the East Longmeadow Public Library, featuring stories, movement, and play! Caregivers and children from birth to age two are invited. 413-525-5432. 60 Center Square # 2. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 19, 5:30pm-6:30pm
PARENTING
Having a strong, community network can help parents through the challenges of parenting. Dads are invited to an informal Playtime and Pizza with their kids at the Family Center. Playtime will include songs and a story, and will take place in the Haskins Center Gym at the center. Attendees are welcome to drop in any time during the event. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 19, 5:30pm-7:30pm
SPATIAL SKILLS/PROGRAMMING
Minecraft, a game of increasing popularity among children, is a little like a digital version of LEGOs. In the game, players have to build any number of objects and architectural pieces out of blocks. When played in moderation, this game can have surprisingly positive effects on kids’ learning and motivation. Teachers have begun using this game to explain physical and mathematical concepts. The game requires complex planning, technological knowledge and even creativity. This Minecraft event at Holyoke Codes will teach players how to create custom modes and code special behaviors for characters. There will be plenty of tablets and laptops available, but if you have Minecraft PE you can bring your own device. Ages seven and up. 413- 552-4900. 100 Bigelow Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

Tuesday, December 20, 4pm-6pm
MYO GIFTS
Your kids may want to give gift to their friends this holiday season. Crafting gifts allows them to give something special to all their loved ones without spending lots of money in the process. You are invited to the Community Action Family Center in Greenfield for a crafting make and take! Kids will be able to choose crafts such as candles, bath scrubs, shrinky dink keychains, hot cocoa and others! This event is free and open to the public. Register by calling 413-835-5553. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 20, 6pm
PSYCHOLOGY/OCD
Everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by a mental illness. Learning about and understanding mental illness can help you become a more knowledgeable friend or family member, as well as educating yourself on your own mental health. This lecture,
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the Family,” is part of an ongoing series on OCD and Related Disorders. This lecture is presented by Denise Egan Stack and will take place in the Neilson Library Browsing Room on the campus of Smith College. 7 Neilson Drive. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, December 21, 7am and 3:30pm
ASTRONOMY/SOLSTICE
The Umass Amherst Sunwheel has attracted tens of thousands of visitors who wish to learn about solar and lunar cycles. Sunwheels, circular stone structures, are designed such that the stones line up with the locations on the horizon of the rising and setting Sun during solstices and equinoxes. You can witness this event during the Winter Solstice, and also learn about the seasons, the phases of the moon, the story behind the building of the sunwheel, and more. Bring questions and dress appropriately. The gatherings last about one hour and are held in all weather except rain or blizzards. Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (DONATION)

Wednesday, December 21, 10am-12pm
PSYCHOLOGY/PARENTING
 Parenting advice from experts often draws upon knowledge of psychology and neuroscience. Understanding your child’s brain development can help you to understand what kinds of activities will help them to learn the skills they need. In this educational parenting workshop, Scott Noyes will cover the topic, “Feeding the Developing Brain.” The presentation is part of an ongoing series for caregivers by the Hilltown Community Health Center. Childcare will be provided. Call 413-667-2203 ext. 311 to register. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 21, 5:45pm-7:15
MINDFULNESS/MEDITATION
Learning to meditate can help you achieve balance, peace of mind, and healing in your life. Make It Springfield is offering a beginner’s meditation class, focusing on observing and exploring consciousness. It is recommended that you eat a few hours before class and wear flexible, comfortable clothing which allows for range of motion and easy breathing. Please bring your own pillow, mats, or blankets to sit on. Otherwise, chairs are available. Beginners of all ages are welcome. 168 Worthington Street. Springfield, MA. (DONATION)

Wednesday, December 21, 6pm-8pm
WINTER SOLSTICE
 The winter solstice is a time of celebration for many because it marks the turning point towards longer days. Like the new calendar year, this astrological event can also be a time of reflecting on the past and thinking towards the future. Your entire family is invited to celebrate the solstice at Notchview with S’mores by the fire. 83 Old Route 9. Windsor, MA. (<$)

Wednesday, December 21, 6pm-8:30pm
WINTER SOLSTICE
At Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, people will gather at sundown to celebrate the solstice with a bonfire, hot cider, and music. This event will take place unless there is a blizzard. Call Arcadia at 413-584-3009 to inquire about cancellation. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 21, 6:30pm
MUSIC STUDIES/CHRISTMAS
Holiday music connects us with memories and family traditions. You can make holiday memories with your children and introduce them to Christmas songs at the Goodwin Memorial Library Holiday Sing-a-Long. There will be handouts for all of your favorite holiday tunes, and cookies. All ages are welcome to this family event. 413-584-7451. 50 Middle Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, December 22, 6:30pm
HOLIDAY/CRAFT
Do you know a teen who likes to draw and create? Bring them to the Granby Library for intricate ornament coloring! Participants are invited to create their own designs using the high quality colored pencils and gel pens provided by the library. Cookies and hot cocoa will provided.
413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 22, 7pm
FILM STUDIES/CHRISTMAS
It’s A Wonderful Life is one of the most popular American films of all time and a favorite family classic around the holidays. The 1946 film was based on a on short story called “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern. The film is also often adapted for the stage. Have you ever seen it on the big screen? This winter, you and your family can attend a screening of It’s A Wonderful Life at Amherst Cinema. You can use this film as a launching point to talk to your children about the impact each one of us has on those around us. 413- 253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (<$)

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, December 23, 10:30am
STORYTELLING/TRAINS
What do trains have to do with the winter season? Trains are often incorporated into decorative village displays. Trains have symbolic ties to the holiday season since they are one way for families to travel to one another. Toy trains are also a popular gift for children. Kids ages four and up are invited to the Granby Library for a Polar Express Storytime event. Hot chocolate and a craft activity will also be provided. Kids are invited to attend in their pajamas! 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 23, 10:30am-11:30am
NATURE STUDIES/ZOOLOGY
Do your kids love animals? You can help nurture your child’s love of animals into a love of scientific learning. Youth ages three to six are invited to animal focused “Kidleidoscope” programs at Great Falls Discovery Center. Siblings and friends are welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants will learn about deer who share our home in the Connecticut River Watershed. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 23, 11:30am-1:30pm
ICE SKATING
One benefit to homeschooling your children is that the schedule can sometimes allow greater flexibility for your child to explore their interests during school hours. The Mullins Center at UMass Amherst invites homeschooling families to skate at discounted prices. All children school age and younger are invited. Adults must be accompanied by children. Parents receive free admission and skate rental when accompanying children. Cash only. Commonwealth Avenue. Amherst, MA. (<$)

Friday, December 23, 12pm-6pm
PASTRY ARTS/INTERGENERATIONAL
Cookie decorating is a creative activity which kids and parents can do together! Come to the Sunderland Public Library to decorate a variety of cookies with festive designs. There will be vegan and gluten free options available, and lots of different colored frostings. All supplies are provided. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 23, 3pm-9pm
CHRISTMAS/NEW ENGLAND HISTORY
Holiday traditions reveal a lot about history and cultural values. You can learn about New England history by attending Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village. The evening will include live musical performances, storytelling, sleigh rides, festive foods, a roaring bonfire, and lots of other New England holiday traditions. Families can meet Santa and his elves, attend a craft workshop and attend the nightly tree lighting. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. (Adults $$; Ages 4 through 12 $; Children 3 and under FREE)

Friday, December 23, 5pm-9pm
CHRISTMAS/LOCOMOTIVE
Kick off the holiday season with a ride at the Connecticut Trolley Museum! This winter, the museum will feature a “Tunnel of Lights,” Christmas themed ride. You can choose to ride in a closed car the “electric sleigh.” There will be traditional Christmas carols and a Winter Wonderland full of decorated model trains. Families can enjoy hot cocoa and kids can pose for a picture with Santa. Visit the Connecticut Trolley Museum website for more information. This event will also be held Dec. 26th-30th from 6pm-9pm for school vacation week. 860-627-6540. 58 North Road. East Windsor, CT. (<$; under two FREE)

Friday, December 23, 5pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY
The festive light display, Bright Nights in Forest Park, has been listed as one of the Top 100 Attractions in North America seven times! The light displays creatively celebrate not only the themes of Christmas, Santa, and winter, but also branch into other subjects with displays like the Victorian Village. Bright Nights invites visitors on Friday and Saturday nights through January 1st. For a full list of open hours and other details visit the Bright Nights website. 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 Agawam, Belchertown, Buckland, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Hadley, Heath, New Salem, Plainfield, Shelburne, Southampton, Sunderland, Westhampton and  Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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