Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA, 2017

Smart Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall

See our Black Friday special segment on Mass Appeal: Click Here. Also, download a copy of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western MA for Nov/Dec. (38 page PDF) for the holiday season.

The Carle Museum Bookshop Holiday Sale! Shop local and save 15-50% off Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26 on unique toys, art supplies, and books signed by your favorite authors and artists. The museum has items for the whole family—picture book art t-shirts, tote bags, even Very Hungry Caterpillar socks and The Pigeon socks! They make it easy. Enjoy free parking. There is no admission price to shop in what Parents’ Choice calls “the very best bookstore for picture books in the entire world.” Become a member and save an additional 15% off. Save this weekend at The Carle – and give books – the gift that keeps on giving. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 W. Bay Road, Amherst, MA.

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

People have been skating on ice for many hundreds of years, although this “early” skating was pragmatic rather than recreational. “Skate” is derived from the Dutch word “schaats,” which means leg bone, as the first skates were simply lengths of animal bone strapped to the bottom of boots. When wood, and then iron, blades were introduced as a replacement to bone, skaters gained more control and speed, and skating for sport and fun began to rise. Our local skating culture traces its roots to Scottish immigrants, who brought skates with them when they resettled in the U.S., and can be a great topic to explore on and off the ice while learning about world and New England culture and history. Find local skating resources in our post, 24 Ice Skating Rinks in Western Mass.

Friday, November 24, 10am-4pm
Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back at least 2,000 years with origins in Jerusalem, spreading to the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC. Originally, the craft of blowing glass was used for utilitarian purposes, like containers, table wear and window glass. It wasn’t until the late 60′s that glassblowing was raised to the level of art. This weekend families can try glassblowing hands-on at Snow Farm. Make your own glass ornament with the help of a master glass blower in the glass studio. This program is suitable for ages eight and up. 413-268-3101. 5 Clary Road. Williamsburg, MA. ($$)

Friday, November 24, 10am-7pm
Kick off the holiday season with the Springfield Museums! Starting at 11am is the Spirit of Springfield Big Balloon Parade, led by the giant Cat in the Hat balloon, the Spirit of Springfield parade will travel Main Street from Lyman Street to Locust Street at 11 am. Kick off the holiday season with the Springfield Museums. At 11am is the Spirit of Springfield Big Balloon Parade led by the giant Cat in the Hat balloon Travel from the parade to the Museums for a day filled with family-friendly, fun activities. See amazing gingerbread creations by local bakeries, schools, adults, and kids displayed along with festively decorated holiday trees, enchanting lights, and a backdrop of beautifully painted murals celebrating popular sci-fi and the wonders of astronomy. Meet the Grinch, the furry green recluse who lives above Whoville, sing carols, support interest with museum displays, and so much more. The Lighting of the Quadrangle happens at 5pm. The spectacular architecture and beautifully landscaped grounds of the Quadrangle will sparkle and shimmer against a dazzling outdoor lighting display. This festive holiday celebration features appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch, rides on a fanciful train, performances of holiday music by the Sci Tech Band and special guests, visits to the Gingerbread in Space exhibition and free warm cider and cookies! 413-263-6800. Springfield Museums, 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA (FREE w/Museum Admission)

Friday, November 24, 11am
Go Green on Black Friday! Hike the “Little Tom” ridge from Bray Lake to a scenic vista overlooking the Pioneer Valley. The hike is approximately 2.5 miles round-trip at a moderate pace on rolling, uneven terrain with one short very steep section. Meet the DCR Regional Educator at 11am at the Bray Lake Warming Hut, near the park’s Route 5 entrance in Holyoke. 617-699-2387. Mount Tom State Reservation, Holyoke, MA.

Friday, November 24, 4-9pm
Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls will once again kick off the holiday season. The popular annual “festival of lights” features thousands of luminaria lighting up the village filled with an eclectic variety of stores, galleries, and restaurants offering special holiday promotions, in-store treats, and holiday cheer. Vendors from across the valley contribute a rich assortment of items, including baked goods, maple products hand-crafted in the region, arts and crafts, delicious food, and hot drinks. The Iron Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic creating a pedestrian mall so shoppers can stroll back and forth across the Deerfield River enjoying events and shops on both sides of the river. At 5:15pm, shortly after the town officially lights up, the Parade of Lights will begin in Buckland across from Lamson Factory Outlet Store, featuring Santa, the Grinch and Max, Clifford, and the Snow Princess. The Parade marches down Conway Street, through the Village of Buckland and then crosses the Iron Bridge into Shelburne. Santa and Mrs. Claus continue to Santa’s Workshop at the Shelburne-Buckland Senior Center on Main Street. 413-625-2526. Shelburne Falls, MA (FREE)




3 Comments on “Black Friday Alternatives to the Mall in Western MA, 2017

  1. So glad you found it! And SO glad that Hilltown Families can be a part of your holidays being happier :-D

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! It’s as if you read my mind. I don’t care for the holidays becoming an exercise in materialism. However, I’ve noticed I’ve become caught up in the ridiculousness of acquiring stuff, just fir the sake of it.
    Skating sounds like fun, as does glassblowing.
    Thanks! Happy Holidays!

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