100+ Suggested Events in Western MA: December 14-27, 2019

Awarded the “Essential Agent of Change Award” by the MDPH’s Massachusetts Essentials for Childhood, Hilltown Families is recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” Serving Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families continues to support the development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, farms, individuals, schools, and non-profit organizations are invited to collaborate with Hilltown Families in their community outreach. With over 9,000 opt-in subscribers and 2.6+ million visits to our web site alone, Hilltown Families can deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out about our affordable advertising options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by contacting us at info@hilltownfamilies.org… and scroll down to discover community-based educational events and community building opportunities happening this weekend and next week in Western MA!

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Dec 13 – 15

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a show full of music, dance, song, and story to drive the dark away. A myth of the importance of music in our lives is told with the help of magical beasts in the form of puppets. The show includes traditional songs and dances along with new material from Rose Sheehan, Welcome Yule’s founder and Colin De la Barre. Enjoy the Abbots Bromley Horn dance, a sword dance, the now-familiar carols, a mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. The Shea Theater, Turners Falls, MA. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13th &14th at 7:30pm, Sunday, Dec.15th at 2pm. Tickets: adults $15, children 5 – 16 years and seniors $12. For reservations and information, see www.welcomeyule.org.

Dec 13-15

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel through the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Live on stage December 13-15 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. A special Sensory and Family Safe Presentation on December 13 at 4pm has lighting and sound accommodations for a reduced sensory experience and is also ideal for young children. Select performances will have special guest entertainment and the chance to participate in a pre-show Storytime with Clara. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

Dec 13 – 24

Santa’s Trains at Look Park: 
A holiday tradition for the whole family! Enjoy a magical evening with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their favorite elves. The Garden House will be transformed into a beautiful train station. Watch as model trains whizz by, enjoy hot cocoa by the fire and of course, make sure you’re on the nice list! Santa’s Trains is open daily 4pm to 8pm December 13-23 and 10am to 2pm on December 24th. For more information visit: www.lookpark.org or call 413-584-5457.

Dec 14

Celebrate the opening of Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art on Sat., Dec. 14 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art w/exhibiting artists Elisa Kleven, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Barbara Lehman, Grace Lin, Raúl the Third, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, and Evan Turk. See their childhood art displayed next to their professional picture book art. Co-curator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will lead Now & Then artists in a series of fun drawing activities in the morning, while co-curator Grace Lin will lead artists in an afternoon discussion on ways to support the growing creativity of young artists. Plus, book signings, art activities & drop-in workshop w/Elisa Kleven to explore Texture Collages. Schedule at www.carlemuseum.org.

Dec 14

You and your family are cordially invited to celebrate Emily Dickinson’s 189th birthday at her home, the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, December 14, join the Museum for a festive open house from 1-4pm. Tour the houses for free, enjoy the holiday decorations and live music, create an artistic postcard to add to their project, “The World Writes Back: Postcards to Emily Dickinson,” and enjoy coconut cake made from the poet’s own recipe. All are welcome, and no fee or reservations are required. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

Dec 21

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 21st at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.aomtheatre.com.

Holiday Shopping

“Curated toys for curious minds.” A2Z Science & Learning Toy Store, located in beautiful downtown Northampton, has a unique gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list. Knowledgeable and friendly staff will help you find quality toys for every age. A2Z has great developmental toys for infants and toddlers, programmable robots and sensory toys for kids, and fun strategy games and brainteasers for teens and adults! A2Z also has construction toys, books, stuffed animals, minerals, dress-up, remote control toys, crafts, and so much more! Click here for the A2Z Holiday Shopping Guide to see featured products. A2Z is located on 57 King Street across from Hotel Northampton. Look for the dinosaur! For more information, visit A2ZScience.com.

New Book Store

Imagine a cozy space where caretakers and their little people are invited to read, create, play, & linger together. Now place it in downtown Florence, right off the bike path—then add bike & stroller parking, comfy spots for relaxing & feeding, and a family-friendly bathroom. It’s High Five Books, a NEW independent kids’ community bookstore. High Five Books is the neighborhood go-to for new board & picture books, early- and middle-grade readers, YA books & graphic novels, plus art kits and other creative supplies. They share their welcoming space with Art Always, an art school for children & adults. They offer $5 daily drop-in art sessions, family literacy & art events, and snacks. And, of course, high fives anytime. www.highfivebooks.org

Auditions: Jan 5

Do you know children who are talented instrumentalists? Are they motivated to practice and make music with other young musicians? The Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra offers a dynamic & supportive ensemble environment for talented musicians in middle & high school. Directed by Steven Bathory-Peeler, PVSYO performs in 2 standalone concerts and also collaborates with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra. Chamber ensemble opportunities are also offered. The PVSYO rehearses at Greenfield High School on Sundays from 5:30-7:30 during the school year. Auditions for all instruments (except trumpet & clarinet) will be held in Greenfield on Jan 5, 2020, 5:30-7:30. To learn more or register for an audition, visit www.pvsoc.org/youth-orchestra.

Accepting applications for fall 2020. The Bement School founded in 1925 and located in Deerfield is a co-educational junior boarding and day school serving 225 students in kindergarten through grade 9. At Bement, the innovative educational approach and rigorous curriculum prepare students well for competitive secondary schools and to tackle the challenges of life. Students work hard, learn to overcome obstacles, persevere with joy and optimism, develop a strong sense of self, and find ways to help others. Children and adults at Bement work together to create a community where all members cultivate mutual respect and understanding within the school and the world. For info on how to arrange a campus visit, call 413-774-4209 www.bement.org.

Western Massachusetts is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and lifelong learners! Hilltown Families Class Directory features classes, lessons, enrichment programs, and membership opportunities across Western Massachusetts and throughout the year. Our Class Directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education, including theater, music, dance, art, and much more. — Have a class, private lesson, or program you’d like to include in our directory? More Information. | Reserve a spot. | Submit your listing.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 14-27, 2019

Saturday, Dec 14Sunday, Dec 15
Monday, Dec 16Tuesday, Dec 17Wednesday, Dec 18
Thursday, Dec 19Friday, Dec 20

Saturday, Dec 21Sunday, Dec 22
Monday, Dec 23Tuesday, Dec 24Wednesday, Dec 25
Thursday, Dec 26Friday, Dec 27

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The events below are shared as a courtesy. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm date, time, place, age appropriateness, registration requirements, and costs before attending.

Events Happening in the Hilltown


Saturday, December 14

Saturday, December 14, 9-10am – FAMILY RADIO/LOVING KINDNESS: What does it mean to be a Love Activist? In this Hilltown Family Variety Show Love Activist Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband, Charity takes listeners on a musical and philosophical journey examining how we all, whether young or old, can use our love, kindness, time, resources and gifts to bring positive change to the world. Click here select from over 13 years of archived shows! It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons and commercial radio! ♥ Hilltown Families eNewsletter subscribers are invited to an exclusive sneak peak every Thursday of the upcoming show. Check your eNewsletter to listen any time. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe to our free Weekly eNewsletter!

Saturday, December 14, 9am-3pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: MassMutual Center is hosting their Annual Wonderland Workshop to celebrate the holiday season. This family-friendly event will feature various interactive stations, including cookie decorating, craft making, and writing letters to Santa. Guests can indulge in one-of-a-kind treats and trinkets from local vendors displayed throughout the Wonderland Workshop’s holiday promenade. Families are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for a drive to benefit local charities. MassMutual Center. 413-787-6610. 1277 Main St, Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10-11am – ZOOLOGY/ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Saturday Family Science: Nocturnal Life. When the sun sets, many of us get ready for rest, but there is a whole world that is just waking up! Get ready for some night life (during the day) and learn about why and how some animals are active while we’re all asleep. Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 413-256-6006, 845 West St, Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-12pm – PHOTOGRAPHY/GUIDED HIKE: Greylock Photography Group Meet-Up: White Birches in Winter. Welcome nature lovers and photo friends to the second gathering of the newly formed Mt Greylock Photography Group! This group is for everyone who loves nature and Mount Greylock and would love more opportunities to photograph the natural beauty of our majestic mountain! On this outing, meet at the Gould Trailhead parking lot on West Mountain Road in Adams and walk along the trails through extensive, picturesque white (paper) birch tree groves on the East side of the mountain, with stunning views up to the Summit! NOTE: Trails may be snow-covered or icy. Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring along your camera or your cell-phone. All interest and skill levels are welcome! This program is free and open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-12noon – GINGERBREAD HOUSES: Maker Lab: Gingerbread Houses. Make your own simple gingerbread house and decorate the scene to your heart’s content. All ages. Drop-in. Hatfield Public Library. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street, Hatfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-3:30pm – ART STUDIES/PICTURE BOOK ART: Celebrate the opening of Now & Then: Contemporary Illustrators and their Childhood Art on Sat., Dec. 14 at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art w/exhibiting artists Elisa Kleven, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Barbara Lehman, Grace Lin, Raúl the Third, Shadra Strickland, Don Tate, and Evan Turk. See their childhood art displayed next to their professional picture book art. Co-curator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will lead Now & Then artists in a series of fun drawing activities in the morning, while co-curator Grace Lin will lead artists in an afternoon discussion on ways to support the growing creativity of young artists. Plus, book signings, art activities & drop-in workshop w/Elisa Kleven to explore Texture Collages. Schedule at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-559-6300. 125 W Bay Rd, Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/HOLIDAYS: Springfield Museums, home of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, invites you to celebrate with the Gingerbread: Hollywood and the Holidays exhibit and Family Fun Holiday Happenings/Countdown to Christmas from November 29 through December 31, 2019. An annual event, the Gingerbread exhibit puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Gingerbread features a multitude of artistic culinary creations accented by creative murals, festively decorated trees, and other enchanting elements. Stop in also to view Sweet: A Tasty Journey for a history of candy and a chance to experience hands-on FUN while learning. And don’t forget to visit the Grinch, the beloved curmudgeon who helps us all remember, “Maybe Christmas means just a little bit more!” Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-5pm – OPEN STUDIOS: Shop local and handmade at the annual Cottage Street Holiday Open Studios and Sale. Over 50 local artists and artisans open up their studios inviting in the public to see their work, ask questions about their process, and to purchase handmade gifts for the holidays and themselves. It’s also a great opportunity to see this an old historic mill building, situated on Rt. 141 across from the Nashawanuck Pond and boardwalk. Five decades ago, it enclosed four cavernous acres of space. Riverside Industries purchased the building from JP Stevens Textiles, moved its programs in, and began renting over three maze-like floors to bookbinders, a fine woodworking school, and an ever-growing community of artists. One Cottage Street has over 80 studios. It is now home to a lively community of regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized designers, craftspeople, and fine artists, many of whom have spent their careers here in good company honing their craft. Cottage Street Studios. 413-527-2711. 1 Cottage St. Easthampton, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 10am-9pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: “A Special Day in Northfield” is an annual, non-commercial community holiday celebration that offers families an opportunity to explore, be creative, and enjoy what Northfield has to offer! Local artists and antiques stores will be open, too, so if you want to do any holiday shopping, you can shop locally and/or handmade. Northfield’s Main Street and Back Roads. Northfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 1pm & 4:30pm – BALLET/THE NUTCRACKER: Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel through the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Select performances will have special guest entertainment and the chance to participate in a pre-show Storytime with Clara. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org. Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main St, Northampton, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 1-4pm – HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE/POETRY:You and your family are cordially invited to celebrate Emily Dickinson’s 189th birthday at her home, the Emily Dickinson Museum! On Saturday, December 14, join the Museum for a festive open house from 1-4pm. Tour the houses for free, enjoy the holiday decorations and live music, create an artistic postcard to add to their project, “The World Writes Back: Postcards to Emily Dickinson,” and enjoy coconut cake made from the poet’s own recipe. All are welcome, and no fee or reservations are required. Emily Dickinson Museum. 413-542-8161. 280 Main St, Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 3-6pm – MUSIC STUDIES/SYMPHONY: Holiday Pops with the Pioneer Valley Symphony. Join PVS Holiday Pops concert, featuring Thompson’s Frostiana. Frostiana was commissioned in 1958 for the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Amherst, MA and composed in 1959 in Gstaad, Switzerland. The piece consists of a song cycle consisting of seven of Robert Frost’s poems including his well-known “The Road Not Taken.” The piece is scored for mixed choir in three of the seven movements, the other four movements are scored for either men or women only. Enjoy selections of holiday favorites performed by their orchestra, chorus, chamber chorus and youth orchestra. Revel in the season during intermission with special activities for kids and families and delicious treats. Greenfield High School. 21 Barr Ave. Greenfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 3-8pm – NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 4-9pm – PLACEMAKING/LIGHT DISPLAY: It’s time for the annual Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Park. The entire park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. And don’t forget to wave to the dragon! Sharing traditions like this with the community creates a deeper sense of place and belonging. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 4:30pm – SINGING/CULTURAL TRADITIONS: Annual Cottage Street Sings. Communal singing is a vibrant part of many cultural traditions from around the world. In that spirit, the Cottage Street Cultural District will host a public singing event that aims to bring together members of the community to celebrate winter seasonal music of a wide variety of cultures, faiths, and traditions. Participants will sing seasonal songs from a variety of religious and cultural traditions. Cottage Street Sings also coincides with Art Walk, which will feature many venues in the district and throughout Easthampton. Cultural District is an initiative of Easthampton City Arts and the City of Easthampton. The event will take place on the Cottage Street promenade along Nashawannuck Pond at the entryway to the cultural district. Easthampton, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 5-11pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 7pm – CLASSIC LITERATURE/CHRISTMAS: A Christmas Carol. Adapted from a full-length version, this hour-long performance features the recreation of a 1930s production being broadcast live from the radio studio. The show is complete with six actors in period costume, gathered around standing microphones and voicing multiple characters. A Christmas Carol will feature creative sound effects that recreates the excitement of the early days of live sound production with an assortment of weird-looking and -sounding machines which he wields in full view of the audience during the course of the show. Period commercials spice up the station identification breaks! Says the director of this performance, “A Christmas Carol is a perfect theater piece for a holiday revival because it not only entertains an audience but it directly addresses the meaning of being human. It engages and delights the youngest to the oldest member of an audience.” Centennial House, 94 Main Street, Northfield, MA.

Saturday, December 14, 7:30pm – YULE: Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a show full of music, dance, song, and story to drive the dark away. A myth of the importance of music in our lives is told with the help of magical beasts in the form of puppets. The show includes traditional songs and dances along with new material from Rose Sheehan, Welcome Yule’s founder and Colin De la Barre. Enjoy the Abbots Bromley Horn dance, a sword dance, the now-familiar carols, a mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Tickets: adults $15, children 5 – 16 years and seniors $12. For reservations and information, see www.welcomeyule.org. Performance will be held at the Shea Theater Arts Center. 413-648-7432. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.


Sunday, December 15

Sunday, December 15, 7-8am – FAMILY RADIO/LOVING KINDNESS: What does it mean to be a Love Activist? In this Hilltown Family Variety Show Love Activist Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband, Charity takes listeners on a musical and philosophical journey examining how we all, whether young or old, can use our love, kindness, time, resources and gifts to bring positive change to the world. Click here select from over 13 years of archived shows! It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons and commercial radio! ♥ Hilltown Families eNewsletter subscribers are invited to an exclusive sneak peak every Thursday of the upcoming show. Check your eNewsletter to listen any time. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe to our free Weekly eNewsletter!

Sunday, December 15, 10am-12noon – COMMUNITY MEAL/SANTA: Breakfast with Santa at Holyoke High School. Join Nana and her Elves for their 2nd Annual Breakfast with Santa. This year will feature pictures with Santa and Mrs.Claus, caroling and coloring, and a delicious breakfast buffet from Hamel’s of Holyoke. All proceeds help Nana Facetti’s Elves bring gifts to kids & teens in shelters in Holyoke this Christmas. Santa Claus will arrive at 10:30am and take photos with the kids. Holyoke High School. 303 Beech St. Holyoke, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 11am, 2pm, & 4:30pm – BALLET/NUTCRACKER: Massachusetts Academy of Ballet presents Nutcracker & Sweets at Wistariahurst Museum, Holyoke’s most beloved holiday traditions. This unique, historical interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet is presented through narration and dance, in the historic setting of Wistariahurst. Student dancers perform the magical story with a local historical twist and lively choreography. Wistariahurst Museum. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot St, Holyoke, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 12:30-1:30pm – NUTCRACKER/TEA PARTY: Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party. Be transported into a magical fairyland while enjoying an encore broadcast of The Nutcracker in the Clark’s auditorium. Sweeten the experience by starting the afternoon at the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party, featuring sweet and savory treats, hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. Make reservations ASAP. Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South St, Williamstown, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 1-2:50pm – ICE SKATING/SANTA: Skate with Santa! Grab your skates ( or rent them) and join Santa on the ice. Amelia Park Arena. 413-568-2503. 21 South Broad St. Westfield, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 1pm & 4:30pm – BALLET/THE NUTCRACKER: Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, then travel through the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Select performances will have special guest entertainment and the chance to participate in a pre-show Storytime with Clara. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org. Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main St, Northampton, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 1-3pm – CITIZEN SCIENCE/ORNITHOLOGY: Christmas Bird Count for Kids and Families. Do you want to learn more about birds? Would you like to contribute to science? Join birdwatchers all over America in the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)! The CBC is a 119-year old event in which bird lovers of all ages and skill levels count all the birds they see in a 24-hour period in December. At this program, participants meet at the Hitchcock Center for an indoor program about how to recognize common birds, followed by an outdoor bird count. Educator Katie Koerten will facilitate a bird count for kids and their families on the grounds of the Hitchcock Center. Stay as long as you wish. Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to a real bird census! Sponsored by Hampshire Bird Club. Hitchcock Center for the Environment. 413-256-6006, 845 West St, Amherst, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 2pm – YULE: Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration revels in the return of the sun with a show full of music, dance, song, and story to drive the dark away. A myth of the importance of music in our lives is told with the help of magical beasts in the form of puppets. The show includes traditional songs and dances along with new material from Rose Sheehan, Welcome Yule’s founder and Colin De la Barre. Enjoy the Abbots Bromley Horn dance, a sword dance, the now-familiar carols, a mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Tickets: adults $15, children 5 – 16 years and seniors $12. For reservations and information, see www.welcomeyule.org. Performance will be held at the Shea Theater Arts Center. 413-648-7432. 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 3-8pm – NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 4pm – CLASSIC LITERATURE/CHRISTMAS: A Christmas Carol. Adapted from a full-length version, this hour-long performance features the recreation of a 1930s production being broadcast live from the radio studio. The show is complete with six actors in period costume, gathered around standing microphones and voicing multiple characters. A Christmas Carol will feature creative sound effects that recreates the excitement of the early days of live sound production with an assortment of weird-looking and -sounding machines which he wields in full view of the audience during the course of the show. Period commercials spice up the station identification breaks! Says the director of this performance, “A Christmas Carol is a perfect theater piece for a holiday revival because it not only entertains an audience but it directly addresses the meaning of being human. It engages and delights the youngest to the oldest member of an audience.” The Deerfield Inn, 81 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Sunday, December 15, 5-11pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.


Monday, December 16

Monday, December 16, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Monday, December 16, 5-9pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Monday, December 16, 6:30-8pm – MYO ORNAMENTS/CREATIVE FREE-PLAY: Caregivers, join your kiddos for the workshop Handmade Ornaments Workshop for Kids & Their Adults. Learn how to make a few different types of Christmas ornaments and have access to the library’s craft supplies where participants can combine their creative, whimsical, and loving thoughts into unique handcrafted ornaments to give and treasured for years to come. Preregistration is required. Cushman Library. 413-648-5402. 28 Church St, Bernardston, MA.


Tuesday, December 17

Tuesday, December 17, 4-9pm – PLACEMAKING/LIGHT DISPLAY: It’s time for the annual Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Park. The entire park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. And don’t forget to wave to the dragon! Sharing traditions like this with the community creates a deeper sense of place and belonging. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Tuesday, December 17, 5-9pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Tuesday, December 17, 7:30pm – DATE NIGHT/AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC: Keb’ Mo’s Jingle Bell Jamboree with Alicia Michilli. Keb’ Mo’ is a modern master of American roots music, keeping the Blues alive with the ability to demand the attention of broad audiences spanning the globe. Alicia Michilli is a R&B /Soul artist, fresh off the road opening for Grammy winning Taj Mahal and Keb Mo on their 2018 TajMo tour. Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main St, Northampton, MA.


Wednesday, December 18

Wednesday, December 18, 4-5pm – STORYTELLING: Firefly in a Fir Tree Story Hour is beautiful version of the twelve days of Christmas. After the story, participate in a a thematic craft and snack. Cushman Library. 413-648-5402. 28 Church St, Bernardston, MA.

Wednesday, December 18, 4-5pm – STORIES/SONGS: Polar Express & Christmas Carol Hour. Ceebs Bernon will present his rendition of The Polar Express. He and his friends from Berkshire Hills Music Academy will also sing Christmas carols. South Hadley Public Library. 413-538-5045. 2 Canal St, South Hadley, MA.

Wednesday, December 18, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Wednesday, December 18, 5-9pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Wednesday, December 18, 6-7:45pm – AROMATHERAPY/MYO GIFTS: Aromatherapy 101 with a Holiday Twist. Make your own gifts, including bath salts, soaps, essential oil blends, and other unique gift ideas while learning about the history and use of aromatherapy. All supplies provided. Program will be first come, first serve, no registration required. Good for teens and adults. Springfield City Library: East Springfield Branch. 413-263-6840. 21 Osborne Terrace, Springfield, MA.


Thursday, December 19

Thursday, December 19, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Thursday, December 19, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Thursday, December 19, 5-9pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Thursday, December 19, 6-8pm – FILM/HOLIDAY CLASSIC: Holiday Movie Night: Elf, (rated PG). An evening with family, friends, and Buddy the Elf. This family-friendly classic promises many laughs and is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Popcorn will be provided. Gaylord Memorial Library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.


Friday, December 20

Friday, December 20, 11am-3pm – AGRICULTURE/WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: Downtown Springfield Winter Farmers’ Market. Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that despite the blustery, snow drift-covered fields that surround us, farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available. Connecting to the local food chain year-round is not only healthy for your body, your family, and your community, but it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the vast array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them to recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting to where their food comes. 1391 Main Street, 1st Floor. Springfield, MA.

Friday, December 20, 11:30am-1:20pm – ICE SKATING: Are you a homeschool or unschooling family? The Mullins Center offers a weekday public ice skate for families to attend. Great opportunity for physical activity while making community connections. Ice skate rentals are free and guardian’s skates for free. All families are welcome. Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA.

Friday, December 20, 3-8pm – NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Friday, December 20, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Friday, December 20, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Friday, December 20, 5-11pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.

Friday, December 20, 7-9:30pm – FILM/HOLIDAY TRADITION: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday drama It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, is a seasonal favorite. Designated the most inspirational movie of all time by the American Film Institute, IIt’s a Wonderful Life is a wonderful, feel-good movie to experience with friends and family. Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle St. Great Barrington, MA.


Saturday, December 21

Saturday, December 21, 9-10am – FAMILY RADIO/URBAN LIFE: Hilltown Family Variety Show City Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Jesse Goldman of Moozika! Jesse shares joyful city-based adventure songs that highlight the diversity of cultures, languages, and music in urban settings.. Click here select from over 13 years of archived shows! It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons and commercial radio! ♥ Hilltown Families eNewsletter subscribers are invited to an exclusive sneak peak every Thursday of the upcoming show. Check your eNewsletter to listen any time. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe to our free Weekly eNewsletter!

Saturday, December 21, 7am & 3:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/ASTRONOMY: 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 while also learning 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. UMass Amherst Sunwheel. South of McGuirk Alumni Stadium, just off Rocky Hill Road, one-quarter mile west of University Drive. Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 11am – FILM STUDIES/SCREENING: Despite becoming one of the most quintessential holiday films, It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra told the Wall Street Journal in 1984 that he never really thought of it as a Christmas film. In Capra’s own words, the purpose of the film was to promote “the individual’s belief in himself” and “combat a modern trend toward atheism.” Ironically, the film was also the subject of a memo from the FBI warning that it may be a piece of communist propaganda, as it discredits bankers. Nevertheless, as with all works of art, It’s a Wonderful Life has taken on its own meaning. Widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, despite negative critical reception, viewing the film has become an American Christmas tradition. Come see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen, this holiday season! Amherst Cinema. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity St, Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 12-1:30pm – NATURE-BASED CRAFTS/MYO HOLIDAY ORNAMENT: Holiday Nature Crafts Tree Trimming Party! Create holiday pinecone ornaments using ingredients found in nature along with colorful art supplies for nature craft holiday masterpieces! All craft supplies will be provided, but bring feel encouraged to bring pinecones to share! Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 2-3pm – NEW ENGLAND HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: The Real History of Christmas in New England. The reality of Christmas in early New England may be disappointing to some and unbelievable to many. Join presenter Dennis Picard as he discusses the historical actuality of Christmas, one that blends the heritage and spirit of many cultures and lands. Seating is limited. RSVP. Springfield Armory National Historic Site. 413-734-8551. 1 Armory St Suite 2, Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 3pm – CELTIC DANCE/NUTCRACKER: This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 21st at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.aomtheatre.com. Academy of Music Theatre. 413-584-9032. 274 Main St, Northampton, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 3:30-5pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/SING-ALONG: Solstice, Sunset, Cider-Sip, and Sing-Along! Celebrate the return of the light on the shortest day of the year. Meet shortly before sunset, gather and warm up by the fire with warm, locally made cider from Mount Greylock grown apples, and join voices together in song! Meet at the Visitor Center and have your camera handy to capture a stunning shortest-day sunset overlooking Pontoosuc Lake. Feel free to bring along your instruments to play as well!. This program is free and open to all ages. Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.d

Saturday, December 21, 3-8pm – HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 4:30-6pm – LOCAL HISTORY/PROHIBITION: This year, coinciding with the annual Hatfield Luminarium will be the special exhibit, Booze, Schmooze, and News: Remembering Hatfield Taverns and Clubs. The 100th anniversary of Prohibition has inspired this exhibit, delving into the history of drinking establishments in Hatfield, both established bars and restaurants, lounges, clubs, cafes, and package stores. Where drink was poured and lives were shared — from the Daniel White Tavern on Main St., to the Hatfield Club and Barn on Elm St., to Buckwheat’s and Casper’s on West St. and much more! Come to the opening for a great start to your Luminarium evening. Hatfield Historical Museum. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 4-9pm & 5-11pm – CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY: Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take a drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park from 5-11pm or Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park (300 N Main St. Florence) from 4-9pm for contemporary displays of holiday lights. Bright Nights in Forest Park festive light display 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. Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. (Remember to wave to the dragon!) Sharing traditions like experiencing these annual displays with your larger community strengthens a deeper sense of place and belonging. Springfield & Florence, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 5:30-7:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/NIGHT CANDLELIT HIKE: Winter Solstice at Notchview. Celebrate the winter solstice at Notchview on a short candlelit walk along the kinder loop, a bonfire with s’mores, kids crafts inside the lodge, and reading of nature poets from long ago. Bring non-perishable goods to be donated to a local food pantry. Notchview. 413-684-0148. 83 Old Route 9, Windsor, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 5:30-8:30pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION: The word “yule” is originally derived from Old Norse, in which the word was used as a synonym for “feast” and as part of an alternative name for the god Odin. The word came to refer to the Germanic and northern European celebration of the Winter Solstice and when the region was Christianized during the Middle Ages, elements of the old rituals were incorporated in the holiday of Christmas, most notably yule singing, the yule log, and the Christmas ham. For communities all over the world, the shortest day of the year is met with great celebrations of light, food, and merriment. This solstice, come celebrate at Arcadia, with a bonfire, live music, and an illuminated path! Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Rd, Easthampton, MA.

Saturday, December 21, 6-8pm – PLACEMAKING/LUMINARIES: What better time to celebrate the gift of light than the second shortest day of the year that the annual Florence Luminary! Every year, Florence is transformed by countless luminaries, and the entire downtown area comes alive with caroling, bonfires, hayrides, and lots of holiday cheer. Gather together to celebrate this wonderful community and the promise of the coming year. Florence Civic & Business Assc. 413-584-7891. 90 Park St the Corner of N Main St & Park St. Florence, MA.


Sunday, December 22

Sunday, December 22, 7-8am – FAMILY RADIO/URBAN LIFE: Hilltown Family Variety Show City Songs Episode with Guest DJ, Jesse Goldman of Moozika! Jesse shares joyful city-based adventure songs that highlight the diversity of cultures, languages, and music in urban settings.. Click here select from over 13 years of archived shows! It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons and commercial radio! ♥ Hilltown Families eNewsletter subscribers are invited to an exclusive sneak peak every Thursday of the upcoming show. Check your eNewsletter to listen any time. Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe to our free Weekly eNewsletter!

Sunday, December 22, 11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES/HOLIDAYS: Springfield Museums, home of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, invites you to celebrate with the Gingerbread: Hollywood and the Holidays exhibit and Family Fun Holiday Happenings/Countdown to Christmas from November 29 through December 31, 2019. An annual event, the Gingerbread exhibit puts everyone in the holiday spirit. Gingerbread features a multitude of artistic culinary creations accented by creative murals, festively decorated trees, and other enchanting elements. Stop in also to view Sweet: A Tasty Journey for a history of candy and a chance to experience hands-on FUN while learning. And don’t forget to visit the Grinch, the beloved curmudgeon who helps us all remember, “Maybe Christmas means just a little bit more!” Springfield Museums. 413-263-6800. 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 2-3pm – MYO MENORAH: Menorah Building Workshop. Chabad Hebrew School invites the public to a Menorah workshop. Chabad Hebrew School is teaming up with Home Depot to offer a children’s menorah workshop. All participants will have the opportunity to build their very own menorah to take home. The Menorah Workshop is open to the public and free of charge. The event will feature lively holiday music and donuts. RSVP and inquiries can be directed to Rabbi Lavy Kosofsky at 413-567-8665 or Lkosofsky@LYA.org. The Home Depot. 179 Dagget Drive. West Springfield, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 3-8pm – HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 4-9pm & 5-11pm – CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY: Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take a drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park from 5-11pm or Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park (300 N Main St. Florence) from 4-9pm for contemporary displays of holiday lights. Bright Nights in Forest Park festive light display 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. Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. (Remember to wave to the dragon!) Sharing traditions like experiencing these annual displays with your larger community strengthens a deeper sense of place and belonging. Springfield & Florence, MA.

Sunday, December 22, 5:30-8pm – PLACEMAKING/MENORAH LIGHTING: 4th Annual Lighting of the Menorah, celebrating the first night of Chanukah. This public ceremony is open to the public. It will be held in partnership with the Congregation Sons of Zion in Holyoke with the assistance of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts and with the participation of Congregation Rodphey Shalom. In addition to the festive lighting of the Menorah, there will be snacks and hot chocolate, a brief Chanukah story, singing, and Chanukah dreidels given out to those in attendance. Holyoke City Hall. 536 Dwight Street, Holyoke, MA.


Monday, December 23

Monday, December 23, 2pm – FILM STUDIES/SCREENING: Despite becoming one of the most quintessential holiday films, It’s a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra told the Wall Street Journal in 1984 that he never really thought of it as a Christmas film. In Capra’s own words, the purpose of the film was to promote “the individual’s belief in himself” and “combat a modern trend toward atheism.” Ironically, the film was also the subject of a memo from the FBI warning that it may be a piece of communist propaganda, as it discredits bankers. Nevertheless, as with all works of art, It’s a Wonderful Life has taken on its own meaning. Widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, despite negative critical reception, viewing the film has become an American Christmas tradition. Come see It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen, this holiday season! Amherst Cinema. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity St, Amherst, MA.

Monday, December 23, 2-3pm – MYO SOAP: Holiday Rubber Ducky Soap Making Workshop. Children ages 5-12 can get have fun creating a holiday rubber ducky soap, making one for themselves or as a gift. Preregistration required. South Hadley Public Library. 413-538-5045. 2 Canal St, South Hadley, MA.

Monday, December 23, 3-8pm – HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Monday, December 23, 3:20-3:45pm – PLACEMAKING/MENORAH LIGHTING: Menorah Lighting at Court Square. Join LYA for a community lighting ceremony on Court Square. Springfield elected officials and dignitaries will be on hand to address participants. There will be other community leaders, schoolchildren, and members of our community who work in the area. Enjoy latkes, cocoa, and dreidels. Join the Springfield Jewish community for this joyous celebration. Court Square. 92-98 Court House Pl, Springfield, MA.

Monday, December 23, 4-8pm – HOLIDAY TRAIN RIDE/CHRISTMAS: Santa’s Trains at Look Park, a beloved holiday tradition for families throughout the Pioneer Valley runs nightly through December 23. The Garden House, transformed into a Victorian-style Train Depot complete with model rail cars whizzing through miniature villages, will surprise and delight children of all ages. Kids can share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy a holiday cookie and cocoa by the fire. Be marveled by the magic of the season. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Monday, December 23, 4-9pm & 5-11pm – CHRISTMAS/LIGHT DISPLAY: Have you ever thought about why we decorate our Christmas trees with strands of light? Ever think about the origin of this tradition? Find out about the history of Christmas lights, then take a drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park from 5-11pm or Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park (300 N Main St. Florence) from 4-9pm for contemporary displays of holiday lights. Bright Nights in Forest Park festive light display 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. Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Memorial Park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. (Remember to wave to the dragon!) Sharing traditions like experiencing these annual displays with your larger community strengthens a deeper sense of place and belonging. Springfield & Florence, MA.

Monday, December 23, 4:30-6:30pm – COMMUNITY MEAL/CHANUKAH: A Magical Chanukah. Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy PTO is preparing for a Magical Chanukah. Join LYA for a magic show performed by The Amazing Andy at 4:30pm. Following the show, a pasta and meat sauce dinner with Chanukah specialties of latkes and donuts will be served. A vegetarian/vegan option is available. Following the dinner, there will be a Chanukah menorah lighting and performance by LYA Choir. Reserve your space: 413-567-8665. Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. 1148 Converse Street, Longmeadow, MA.


Tuesday, December 24

Tuesday, December 24, 4-9pm – PLACEMAKING/LIGHT DISPLAY: It’s time for the annual Winter Wonderland Light Display at Look Park. The entire park will be transformed into a magical holiday celebration of light. And don’t forget to wave to the dragon! Sharing traditions like this with the community creates a deeper sense of place and belonging. Look Memorial Park. 413-584-5457. 300 N Main St, Florence, MA.

Tuesday, December 24, 5-9pm – 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 at Forest Park. 300 Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA.


Wednesday, December 25

Wednesday, December 25 – SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING/ORNITHOLOGY: During the winter, young wildlife enthusiasts can focus their attention on feathered friends, one of the few creatures who are still very visible throughout the coldest months of the year. Whether your family are avid birders or simply enjoy watching feeder visitors, there are lots of ways to learn about the local environment and to participate in citizen science by watching birds this winter! From owls to chickadees, there are many ways to engage with the local landscape and to help contribute information to important studies. Read more in our post, Becoming a Citizen Scientist Opens Your Awareness to Birdlife In Your Backyard.

Wednesday, December 25, 12:30-2:30pm – CHANUKAH CELEBRATION: Chanukah Celebration. Children ages 5- 13 (and their parents) are invited to celebrate Chanukah at Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. The afternoon will include Chanukah activities, games, crafts, foods, and storytelling. All participants will be able to assist in the building of a 6 foot Lego menorah that will be lit at the Longmeadow Shops on Sunday, Dec. 29. There is no charge to attend Celebrate Chanukah, and the event is open to the public. No reservation is required. Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. 413-567-8665 . 1148 Converse Street, Longmeadow, MA.


Thursday, December 26

Thursday, December 26, 10:30am-2pm – HOLIDAY VACATION PROGRAMMING: With schools out for the holidays, the New England Air Museum is hosting a series of daily interactive workshops. Activities will be offered from 10:30am-2:30pm each day and are included with admission (unless otherwise noted). Workshops include Lunar Landscape Painting (12/26), 1st Annual LEGO Brick Aircraft Contest (12/27), Marshmallow Constellations (12/28), Straw Rocket Challenge (12/29), and a Model Airplane Workshop & Demonstrations (12/30). The museum will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and closing at 3pm on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. For more information about these and other events, visit www.neam.org or call 860-623-3305. NEAM is located at 36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT.

Thursday, December 26, 12-4pm –MOVEMENT/LOCAL HERITAGE: Some kids love, and benefit from, vestibular input. This term refers to our detection of motion, which is connected to the inner ear. All movement affects vestibular receptors, but some activities such as spinning, swinging, and hanging upside down, are particularly intense. The Holyoke Merry Go Round, known as “Holyoke’s Happiness Machine,” is a sensory treat for the young and old. This antique carousel with brightly painted wooden animals and calliope music was once part of Mountain Park, an amusement park on the side of Mt. Tom, and was moved to Holyoke Heritage Park when Mountain Park closed in 1987. Holyoke Merry Go Round. 413-538-9838. 221 Appleton St, Holyoke, MA.

Thursday, December 26, 2-4pm – STEM/PHYSICS: Playful Engineers: Traveling Makerspace. Playful Engineers teaching artist and engineering enthusiast Jay Mankita will present a hands-on workshop in which participants will have a chance to design, build, test, and play with Rube Goldberg “Machines”, and other chain reactions, connecting focused play with serious science. Participants learn through demonstration and play, exploring basic force and motion physics, as they build fun chain reactions with common toys and other ordinary materials. Jay brings lots of materials to work with, including dominoes, wood blocks, string, chain, pulleys, elastics, tinkier toys, k’nex, legos, tracks, ping-pong balls, clamps, connectors, bases, dowels, and magnets. For ages 5 and up. Forbes Library. 413-587-1011. 20 West St, Northampton, MA.

Thursday, December 26, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.


Friday, December 27

Friday, December 27, 10:30am-2pm – HOLIDAY VACATION PROGRAMMING: With schools out for the holidays, the New England Air Museum is hosting a series of daily interactive workshops. Activities will be offered from 10:30am-2:30pm each day and are included with admission (unless otherwise noted). Workshops include: 1st Annual LEGO Brick Aircraft Contest (12/27), Marshmallow Constellations (12/28), Straw Rocket Challenge (12/29), and a Model Airplane Workshop & Demonstrations (12/30). For more information about these and other events, visit www.neam.org or call 860-623-3305. NEAM is located at 36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT.

Friday, December 27, 11-12:30pm – DENDROLOGY/PLANT ID: Winter Tree Identification Hike. Learn how to identify trees during their winter slumber with DCR Management Forester, Kevin Podkowka, on this family-friendly hike along the Bradley Farm Trail. Be prepared for the weather by wearing appropriate clothing and sturdy snow boots (traction devices, trekking poles, and snowshoes may also be advisable). Inclement weather cancels. This program is free and open for ages 8 and up. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Mount Greylock Visitor Center. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough, MA.

Friday, December 27, 11am-12:30pm – PASTRY ARTS: Kids Can Cook, The Clark’s popular kids’ cooking class returns! This year, participants will learn cake decorating skills and sample the results of their work. Recommended for ages 5–10; a take-home goodie bag is included. Reserve early as this class regularly sells out! Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South St, Williamstown, MA.

Friday, December 27, 11am-3pm – AGRICULTURE/WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET: Downtown Springfield Winter Farmers’ Market. Winter farmers’ markets provide a fresh and colorful oasis during the winter months, reminding us that despite the blustery, snow drift-covered fields that surround us, farm-fresh foods of all kinds are still available. Connecting to the local food chain year-round is not only healthy for your body, your family, and your community, but it can be educational as well! Exposing children to the vast array of foods available from winter farmers’ markets can help them to recognize that there are many different methods for growing and producing food while connecting to where their food comes. 1391 Main Street, 1st Floor. Springfield, MA.

Friday, December 27, 11:30am-1:20pm – ICE SKATING: Are you a homeschool or unschooling family? The Mullins Center offers a weekday public ice skate for families to attend. Great opportunity for physical activity while making community connections. Ice skate rentals are free and guardian’s skates for free. All families are welcome. Mullins Center. 413-545-3040. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA.

Friday, December 27, 12-2pm – KWANZAA: Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration. During the days after Christmas, most people are sleeping in and recovering from a day filled with family, food, presents, and 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.” Those who celebrate Kwanzaa, however, are just beginning a celebration. Kwanzaa is a holiday designed to connect African American communities everywhere and is celebrated from December 26 to January 1. Citywide Kwanzaa Celebration starts at 12noon with a candle lighting ceremony that honors Faith, Family, Community, and African American cultural history along with entertainers and speakers. “The City of Springfield continues to celebrate this tradition… the seven principles are still central to building a community that is not only diverse and inclusive but one that honors where it has been, where it is at the moment and where it is going.” Free Admission. UMass Center. 1500 Main St (2nd Fl). Springfield MA.

Friday, December 27, 1-3pm – SPORTS/GYMNASTICS: Hampshire Gymnastics School has an open gym during the holiday break. Try out the air bag, practice your skills, swing on the rings, and burn off some energy with your friends. All kids ages 5yo+ are welcome. You don’t need to be a student to attend. Hampshire Gymnastics School. 413-256-6990. 461 West Street. Amherst, MA.

Friday, December 27, 2:30-3:15pm – PUPPET SHOW: Mr. Vinny’s Shadow Puppet Show, A very silly and very interactive show! Not the traditional stuff. Mr. Vinny is out in front with the audience using an old school overhead projector and his homemade shadow puppets. He and the kids play “What’s that Shadow” and tell stories like “The 12 Lil’ Pigs and the Big Bad Pineapple.” It’s the rowdiest Shadow Puppet show out there! Best for kids ages 3 + up. Forbes Library. 413-587-1011. 20 West St, Northampton, MA.

Friday, December 27, 3-5pm – INTERGENERATIONAL/GAMES: Family Game Afternoon. Screen-free afternoon at the library! Bring your favorite board game or come see what they have available at the library. A fun and family-friendly event. Gaylord Memorial Library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.

Friday, December 27, 3-8pm – HISTORY/CHRISTMAS: Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with having created the first nativity scene, in Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Francis’ nativity scene used live actors and animals and reenactments of this kind became enormously popular throughout Christian Europe. Eventually statues and miniatures took the place of live actors. In England, it became customary to bake a mince pie in the shape of manger and fill it with a baby Jesus. After the Puritans banned Christmas in the 17th century, these pies were prohibited as “idolaterie in crust.” Old Sturbridge Village’s Christmas by Candlelight features a wide variety of old fashioned historical Christmas activities, including, of course, the famous nativity scene. This is a great opportunity to learn about how Christmas would have been celebrated in colonial New England. Old Sturbridge Village. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA.

Friday, December 27, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/FESTIVAL: From Hanukkah to Diwali and Christmas, communities all over the world mark the coming of winter with a festival of lights. There is something deep and powerful about creating light in the midst of the darkness, and it is no surprise that this ritual inspires such faith and hope to people around the world. This holiday season, Naumkeag in Stockbridge will be illuminated by thousands of shimmering lights and displays. Embrace the holiday spirit and the continued presence of light amidst the darkness with an evening of music, community cheer, and fun children’s activities. Naumkeag. 413-298-3239. 5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge, MA.


Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Bernardston, Chester, Heath, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, South Hadley, Amherst, Hatfield, Russell, Shutesbury, and Springfield Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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