Suggested Events for December 13th-19th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“Our family learned about volunteer opportunities at The Food Bank of Western MA through Hilltown Families, and our young daughter enjoys being able to give to other families who need the help.” – Vincent Romano (Amherst, 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.

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Bulletin Board

Dec 5-31

R{E}volve, a pop-up shop of handmade objects, will be at Eastworks (116 Pleasant St) in Easthampton, Dec 5-31. Highlighting our region’s vibrant creative culture, R{E}volve underscores the economic & community benefits of buying locally.This year, R{E}volve will offer items for kids & adults, clothing & accessories, home goods, furniture, jewelry and fine art, by local artists. Special events include: Opening Reception/Ugly Sweater Party on Dec 5, 5-8pm; Art Walk Easthampton Reception on Dec 13, 5-8pm w/silent auction for artist made Christmas trees & gingerbread cookie decorating to benefit the Easthampton High Art Program. Shop hours are Dec 5-31, Mon- Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sundays. Special exceptions: Dec 24 & 31, 10am-2pm; closed Dec 25.

Dec 12-14

Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration. 30th annual show celebrates the return of light with a delightful family show filled with music, dance, song, story and customs to drive the dark away. This year’s show centers on the younger people in an imaginary English village. Fri. Dec. 12th and Sat. 13th at 7:30pm.; Sun. Dec. 14th at 2pm. The Shea Theater, 71 Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA.Tickets: adults $12, seniors and children $10 (four and under free), family of five $40. Reserve tickets at 413-863-2281 or purchase in advance at Jones Library, Amherst; River Valley Market, Northampton; World Eye Bookstore, Greenfield; Basically Bicycles, Turners Falls; online at Brattleborotix.com. More information: www.welcomeyule.org or 413-665-3206.

Dec 12-14

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents its holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Always sweet and always new, follow Clara on her journey through the land of sweets. Featuring Jan Burkhard Catlin and Pablo Javier Perez of Carolina Ballet dancing the roles of The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and local favorites Meghan Mangsen and Christopher Phillips as Clara and The Nutcracker. Performs December 12-14 at the Academy of Music in Northampton. Tickets and info: www.pioneervalleyballet.org. PVB also welcomes tiny princes and ballerinas to join them at their second annual Sugar Plum Fairy Tea on December 7 at the Clarion Hotel. Advanced reservations required. 413-527-6363.

Dec 13

Storytime With The Grinch! Saturday, December 13th at 2pm. “Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” The Grinch himself will be at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley for a very special storytime of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Free giveaways, pins, stickers, snacks and more will accompany this grincy event. There will even be a photo opportunity with the Grinch himself— so parents, don’t forget to bring your cameras! FREE and All Ages. Odyssey Bookshop, 9 College Street, South Hadley. 413-534-7307. www.odysseybks.com

Dec 13

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 either the matinee performance at 2pm or the evening performance at 7pm on Saturday, December 13th at Bowker Auditorium, UMass, in Amherst. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music by the Celtic Music Academy of MA this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $11-$20 and are available at www.ACelticNutcracker.com

Dec 19-21

Santa Claus is coming to town! PaintBox Theatre makes a December appearance with The Santa Show! This year’s all-new show stars Santa, Mrs. Claus, a bunch of elves, and Blitzen the reindeer. Poor Mrs. Claus: she works hard all year and no one seems to notice! Her secret wish? To travel with Santa this Christmas, delivering toys, seeing the children, and maybe even enjoying a picnic aboard the sleigh. Who will tell Santa? Performances of The Santa Show are at Northampton High School (380 Elm Street) on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20-21 at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Tickets: $10 (general seating) at the door or at BrownPaperTickets.com. Group discounts: call 413-923-7159. www.paintboxtheatre.com.

Begins Jan 5

The Holyoke Creative Arts Center brings quality instruction in the creative and industrial arts to adults in Holyoke and the surrounding communities. Beginning and experienced students learn side by side with expert instructors in a relaxed and friendly environment. Register today for the Winter II Session which begins Monday, January 5th. Classes include woodcarving, painting, quilting, upholstery, specialty workshops, and more! Join HCAC and contribute to a 90+ year legacy of fostering creativity and community in the Pioneer Valley. For more information and to register for classes, visit www.holyokecac.org or contact HCAC at info@holyokecac.org.

Through Dec 31

The Springfield Museums – the perfect place to spend time with out of town guests or just an afternoon with the family during the holidays. See the new Adventures in Gingerbread exhibit, featuring hand-painted murals based on a certain popular winter fairy tale. See decorative snowglobes, prints of winter scenes from Japan, and original Norman Rockwell drawings. Shop The Museum Store, with gifts for all ages and tastes…and don’t miss Wacky Week family programs during school vacation (December 26-31), featuring “Wacky Chad” and other great family entertainers from around the region plus planetarium shows and educational activities for all! For more information, visit springfieldmuseums.org or call 413-263-6800.

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LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 13th-19th, 2014

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Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Ongoing Saturday Events

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.  This week will be a rebroadcast of our Heart Of Chanukah Show with Guest DJ, Mama Doni. Encore of Saturday’s broadcast airs Sunday morning from 7-8am and podcast is posted here on Hilltown Families immediately following Sunday’s broadcast. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcasts anytime. Click here to choose from over 7 years!

Saturday, December 13, TBA – MUSIC: Attend a free sample class by Music Together for Valley Families on December 13 at 2nd Chances Kids Consignment Shop. They will offer a sample of their parent/child music and movement program. Call to sign up and to find out time. 413-259-9400. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 8:30am-5pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: The Westfield Athenaeum will have a craft table at the library today, open to kids of all ages. Come make a craft at the library or to take home and complete. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 9am & 11am – BREAKFAST WITH SANTA: Join the Pulaski Club of Easthampton for Breakfast with Santa at the Pulaski Club. There will be pancakes and toppings for breakfast, and appearances by Santa, the Grinch, elves, Frosty the Snowman, and others. There are seatings at 9am and 11am and each child will receive a small gift from Santa. This event is a fundraiser for the Easthampton Toy Program. Tickets must be purchased in advance. 413-527-9847. 79 Maple Street. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 9am-12noon – TOY EXCHANGE: The Northampton Department of Public Works is holding their Fourth Annual Toy Exchange at Smith Vocational High School. The DPW is accepting donations of clean, gently used sports equipment, musical instruments, action figures/dolls, books, games, puzzles, stuffed animals, and MUCH more on December 12 and 13 from 8am-9am. Come to the exchange to find free gifts for the holidays – those who donate can come find some to take home on December 13 from 9am-10am, and the general public (those who did not donate) can come from 10am-12noon. 413-587-1570. 80 Locust Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 9:30am-4:30pm – HISTORY: Celebrate the holidays with Historic Deerfield this December. See an open hearth cooking demonstration about sugar and spice, make gifts for the holidays, decorate gingerbread cookies, and go on a horse-drawn wagon ride. There will also be a demonstration of letterpress printing by Carl Darrow, who owns a press in Conway. Historic Deerfield’s Heritage Holiday activities are a great way to experience what the holiday season was like in the past in New England. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 10am – LUNCH DATE: The Westfield Athenaeum is holding a “Parents’ Time Out” at the library. Bring your child to the library and then enjoy a lunch date with your spouse or a friend. Kids up to 10 years will be entertained at the library with songs, stories, crafts, and lunch, while you enjoy a fun lunch of your own. Pre-registration is required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10am-12noon – HOLIDAY MUSIC: Come to Forbes Library for the 2nd Holiday Sing-Along and Open Jam. Bring an instrument or your voice and come play/sing holiday music with community members of all ages. Donations will be accepted for Doctors Without Borders. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-12noon – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION/FUNDRAISER: Have fun with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Easthampton Family Center‘s annual holiday event, “Milk and Cookies with Santa.” Enjoy a holiday sing along, craft activities, stories with Mrs. Claus, photos with Santa, milk and cookies, and more. Each child who attends will also receive a free book! Takes place in the Old Town Hall. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-12noon – HIKING/SANTA: Spend this morning on a special half-mile hike with Santa at Bartholomew’s Cobble! Kids can learn about nature and the wonders of winter while spending time friends, parents, and Santa. Adults free; cost for children includes a present. Please RSVP. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road. Sheffield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-1pm – NATURE CRAFTS: Join Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center for “Boreal Forest Winter Treasures: Balsam Fir Tree Seasonal Wild Crafting.” Learn how to make simple crafts like balsam balm and evergreen sachets with materials you can harvest yourself. These would make great holiday gifts! Email aimee@gaiaroots.com for more info. Windsor, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Stock up on some delicious local food and goods for the holidays at the Great Barrington Holiday Farmers’ Market at Monument Valley Middle School! Here you can find local veggies, apples, bread, cheese, meat, yarn, and more. There will also be music, food, and activities for kids. Come support local farmers and artisans at this special holiday market! 413-528-0041. Monument Valley Road. Great Barrington, MA. (MARKET)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-2pm – HOLIDAY FESTIVAL: Pittsfield’s Upstreet Holiday Festival takes place December 13 and 20 in the Palace Park parking lot. There will be activities for all, including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, train rides from Roaming Railroad, live music, crafts, face painting, cookie decorating, a holiday photo booth, and food for sale. This is a fun way to celebrate the holidays as a community! 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10am-3pm – MYO GIFTS: The Montague Common Hall is holding a Make and Take Crafting Event on December 13. Teachers will lead kids in making gifts for the holidays, like magnets, beeswax candles, spin art, juggling balls, snow globes, shrinky dink ornaments, and more. This is a great chance for kids to make unique, one-of-a-kind gifts for family and friends this holiday season. Food will also be available for purchase. 34 Main Street. Montague, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-4pm – CRAFT MARKET: The Sheffield Historical Society’s annual Festival of Holidays craft market kicks off November 8 in the Old Stone Store! Come find handcrafted items made by local artisans and get started on your holiday shopping. Proceeds benefit the Historical Society. The sale runs every Saturday and Sunday through December 21. 413-229-2694. 137 Main Street. Sheffield, MA. (SALE/FUNDRAISER)

Saturday, December 13, 10am-4:30pm – HOLIDAY STROLL: The 9th Annual Special Day in Northfield takes place December 13 and features tons of fun events for the whole family. This old fashioned holiday celebration features horse-drawn hay rides, live music, MYO crafts, shopping on Main Street, time with Santa, food for sale, traditional Christmas stories, a children’s theater performance, and much more. Fun for all ages! Main Street. Northfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10:30am – CARTOONS: What better way to spend your Saturday morning than watching cartoons? Come to the Monson Free Library for some cool vintage cartoons. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10:30am – GINGERBREAD HOUSES: The Carnegie Library is hosting a gingerbread party for all ages. Come make gingerbread houses and have fun with family and friends at this hands-on holiday program. 413-863-3214. 201 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 10:30am-11:30am – ANIMAL STUDIES: Kids ages 3-6 and their families are invited to Great Falls Discovery Center for their Winter Preschool Series. Enjoy stories, crafts, and nature-related activities. Kids will learn about different types of animals each meeting. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 10:30am-12noon – CULINARY ARTS: Chandler’s Restaurant offers a Kids Cooking class for families to explore the art of cooking, proper use of kitchen tools, and raw ingredients that go into delicious dishes! A brief tour of their professional kitchen follows the class. Great way to introduce children to the world of culinary arts! Space is limited, reservations are required 413-665-1277. 25 Greenfield Road. South Deerfield, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 10:30am-4pm – HISTORIC TRADE: Learn about letterpress printing with Carl Darrow at Historic Deerfield. He will demonstrate printing on a small press and visitors will get handmade holiday cards to take home. Free with museum admission. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 11am – STEM/NATURE STUDIES: The Gaylord Memorial Library is offering a new science and nature series for kids ages 2-5 – “Float Your Boat.” Come learn all about the seasons on December 13. Registration is required. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 11am, 1pm, & 2pm – CHRISTMAS/HISTORY: Learn about the Christmas traditions of Emily Dickinson’s family at the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons event. Explore the Homestead and the Evergreens and see traditional decorations, hear seasonal music, and see new objects on exhibit. At the end of the tour, hear Tony Abbott read from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Visitors will also receive a holiday token for attending this special tour. Reservations are recommended. 413-542-8161. 280 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 11am-12:15pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: Birthday Wishes, an organization that provides birthday parties for homeless children, is holding a Family Volunteer Event at their office in South Hadley. Families can come tour the office, learn about the organization, sign up to volunteer, stuff goody bags, wrap gifts, sign cards, and attend a volunteer info session (parents and teens). Please bring an item to donate – small water bottles, blowers/noisemakers, party banners, sippy cups, or toddler gifts. This event can teach kids about homelessness and how they can make a difference in a homeless child’s life. Email meghan@birthdaywishes.org to RSVP or for more information. 866-388-9474 x7. 17 Dayton Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Saturday, December 13, 11am-5pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Join the Berkshire Museum for the Festival of Trees Family Day! There will be loads of fun activities for all ages, including Animals Up Close with Rick Roth of Creature Teachers ($), cookie decorating, a chance to see the Museum’s animals get fed, a performance by the Blafield Children’s Chorus, and a Winter Wonderland of Music and Song with with Kids4Harmony, the Pittsfield High School Jazz Ensemble, and Randy & Friends. Most events are free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 11:30am, 2pm, & 4:30pm – THE NUTCRACKER: Enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker by students of the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet at the Wistariahurst Museum. This classic Christmas story will be told through narration and dance, and family members of all ages will enjoy the beautiful performance. Please purchase tickets in advance. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 12noon – SANTA/CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES: The Deerfield Recreation Department is holding a Santa’s Workshop event at Deerfield Elementary School. There will be craft activities (12noon-3pm), Santa will arrive by firetruck (12:30pm), a Mad Science Holidaze show (1pm-2pm), and a chance to make holiday cards for veterans. Please bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Food Bank. There will also be food available. 413-665-1400 x107. 21 Pleasant Street. South Deerfield, MA. (>$)

Saturday, December 13, 12noon-2pm – GINGERBREAD HOUSES: Kids can come to Whole Foods Market in Hadley to decorate gingerbread houses! Have fun and get creative with this festive holiday project. 413-586-9932. 327 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 1pm – DANCE/MUSIC: Young kids ages 6 and under can come to a Super Fly Dance Jam Music Party for Children at the Artsblock. Kids can play musical instruments, dance, yoga, and more. 413-774-0150. Greenfield, MA. (>$)

Saturday, December 13, 1pm & 4:30pm – THE NUTCRACKER: The Nutcracker was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892 and has become a classic ballet (especially during the holidays) since then. Pioneer Valley Ballet will perform its annual performance of the ballet at the Academy of Music Theatre this December. This performance is a winter tradition, and all ages will enjoy seeing remarkable dancing and hearing beautiful music. It is recommended that you purchase tickets ASAP. 413-584-9032 x105. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($$-$$$)

Saturday, December 13, 1pm-2pm – THE GRINCH: The East Longmeadow Public Library is holding their third annual Grinch Gala today! Have holiday snacks, play games, hear Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas read aloud, and then enjoy a screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. All ages. Please register. 413-525-5400 x1511. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 1pm-2:30pm – BEEKEEPING: Learn the basics of beekeeping and get some introductory information at The Haberdashery’s Bee School Info Session with Angela of Yard Birds Farm. This event is an information for Angela’s 7-session series all about beekeeping. The info session is an ideal place for older teens and adults to learn about honeybees, hive design, and how to get started beekeeping. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 1:30pm – GINGERBREAD HOUSES: All ages can come decorate magnificent gingerbread houses at Stanton Hall. Come make buildings of Huntington, Massachusetts, the United States, or the world at this fun, hands-on event. 413-667-0085. Huntington, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 2pm – CELTIC DANCE/HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: 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. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music by the Celtic Music Academy of MA this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Browker Auditorium. UMass. Amherst, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 2pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Kids ages 6 and up can learn all about wild cats at the Westfield Athenaeum. Learn about wild cats big and small and how they survive in the wild. You can even see some up close at this program! Registration is required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 2pm – CHRISTMAS STORYTIME: Merry Grinch-mas! Come to Odyssey Books for a special storytime with the Grinch himself! Hear Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and get giveaways, pins, stickers, snacks, and more. You can even get your picture taken with the Grinch! Grinch-mas is a new holiday meant to inspire and encourage readers to “grow your heart three sizes” through family reading and giving from the heart. You can also play good deed bingo at this event and help Random House donate books to children in need. 413-534-7307. 9 College Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 2pm – SANTA: Greet Santa in West Springfield’s Mittineague Park on December 13! Santa will arrive on the 13th and then he will be at Santa’s House in the park every evening until Christmas. Come see him arrive or visit him weeknights from 5:30pm-7:30pm or on weekends from 2:30pm-4pm or 5:30pm-7:30pm. 413-263-3284. Route 20. West Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 2pm & 7:30pm – THEATER: Westfield Theatre Group presents a production of A Christmas Carol this December at the Westfield Woman’s Club. Come see this Charles Dickens classic and get into the holiday spirit. Reservations available. 413-572-6838. 28 Court Street. Westfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 2:30pm-3:30pm – CHRISTMAS/HISTORY: Learn about the classic holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and its possible hidden meaning at the Jones Library on December 13. Dr. Thomas Bernard will present “The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Mystery and Meaning,” which will address the possible symbolism and coded story within the song. Older students and adults can learn the history of the song at this program. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 13, 3pm – ICE SKATING: Learn to Skate with the Springfield Police Department every Saturday through January 3! This free program is a great chance for kids of all ages to learn how to ice skate – they will be taught by off-duty Springfield Police officers. Bring a well-fitting helmet (a bicycle helmet will do) and gloves/mittens and arrive early to rent skates (free). Takes place at Cyr Arena in Forest Park. 413-787-6341. 200 Trafton Road. Springfield, MA.

Saturday, December 13, 3:30pm – MUSIC: Dickens Days presents WinterFest at Westfield State University’s Dever Stage. The Westfield State Chorus, Big Band, and Ensembles will perform, along with the Young Singers of Greater Westfield, the Greater Westfield Choral Association, and the Do Re Mi Singers. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Westfield Volunteers in Public Schools. 413-572-8323. 577 Western Avenue. Westfield, MA. (>$)

Saturday, December 13, 4pm – PERFORMANCE: Local composer David Anderegg will present his folk opera, “The Beasts,” on December 13 at Old Parish Church in Sheffield. Based on the European tradition that animals can speak on Christmas Eve, this story includes a parrot, a goldfish, a wolf, a puppy, their owner Joseph and his girlfriend, and an angel. The choral work is performed by Quintessential, and proceeds benefit the Berkshire Humane Society, the Sheffield Food Program, and Breaking Bread Kitchen in Great Barrington. 125 South Main Street. Sheffield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Saturday, December 13, 4pm-8pm – DINNER WITH SANTA: Amazing Moms of Westside is hosting a holiday dinner with Santa. There will be holiday music, food, photos with Santa, and a raffle. Some proceeds go to Shriners Children’s Hospital. Email amazingmomsofwestside@yahoo.com for tickets. 63 Park Avenue. West Springfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 4pm-9pm – COLONIAL CHRISTMAS: Take a step back in time this holiday season at Sturbridge Village, where you can celebrate “Christmas by Candlelight.” This exciting event happens every weekend leading up to Christmas, and features sleigh rides, a recreation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, a gingerbread house contest, Christmas traditions, carolers, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, a puppet show, music, dancing, and much more. This event allows visitors to experience the Christmas holiday as it was in the past in colonial New England. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun! Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display. More information and a schedule available here. Runs through January 4. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 7pm – HOLIDAY CONCERT: The Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform their Annual Family Holiday Concert at Deerfield Academy’s Hess Center for the Arts. There will be performances by the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Deerfield Choral Society, and the Pioneer Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra. They will perform holiday classics that everyone will enjoy! Tickets available in advance. 7 Boyden Lane. Deerfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 7pm – CONCERT: Join the Holyoke Public Library for their 3rd annual Mambo on Main Street. This Latin big band holiday concert features performances by Creación Big Band, Charlie Berrios, Casey Ortiz, Orlanda Zayas, and Richard Zayas. Concert takes place at the Holyoke War Memorial. 413-420-8101. 310 Appleton Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 13, 2pm & 7pm – CELTIC DANCE/HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: 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. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music by the Celtic Music Academy of MA this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves The Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Browker Auditorium. UMass. Amherst, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 13, 7:30pm – THEATER: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play! The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more. This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas! Runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 28. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Saturday, December 13, 7:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/PERFORMANCE: Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration consists of delightful music, dance, songs and stories celebrating the return of the light this winter. The show is in its 30th year, and this year, it is about a small English village in medieval times. Young villagers steal from the rich and give to the poor so everyone can have a plentiful Christmas. All ages can enjoy the Welcome Yule’s signature carols, festivities, the passing of the yule log, stick dancing, a mummers play, and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. The performance takes place at the Shea Theater. 413-323-4239. 71 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA ($)

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Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Ongoing Sunday Events

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see 7 years of archived shows.

Sunday, December 14, REGISTRATION DEADLINE – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: The Greater Holyoke YMCA is offering a “Kids’ Night Out” – a chance for parents to have some alone time or get some errands or holiday shopping done on December 20 from 5pm-8pm or from 6pm-9pm. While you’re out, your kids will be having fun at the Y swimming, playing in a bounce house, playing gym games, watching movies, and more. Registration is required by December 14 at 12noon. 413-534-5631. 171 Pine Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 14, 12midnight-11:59pm – BIRD STUDIES/CITIZEN SCIENCE: Search for birds this December at the 81st Annual Northampton Christmas Bird Count! This citizen science project takes place around a 15-mile diameter, centered on the Hadley Cemetery on Cemetery Road. The Bird Count is 24 hours, midnight to midnight, and is open to volunteer bird watchers of all ages and experience levels. If you wish to participate, you can join a group (there must be an experienced birdwatcher in each group) or participate from home if you live within the circle. This is a cool opportunity for anyone to participate in a citizen science project, learn about birds, and meet community members who are also interested in birds and birding. More information can be found on the Hampshire Bird Club website. To participate, email cbc@hampshirebirdclub.org. Western Massachusetts. (VOLUNTEER)

Sunday, December 14, 9:30am-4:30pm – HISTORY: Celebrate the holidays with Historic Deerfield this December. See an open hearth cooking demonstration about sugar and spice, make gifts for the holidays, decorate gingerbread cookies, and go on a horse-drawn wagon ride. Historic Deerfield’s Heritage Holiday activities are a great way to experience what the holiday season was like in the past in New England. 413-774-5581. 84B Old Main Street. Deerfield, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 14, 10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Stock up on some delicious local food and goods for the holidays at the Williamstown Holiday Farmers’ Market at the Williams College Towne Field House! Here you can find local veggies, apples, bread, cheese, meat, yarn, and more. There will also be music, food, and activities for kids. Come support local farmers and artisans at this special holiday market! 413-528-0041. Latham Street. Williamstown, MA. (MARKET)

Sunday, December 14, 10:30am-2:30pm – FAMILY MEAL/SANTA: Have an extra special Sunday brunch at the Lord Jeffery Inn this holiday season… Santa will be joining you! Come for delicious brunch foods, time with family, and a chance to meet Santa. Call for more information. 413-256-8200. 30 Boltwood Avenue. Amherst, MA.

Sunday, December 14, 11am-12:30pm – HANUKKAH: Kids ages 6-11 can have some Hanukkah fun at Kids in Action at Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. Kids can wrap presents, make doughnuts, and participate in a Hanukkah scavenger hunt. Email Rabbi Cohen at info@lya.org to RSVP. 413-567-8665. 1148 Converse Street. Longmeadow, MA.

Sunday, December 14, 11am-3pm – CRAFT MARKET: The Sheffield Historical Society’s annual Festival of Holidays craft market kicks off November 8 in the Old Stone Store! Come find handcrafted items made by local artisans and get started on your holiday shopping. Proceeds benefit the Historical Society. The sale runs every Saturday and Sunday through December 21. 413-229-2694. 137 Main Street. Sheffield, MA. (SALE/FUNDRAISER)

Sunday, December 14, 12noon-5pm – FESTIVAL OF TREES: Join the Berkshire Museum on a wildlife expedition through the galleries with this year’s “Festival of Trees 2014 On Safari.” This annual holiday event will feature more than 100 twinkling, tantalizing holiday trees decorated to evoke an exotic safari adventure. Visitors can expect to see lots of wonderful trees with animals incorporated into the designs – from cuddly stuffed animals to themes focused on the out-of-doors and wildlife. The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraiser for the Museum’s educational programs, and it is open every day through Sunday, January 4. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7). Pittsfield, MA ($)

Sunday, December 14, 1pm – HANUKKAH CELEBRATION: Families can celebrate Hanukkah at the Yiddish Book Center at “The Magic Dreidel: A Hanukkah Celebration with the Grumbling Gryphons.” This traveling theater group will present the story of Hanukkah with music, masks, storytelling, and audience participation at 2pm. This is a great way for kids to learn about the story of Hanukkah in a fun and engaging way. At 1pm, author Martha Seif Simpson will read from her picture book, The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin: A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah. 413-256-4900. 1021 West Street. Amherst, MA. (>$)

Sunday, December 14, 1pm & 4:30pm – THE NUTCRACKER: The Nutcracker was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892 and has become a classic ballet (especially during the holidays) since then. Pioneer Valley Ballet will perform its annual performance of the ballet at the Academy of Music Theatre this December. This performance is a winter tradition, and all ages will enjoy seeing remarkable dancing and hearing beautiful music. It is recommended that you purchase tickets ASAP. 413-584-9032 x105. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 14, 1pm-3pm – GINGERBREAD HOUSES: Celebrate the holidays and exercise your creativity at the Lenox Library’s 10th Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Silent Auction. This year’s theme is “Nutcracker Sweet Home” and there will be entries by chefs, groups, and individuals of all ages. Judges will award prizes in several categories, and each house will be auctioned off to benefit the library after the competition. To learn more about the competition and how to enter, please contact the library. If you plan on entering, please register by December 8. 413-637-2630. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm – CHRISTMAS/THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Colonial Theatre. All ages will enjoy seeing Dickens’ classic Christmas tale come to life onstage! 413-997-4444. 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm – WINTER SOLSTICE/PERFORMANCE: Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration consists of delightful music, dance, songs and stories celebrating the return of the light this winter. The show is in its 30th year, and this year, it is about a small English village in medieval times. Young villagers steal from the rich and give to the poor so everyone can have a plentiful Christmas. All ages can enjoy the Welcome Yule’s signature carols, festivities, the passing of the yule log, stick dancing, a mummers play, and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance. The performance takes place at the Shea Theater. 413-323-4239. 71 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA ($)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm – THEATER: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play! The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more. This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas! Runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 28. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm – CHRISTMAS MOVIE: Amherst Cinema is screening The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992; rated G) this December. This fun movie is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. All ages will love the muppets’ entertaining take on this Christmas story! 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm & 4:30pm – THE NUTCRACKER: Enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker by students of the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet at the Wistariahurst Museum. This classic Christmas story will be told through narration and dance, and family members of all ages will enjoy the beautiful performance. Please purchase tickets in advance. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm-3pm – CHRISTMAS: Look Park’s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting. Enjoy tea and pastries in the Garden House, which is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. This is a fun holiday event that gives you a glimpse of Christmas in Victorian times. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm-4pm – SKILLSHARE: Grow Food Amherst is hosting a Design Your Own Earrings workshop with Kalli of Sparke and Swing handmade jewelry. Come have fun making handmade gifts at this hands-on workshop – beads, stones, glass, and crystals will be provided, and you will learn how to make beautiful earrings. No experience necessary. This workshop takes place at All Things Local Cooperative Market. 413-259-3149. 104 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (>$ per pair)

Sunday, December 14, 2pm-4pm – CANDLE MAKING: The Haberdashery is doing a candle making workshop on December 14. Come learn how to make soy wax container candles and beeswax molded pillar candles, and gain a deeper understanding of wicking, pouring, and using molds. Please bring a jar or vessel for the container candle. Each participant will leave the workshop with the candles you’ve made, as well as an instructional booklet. Older teens and adults. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street. Easthampton, MA. ($$$)

Sunday, December 14, 3pm – FILM STUDIES: As part of their Fast Forward Film Series, Historic Northampton presents, “The Message in Light,” featuring films by two local filmmakers. Hampshire College Professor Abraham Ravett’s film, Joyas Voladoras (Flying Jewels), was inspired by a still photograph and tells the story of the photograph. The other film, by Holyoke Community College Professor Justin West is about the physics of light and light in art and science. Older students interested in film will enjoy this event. 413-584-6011. 46 Bridge Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 14, 3pm – SANTA: Come meet Santa gingerbread houses at Stanton Hall! Hang out with family, friends, and community members, and do fun holiday crafts, while waiting for Santa to arrive by firetruck. 413-667-0085. Huntington, MA.

Sunday, December 14, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Sunday, December 14, 4pm-9pm – COLONIAL CHRISTMAS: Take a step back in time this holiday season at Sturbridge Village, where you can celebrate “Christmas by Candlelight.” This exciting event happens every weekend leading up to Christmas, and features sleigh rides, a recreation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, a gingerbread house contest, Christmas traditions, carolers, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, a puppet show, music, dancing, and much more. This event allows visitors to experience the Christmas holiday as it was in the past in colonial New England. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 14, 5pm-9pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun! Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display. More information and a schedule available here. Runs through January 4. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 14, 5:30pm-8pm – COMMUNITY SING & DINNER: Earthdance is holding a community sing (5:30pm) and potluck (7pm) tonight! Penny Schultz, Earthdance co-founder, brings community members together through song. This event is open to all ages, engaging children in music and singing in an intergenerational environment. 413-634-5678. 252 Prospect Street. Plainfield, MA. (>$/SUGGESTED DONATION)

Sunday, December 14, 6pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Celebrate the holidays at the Easthampton Holiday Whobalation at the rotary center. There will be music, hot chocolate, singing, and more, so come have some fun like the Whos in Whoville! Please bring an unwrapped toy to donate to the Community Center. Easthampton, MA.

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Monday, December 15th, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2pm-3pm – CHRISTMAS: Look Park’s Tea and Trains event gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tea in a Victorian Christmas setting. Enjoy tea and pastries in the Garden House, which is decorated for the holiday season, filled with snow villages and model trains. This is a fun holiday event that gives you a glimpse of Christmas in Victorian times. Call to make a reservation. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. ($)

Monday, December 15, 3:30pm – GAMES: Minecraft fans can come play together at the Forbes Library‘s Minecraft Club! Bring your login and a laptop if possible, and have fun playing Minecraft with others. Registration is required. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 15, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Monday, December 15, 6pm-7pm – EDUCATOR WORKSHOP: Amherst Cinema is offering a free demonstration of their See-Hear-Feel-Film program on December 15. The program uses film to inspire creative writing and critical thinking in over 50 third grade classes in the Pioneer Valley. Students attend screenings of short films and clips from around the world in order to help them see the world from different perspectives. Students then discuss the films and work collaboratively to create, write, and present their own stories. If you are an educator and this program interests you, come to Amherst Cinema to learn more about it and the benefits it provides to children who participate, as well as scholarship opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and to learn whether or not this program would work for your students. No registration necessary. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 15, 6:30pm – CONCERT: The Gaylord Memorial Library‘s Music Monday Cafe series is back! Come on December 15 to hear music by Stephen Page and Carl Clements. Proceeds benefit the library. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA. ($)

ONGOING FOR MONDAY (We are building up our ongoing list for the school year! To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center is open every Monday through Friday, 9am-12noon. Drop in for playgroups and activities for young children (ages 0-5) and caregivers. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and young children can attend a gym fun group at West Stockbridge Town Hall, held by South Berkshire Kids. This playgroup focuses on social and physical play and meets every Monday through July 2015. 413-464-5095. 21 State Line Road. West Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can come to the South Hadley Family Center every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for playgroups and more. The Center follows the South Hadley Schools’ calendar. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA.
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Children ages 8 and under can attend a playgroup at the Meekins Library the first and third Monday of each month. Enjoy stories, games, crafts, and more at this fun playgroup. 413-268-7472. 2 Williams Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – KNITTING: The Sunderland Public Library has a knitting group on Mondays. The group is open to knitters of all levels and ages. Great intergenerational activity to do with young homeschoolers. Runs most Mondays. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-10:45am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday and Wednesday at 10am for stories with Nathan! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Join the Pittsfield CFCE for “Fun on the Farm” every Monday at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 413-499-4809. 780 Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group every Monday at the Williamstown Youth Center. 413-664-4821. School Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Come to Books and Babies at the East Longmeadow Public Library every Monday. Kids ages 2 and under can hear stories, see fingerplays, and have fun together. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA.
  • 10:30am – MUSIC: Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can attend Music for Little Ones at the Pelham Library every Monday. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Forbes Library for a fun storytime every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA.
  • 10:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Storrs Library offers a drop-in playgroup for kids ages 3 and under every Monday morning. Come hear a story, sing songs, and enjoy free play. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12noon – MOTHERS GROUP: The Nursing Mothers’ Council is hosting a monthly gathering on the second Monday of each month at the Amherst Family Center. Women and children can come to the meetings to meet one another, support each other, and discuss breastfeeding. 413-336-1616. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.
  • 11am-12:30pm – PARENT GROUP: Mothers of infants and young children, as well as expectant moms, can come to the Hilltown Village Mothers’ Group every Monday at St. John’s Corner House. Come talk about motherhood and share your experiences in this supportive group environment. Childcare is available for kids up to age 4; infants in arms are welcome. The group follows the Mohawk Trail school schedule. 413-522-9732. 469 Main Street. Ashfield, MA.
  • 11am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Young kids can come to tummy time at the Forbes Library every Monday. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA.
  • 3:15pm-4:15pm – CHESS: Students in grades 2 and up can come to an afterschool chess club every Monday at the Storrs Library. All levels are welcome to come learn new strategies and have fun playing with peers. 413-565-4181. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-7pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday evening for a drop-in craft activity! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – KNITTING: All skill levels can attend a knitting group at the Westhampton Public Library every Monday evening. Come learn and share tips and tricks with knitters of all ages and levels. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Gym Group for ages walking to 8yr every Monday at the Haskins Center. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm-7pm – STORYTIME: Kids can unwind at the end of the day at the Montague Center Library‘s weekly evening storytime. Kids are welcome to come to the storytime in their pajamas. 413-367-2852. 17 Center Street. Montague, MA. (FREE)

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 9:30am – HOLIDAYS: Kids ages 3-5 are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum for a Holiday Tea, where there will be stories, songs, apple juice tea, and a snack. This is a fun way for kids to spend time together and get in the holiday spirit. Please register in advance. 413-562-6158 x5. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 3pm – HANUKKAH: Help light the largest menorah in Springfield with Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy in Court Square at this community Hanukkah celebration! There will also be Hanukkah songs, latkes, and hot cocoa. 413-567-8665. Court Square, Downtown. Springfield, MA.

Tuesday, December 16, 3pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Visit the Westfield Athenaeum for DIY craft time in the Teen Loft! 413-562-6158. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 3:45pm-5pm – CRAFTS: Kids can craft their own toys at the Jones Library! Come get creative and build your own toy at this hands-on activity. Registration is required. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 4pm – BOOK GROUP: Join the Westfield Athenaeum for a kids book discussion group on Lois Lenski’s Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison. Youth in grades 3-5 can come to discuss the book and play relevant games. This is a great chance for kids to do some outside-of-school reading while interacting with their peers in a discussion group. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Tuesday, December 16, 5pm – HANUKKAH: Kick off this year’s Hanukkah celebration at the Springfield Jewish Community Center’s First Light Community-wide Celebration! There will be family-friendly activities like games, crafts, and music, followed by the lighting of the largest menorah in western Massachusetts at 6:15pm! This is a great way to celebrate Hanukkah with the community. 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 5:30pm-8pm – FILM STUDIES: Film fans of all ages can join Red Gate Farm’s Film Club! Come watch, discuss, analyze, and make films with other film-loving community members of all ages. Call to sign up. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 16, 6pm – HANUKKAH: Celebrate Hanukkah in the Westfield Athenaeum Courtyard (Court Street) with the mayor as he lights the menorah, and then attend a community Hanukkah party at the Amelia Park Children’s Museum (29 South Broad Street)! This is a fun way to celebrate Hanukkah with family and community members. 413-562-2277. Westfield, MA.

Tuesday, December 16, 7pm – CHRISTMAS MOVIE: Amherst Cinema is screening The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992; rated G) this December. This fun movie is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. All ages will love the muppets’ entertaining take on this Christmas story! 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Tuesday, December 16, 7pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Enjoy a Christmas comedy show at Eastworks – Surly Santa, starring Seth Lepore of The Seth Show. This satirical show features special guests and each show is different and based on audience suggestions. See here for more info. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

Tuesday, December 16, 7pm – HOLIDAYS/THEATER: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year! The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers. The whole family will enjoy this holiday production. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. West Springfield, MA. ($$)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS (We are building up our ongoing list for the school year! To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Belchertown Family Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 9am-12noon for drop-in activities for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center is open every Monday through Friday, 9am-12noon. Drop in for playgroups and activities for young children (ages 0-5) and caregivers. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12midnight – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum is open late – until 12midnight – every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the College’s academic year. Avoid the crowds and check out the museum’s exhibitions, gift shop, and cafe during these special late hours. 413-542-2335. 41 Quadrangle Drive. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Join the Pittsfield CFCE every Tuesday for a playgroup at Egremont Elementary School. 413-499-4809. Pittsfield, MA.
  • 9:30am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Playgroup for young kids ages birth-preK at theDickinson Memorial Library with Deb Wood features fun toys and more! Every Tuesday. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can come to the South Hadley Family Center every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for playgroups and more. The Center follows the South Hadley Schools’ calendar. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA.
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Come to the Goodwin Memorial Library every Tuesday for storytime! Runs all year. 413-584-7451. Route 47 & Route 9. Hadley, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group every Tuesday at the Haskins Center. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – LITERACY: Kids ages 2-9 ½ can attend a literacy group at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Come with a parent or caregiver and practice reading skills! Runs every Tuesday and Thursday. 413-568-5242. 28 West Silver Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and young children can attend a weekly playgroup every Tuesday through June 2015 at Otis Town Hall, held by South Berkshire Kids. 413-464-5095. 1 North Main Road. Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 10:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: South Berkshire Kids is offering a Brain Builder Play and Learn Group at the Mason Library every Tuesday. Kids ages birth to age 5 can come read, sing, play, and talk, with a focus on STEM concepts and early literacy. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Lenox Library is offering a storytime for toddlers ages 18 months to 3 years every Tuesday. This storytime follows the school district schedule. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Westhampton Public Library is holding a baby and toddler playtime every Tuesday. Come to the library and meet other kids and parents. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 2pm – FILM: Amherst Cinema offers weekly matinees on Tuesdays especially for people with babies! This is a great chance to get out and see a movie without having to worry about finding a sitter. Check their website to see what’s playing each week. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. >$
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm – LEGOS: The Family Resource Center is offering a LEGO group for ages 4-8 the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. 413-664-4821. 74 Church Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30pm-5:30pm – LIBRARY GROUP: Teens can come to the Lilly Library‘s Teen Scene every Tuesday for games, projects, crafts, movies, and more. Stop by for fun activities and friends! 413-587-1500. 19 Meadow Street. Florence, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm & 6:30pm – KARATE: Free shotokan karate classes are offered every Tuesday and Thursday at Northfield Elementary School. There are two classes – one for 7-10 year olds (5:30pm-6:15pm) and one for teens and adults (6:30pm-7:30pm). More info available here. 802-451-0303. 104 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group every Tuesday evening at the Greylock Apartments’ Community Room for children walking age to age 5. 413-664-4821. Angeli Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: It’s Pajama Storytime at the Monson Free Library! Wear your pajamas and enjoy stories and fun. Happens the second Tuesday of each month. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA.
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Tuesday evening for storytime with Jason. This program includes stories, songs, fingerplays, and more. 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

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Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 10am-11am – HIKING: Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for an easy hike at Housatonic Flats. Explore this beautiful floodplain that is adjacent to the Housatonic River. This hike is on flat ground and is fine for all ages and abilities. 413-499-0596. Route 7. Great Barrington, MA.

Wednesday, December 17, 10am-5pm – FESTIVAL OF TREES: Join the Berkshire Museum on a wildlife expedition through the galleries with this year’s “Festival of Trees 2014 On Safari.” This annual holiday event will feature more than 100 twinkling, tantalizing holiday trees decorated to evoke an exotic safari adventure. Visitors can expect to see lots of wonderful trees with animals incorporated into the designs – from cuddly stuffed animals to themes focused on the out-of-doors and wildlife. The Festival of Trees is an annual fundraiser for the Museum’s educational programs, and it is open every day through Sunday, January 4. Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street (Route 7). Pittsfield, MA ($)

Wednesday, December 17, 3:30pm-4:30pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Kids of all ages can make their own holiday ornaments at the Lenox Library on December 17. This is a fun chance for kids to make something that can decorate their home! 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 17, 4pm – HOLIDAY STORYTIME: Join the Monson Free Library for their 18th Annual Holiday Story Hour with Senator Brewer. Come hear holiday stories and wish the Senator well in his retirement. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA.

Wednesday, December 17, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Wednesday, December 17, 5:30pm – HANUKKAH DINNER: The Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy PTO is hosting a Chanukah Dinner for families. There will be a pasta and meat sauce dinner (with vegan option), a Bubble Trouble performance by Jeff Boyer, and a student Chanukah performance. Come celebrate Hanukkah with community members at this fun event! Call for reservations. 413-567-8665. 1148 Converse Street. Longmeadow, MA. ($)

Wednesday, December 17, 6pm – HOLIDAYS: Kids ages 3-5 are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum for a Holiday Tea, where there will be stories, songs, apple juice tea, and a snack. This is a fun way for kids to spend time together and get in the holiday spirit. Please register in advance. 413-562-6158 x5. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, December 17, 6pm-8pm – CULINARY ARTS: Learn how to make tonic soups to keep you healthy all winter at The Haberdashery on December 17. This workshop will consist of preparing and cooking delicious, healthy soups. Older teens and adults. 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street. Easthampton, MA. ($$$)

Wednesday, December 17, 6:30pm-8pm – CULINARY ARTS: Older teens and adults can learn to cook seafood for the holidays at Whole Foods Market in Hadley. Mark Penney and Joan Eckert will teach you how to make salt cod brandade, crab-rolled smoked salmon, and mixed seafood bouillabaisse, inspired by the French Islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon. Learn French cooking at this educational program. Stop by the customer service desk to sign up. 413-586-9932. 327 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 17, 7pm – HOLIDAYS/THEATER: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year! The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers. The whole family will enjoy this holiday production. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Wednesday, December 17, 7pm – HANUKKAH/SPORTS: Celebrate Hanukkah with the Springfield Jewish Community Center at their Hanukkah Hoops event! All ages can come play basketball at this fun event. 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA.

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAYS (We are building up our ongoing list for the school year! To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a parent-child playgroup every Wednesday at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield. Come play and learn together at this fun playgroup! 413-586-4998. 41 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Belchertown Family Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 9am-12noon for drop-in activities for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center is open every Monday through Friday, 9am-12noon. Drop in for playgroups and activities for young children (ages 0-5) and caregivers. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12midnight – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum is open late – until 12midnight – every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the College’s academic year. Avoid the crowds and check out the museum’s exhibitions, gift shop, and cafe during these special late hours. 413-542-2335. 41 Quadrangle Drive. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can come to the South Hadley Family Center every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for playgroups and more. The Center follows the South Hadley Schools’ calendar. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA.
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: There will be playgroup at the Cummington Family Center every Wednesday and Friday through May. The playgroups are parent-run, which means that the first parent to arrive can set up toys and make coffee/tea. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Parents and their preschoolers can come to the Westhampton Public Library for coffee and storytime every Wednesday. 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-10:45am – STORYTIME: Kids can come to the Holyoke Public Library every Monday and Wednesday at 10am for stories with Nathan! 413-420-8105. 250 Chestnut Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group for toddlers at the Haskins Center. For ages 1-2.5. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: South Berkshire Kids is offering a playgroup every Wednesday at the Lenox Community Center. Come for play, crafts, activities, stories, and more. 413-464-5095. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:15am – STORYTIME: The Wilbraham Public Library holds a weekly storytime for ages 2-3 ½ every Wednesday OR Thursday. There will be fun stories and crafts. 413-596-6141. 25 Crane Park Drive. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: It’s storytime at the Monson Free Library for kids ages 2-5! Come by for stories, snacks, crafts, and fun. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA.
  • 10:30am-11am – STEM: The Berkshire Museum is offering a Parent/Child STEM Session the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. Come explore science, technology, engineering, and math through books, hands-on activities, and play. Registration is required. 413-443-7171 x21. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Community Network for Children offers a story hour every Wednesday at the Leverett Library. Children ages 5 and under can come for music, movement, books, and hands-on activities. 978-544-5157. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12noon – STORYTIME: Preschool storyhour every Wednesday at the Dickinson Memorial Library with Ruthanne Paulson includes stories, music, movement, crafts, and a snack. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 1:30pm – NATURE STUDIES: Preschool-aged kids can attend Kidleidoscope every Wednesday at Natural Bridge State Park. This weekly program features forest-themed educational activities. 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm – STORYTIME: All ages can enjoy stories and a craft at the Cushman Library‘s weekly story hour. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm – CHESS: The East Longmeadow Public Library holds a chess club for kids ages 6-14 every Wednesday afternoon. Come improve your chess skills by playing with peers of all levels. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-5pm – WRITING: Forbes Library holds a writing group for children and young adults the third Wednesday of each month. Come do some free writing, story workshopping, and do exercises to beat writer’s block. All ages welcome. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm-5pm – STORYTIME/ARTS & CRAFTS: The North Amherst Library is offering a story and craft time for kids every Wednesday afternoon. Come by for stories, crafts, and fun. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-7:30pm – KNITTING: The Cushman Library‘s knitting group runs every Wednesday night. Come hang out with knitters of all ages and share knitting advice. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm – KNITTING: Come to the Goodwin Memorial Library every Wednesday evening for knitting group. All levels are welcome, making this is a great chance to share knitting tips and tricks with other knitters of all ages. Runs all year. 413-584-7451. Route 47 & Route 9. Hadley, MA.
  • 6pm-8pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Knack‘s Work-on-it Wednesdays are back for November and December. There will be open studio every Wednesday and you can come work on some handmade holiday gifts. 413-529-0126. 116 Pleasant Street #126. Easthampton, MA. (>$)
  • 6:30pm – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime for kids ages 3-6 at the East Longmeadow Library. Runs every Wednesday evening. 413-525-5400 x1506. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 7:30pm-10:30pm – DANCE: Beginners and people of all skill levels can come dance the night away at Downtown Amherst Contra! This is a great way to have fun and meet new people in a low-pressure environment. Beginners can show up at 7 for a learning session. Best for teens and adults. Every Wednesday except the second Wednesday of each month. 99 Main Street. Amherst, MA. $

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Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 12:15pm – CHRISTMAS/HISTORY: This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “Victorian Christmas Traditions,” with Anne Barrett. Barrett will teach about some Christmas traditions from 1895 by dressing up “Victoria Yule” and telling you all about the gifts she and her family will be exchanging, her meal plans, and the history of Christmas trees and cards. Discover how many of our current Christmas traditions are rooted in the Victorian era at this fun and festive program. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

Thursday, December 18, 1:30pm – HANUKKAH CELEBRATION: Celebrate Hanukkah with the Springfield Jewish Community Center and guests who are age 90 and older at the Bobbie Levin Nifty 90s Celebration! Special guests aged 90 and up will be present, along with previous honorees, who will receive gifts and citations from Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. There will be refreshments and music. This is an opportunity for community members of all ages to meet one another. 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA. ($)

Thursday, December 18, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Thursday, December 18, 6pm – HOLIDAYS: Kids ages 3-5 are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum for a Holiday Tea, where there will be stories, songs, apple juice tea, and a snack. This is a fun way for kids to spend time together and get in the holiday spirit. Please register in advance. 413-562-6158 x5. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, December 18, 7pm – CHRISTMAS/THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Colonial Theatre. All ages will enjoy seeing Dickens’ classic Christmas tale come to life onstage! 413-997-4444. 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

Thursday, December 18, 7:30pm – HOLIDAYS/THEATER: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year! The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers. The whole family will enjoy this holiday production. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Thursday, December 18, 8pm – THEATER/CHRISTMAS: Old Deerfield Productions presents A Christmas Carol at the Academy of Music Theatre this holiday season. Family members of all ages will enjoy seeing Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story come to life with comedy, drama, music, and dance. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-584-9032 x105. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

ONGOING FOR THURSDAYS (We are building up our ongoing list for the school year! To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Belchertown Family Center is open Tuesday-Friday from 9am-12noon for drop-in activities for infants, preschoolers, and their caregivers. 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center is open every Monday through Friday, 9am-12noon. Drop in for playgroups and activities for young children (ages 0-5) and caregivers. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12midnight – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum is open late – until 12midnight – every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the College’s academic year. Avoid the crowds and check out the museum’s exhibitions, gift shop, and cafe during these special late hours. 413-542-2335. 41 Quadrangle Drive. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: South Berkshire Kids is offering a weekly playgroup at the Richmond Consolidated School. 413-464-5095. 1831 State Road. Richmond, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and kids ages 18 months to 3 years can attend a Toddler Steps program at the CHP Family Services Building, held by South Berkshire Kids. The program features circle time, stories, songs, crafts, and play, and runs every Thursday through June 2015. 413-464-5095. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents Center will be open Monday-Thursday from 9:30am-11:30am for playgroup, toys, books, activities, and more. Kids ages 5 and under and their caregivers can drop in to meet and play with others. 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street, Lower Level. Northampton, MA.
  • 10am – MOVEMENT: The Millers Falls Library is offering a music and movement group for young children and their caregivers every Thursday through December 18. 413-659-3801. 23 Bridge Street. Millers Falls, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Gateway Family Center is offering a drop-in “Baby Steps” program for infants 0-1 years, as well as their siblings and caregivers. Runs every Thursday. 413-667-2203 x3. 9 Russell Road. Huntington, MA.
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Join the Pittsfield CFCE at the Berkshire Athenaeum for a weekly Play and Learn group. 413-499-4809. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA.
  • 10am-11:30am – LITERACY: Kids ages 2-9 ½ can attend a literacy group at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Come with a parent or caregiver and practice reading skills! Runs every Tuesday and Thursday. 413-568-5242. 28 West Silver Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:15am – STORYTIME: The Wilbraham Public Library holds a weekly storytime for ages 2-3 ½ every Wednesday OR Thursday. There will be fun stories and crafts. 413-596-6141. 25 Crane Park Drive. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Join the Emily Williston Memorial Library for storytime every Thursday! There will be snacks, stories, and crafts. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – MUSIC: The Jones Library will offer a preschool storytime every Thursday. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Hatfield Public Library holds a storytime for kids 5 and under every Thursday! Come to the library for stories and fun. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA.
  • 11am-11:45am – STORYTIME/ARTS & CRAFTS: The Lenox Library is offering Story Craft for kids ages 3-5, with stories and crafts. This program follows the school district schedule. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:15am – STORYTIME: The Wilbraham Public Library holds a weekly storytime for ages 3 ½-5 every Thursday. There will be fun stories and crafts. 413-596-6141. 25 Crane Park Drive. Wilbraham, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Gym Group for ages walking to 5 every Thursday at the Haskins Center. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 1pm-3pm – PLAYGROUP: Babies can have fun and make friends at the Forbes Library‘s weekly baby playgroup. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA.
  • 4pm-8pm – GAMES/LEGOS: Families can have fun every Thursday at Gaylord Memorial Library‘s game and LEGO night! Stop by for board games, puzzles, LEGOs, and more. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.
  • 4:30-6pm – COMMUNITY MEAL/MOVIE: The Amherst Survival Center serves a free community meal every Thursday and screens a film for the community to enjoy together. Bring your family and come enjoy an evening with your community while learning about the work of the ASC! 413-549-3968. 138 Sunderland Road. North Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm – SKILLSHARE/CRAFT GROUP: The Haberdashery holds a Chat ‘n Do every Thursday at 5:30pm. Bring a project you are working on and chat with others, hash out ideas, ask advice, offer tips, and more. This is a good opportunity for intergenerational skill sharing! 413-527-1638. 52 Union Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm & 6:30pm – KARATE: Free shotokan karate classes are offered every Tuesday and Thursday at Northfield Elementary School. There are two classes – one for 7-10 year olds (5:30pm-6:15pm) and one for teens and adults (6:30pm-7:30pm). More info available here. 802-451-0303. 104 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 6pm-8pm – KNITTING: Spruce up your knitting skills and spend time with community members of all ages at the Dickinson Memorial Library‘s knitting group every Thursday evening. All skill levels are welcome. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

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Friday, December 19th, 2014

Friday, December 19, 9:30am – HOLIDAYS: Kids ages 3-5 are invited to the Westfield Athenaeum for a Holiday Tea, where there will be stories, songs, apple juice tea, and a snack. This is a fun way for kids to spend time together and get in the holiday spirit. Please register in advance. 413-562-6158 x5. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 19, 10am – HANUKKAH: Young kids can celebrate Hanukkah with the Springfield Jewish Community Center at their Early Learning Center Shabbat/Hanukkah Celebration. 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA.

Friday, December 19, 3:30pm – CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Meet Toto the Tornado Kitten and hear her story at the Forbes Library‘s on December 19. Toto survived the 2011 tornado in western Massachusetts and was found by Jonathan Hall, who then wrote two books about Toto. Hall will read at the library at this event. 413-587-1010. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

Friday, December 19, 3:45pm – CAROLING/COMMUNITY MEAL: Sing Christmas carols with community members in Worthington this holiday season! The Worthington Recreation Committee is sponsoring a town-wide caroling event on the 19th. The caroling bus leaves the RH Conwell School at 3:45, and then returns at 6pm for a community potluck supper. You can also request a carol for yourself or someone else. 413-238-5577. 147 Huntington Road. Worthington, MA.

Friday, December 19, 4pm-8pm – SANTA: Celebrate the holidays this year at Look Park on Santa’s Train! The Garden House is transformed into a Victorian style train station and you can see holiday trees, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, have cookies and hot cocoa, and ride the Look Park Holiday Express! Family members of all ages will enjoy this fun holiday activity, which runs every day until Christmas Eve. 413-584-5457. 300 North Main Street. Florence, MA. (>$)

Friday, December 19, 4pm-9pm – COLONIAL CHRISTMAS: Take a step back in time this holiday season at Sturbridge Village, where you can celebrate “Christmas by Candlelight.” This exciting event happens every weekend leading up to Christmas, and features sleigh rides, a recreation of Mrs. Cratchit’s Christmas dinner, a gingerbread house contest, Christmas traditions, carolers, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, a puppet show, music, dancing, and much more. This event allows visitors to experience the Christmas holiday as it was in the past in colonial New England. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 800-733-1830. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 19, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY CELEBRATION: Bright Nights at Forest Park returns this season for holiday fun! Bring the whole family to come see the beautiful holiday light display. More information and a schedule available here. Runs through January 4. Sumner Avenue. Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 19, 7pm – CHRISTMAS/THEATER: Berkshire Theatre Group presents its annual community production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Colonial Theatre. All ages will enjoy seeing Dickens’ classic Christmas tale come to life onstage! 413-997-4444. 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$$)

Friday, December 19, 7pm & 8:15pm – STORYTELLING/CHRISTMAS: Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk will tell Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol, at the Spectrum Playhouse on December 19. The show is complete with musical accompaniment. All proceeds benefit the Lee High Drama Department. Tickets available in advance. 413-329-6346. 20 Franklin Street. Lee, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 19, 7pm – HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE: Santa Claus is coming to town! PaintBox Theatre makes a December appearance with The Santa Show! Performances of The Santa Show are at Northampton High School. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA ($$)

Friday, December 19, 7:30pm – THEATER: Shakespeare and Company presents a special production of It’s a Wonderful Life – a live radio play! The performance is a funny and unique play-within-a-play that tells the classic Christmas Eve tale of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with live radio commercials, sound effects, and more. This unique performance is a fun way to celebrate Christmas! Runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 28. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA. ($$-$$$)

Friday, December 19, 8pm – HOLIDAYS/THEATER: The Majestic Theater’s annual holiday production Home for the Holidays is back this year! The performance is inspired by the holiday television specials of the past, and features great songs and a whole group of wonderful local performers. The whole family will enjoy this holiday production. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-747-7797. 131 Elm Street. West Springfield, MA. ($$)

Friday, December 19, 8pm – THEATER/CHRISTMAS: Old Deerfield Productions presents A Christmas Carol at the Academy of Music Theatre this holiday season. Family members of all ages will enjoy seeing Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story come to life with comedy, drama, music, and dance. Tickets can be purchased in advance. 413-584-9032 x105. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA. ($$)

ONGOING FOR FRIDAYS (We are building up our ongoing list for the school year! To add your free ongoing event/activity here, email us at info@hilltownfamilies.org)

11:30am-12:30pm – PRENATAL YOGA: Open to all trimesters and all levels of yoga experience. No registration necessary. For info visit HRYMCA website or call Courtney at 413-303-1246. Hampshire Regional YMCA, 286 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA ($10 for non-members, free for HRYMCA members)

  • 9am-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Network for Children offers a playgroup every Friday at Shutesbury Elementary School. Children ages 5 and under and a caregiver can come make friends, explore, and discover. 978-544-5157. 23 West Pelham Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE)
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Amherst Family Center is open every Monday through Friday, 9am-12noon. Drop in for playgroups and activities for young children (ages 0-5) and caregivers. 413-256-1145. 1200 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am – WRITING: The Edwards Public Library‘s Writing Group meets every Friday. Older students with a passion for writing of any style can attend this supportive intergenerational group. 413-527-9480. 30 East Street. Southampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: There will be playgroup at the Cummington Family Center every Wednesday and Friday through May. The playgroups are parent-run, which means that the first parent to arrive can set up toys and make coffee/tea. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Northampton Parents’ Center is holding a weekly playgroup in Hadley every Friday at Whole Children. 413-582-2636. 41 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Preschool-aged kids can come to the Stockbridge Library for StoryCraft, a storytime and craft time with Miss Vicky! Siblings are welcome. 413-298-5501. 2 Depot Street. Stockbridge, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group every Friday at Lanesborough Town Hall. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am & 2pm – GEOLOGY: Learn about the fascinating geology of Natural Bridge State Park at their Marvelous Marble Tour every Friday at 10am & 2pm. Join a park interpreter for an easy walk around the park exploring its geologic history and the remains of the 19th- and 20th-century marble quarry that once operated on the grounds. All ages will enjoy exploring the park and learning some interesting local geology. 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. North Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc. is offering a free baby group for babies and caretakers at the Williamstown Youth Center the first Friday of every month. 413-663-6593. School Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-11am – PLAYGROUP: The Family Resource Center is offering a Play and Learn Group for ages walking to 5 every Friday at the Adams Youth Center. 413-664-4821. East Street. Adams, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and young children can attend Skip and Dip at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center, held by South Berkshire Kids. This group consists of splash pool and gym time and runs every Friday through June 2015. 413-464-5095. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: The Easthampton Family Center is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for drop-in playgroup and activities for kids ages 5 and under. The Family Center follows the Easthampton Public Schools schedule. 413-527-5496. 43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Every Friday is Bounce and Rhyme Storytime at the Monson Free Library! Kids 2 ½ and younger can come enjoy stories, songs, and rhymes. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA.
  • 10:30am – MOVEMENT: The Chicopee Public Library holds a weekly Music and Movement program for kids ages 5 and under every Friday. Come have fun moving, singing, and dancing. 413-594-1800. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and young children can attend an art and nature playgroup at the CHP Campus, held by South Berkshire Kids. Runs every Friday through June 2015. 413-464-5095. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-11:30am – STORYTIME: Young kids can attend a weekly storyhour at the Pelham Library every Friday. Come enjoy stories and crafts. 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Kids in kindergarten and younger can attend a free playgroup every Friday through May 2015 at the Granby Free Public Library. 413-467-3320. 297 East State Street. Granby, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Preschoolers can attend storytime every Friday at Griswold Memorial Library. Come for stories, crafts, and a snack. 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE)
  • 11:30am-1:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Parents/caregivers and their babies, ages 0-15 months, can come to “Welcome Baby” every Friday at the Storrs Library. This program, run by Pathways for Parents, is all about the importance of reading, music, and interactive play. Call to sign up. 413-565-4182. 693 Longmeadow Street. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)
  • 12noon-1pm – CLOTH DIAPERS: Simple Diaper and Linen is offering a Cloth Diaper 101 workshop at Life Works Studio. Come learn the ins and outs of cloth diapering and get information on Simple Diaper and Linen’s new diaper service in Southern Berkshire County. 413-749-6232. 50 Castle Street. Great Barrington, MA.
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Families can attend the “Family Frolic Storytime” every Friday at Gaylord Memorial Library! Enjoy stories, musical plays, and crafts. 413-538-5047. 47 College Street. South Hadley, MA.
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Kids ages 3-6 can come to the Sunderland Public Library for stories, songs, finger plays, and crafts every Friday morning. 413-665-2642. 20 School Street. Sunderland, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Berkshire Museum’s weekly Museum Adventures program features stories, songs, dancing, play time, scavenger hunts, and more, and is open to kids 18 months to 3 years. It’s a great way for young kids to explore some of what the museum has to offer! Free with museum admission. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. $
  • 1:30pm-5:30pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: The Easthampton Winter Farmers’ Market will be in the Eastworks Building every Friday all winter. Come by for local veggies, meat, apples, yarn, baked goods, syrup, skin care products, and more. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (MARKET)
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – BOOK GROUP: 2nd and 3rd graders who love reading can attend the Hatfield Public Library‘s Kid Book Club every Friday. Kids can hang out together, recommend books to one another, do book-related activities, and enjoy a pizza dinner. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – BOOK GROUP: Tweens in grades 4-6 can attend the Hatfield Public Library‘s B-Tween the Lines Book Club every Friday. Kids can hang out together, recommend books to one another, do book-related activities, write reviews, interview authors, and enjoy a pizza dinner. 413-247-9097. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Agawam, Buckland, Cummington, Deerfield, Goshen, Plainfield, Shelburne and Westhampton Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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