Suggested Events for December 20th-26th, 2014

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

“As a new mom without local family, Hilltown Families has given me essential information about activities I can do with my son and husband, and feel like a part of my new community.” – April Genung (South Deerfield, 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 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.

Dec 21

“Light in the Darkness” Community Chanukah Celebration. On Sunday, December 21st from 5-7pm, Congregation B’nai Israel (253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA.) welcomes the public to a joyous Chanukah celebration filled with music, storytelling, communal candle lighting and latkes. From 5-5:45pm, Felicia Sloin will lead singing and stories for little ones at the same time as a “Moth”-inspired story session on the theme of “Light in the Darkness” with three featured storytellers for adults and older kids. From 5:45-6:15pm, communal candle lighting and singing. Then from 6:15-7pm, latkes and treats. $5 per person. For more information email rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org or call 413-584-3593 x203.

Dec 31

Why should the grownups get to have all of the fun? Come celebrate New Years Eve for the KIDS at Chandler’s Restaurant at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield on December 31st from 11am – 1pm. Countdown to 12NOON instead of Midnight with interactive live entertainment by guitarist Tom Carroll. Full award winning kids menu & lunch menu will be available. Noisemakers will be handed out and an apple cider toast … Just for fun! Please call for reservations. 413-665-1277

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.

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

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LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 20th-26th, 2014

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Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 20th, 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. Christmas Episode with guest DJs, Key Wilde & Mr Clark. 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 20, 12midnight-11:59pm – BIRD STUDIES/CITIZEN SCIENCE: Search for birds this December at the annual Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count in northern Berkshire County. This citizen science project takes place around the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation. The Bird Count is 24 hours, midnight to midnight, and is open to volunteer bird watchers of all ages and experience levels. 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. There will be a potluck dinner at Sheep Hill (671 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA) at 6:30pm. Email lre@wrlf.org or call for more information and to sign up. 413-458-5150. Northern Berkshire County. (VOLUNTEER)

Saturday, December 20, 10am-12:30pm – CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION: Sláinte is holding a “Cookies and Milk with Santa” event for kids! There will be face painting, balloon sculptures, letters to Santa, Christmas carols, and an opportunity for kids to meet Santa himself. Kids will love this fun Christmas celebration! Please bring one unwrapped gift for the Rotary for Children’s Toy Drive. 413-534-4000. 80 Jarvis Avenue. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 20, 10am-2pm – VOLUNTEER/ANIMAL STUDIES: The Berkshire Humane Society’s “Humane Hero” program gives kids ages 10-14 the opportunity to volunteer at the Humane Society, learn about the responsibilities of pet ownership, learn how to be an advocate and educator, and learn how to effectively fundraise in order to create change in their community. The Humane Society is offering a Humane Hero workshop in the form of a Pet Food Drive at the Super Stop and Shop in Pittsfield. More information on becoming a Humane Hero can be found on the Berkshire Humane Society website. You can sign up anytime! 413-447-7878 x29. Dan Fox Drive. Pittsfield, MA. (VOLUNTEER)

Saturday, December 20, 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 20, 10am-4pm – NATURE STUDIES: Take a closer look at one of our local watersheds at the Great Falls Discovery Center’s, “Watershed Investigators,” a special family program where kids can learn new ways to look at and understand the world around them using games, crafts, exploration, etc. Designed to best fit students in grades 2-5, but all ages are welcome. Drop in. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 20, 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 20, 10:30am – CHILDREN’S BOOKS: Author Norm Anderson will be at the Old Creamery Co-Op to read from his children’s book, A Boy, a Dog and Persnickety Log on December 20. Come hear this story read aloud and buy a copy to have it signed by the author. 413-634-5560. 445 Berkshire Trail. Cummington, MA.

Saturday, December 20, 1pm – BALLET: Amherst Ballet presents a production of Cinderella at the UMass Bowker Auditorium. All ages will enjoy this classic performance! 100 Holdsworth Way. Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 20, 1pm & 4pm – CHRISTMAS/THEATER: Paintbox Theatre presents “The Santa Show” at Northampton High School. This exciting holiday performance is fun for the whole family! 413-210-1898. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 20, 1:30pm – READING: The Westfield Athenaeum is hosting a Read to Rover event for kids ages 3-9. Young readers can practice reading stories aloud to specially-trained dogs, who offer non-judgmental, non-threatening attention. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to improve their reading skills and their confidence in reading aloud. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)

Saturday, December 20, 2pm – FILM/CHRISTMAS: Enjoy a screening of Frank Capra’s classic Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) at Amherst Cinema this holiday season. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 20, 2pm & 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. ($$$)

Saturday, December 20, 2pm & 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 20, 2pm & 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. ($$)

Saturday, December 20, 2pm & 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. ($$)

Saturday, December 20, 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 20, 3pm-5pm – GIFT EXCHANGE/HOLIDAY PARTY: The Jones Library Teen Advisory Board is holding a White Elephant Gift Exchange and Holiday Party on December 20. Bring a wrapped gift (that cost $5 or less) and exchange presents and have holiday fun with friends! There will be refreshments. 413-259-3091. 43 Amity Street. Amherst, MA.

Saturday, December 20, 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 20, 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 20, 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 20, 6:30pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION: Attend a special solstice storytelling and songfest at the Roundhouse in Colrain. There will be many talented storytellers present, as well as special performers who will perform puppet shows, songs and stories from all over the world, cello music, and clowning. Please bring a canned good to donate to the Franklin Survival Center and a food item to share during the intermission banquet. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Partners in Health. All ages welcome. Reservations are recommended. 413-624-5140. 68 Van Nuys Road. Colrain, MA. (DONATION – $-$$)

Saturday, December 20, 7pm – FILM/ART: The Berkshire Museum is screening National Gallery (2014), a film that takes you inside the National Gallery in London. See and learn about the works on display in the museum through hearing docents lead tours, seeing restorers at work, and listening in on administrative meetings. This film offers a great opportunity to see the ins and outs of the National Gallery, see its most famous works, and learn how it operates. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Saturday, December 20, 7:30pm – CHRISTMAS CONCERT: The Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the Blafield Children’s Chorus come together on December 20 for “Called by Angels,” a Christmas concert at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The concert features classic Christmas songs and is a great holiday event for the whole family. 413-499-0258. 67 East Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Sunday, December 21st, 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 21st, 7am: WINTER SOLSTICE: The public is invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Dr. Judith Young of the UMass Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise & set over the tall standing stones in the UMass Sunwheel. For those interested in learning about the sky, the Sunwheel gatherings at sunrise and sunset will include presentations which describe the significance of the solstices & equinoxes, the cause of the seasons and phases of the Moon, the story of building the Sunwheel, and other calendar sites around the world such as Stonehenge & Callanish in the UK and Chichen Itza in Mexico. Additionally, there will be an explanation of the Moon’s 18.6-year cycle, also called the Major Lunar Standstill. Come gather in community and connect with the sky — bring your questions, your curiosity, and be prepared for freezing temperatures including waterproof footwear. The gatherings typically last 1 hour, and are held in all weather except rain and blizzards. Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA (DONATION)

Sunday, December 21, 9am – HANUKKAH/COMMUNITY MEAL: B’Nai Torah is holding their annual Katz Family Chanukah Breakfast! There will be food, entertainment, a featuring guest entertainer, Mark Binder. Spend time with family and friends at this fun community meal. 413-567-0036. 2 Eunice Drive. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 21, 11am-2pm – HANUKKAH: Join Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy for their Chanukah Wonderland event! Families can have fun with crafts, games, face painting, and other Hanukkah activities. There will also be a performance by ventriloquist Dana Perkins, and food will be sold. Celebrate Hanukkah with friends, family, and community members at this fun event! 413-567-8665. 1148 Converse Street. Longmeadow, MA.

Sunday, December 21, 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 21, 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 21, 12noon – HIKING/SOLSTICE: Explore the high elevation boreal forests of Windsor at Tamarack Hollow and Notchview with Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center on a Winter Solstice Hike. On this hike, you will learn how to identify evergreen trees and plants. Snowshoes available to rent (>$). Email aimee@gaiaroots.com or call to register. 413-743-4543. Route 9. Windsor, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 21, 12noon-3pm – ARTS & CRAFTS: Learn about Polish paper cuts (wycinanki) and make some of your own using simple materials and techniques at the Deerfield Arts Bank. These paper cuts depict roosters, flower pots, trees, and other features of peasant life in Poland. This is a great chance to learn about art and traditional crafts from another culture. For ages 8 and up (accompanied by adult). 413-665-0123. 3 Sugarloaf Street. South Deerfield, MA. ($$$)

Sunday, December 21, 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 21, 12:55pm – DANCE STUDIES: See the world-renowned Russian ballet company Bolshoi Ballet perform The Nutcracker on the big screen at Amherst Cinema. The performance was filmed live and will be screened at the Cinema for dance lovers of all ages. Tickets available in advance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 21, 1pm & 4pm – CHRISTMAS/THEATER: Paintbox Theatre presents “The Santa Show” at Northampton High School. This exciting holiday performance is fun for the whole family! 413-210-1898. 380 Elm Street. Northampton, MA. ($)

Sunday, December 21, 2pm – 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. ($$)

Sunday, December 21, 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 21, 2pm & 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. ($$$)

Sunday, December 21, 2pm & 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. ($$)

Sunday, December 21, 2pm-4pm – SKILLSHARE: Grow Food Amherst is hosting a Home Grown Mushrooms workshop with Willie Crosby of Fungi Ally. Learn about medicinal mushrooms, their uses, and how to prepare them at this workshop, which would best for older students interested in fungi. This workshop takes place at All Things Local Cooperative Market. 413-259-3149. 104 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA.

Sunday, December 21, 3pm-5pm – SOLSTICE CELEBRATION: Celebrate the winter solstice with Sirius Community at their Sacred Circle Dance. Come dressed in white and learn dances from many traditions with Linda Blake. Open to all. 413-259-1251. 72 Baker Road. Shutesbury, MA. (DONATION >$)

Sunday, December 21st, 3:30pm: WINTER SOLSTICE: The public is invited to witness the passing of the seasons by joining Dr. Judith Young of the UMass Dept. of Astronomy to watch the Sun rise & set over the tall standing stones in the UMass Sunwheel. For those interested in learning about the sky, the Sunwheel gatherings at sunrise and sunset will include presentations which describe the significance of the solstices & equinoxes, the cause of the seasons and phases of the Moon, the story of building the Sunwheel, and other calendar sites around the world such as Stonehenge & Callanish in the UK and Chichen Itza in Mexico. Additionally, there will be an explanation of the Moon’s 18.6-year cycle, also called the Major Lunar Standstill. Come gather in community and connect with the sky — bring your questions, your curiosity, and be prepared for freezing temperatures including waterproof footwear. The gatherings typically last 1 hour, and are held in all weather except rain and blizzards. Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA (DONATION)

Sunday, December 21, 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 21, 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 21, 4:30pm – HANUKKAH: Celebrate Hanukkah this year at the Fire on Ice event at Longmeadow Shops – arrive at 4:30pm to see a giant menorah carved out of ice! And then stick around to see it lit (5pm). There will also be live music, dreidels, food, a raffle, and more. 413-567-8665. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 21, 5-7pm – CHANUKAH CELEBRATION. Congregation B’nai Israel welcomes the public to a joyous Chanukah celebration filled with music, storytelling, communal candle lighting and latkes. 413-584-3593 x203. 253 Prospect Street. Northampton, MA. >$

Sunday, December 21, 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 21, 6pm-8:30pm – WINTER SOLSTICE: Celebrate the shortest day of the year at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary! This annual winter solstice celebration features music, a bonfire, hot drinks, and fun for all ages. Please bring a nonperishable food item for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 21, 7pm – FILM/CHRISTMAS: The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is screening It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). This classic Christmas film will delight all ages and get everyone in the Christmas spirit! 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)

Sunday, December 21, 7pm – FILM/ART: The Berkshire Museum is screening National Gallery (2014), a film that takes you inside the National Gallery in London. See and learn about the works on display in the museum through hearing docents lead tours, seeing restorers at work, and listening in on administrative meetings. This film offers a great opportunity to see the ins and outs of the National Gallery, see its most famous works, and learn how it operates. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

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Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Monday, December 22, 1:30pm & 7pm – FILM/ART: The Berkshire Museum is screening National Gallery (2014), a film that takes you inside the National Gallery in London. See and learn about the works on display in the museum through hearing docents lead tours, seeing restorers at work, and listening in on administrative meetings. This film offers a great opportunity to see the ins and outs of the National Gallery, see its most famous works, and learn how it operates. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Monday, December 22, 4pm – HANUKKAH: The West Springfield Park and Recreation Department presents the annual Chanukah Celebration today in the Majestic Theater Lobby Cafe. Celebrate Hanukkah with community members at this special event. 413-263-3284. Elm Street. West Springfield, MA.

Monday, December 22, 4pm – HANUKKAH/DIY: Preschoolers and their families can make their own Hanukkah candles with the Springfield Jewish Community Center! This is a fun hands-on project that will be useful during the Hanukkah holiday. 413-739-4715. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA.

Monday, December 22, 4pm-5pm – TEEN TIME: Teens can hang out at the Springfield Central Library‘s Teen Time, which gives teens a chance to talk about their interests with their peers and do activities. There will also be a chance for teens to make some festive solstice snacks. 413-263-6828 x471. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Monday, December 22, 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 22, 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. ($$)

Monday, December 22, 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. ($$$)

ONGOING FOR MONDAY (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 23rd, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 11am-12noon & 1pm-2pm – CHEMISTRY: Be a mad scientist at the Berkshire Museum! Along with the help of the museum’s very own crazy chemist, kids can learn how to do exciting and surprising (and safe!) experiments with regular household materials. Kitchen Kaboom! is totally kid-safe, but adults must accompany participating scientists. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE with museum admission)

Tuesday, December 23, 2pm – FILM/CHRISTMAS: Enjoy a screening of Frank Capra’s classic Christmas film, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) at Amherst Cinema this holiday season. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

Tuesday, December 23, 3pm-4:30pm – VIDEO GAMES: Teens and tweens can drop into the Brightwood Library‘s video games event. Come play Wii games with friends and enjoy snacks. 413-263-6805. 359 Plainfield Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)

Tuesday, December 23, 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 23, 5pm – HANUKKAH: Celebrate Hanukkah with Deerfield Arts Bank at their lighting of the menorah on the 8th night of Hanukkah. Rabbi Ben Weiner of Deerfield will light the candles and there will be traditional Hanukkah songs, dreidels, and more. Bring a menorah if you have one. 413-665-0123. 3 Sugarloaf Street. South Deerfield, MA.

Tuesday, December 23, 6pm – CIRCUS: The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents the Big Apple Circus in HD – Metamorphosis. Enjoy this thrilling circus performance from New York on the big screen. There will be classic circus stunts that will entertain the whole family. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street. Great Barrington, MA. ($$)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS (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 the Dickinson 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 2nd 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 24th, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 10am-2pm – 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 24, 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 24, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: 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. ($$)

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Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Winter Bucket List Ice Skating in Western MA

Thursday, December 25, 12:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES: Explore Israel with Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy on December 25. Families can play games, do crafts, enjoy food, and hear stories, all related to Israel. 413-567-8665. 1148 Converse Street. Longmeadow, MA.

Thursday, December 25, 5pm-11pm – HOLIDAY LIGHTS: 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. ($$)

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Friday, December 26th, 2014

Friday, December 26, 3:30pm-5:30pm – MARIONETTES: Puppeteer Carl Sprague will present a marionette production of “Sleeping Beauty” at Ventfort Hall. Learn about antique puppets at this exciting show. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. ($)

Friday, December 26, 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 26, 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. ($$-$$$)

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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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