Suggested Events for December 16th – 22nd, 2017

Hilltown Families List of Weekly Suggested Events

To find out about more event, be sure to visit our Suggest an Event Bulletin Board to see what our readers have recently shared! Have an event to share? Feel encouraged to self-post community events here at any time!

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program, or service-learning opportunity happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our Suggest An Event bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness, and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools, and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Click HERE to find out more.

Hilltown Families’ Events:

Jan 1

On New Year’s Day (Jan 1), Hilltown Families and the Flywheel Arts Collective are continuing the beloved ‘Morning Music Party’ series for another year with a breakfast bash featuring food, dancing and diversions for kids! This year, we are starting off this family series on New Year’s Day, January 1, with a First Day Morning Music Party from 10am-12noon in Easthampton, MA. Come enjoy a breakfast bash featuring free pancakes and an awesome dance party for all ages! It takes place at Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton’s old Town Hall. This event is a fundraiser for both Flywheel & Hilltown Families, with a “pay what you can” admission to attend with your family. So much cheaper than a night out on the town and just as much fun!

Bulletin Board

Dec 8-20

The Polar Express Movie at South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. Enjoy a family adventure on The Polar Express this holiday season. Tower Theaters will host a limited run of the classic movie, The Polar Express, from December 8th through 20th. Tom Hanks stars in this inspiring adventure based on the beloved children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. Tickets for all shows are just $5 and includes a special treat for all young guests. Great for families, school, and youth groups for a low-cost holiday outing. Showtimes can be found at www.towertheaters.com.

Dec 16

It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker! Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! Dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Curtains will rise in the Amherst Regional High School auditorium at 1pm and 5pm. Tickets are available online or at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, Amherst). A 21st Century Nutcracker. Let’s play with tradition!

Dec 16

Save the Date! This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event on Saturday, December 16th at 3pm at the Academy of Music, Northampton. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com.

Dec 17

Sunday, December 17th, Congregation B’nai Israel will host a Chanukah celebration alongside local musicians Nerissa and Katryna Nields. Communal candle lighting will begin at 5:15pm – folks are encouraged to bring a menorah if they can! Afterwards, the Nields sisters will lead everyone in some music of peace, justice, and resistance, followed by a catered dinner. Anyone is warmly welcomed to attend, including people of all ages and interfaith individuals and families. CBI is located at 253 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children under 12. For more information, contact Rabbi Jacob Fine at rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org. RSVP here: cbinorthampton.org

Central Rock Gym in Hadley is offering Climbing Vacation Programs during school breaks! Great for ages 7-13, our program focuses on climbing for all skill levels, and includes an emphasis on problem solving and team building initiatives. Throughout their week, children will have the opportunity to experiment with different types of climbing, and engage in exciting games and group activities. Email youth.crghadley@gmail.com for info. www.centralrockgym.com

Dec 27 & 28

SHOW Circus Studio announces two days of Winter Circus Camp for children ages 7-12 this December in Easthampton: December 27 and 28. These day camps will run from 9am-3pm and will cover all aspects of circus including trapeze, fabric, juggling, tightwire, acrobatics, human pyramids, stretching, strength, & circus games/activities. A great way to spend winter break! Cost: $75/day. For registration & more information please visit www.showcircusstudio.com.

The Common School, serving children ages 3-12, is accepting applications for Fall 2018. The Common School’s mission is to develop strong academic and social skills while nurturing each child’s love of learning, respect and compassion for others, and a deep commitment to the natural world. The Common School provides admissions tours Monday through Friday. To make an appointment, please contact Dana Kadish, Director of Admissions at outreach@commonschool.org or visit their website at www.commonschool.org.

Add your class

Hilltown Families has put together an After-School Classes & Enrichment Programs Directory of classes and programs happening across Western Massachusetts throughout the school year. Our community is rich in learning opportunities to supplement the interests of children, teens, and life-long learners and our directory makes it easier to find these gems while connecting families with resources that support their interests and education. — Have a class or program you’d like to include in our directory? Click here to find out how to have it added. New and updated opportunities are added throughout the year.

Add your school

Hilltown Families Preschool Directory: Are you looking for a preschool that fits your child’s personality and reflects your family’s values? Check out our growing Preschool Directory, covering all four counties in Western Massachusetts, and find the perfect place for your young one! — Have a school you’d like to include in this list? Click here to find out how to have it added.

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

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community-building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish, and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
December 16 – 22, 2017

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

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

Donate Now Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming 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. Kick off the holidays with Mister G on this week’s HFVS. Broadcasting from his recording studio deep in the woods of Western MA, the Latin GRAMMY Award winner and previous contributing writer for Hilltown Families serves up a multicultural musical feast featuring holiday classics by Ray Charles, B.B. King, Johnny Cash along with tracks by fellow children’s musicians. It’s a fiesta for the ears! 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 select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Saturday, December 16, 10am-12pm
PLACEMAKING/HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
All around the world there is a wide range of rituals for welcoming Santa Claus. While we may be familiar with the custom of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, other cultures celebrate this Christmas icon in very different ways. For instance, in England and Australia it is customary to leave Santa mince pies and a glass of beer! And in the Netherlands, children leave out their shoes and fill them with hay and carrots for Santa’s reindeer. However you celebrate Santa, come gather at the Easthampton Family Center for stories, games, crafts, and treats. For more information please call 413-527-5496. Flywheel. Easthampton, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 16, 10am-12pm
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING/CODING
Interested in learning coding? Data science is an important part of the modern world. From gaming to economics, coding is tremendously relevant. “Holyoke Codes” is dedicated to bringing the world of coding to our area with accessible educational events and workshops. This event will focus on solving problems with the Python coding language, a popular and easy to use format. You will learn how to work with datasets in both visual and text-based platforms. For more information visit Holyoke Codes. This event is appropriate for children aged 11 and above. Holyoke, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 16, 10:30am
SKILLSHARE/BOOK MAKING
The word book comes to us from the ancient Germanic word “bok,” which mean “beech.” It is thought that this is because ancient books were carved on pieces of beech wood. Since then, of course, the book has transformed into a variety of forms; clay tablets, scrolls, and the codex, which is the first form of our modern books. Come learn how to make a book yourself at this exciting workshop and give someone special a unique gift this holiday season that they will never forget. At this workshop you will learn how to make accordion or flower style books and fill them with stories or poems, along side professional artists. For more information and to register please visit Multi-Arts. This event is appropriate for children 4-12. Immanuel Lutheran Church. Amherst, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Saturday, December 16, 10:30am-12:00pm
CULINARY ARTS/ARCHITECTURE
The world’s biggest gingerbread house is located north of Houston, Texas and stands 21-feet high. This massive construction covers 2,520 square feet, about the size of a tennis court! The process of making it required 7,200 eggs alone. The only problem is that the builders didn’t consider that all the sugar would attract bees so the site tends to be swarming with them. If you’d like to try your hand at gingerbread house construction, this is your chance. This drop in workshop will teach you how to design and construct your delicious building project. For details see Meekins Library. Meekins Library. Williamsburg, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 16, 11:30am
BALLET/CHRISTMAS
The Wisteriahurst estate was originally owned by local silk magnate William Skinner and it remained in the Skinner family until 1959, when it was donated to the city of Holyoke to be used as an educational and cultural center. This holiday season come see a unique interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s legendary Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker” performed in this lavish historic setting. For more information and to order tickets please visit Wistariahurst. Holyoke, MA ($)

Saturday, December 16, 12pm
PLACEMAKING/CAROLING
Did you know that people have been singing Christmas carols since the 4th century? In fact, the carol “Of the Father’s Heart Begotten,” written by the Roman poet Prudentius is still sung in churches today! You might not be familiar with that one but come down to the Amherst common and sing your heart out (to more well-known carols) with members of the community. Music will be provided but these are songs that most people probably already know by heart. No singing or musical experience needed! Feel free to bring bells, whistles, kazoos, and any other instruments you might have around the house. For details see Amherst Downtown. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 16, 1pm
SELF DIRECTED LEARNING/LITERARY STUDIES
The brilliant and tragic life of celebrated neo-expressionist American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is like something out of storybook. Growing up on the streets of New York City, Basquiat went from being homeless to selling paintings for tens of thousands of dollars in just a few short years. His radical approach to mixing graffiti and poetry with other mediums, as well as his commitment to social justice, continues to inspire young artists decades after his untimely death at the age of 27. At this special lecture, award winning author and illustrator Javaka Steptoe discusses the research that went into writing and illustrating his Caldecott Award winning 2017 book Radiant Child: The Story of Jean-Michel Basquiat. For more information visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Amherst, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Saturday, December 16, 1pm
BALLET/CHRISTMAS
When Tchaikovsky’s now-legendary ballet “The Nutcracker” debutted in Saint Petersburg in 1892, it was surprisingly unpopular. But since the 1960s it has become massively popular. In fact, up to 40% of the ticket revenue generated by contemporary ballet companies comes from performances of “The Nutcracker!” With Tchaikovsky’s captivating music and the magical dream-like libretto written by Prussian Romantic author E.T.A Hoffman, it’s easy to see why this ballet has become so famous. This holiday season attend a special screening of “The Nutcracker” performed by the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, shown in sparkling High Definition. And after the screening, stick around for an elegant tea party. For more information and to reserve tickets please visit the Clark Art Institute. The Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA ($)

Saturday, December 16, 1pm
DANCE/CHRISTMAS
It’s A 21st Century Nutcracker! Join The Center Dance in Amherst on Saturday, December 16th for an exciting spin on a wintertime classic! Dance styles from across the globe (and right next door!) set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Tickets are available online or at The Center Dance Studio (321 Main Street, Amherst). A 21st Century Nutcracker. Let’s play with tradition! Amherst Regional High School Auditorium. Amherst, MA ($)

Saturday, December 16, 1-7pm
WINTER FESTIVAL/CHRISTMAS
This holiday season the Shops at Marketplace in Springfield transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland! There will be something for the whole family at this exciting local event, featuring face painting, ice carving, a visit from Santa, and delicious food and drink. It’s all topped off with a performance from local singer Michelle Brooks Thompson. Proceeds go to Unify Against Bullying. For more information visit Winterfest on Market Street. Springfield, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 16, 2pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Saturday, December 16, 3pm
DANCE STUDIES/IRISH DANCE
This holiday season, experience the beloved story of The Nutcracker told through Celtic Dance. A Celtic Nutcracker will beautifully blend the Tchaikovsky score with live Celtic music and original choreography by the Celtic Heels Dance Company Director, Cara Leach. Bring your family to this one showing event. Featuring the Celtic Heels Irish Dance Company and live music this is sure to become a family tradition for anyone who loves the Nutcracker or Celtic Dance! Tickets are $12-20. Information can be found at www.ACelticNutcracker.com. Academy of Music Theater. Northampton, MA ($$)

Saturday, December 16, 2-5:30pm
SKILLSHARE/SUSTAINABILITY
Looking for creative ways to reduce your waste and garbage? For more than a decade the Bag Share project has been turning old bags and materials into beautiful handmade bags! This keeps hundreds of pounds of waste out of landfills and eliminates the need for disposable bags. This special holiday event will feature a bag making workshop, with a new no-sew method that uses folding and grommets to make a sturdy bag in just minutes. Holiday snacks and beverages are most welcome. For more details see The Bag Share Project. Cummington Community Sewing Center. Cummington, MA (FREE)

Saturday, December 16, 6:30pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTER SOLSTICE
Ancient sites such as Stonehenge demonstrate the incredible importance of the Winter Solstice to the people of the Northern Hemisphere. All over the world, this time is marked by festivals and holidays, celebrating the passing of the seasons and the return of the Sun. In Iran, people also celebrate the night and the darkness by coming together and singing, playing games, and eating. Keep the ancient tradition of the Winter Solstice alive with singing, storytelling, juggling, and goodies this holiday season. For more information see the Roundhouse. Shelburne-Buckland Community Center. Shelburne Falls, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores of 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 select from over 10 years of archived shows!

Sunday, December 17, 9am-2pm
COMMUNITY MEAL/BRUNCH WITH SANTA
Old Sturbridge Village’s Sunday brunch gets a special visitor on select dates – Santa! Brunch with Santa at the Oliver Wight Tavern at Old Sturbridge Village offers a large selection of brunch items and a chance for the little ones to meet Santa Claus. Please call 508-347-0397 to make reservations. Old Sturbridge Village. 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. Sturbridge, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 17, 10am-12pm
WORKSHOP/EXPERIMENTAL ART
The early 20th century Surrealists loved to play art games that functioned as a way of investigating ideas of art and pushing the boundaries of the process of creation. Games such as ‘exquisite corpse,’ where participants collaborate to produce a connected sequence of images and text, are still played by many. At this exciting workshop on experimental collaborative writing and drawing, members of the Royal Frog Ballet will draw on Surrealist games and other methods of dynamic creative storytelling. This event is appropriate for children 11 and above. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit The Royal Frog Ballet. A.P.E. Gallery. Northampton, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 17, 11am-3pm
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/HANUKKAH
Do you know what the connection is between olives and Hanukkah? Do you know how to play the dreidel game? Interested in learning how to make candles? This special Hanukkah event offers a wide variety of fun activities designed to further participants understand and appreciation of the Jewish winter holiday of Hanukkah! Hosted at the Springfield Museums, this is also an excellent way to explore what these amazing local resources have to offer. And you won’t want to miss a performance by incredibly local puppeteer Anna Sobel. For more information visit Springfield Jewish Community Center. Springfield Museums. Springfield, MA ($$)

Sunday, December 17, 2pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

Sunday, December 17, 3-6pm
HOLIDAY FESTIVAL/HANUKKAH
Hanukkah is a holiday that reconnects the past and the present, by keeping ancient traditions alive. It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. This family friendly Hanukkah festival evokes the warm childhood memories of candle light and holiday cheer with face painting, doughnuts, hot chocolate, live music, and local crafts. Also, you won’t want to miss the lighting of the public menorah! For more information visit The Jewish Federation of the Berkshires. Premium Lee Outlets. Lee, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 17, 4-5:45pm
PLACEMAKING/HANUKKAH
The Hanukkah menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum that represents the eight days of Hanukkah, with a ninth candle used to light the others. Each night, one of the eight candles is lit. The lighting candle, known as a shamash or “helper,” is off set from the others. While the nine candle menorah is used to celebrate Hanukkah, it is meant to represent the traditional seven candle menorah, which was placed in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Come learn about the ancient holiday of Hanukkah at the construction of a public, glow in the dark menorah! Also featuring traditional Hanukkah snacks. For more information visit Chanukah at Longmeadow Shops. Longmeadow, MA (FREE)

Sunday, December 17, 5pm
INTERGENERATIONAL/HOLIDAY CONCERT
The holidays are a time when messages of love and hope are most welcome. The cold weather and the darkness can take a toll on us. But few things are as restorative to the soul as gathering together with others and enjoying the gift of music. The Greenfield Harmony chorus will be singing a wide variety of inspiring songs from all around the world, including Bosnia, Bulgaria, Great Britain, South Africa, Rwanda, the Republic of Georgia, and the Appalachian region of the United States. For more information visit Greenfield Harmony. Wesley Methodist Church. Hadley, MA ($)

Sunday, December 17, 5:15pm
CONCERT/HANUKKAH
Congregation B’nai Israel will host a Chanukah celebration alongside local musicians Nerissa and Katryna Nields. Communal candle lighting will begin at 5:15pm – folks are encouraged to bring a menorah if they can! Afterwards, the Nields sisters will lead everyone in some music of peace, justice, and resistance, followed by a catered dinner. Anyone is warmly welcomed to attend, including people of all ages and interfaith individuals and families. CBI is located at 253 Prospect Street, Northampton, MA. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children under 12. For more information, contact Rabbi Jacob Fine at rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org. RSVP here: cbinorthampton.org. Northampton, MA ($)

Sunday, December 17, 5:30pm
PLACEMAKING/SANTA
Did you know that the origins of Santa lie in the pre-Christian history of Northern Europe? When the Germanic world was converted to Christianity many of the pagan rituals and symbols were incorporated into the new faith. Santa, for instance, is most likely derived from the pagan god Odin, who is known for his long white beard and riding his horse through the sky. As time went on Odin became transformed into Father Christmas and then to Santa Claus. Come meet Santa himself and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies at this special Santa Land event. For more information visit Buttery Brook Park. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: East Longmeadow, Pelham & Whately

Monday, December 18, 5:30-7:30pm
THEATER/HANUKKAH
Come learn about the Jewish winter holiday of Hanukkah with a delicious dinner and entertainment brought to you by the Motion Man. The dinner will feature traditional Hanukkah fair, including potato pancakes and special doughnuts. Dinner will followed by a ceremonial lighting of the Hanukkah candles, representing the presence of light even in the midst of winter. Then stick around for an exciting performance from the Motion Man, combining pantomime, improvisation, dancing, and bubbles. For more information please visit Chanukah in Motion. Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy. Longmeadow, MA ($)

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Belchertown, Cheshire, Easthampton, Florence, Gill, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hatfiled, Huntington, Lanesborough, Lee, Ludlow, New Salem, North Adams, Sheffield, Sunderland, Turners Falls, Ware & West Springfield.

VALUE-BASED ENGAGEMENT
Engaging in opportunities for collaborative consumption invites the acquisition of knowledge related to many themes through the authentic use of community-based resources and community members. Emphasizing togetherness, opportunities for collaborative consumption are often intergenerational, allowing young community members to work alongside and learn from people of all ages, sharing skills, stories, and knowledge. Additionally, collaborative consumption emphasizes cooperation, allowing families to learn how to work together and with others toward a shared goal of community resilience – the strength and cohesiveness to survive and thrive through challenges big and small. Read more about collaborative consumption in our post Collaborative Consumption: Learning How to be Resilient Supports Community-Based Education.

COMMUNITY-BASED RESOURCES
Though western Massachusetts isn’t known as a sports mecca, it’s filled with community–based resources for exploring sports and the history behind them. As the birthplace of at least two major sports and home to teams and clubs engaging in a great many more, the area offers a variety of ways to learn about sports of all kind. Read more in our post, Exploring Athletics and Sports History Through Community-Based Resources.

ICE SKATING
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 the world and New England culture and history. Find local skating resources in our post, 24 Ice Skating Rinks in Western Mass.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Athol, Becket, Belchertown, Bernardston, Cummington, Deerfield, East Longmeadow, Erving, Granby, Greenfield, Huntington, Leverett, Monson, New Marlborough, North Adams, Northampton, Sheffield, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield, Springfield, Turners Falls, Wendell, West Springfield, and Williamsburg.

Wednesday, December 20, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Click HERE to discover classes. Click HERE to find out about other community events. Click HERE to leave a comment about upcoming events.

Storyhour & Playgroups: Agawam, Amherst, Athol, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Florence, Gill, Greenfield, Hatfield, Huntington, Lee, Lenox, Millers Falls, Montague, Northampton, Sheffield, South Hadley, and Turners Falls.

Thursday, December 21, 7am & 3:30pm
WINTER SOLSTICE/ASTRONOMY
The Umass Amherst Sunwheel has attracted tens of thousands of visitors who wish to learn about solar and lunar cycles. Sunwheels, circular stone structures, are designed such that the stones line up with the locations on the horizon of the rising and setting Sun during solstices and equinoxes. You can witness this event during the Winter Solstice while also learning about the seasons, the phases of the moon, the story behind the building of the sunwheel, and more. Bring questions and dress appropriately. The gatherings last about one hour and are held in all weather except rain or blizzards. Amity Street. Amherst, MA. (DONATION)

Thursday, December 21, 3:30pm
WINTER SOLSTICE/HIKE
Perhaps the best way to beat the winter blues is to get out and move your body, which also gives you the opportunity to really enjoy the breathtaking seasonal beauty of New England in the winter. Celebrate the shortest day of the year this holiday season with a peaceful, meditative, silent hike through the D.A.R State Forest. This is a perfect way to connect with the changing of the seasons and embrace the magic, which makes the winter solstice such a special time. For more information and to RSVP, please visit Hilltowns Hiking Series. Goshen, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 21, 5:30pm
PLACEMAKING/WINTER SOLSTICE
The winter solstice has always been an important holiday for people in the northern hemisphere. On the shortest day of the year, people come together to eat, sing, and laugh together. Many of the world’s religions have an important holiday around this time, as it is symbolic of the cycles of the death and rebirth. Come celebrate this important time at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary with music and togetherness and build new traditions with your community! For more information visit Winter Solstice Celebration. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

Thursday, December 21, 5:30-7pm
HISTORY/WINTER SOLSTICE
The winter solstice is an important time to reflect on the changes and patterns within the natural world. And in doing so, to reflect on our own lives as well. Henry David Thoreau and William Cullen Bryant are two local writers who played a pivotal role in defining the literary trend of American romanticism, which used the natural world as a lens to view the inner life of the human soul. For both writers, winter was an important time and figures heavily in their works. This winter solstice event will feature readings from both authors as well as stories from other cultures. All followed up by bonfire and smores! For more information visit Winter Solstice Celebration. Windsor, MA (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Thursday, December 21, 6-8pm
MUSEUM ADVENTURES/SOLSTICE PAJAMA PARTY
The Eric Carle Museum is hosting a special pajama party to celebrate the longest night of the year! Get all snuggled up in your warmest PJs and head over to enjoy stories, nighttime themed art projects, and milk and cookies. This event also coincides with the “Art of Eric Carle: Night” exhibit, which highlights the enchanting nighttime scenes from some of Carle’s most best beloved books. As Carle says, “The calm moon is a source of comfort in the night.” For more information please visit Winter Solstice PJ Party. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Amherst, MA ($)

Thursday, December 21, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Storyhour & Playgroups: Amherst, Belchertown, Cummington, East Longmeadow, Easthampton, Florence, Granby, Great Barrington, Greenfield, Hadley, Housatonic, Longmeadow, Monson, Northampton, Pelham, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Stockbridge, and Sunderland.

Friday, December 22, 10:30-11:30am
NATURALIST STUDIES/STORYTIME
Deer are one of the most adaptable animals in our local ecosystem. Thanks to this, they are North America’s most common wild ungulate, or hoofed animal and their impact upon the environment is profound. Even in the deep New England winters, the White Tailed Deer knows how to survive. Come learn all about this fascinating and beautiful local creature through stories, games, and crafts. For more information visit Great Falls Discovery Center. This event is appropriate for children 3-6. Great Falls Discovery Center. Turners Falls, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 22, 2pm
FILM STUDIES/CHRISTMAS
The classic Christmas favorite It’s A Wonderful Life remains as relevant and culturally resonant now as it did when it was first released in 1946. George Bailey struggles to find a meaningful path that balances commitment to family and community with the dreams and desires of youth. This age old conflict is sympathetically portrayed and the film optimistically suggests that it is in the lives of others that our impact can most truly be felt. Come revisit this iconic film this holiday season with a special screening. For more details and ticket information visit Amherst Cinema. Amherst, MA ($)

Friday, December 22, 4pm
HISTORY/MUSIC STUDIES
Most of us are familiar with the classic Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” but have you ever wondered what it’s actually about? Why would anyone consider giving someone they loved a bunch of geese and swans as a Christmas present? It turns out that historians have puzzled over the meaning of this song for centuries. The song was first published in England in 1780 but that’s about where the historical consensus ends. Many scholars believe the song was derived from a children’s memory game but it has also been suggested that it was used as a catechism for children at a time when Catholicism was criminalized in England. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding this iconic song. Come learn all about the history and hidden meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” at this fascinating lecture with Doctor Thomas Bernard. To learn more visit Gaylord Public Library. Gaylord Public Library. South Hadley, MA (FREE)

Friday, December 22, 7pm
THEATER/CHRISTMAS
What does it mean to embrace the spirit of the season? How do our words and choices affect the lives of those around us? Explore these essential questions in the Berkshire Theatre Group’s annual performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The story follows miserly Mr. Scrooge as he encounters four spirits which help him discover the values which underlie Christmas celebrations. 413-997-4444. The Colonial Theatre, 111 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

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Hilltown Families’ list of Weekly Suggested Events is supported in part by a grant from the Amherst, Ashfield, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Conway, Erving, Heath, Holyoke, Ludlow, Montague, Montgomery, Pelham, Rowe, Russell, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Springfield, Ware, and Warwick Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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