Suggested Events for December 10th-16th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Suggest Event

Hilltown Families is the best for beating the school vacation boredom! It’s great to have one place to check for events every day. Maxine Oland
, Belchertown, MA

Hilltown Families is the best for beating the school vacation boredom! It’s great to have one place to check for events every day. Maxine Oland
, Belchertown, MA

If 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!

Jan 21

Jan 21

Hilltown Families is pleased to announce our 4th interactive volunteer event, the Kids Care Fair, to be held Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 10am-1pm at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton. The theme of this free event will be based on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

With a Passport booklet in hand, families travel to various hands-on volunteer stations to complete service projects, receiving a stamp at each station when completed. The Kids Care Fair also provides donation drop off stations for items like preserved food and community swap stations for winter clothing. Attendance is free but space is limited – click here for more information.

Bulletin Board

Dec 9

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, December 9, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include time to explore Montessori materials, circle time and a story. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Dec 9-11

Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set in the mythical village with villagers and animals singing of the coming of winter and rebirth of spring as Fox and Rooster chase through the countryside. Songs of animals join the wassails, carols, puppets, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Friday & Saturday Dec. 9 and 10, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 11, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets at Jones Library in Amherst, Broadside Books in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, online, or at the door. For more information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org.

Dec 10 & 11

Rediscover the enchantment and magic of Christmas at the Bryant Homestead’s Old Fashioned Christmas! A wonderful event that connects the whole community! Come see the beautifully decorated historic rooms of the Homestead decorated by local community partners from the Hilltowns and the Pioneer Valley! Enjoy delicious holiday treats and peruse their gift shop featuring locally made wares. On Saturday, Dec 10 from 1-8pm & Sunday, Dec 11 from 1-4pm. On both days, hear performances by the Hilltown Chorale Society and the Celebration Singers in the parlor! Check www.thetrustees.org for schedule. Trustees Members: $5; Nonmembers: $10, Children: FREE. For more info email acaluori@thetrustees.org.

Dec 11

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 11, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Dec 31

Holiday Magic: Annual Gingerbread Exhibit through December 31 at the Springfield Museums. The Springfield Museums’ annual Gingerbread Exhibit is one of the region’s best-loved traditions! This year’s theme is “Holiday Magic,” with gingerbread creations inspired by everyone’s favorite boy wizard. While you’re there, shop the famous Museum Store, enjoy fun weekend activities, and check out new exhibits like Turtle Power! and Cats in Hats. And don’t miss “Boom! Pow! Zap! A Week of Superheroes” during the holiday break! For information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

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 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 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.

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

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 10th – December 16th, 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 Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Day Morning Music Party with Hilltown Families & Flywheel Arts Collective

On the first day of 2017, 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 with a morning music party on January 1 from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA.

During a free breakfast of fresh pancakes, juice, and fruit, a screening of Pancake Mountain will delight families. After the breakfast, kids can join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.” Start off the new year with a New Year’s Day Music Dance Party! Save on the babysitter and dance away on the first morning of the new year!

These Morning Music Parties are 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! Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Families Presents 4th Hands-On, Family Volunteer Fair

Hilltown Families Presents
4th Hands-On, Family Volunteer Fair
Saturday, January 21, 2017

Click here to register.

Hilltown Families is pleased to announce our 4th interactive volunteer event, the Kids Care Fair, to be held Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 10am-1pm at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton. The theme of this free event will be based on the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

With a Passport booklet in hand families travel to various hands-on volunteer stations to complete service projects, receiving a stamp at each station when completed. The Kids Care Fair also provides donation drop off stations for items like preserved food and community swap stations for winter clothing. Attendance is free but space is limited. Click here to register online.

Click here to register.

Interested in being a part of the planning committee for this event? Please contact Kaitlyn M. Holloway, Hilltown Families Board Member/Development Committee Chair: kaitlynmholloway@outlook.com.
Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Strolls: Getting to Know the Places Around You

Holiday Strolls

During the holiday season, many communities and neighborhoods host special events that gather everyone together in the spirit of friendship, community and wonder. It’s a great way to discover the unique identity of a place and its traditions. In Western Massachusetts, each community has a distinct character and its own way to commemorate the holiday spirit. By participating in these events, not only do you have the opportunity to engage your community, but you also help to preserve local history and culture.

Towns across the region host an extended evening of activities with shops open late to encourage support of local merchants while connecting with neighbors as the days get shorter, including Shelburne Falls, Williamstown, Stockbridge and Amherst. Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover more about these annual events.

Here is a list of holiday strolls happening this week: Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone Can Sing: Holiday Music Brings Community Together in Song

Caroling & Chorus Music During the Winter Holidays

Singing together with family, neighbors and friends is one way of enhancing children’s language learning. Read more in our archived post, “Christmas Singing for Language Skills.”

A fun holiday tradition, caroling events are wonderful intergenerational events that explore choral music with your family and friends. With many songs sung during the holiday seasons rich in history, there is much to learn, plus it’s good for your health and wellness! Download our Nov/Dec issue of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts to discover more about these annual events.

It’s no secret that music is good for your brain. A Chorus America study found that, while participation in a chorus has benefits for everyone, it seems to have a particularly meaningful effect on children. Children who participate in a chorus were found to achieve more highly in school compared to classmates who weren’t involved in chorus – a statistical representation of the deep learning that chorus participation promotes.

In addition to the learning-based benefits of singing in a chorus, being a part of a singing group helps to ward off chemicals that can cause depression and loneliness. Generally seen as a major benefit for adults, the natural production of extra endorphins and oxytocin (a chemical that decreases stress and anxiety) as a result of singing certainly has benefits for children, too. A singing child is likely to be calm and happy more often than not thanks to the chemicals that choral singing helps to release in their bodies.  Read the rest of this entry »

DIY Holiday Gifts Promote Creative Free Play and Non-Commercial Holiday Celebrations

DIY Holiday Gifts Promote Creative Free Play and Non-Commercial Holiday Celebrations

Allowing for lots of creative free play and gift-giving that comes from the heart, handmade gifts get at the heart of the season! Families can engage in DIY projects at home, attend upcoming workshops, or utilize resources offered by local arts organizations to craft handmade gifts with love.

The holidays are upon us, and with the approach of a season of light, kindness, and appreciation of one another comes the need for giving – the sharing of gifts of all sizes serving as representation for our love and gratitude for each other. With the holidays comes an onslaught of commercialism, encouraging us to buy gifts rather than create them with love. In order to celebrate a non-commercial holiday season, families can commit to sharing appreciation for others during the holiday season by making handmade items for loved ones. Handmade gifts not only reflect the emotions behind them, but allow young creators to engage in creative free play, and provide an alternative to consumption by creating opportunities for creative reuse of items!

Gift-givers of all ages can find a treasure trove of DIY gift ideas in our archives, covering everything from scented ornaments and cards to planters and terrariums – even giftwrap is included! Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: December 5th – 9th, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
Monday December 5th – 9th, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.Save

Save

9 Hilltown Family Variety Show Holiday Podcasts

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

Suggested Events for December 3rd – 9th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

Suggest Event

“Hilltown Families has been our family go-to place to know what’s going on in the community and find the fun… Most recently we had a chance to start listening to the radio show for children. We played the Hanukah show over and over and [they] BOTH loved it. As did I. Thank you so much!” – Liz Friedman (Northampton, MA)

“Hilltown Families has been our family go-to place to know what’s going on in the community and find the fun… Most recently we had a chance to start listening to the radio show for children. We played the Hanukah show over and over and [they] BOTH loved it. As did I. Thank you so much!” – Liz Friedman (Northampton, MA)

If 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.

Bulletin Board

Dec 4 & 17

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 Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Sunday, December 4th at 3pm at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, and Saturday, December 17th at 7pm at the Academy of Music in 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 $8-$18. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com

Open House: Dec 7

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Wednesday, December 7 from 4-5pm at the Montessori School of Northampton, 51 Bates Street, Northampton. Corey Hadden, Middle School Teacher, and Laura Frogameni, Director of Admissions, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student aged 12-14 at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

 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 9-11

Welcome Yule celebrates the return of light with an annual family show of music, dance, song and story to drive the dark away. The show is set in the mythical village with villagers and animals singing of the coming of winter and rebirth of spring as Fox and Rooster chase through the countryside. Songs of animals join the wassails, carols, puppets, horn dance, mummers play, and the passing of the yule log. Friday & Saturday Dec. 9 and 10, 7:30pm & Sunday Dec. 11, 2pm. Shea Theater, Turners Falls. Tickets $12 adults, $10 seniors and children 5-16 years. Tickets at Jones Library in Amherst, Broadside Books in Northampton, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, online, or at the door. For more information and reservations, visit welcomeyule.org.

Dec 11

The Academy at Charlemont (1359 Route 2 in Charlemont, MA) will host an Admissions Open House for interested families on Sunday, December 11, with presentations beginning at 1pm. Meet students, teachers, and current parents, and get a feel for their creative and rigorous academic program and warm community. The Academy offers vibrant arts, athletics, and an emphasis on critical thinking and ethical leadership. Academy students love school. Shouldn’t everyone? Details at www.charlemont.org.

Dec 2

PJ Library and Shabbat Shabloom invite you to Shababa in Northampton, a musical celebration of Jewish life with puppets, play, and love! This joyful event will feature Karina Zilberman from the 92St Y in New York and is for children ages 0-5 and their grownups. Shababa in Northampton is free and open to everyone and will take place on Friday, December 2 from 9-10am in the auditorium at Lander Grinspoon Academy at 257 Prospect Street in Northampton, MA. Questions? Contact Amy Meltzer, Director of Family Engagement at 413-584-6622 or ameltzer@landergrinspoon.org.

Open House: Dec 3

Saturday, Dec. 3rd: The Center School Admissions Open House, 10am-2pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire & Franklin counties. Please come explore the school on Saturday, Dec. 3rd for an Admissions Open House. Classrooms will be open and staff will be on hand with innovative projects planned for kids of all ages. Current parents and students will be in attendance to answer questions and share about the school. Light refreshments will be available for purchase. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net

Dec 3

Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity hosts the fifth annual Gingerbread Build on Saturday, December 3rd from 1-4pm at the Eastworks Building in Easthampton. Join them for a family-friendly afternoon filled with frosting and fun! Gingerbread and icing will be provided — bring any decorations you want to build your inspired creation to be entered into one of their whimsical prize categories! Fundraise online and register your team of up to four by making a minimum donation of $100. For more information or questions about registration, call 413-586-5430 or email mariah@pvhabitat.org. Thank you for helping to provide decent, affordable homes for qualified families in the Pioneer Valley.

Dec 3

Winter Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. As an alternative to traditional holiday buying, the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a fair on Saturday, December 3 from 10am-3pm at 1 Industrial Parkway in Easthampton. Visitors will have the opportunity to make a variety of crafts including fairy houses, wreaths, gingerbread people, tote bags and more. Concurrently with craft-making will be the annual Scholastic Book Fair, special performances by the Student Chorus, a bake sale and a raffle. All proceeds from the event support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. For more information, contact Deirdre Arthen at 413-529–7178 or visit www.hilltowncharter.org.

Dec 5

Looking for a warm and welcoming school? Consider Lander-Grinspoon Academy (LGA) in Northampton. Join the entire LGA community on Monday, December 5 at 8:20am to sing, celebrating the end of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, and see students perform. Can’t make the 8:20am start time? Feel free to show up at 8:45am for a school tour. LGA is committed to the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of its students. Its emphasis on community, culture, social justice, encourages students of all ages to become independent thinkers, as well as caring and responsible citizens of the world. LGA is now accepting applications for grades K-6. For more information contact GLansky@LanderGrinspoon.org.

Dec 9-11

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker! Join Clara as she battles the Rat King to save the Nutcracker Prince, and then travel to the enchanted Snow Forest and beautiful Kingdom of Sweets. Featuring guest artists from Carolina Ballet, Festival Ballet, Mari Meade Dance Collective. Live on stage December 9 – 11 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Get tickets today at aomtheatre.ticketlfy.com. For more information about the Pioneer Valley Ballet company and school, visit pioneervalleyballet.org.

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

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 3rd – December 9th, 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 Read the rest of this entry »

The Mighty Evergreen

The Mighty Evergreen

Henry David Thoreau wrote:

Walked through that beautiful soft white pine grove on the west of the road in John Flint’s pasture.  These trees are large, but there is ample space between them, so that the ground is left grassy.  Great pines two or more feet in diameter branch sometimes within two feet of the ground on each side, sending out large horizontal branches on which you can sit.  Like great harps on which the wind makes music.  There is no finer tree.

– “A Beautiful Pine Grove” in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau


In Western Massachusetts there are many places one can explore the beautiful evergreens and winter pines that create our enchanting forests.  Like Thoreau, bring along a nature journal to jot down a few inspiring notes along the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Trees: History & Folklore

History & Folklore of Christmas Trees

What is folklore? Folklore includes the traditions and stories of a culture or community that are passed down for generations.  Typically, folklore is passed on through word of mouth in the form of a narration.  Over time, stories can change, morph, and transform depending on the place, culture, context and the storyteller.  That’s the beauty of a folktale; it has many added layers as the story moves from narrator to narrator, place to place.  Storytelling is an art, both the narration and the listening.

Some of our holiday traditions today are a result of folklore and myth.  For example, the contemporary Christmas tree has an interesting past with a story and history that has been passed down from generation to generation.  From its original form with the ancient Norse pagans to its present day form in the houses of those who celebrate Christmas, the Christmas tree, like many folktales, has changed shape and meaning as it has been adapted to new cultures, people and places.


Excerpt from Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts (Seasons: Nov/Dec), a downloadable bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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Origins of Christmas Traditions

Origins of Christmas Traditions

Where does the Christmas tree come from? Did you know that the origin of the Christmas tree has roots in ancient Norse paganism from Northern Germany?  Evergreens were seen as magical entities due to their ability to withstand the frigid, cold winter and stay green. During the winter solstice, Norse pagans, who celebrated the Norse god Jul (pronounced Yule) brought entire evergreens into their homes.  These trees were called Yule Trees and were believed to protect the home during the darkest times of the year.

Learn more about the origins of Christmas traditions and symbols…

Bet You Didn’t Know…

Donate to Hilltown Families on #GivingTuesday & #GiveCommunityBasedEducation!

Help Hilltown Families support education through community engagement with YOUR financial support! Make a tax-deductible donation to Hilltown Families today! – Hilltown Families is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

#GivingTuesday is the first Tuesday after Black Friday & Cyber Monday, a global day of generosity, when people around the world contribute to causes they believe in. Be a part of this international outburst of intentional giving by supporting a local organization that makes life richer for you, your family, and your community.

#GivingTuesday is the time to donate to the institutions that touch your life, including Hilltown Families! A gift to Hilltown Families, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, expands the work of hundreds of community organizations throughout the four counties of Western Massachusetts. Our award-winning website includes weekly listings and featured posts of community-based educational and service-based learning opportunities.

The work of Hilltown Families helps connect other non-profit organizations to their community while supporting the interests and education of our community.  Help Hilltown Families continue to support and connect community organizations with community members across the region!

To learn more about the vision & mission of Hilltown Families, check out this TEDx Talk by Hilltown Families founder, Sienna Wildfield:

How will your gift help Hilltown Families?  Let’s us count the ways…  Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: November 28, 2016 – December 2, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
November 28, 2016 – December 2, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.

Save

Save

Suggested Events for November 26th – December 2nd, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a creative mama, Hilltown Families has opened up a whole world of wondrous adventures for our family. Keep up the great work…it is so very appreciated.” – Abbe Laine Schiowitz (Shutesbury, 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.

Bulletin Board

Nov 25

CT Trolley Museum presents Winterfest 2016 and “The Tunnel of Lights” beginning Friday, November 25. Whether you ride a closed car or brave the cold to ride the open “electric sleigh,” they promise you a good time and one that you’ll remember for years. Join your motormen in singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley makes its way through the “Tunnel of Lights.” When you return, head inside the Visitors Center which has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland complete with model trains, decorations galore and you can even buy a delicious cup of hot cocoa to sip as you enjoy the entertainment. Additionally, meet and pose for a picture with Santa and he will also have a gift for each child.

Nov 25

The New England Air Museum will hold its annual Santa Claus Visit & Behind the Scenes Tours special event on Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. Santa Claus will meet with kids in a Sikorsky helicopter between 11am-3pm. Photos are encouraged and Santa will distribute a special gift to each child. Families will also have the opportunity to create holiday cards for members of the U.S. military. Additional family fun activities include hands-on Build & Fly Challenges, Aircraft Quest Scavenger Hunts, and computerized Flight Simulators. The museum will also offer special “Behind the Scenes” tours of the Restoration Facility that day, giving visitors a rare opportunity to take a close-up look at current aircraft restoration projects.

Open House: Dec 7

Montessori Middle School Information Session. What’s different about a Montessori middle school? Would it be a good fit for my adolescent? Come learn the answers to these and other questions on Wednesday, December 7 from 4-5pm at the Montessori School of Northampton, 51 Bates Street, Northampton. Corey Hadden, Middle School Teacher, and Laura Frogameni, Director of Admissions, will discuss adolescent development and how the Montessori middle school curriculum supports the student aged 12-14 at this critical point in their development through challenging academics, a focus on exploring identity and purpose, and opportunities to contribute to the larger community. For more information: northamptonmontessori.org or 413-586-4538.

Dec 2

PJ Library and Shabbat Shabloom invite you to Shababa in Northampton, a musical celebration of Jewish life with puppets, play, and love! This joyful event will feature Karina Zilberman from the 92St Y in New York and is for children ages 0-5 and their grownups. Shababa in Northampton is free and open to everyone and will take place on Friday, December 2 from 9-10am in the auditorium at Lander Grinspoon Academy at 257 Prospect Street in Northampton, MA. Questions? Contact Amy Meltzer, Director of Family Engagement at 413-584-6622 or ameltzer@landergrinspoon.org.

Open House: Dec 3

Saturday, Dec. 3rd: The Center School Admissions Open House, 10am-2pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire & Franklin counties. Please come explore the school on Saturday, Dec. 3rd for an Admissions Open House. Classrooms will be open and staff will be on hand with innovative projects planned for kids of all ages. Current parents and students will be in attendance to answer questions and share about the school. Light refreshments will be available for purchase. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net

Dec 3

Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity hosts the fifth annual Gingerbread Build on Saturday, December 3rd from 1-4pm at the Eastworks Building in Easthampton. Join them for a family-friendly afternoon filled with frosting and fun! Gingerbread and icing will be provided — bring any decorations you want to build your inspired creation to be entered into one of their whimsical prize categories! Fundraise online and register your team of up to four by making a minimum donation of $100. For more information or questions about registration, call 413-586-5430 or email mariah@pvhabitat.org. Thank you for helping to provide decent, affordable homes for qualified families in the Pioneer Valley.

Dec 3

Winter Fair at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. As an alternative to traditional holiday buying, the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School will host a fair on Saturday, December 3 from 10am-3pm at 1 Industrial Parkway in Easthampton. Visitors will have the opportunity to make a variety of crafts including fairy houses, wreaths, gingerbread people, tote bags and more. Concurrently with craft-making will be the annual Scholastic Book Fair, special performances by the Student Chorus, a bake sale and a raffle. All proceeds from the event support the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School library and educational programs. For more information, contact Deirdre Arthen at 413-529–7178 or visit www.hilltowncharter.org.

Dec 5

Looking for a warm and welcoming school? Consider Lander-Grinspoon Academy (LGA) in Northampton. Join the entire LGA community on Monday, December 5 at 8:20am to sing, celebrating the end of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, and see students perform. Can’t make the 8:20am start time? Feel free to show up at 8:45am for a school tour. LGA is committed to the intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development of its students. Its emphasis on community, culture, social justice, encourages students of all ages to become independent thinkers, as well as caring and responsible citizens of the world. LGA is now accepting applications for grades K-6. For more information contact GLansky@LanderGrinspoon.org.

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

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
November 26th – December 2nd, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Traditional Crafts & Artisan Skills: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Shop Local: Craft Fairs & Open Studios

Take the challenge this year by shopping local and non-commercial during the holiday season. The abundance of craft fairs and open studios happening in the area featuring handmade products by local artists and artisans make it easy to find that special something when looking for a gift of any kind. Handmade wood or glass ornaments, hand-knitted scarves, upcycled accessories, one-of-a kind prints and stationary… our region is filled with a strong creative economy filled with amazing artisans!

While browsing an artisans studio or booth, take the time to stop and talk with them. Be curious and ask them questions. Discover how they learned their craft skill, what the history is behind their craft, how long they have been making their art, and where they find their inspiration. A purchase not only supports the artist and artisan, but your gift now comes with a story to share with the person with you you will give your gift.  Read the rest of this entry »

Language Arts & Creativity: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Handmade: Write a Zine or Make a Journal

Zines (short for magazine or fanzine) are self-published books that include different media forms: collage, illustrations, comic strips, and words.  A zine can be a book of poetry or a story, it can be a guide book or a collection of fairy tales – the sky’s the limit!  Zines can also be photocopied and bound so that you can produce multiple copies.  Here’s a short documentary on Zines…

Making a zine is a rewarding, creative process and can certainly be a part of your gift giving plans for the holidays. Need some inspiration for your zine-making adventures? Check out the Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA.  The Flywheel Arts Collective has a community Zine library and cafe with over 3,000 zines, featuring many from Western Massachusetts!  Flywheel is a collective of art and poetry that allows people to share their work with others in their local community.  It’s a great community resource for those looking to feel inspired through grassroots art and literature that aims to inspire, provoke thought and engage the community.  Read the rest of this entry »

Science & Art: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Go to a Makerspace!

Makerspaces inspire creativity!  These community places provide the space to combine science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM!) in order to make and create.  They are like an artist’s studio but also include digital making as well as physical making.  Activities include woodworking, electronics, computers, 3D printing, knitting, screen printing, sewing, and more!  Western Massachusetts has a number of community maker spaces to start brainstorming your do-it-yourself gift giving ideas.  Read the rest of this entry »

Fiber Arts, Math & Mindfulness: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

Knit Something!

Remember the knitted items you saw during the Agricultural Fairs towards the end of the summer? Get ready for next September’s aggie fairs while working on gifts for others this season! At www.ravelry.com, you to search for free knitting patterns that can help you come up with your next project gift idea.  Perhaps a one-skein hat? A pair of mittens?  Or a hand-knitted cowl?  Knitting is not only a fun activity and great way to hand-make a gift, but it’s also a wonderful way to get together with fellow knitters of all ages and knit together!  Who knows what new stitches you’ll learn and the new friends you’ll meet!  Read the rest of this entry »

Culinary and Pastry Arts: Handmade Holiday Gift Idea

The Gift of Food!

Bûche de Noël from Bread Euphoria in Haydenville, MA. [Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield]

Tis becoming to season to pay special attention to spreading kindness to those around us! Families can spread kindness by sharing homemade foods with neighbors, and can expand this activity to include studies of world cultures by baking foods enjoyed internationally!

We explored food preservation earlier this month – now it’s time to put those skills to use!  Pumpkin or apple butter make great holiday gifts and are something the recipient can enjoy for the entire season! Jams and jellies are also a nice gift idea! Want to help the gift recipient get ready for sugaring season in the late winter?  How about preparing a ready to go pancake mix in a jar? Finally, freshly baked cookies and pies are always a great gift idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekdays in Western MA: November 21 – November 25, 2016

Weekdays in Western MA:
November 21 – November 25, 2016

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long! Each weekday we feature community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners.

Select the day of the week and find events that support your interests through community engagement!

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.

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HFVS Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:

Thanksgiving Episode
with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn

This special Thanksgiving episode from Charity and the JAMband explores, through music and story, some of the many, many things we have to be grateful for in our lives — like the sun, rain, friends and family – – culminating in a vision for world peace where everyone finally has enough food, shelter, community and love. Incorporating songs by Snatam Kaur, Los Lobos, the Moody Blues, the Rolling Stones, and Nat King Cole, among others, the music and commentary weave a gentle yet thought-provoking meditation on gratitude, generosity, love and compassion to inspire folks of all ages this holiday season.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Nov 19th & 20th, 2016
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured video: Charity has a great song, “Loving Kindness.” She writes, “Love shouldn’t cost anything. This song emanated from the Buddhist practice of Loving Kindness (also called Metta), whereby you send wishes of health, happiness, safety and peace of mind to yourself and others.”  In this video she shows you the movements to the song so you can show your preK kids how to dance along! – www.jamjamjam.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” [Let It Bleed]
  • Beatles “Dear Prudence” [White Album]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Grateful” [Family Values]
  • Snatam Kaur – “Long Time Sun” [Sacred Chants for Healing]
  • Gene Kelley – “Singing in the Rain” [Best of Gene Kelley]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Green Beans Everywhere” [Family Values]
  • Nat King Cole – “Frim Fram Sauce” [The King Cole Trio]
  • William Steig – Sylvester and the Magic Pebble [Read by Charity Kahn]
  • Moody Blues – “Lovely To See You” [On the Threshold of a Dream]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Love Is Herel” [Family Values]
  • Johnny Nash – “I Can See Clearly Now” [single]
  • Los Lobos – “Peace” [Kiko]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “We Are the Ones” [Family Values]

Originally aired on November 21 & 22, 2012 on WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio

Suggested Events for November 19th-25th, 2016

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

weekly-suggested-events-16-11-17

“Every Thursday night after my son goes to sleep I take some time to read the Hilltown Families weekly email – there is always at least 2 events I want to go to and reading what other community members write and share is always fascinating. I appreciate this resource so much!” -Jackie MacNeish (Ashfield, 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 Event

The Nields, Pioneer Valley folk and rock favorites, will perform a special show for all ages at a Saturday Morning Music Party fundraiser for Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective on Saturday, November 19, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel (43 Main St.) in Easthampton, MA. Doors open at 10am with a free pancake breakfast, followed by a family performance by The Nields from 11am-12noon. Admission is $12/Adult; $6/Kids ages 3-6; $35/Families of 4 or more. Infants-2: Free.) All proceeds benefit Hilltown Families and Flywheel, two Western Massachusetts nonprofits.

Bulletin Board

Nov 18

Montessori Comes to Forbes Library: On Friday, November 18, at 11am, bring your child to a visit with Montessori School of Northampton educator Laura Frogameni. The hour will include circle time with song, movement and story; activity time with Montessori materials; and time for questions, more music and play. The Forbes Library is located at 20 West Street in Northampton. Free; all families of children 0-6 are invited to attend. For more information, call Laura at 413-586-4538 x103 or visit www.northamptonmontessori.org.

Nov 19

Visit the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair, Saturday, November 19 in Hadley, MA! Enjoy King Winter, roving musicians, unique crafts to make and buy, candle dipping, jump rope making, games, food, and pony rides. See the marionette performance by their Early Childhood teachers. Come experience the wonder that abounds at the Hartsbrook School Holiday Fair! There is nothing else like it! Saturday, November 19. 10am-3pm, 193 Bay Road, Hadley, MA. www.hartsbrook.org

Nov 19

Art Supporting Music – The annual Little Drummer Craft Fair returns to the Franklin County Technical School (82 Industrial Blvd) in Turners Falls on Saturday, November 19th from 9am-3:30pm. This juried craft fair features over 65 artists & craftspeople from throughout the Pioneer Valley and beyond, presenting their unique handcrafted products. All proceeds benefit the FCTS Music Department and award-winning FCTS Renegades Drumline. Support the annual FCTS food drive with 2 canned goods to donate to the drive, and receive a ticket to a special raffle drawing. Help make this the most successful food drive ever! Admission is free, free parking and completely ADA accessible. Lunch and baked goods available, prepared by FCTS culinary students.

Nov 20

Everyone Has a Voice concert, Northampton – Enjoy an afternoon of song as Whole Children’s Joyful Chorus teams up with Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion to perform songs by Sarah Lee’s grandfather, Woody Guthrie, and other folk legends! The Everyone Has a Voice concert takes place on Sunday, November 20, 3pm, at First Churches of Northampton. The concert unites singers with and without disabilities to work toward the common goal of performing in concert. Whole Children is a Pathlight program and provides social and recreation programs for kids and teens of all abilities, particularly those with special needs. The concert is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Visit www.wholechildren.org for tickets.

Nov 25

Holiday Happenings: Friday, November 25 from 10-5pm at the Springfield Museums. The Springfield Museums’ annual GingerbreadExhibit is one of the region’s best-loved traditions! This year’s theme is “HolidayMagic,” with gingerbread creations inspired by everyone’s favorite boy wizard. The exhibit’s will open on Friday, November 25th with a special “Holiday Happenings,” featuring a full day of family activities, performances, appearances by The Grinch, and the Lighting of the Quadrangle at 5pm. For information, visit springfieldmuseums.org.

Nov 25

CT Trolley Museum presents Winterfest 2016 and “The Tunnel of Lights” beginning Friday, November 25. Whether you ride a closed car or brave the cold to ride the open “electric sleigh,” they promise you a good time and one that you’ll remember for years. Join your motormen in singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley makes its way through the “Tunnel of Lights.” When you return, head inside the Visitors Center which has been transformed into a Winter Wonderland complete with model trains, decorations galore and you can even buy a delicious cup of hot cocoa to sip as you enjoy the entertainment. Additionally, meet and pose for a picture with Santa and he will also have a gift for each child.

Open House: Dec 3

Saturday, Dec. 3rd: The Center School Admissions Open House, 10am-2pm. The Center School is a preschool through 8th grade progressive school, serving Hampshire & Franklin counties. Please come explore the school on Saturday, Dec. 3rd for an Admissions Open House. Classrooms will be open and staff will be on hand with innovative projects planned for kids of all ages. Current parents and students will be in attendance to answer questions and share about the school. Light refreshments will be available for purchase. The Center School has been offering rigorous education for deep thinkers and creative spirits for 35 years and is currently accepting applications for all ages, for fall of 2017. centerschool.net

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

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.

Featured Fall Classes in Western MA

What are your child’s interests? What are your interests? This fall there are a number of after-school, homeschool, evening, and weekend classes to choose from to supplement and support the interests of your family! Check out our growing list of classes, programs, open houses and even auditions for this fall in our dedicated post, 2016 Fall Classes, Auditions & Open Houses in Western MA, and find the perfect activity for your child, teen, and even lifelong learners! — Have a class you’d like to add to this list? Click here to find out how to have your class, lessons, program, auditions, and open house included.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
November 19th – 25th, 2016

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Morning Music Party: The Nields Perform to Benefit Hilltown Families & Flywheel

Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Saturday Morning Music Party’ series with Pioneer Valley folk and rock favorites, The Nields!

The Nields will perform a special show for all ages at a fundraiser for Hilltown Families and Flywheel on Saturday, November 19, from 10am-12noon at Flywheel Arts Collective (43 Main Street) in Easthampton, MA.

Doors open at 10am with a free pancake breakfast, followed by a family performance by The Nields from 11am-12noon with alt-rock legends who in recent years have begun performing and recording music for families.

Admission is $12/Adult; $6/Kids ages 3-6; $35/Families of 4 or more, with proceeds benefit Hilltown Families and Flywheel, two Western Massachusetts non-profits. (Infants-2: Free.)

This event is supported in part by a grant from the Easthampton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Living History Museums Bring the Holiday Season Alive!

Step back in time to a simpler day when holiday celebrations involved cooking over an open fire and illuminating homes with candlelight – the holiday season offers opportunities to experience celebrations of the past at three different living history museums! Families can explore, watch demonstrations, and engage in hands-on activities in order to learn about the ways in which the holiday season was honored in early New England.

Modern technology has certainly had an impact on the ways we decorate for and celebrate the winter holidays – early winter in New England now involves strings of lights and blow-up snowmen rather than windows lit by candles and evergreens adorned with cranberry strings.

This holiday season, families can take a step back into the past, to a simpler time when holiday celebrations involved candles and open hearth cooking. By taking advantage of upcoming holiday-themed living history events, families can dive into the history and culture of western Massachusetts’ holidays past while adding a new tradition to their own celebrations! Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving: Through the Lens of Poetry, Art & Literature

Thanksgiving: Through the Lens of Poetry, Art & Literature

As mentioned in the Sept/Oct 2016 edition of Learning Ahead, food connects us. The gathering of community, family, and friends around the table for a shared meal is a meaningful way to spend time together in the spirit of sharing and collaboration through food. The Thanksgiving season is one that inspires us to reflect on the people and places for which we are thankful. It’s an opportunity to express gratitude collectively.

Today, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is a celebration of the harvest season. The dinner table features the autumn bounty produced by local farms. Customary foods often included in Thanksgiving meals include corn, turkey, cranberry sauce, and fall vegetables such as squash and pumpkin pie. In fact, the traditional New England dishes often included at the Thanksgiving table have even inspired poets in their literary musings.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sense of Place: Thanksgiving

Literary Guide for Barbara Cohen’s “Molly’s Pilgrim”

Literary Guide for Barbara Cohen’s “Molly’s Pilgrim”

Download literary guide for Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen.

Set in the early 20th century, Molly’s Pilgrim illuminates the multiple meanings and cultural roots of the word pilgrim. The story features a Jewish family who immigrated to the United States from Russia, likely to flee the pogroms.

Molly, the title character, has just moved with her parents to a small and culturally homogenous community. She doesn’t yet speak English fluently, and her parents are even less fluent than she is. Molly’s biggest challenge is fitting in at school. As the only Jewish student, she is teased and taunted for her difference in appearance, her accent, and her lack of knowledge about American cultural traditions – especially Thanksgiving.  Read the rest of this entry »

Spread Kindness and Explore World Cultures Through Holiday Baking

Spread Kindness and Explore World Cultures Through Holiday Baking

‘Tis becoming to season to pay special attention to spreading kindness to those around us! Families can spread kindness by sharing homemade foods with neighbors, and can expand this activity to include studies of world cultures by baking foods enjoyed internationally!

While kindness should be spread all year long, the approaching holiday season presents an opportunity to share kindness more than ever! One way to accomplish this goal is by sharing food, which not only spreads kindness throughout your community but promotes non-commercial celebrations of the holidays and provides families with opportunities for hands-on learning about foods in cultures around the world.

Folks aiming to spread kindness in the form of homemade edibles can certainly choose any easily shared foods, but the best foods for sharing (and easiest to store and transport) are baked goods. In order to make the experience of kindness-sharing truly interdisciplinary, experiment with unfamiliar recipes whose origins lie in foreign cultures. Rather than whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, peruse the pages of an international baking or cookbook for recipes whose roots lie in another part of the world.   Read the rest of this entry »

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