Weekly Suggested Events for December 3-9, 2022
Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!
Scroll down to discover featured events, learning opportunities, and educational videos to support learning from home. And be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter so you never miss out!
SUGGESTED EVENTS: DECEMBER 3-9, 2022
SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING IDEAS
COMMUNITY-BASED EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
Featured Events, Resources, & Opportunities
The Connecticut Trolley Museum’s Annual Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights begins Nov 25 and will be held from 5-9pm on Fri-Sun nights through Dec 23. Additionally, the Museum will be open from Dec 26-30. Halls are decked both inside & outside. Trolley cars transport guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas Carols with their trolley car operators. For an open-air view of the “Tunnel of Lights,” enjoy a sleigh car lit up with holiday lights. The Visitor Center is decorated as a Winter Wonderland with model train layouts & lights galore. Admission: $15-$20. Ticket sales must be made in advance: www.ct-trolley.org. Other events include Picture with Santa on 11/25 & Storytime Trolley with Santa & his Elf on 12/3 & 12/10.
On Thursday, December 8 at 9:30am, the Smith College Museum of Art, partnering with Northampton Public School’s Early Childhood Center, is pleased to offer this second in a series of thematic stroller tours. The December 8 Stroller Tour theme is LIGHT. This event, for caregivers with infants in tow, is designed to connect caregivers and build community through art. Register here: https://bit.ly/3haOmnq. Drop-ins welcome. Smith College Museum of Art. 413-585-2760. 20 Elm Street at Bedford Terrace. Northampton, MA. [Image: James Wells Champney, Boon Companions (detail), 1879. Painting.]
Award-winning touring troupe Piti Theatre Company & Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association bring the 6th annual Great Greenfield DinoFest back to town on December 10 & 11. Blending science, arts, and history, DinoFest 2022 features Piti’s local history-inspired movie “Night at the Deerfield Museum,” fossils with experts, a webinar by a budding 10-year-old paleontologist, Dino Improv, and a preview of Piti Theatre’s next improv-based show “Once Upon a . . . Dino.” Events kick off at 11am at the Garden Cinema in Greenfield, MA. Admission is free. More at ptco.org/dino. Questions: email@example.com
Smith Vocational High School in Northampton offers a FREE training program in Culinary Arts to prepare students over 18yo to work in the restaurant industry as entry-level prep cooks or line cooks. Students will also complete a 40-hour paid externship. Possible employment opportunities will exist in area restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and other environments where food prep is required. To qualify, students must be unemployed/underemployed, complete all required documentation with Smith Voc Career Center, pass a CORI/SORI test, and be a resident of Western MA. Classes begin January 17 & end June 13, 2023. Open house December 14 from 4-5:30pm. Contact Lorena Turner, Adult Ed Director, for more info 413-587-1414 x3530.
Hancock Holiday Nights
Hancock Shaker Village
Hancock Holiday Nights are back with more nights, lights, and wonder. Stroll outdoors across the farm at Hancock Shaker Village to view artist Joe Wheaton’s stunning video projections on several historic buildings, including the iconic Round Stone Barn and Brick Dwelling in Pittsfield, MA. Enter the kitchen of the Brick Dwelling and the Round Stone Barn to see stabled farm animals reminiscent of the first Nativity. Shop for holiday gifts, make simple crafts, and gather for festive spirits by the fire. See the season, and Hancock Shaker Village, in a whole new light. Takes place on select evenings throughout December from 5-8pm. Member discounts and free for children five and under. For info and to buy tickets, visit their website.
Christmas by Candlelight
Old Sturbridge Village
Experience old cherished traditions and create new ones as you celebrate the season during Christmas by Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village! Explore the beautifully decorated Village, watch a nightly lighting ceremony, stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail and Christmas Wish Bridge, watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, visit with Santa, taste samples of sweet treats, enjoy live music and storytelling, and so much more. Visit osv.org to learn more and purchase your tickets in advance.
The Academy at Charlemont
The Academy at Charlemont is a community-oriented independent day school for grades 6-PG. For over 40 years, Academy students have become engaged learners and articulate leaders through small classes, rigorous coursework, diverse electives in the arts and beyond, inclusive athletics, personalized advising, and student leadership. Visit The Academy’s campus along the Deerfield River and learn more from students and faculty at their Open House on Sunday, December 4th, from 1-3pm. Generous financial aid and daily round-trip bus service from Amherst, Northampton, and the Hilltowns are available. Ready to learn more about The Academy family for your family?
Preregister for their Open House online: www.charlemont.org/open-houses-2022
Welcome Yule: A Midwinter Celebration
Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls
Welcome Yule, an annual Mid Winter Celebration takes place at Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Dec 9-10 at 7:30pm & Dec 11 at 2pm. This year, Welcome Yule will weave in English, Scottish and Celtic traditions of Yule, Hogmanay, and Imbolc, with Brigid, who raises the fallen Winter and brings forth new life in Spring. Share in the magic of the ancient, eerie Abbots Bromley horn dance, giant puppetry, and the passing of the Yule log. Tickets on sale at the door, at sheatheater.org, World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, Broadside Books in Northampton, and Amherst Books in Amherst. Adults (17-64): $15, Seniors (65+) & children (5-16): $12, Children under 5: FREE. Thank you for wearing a mask! Learn more: https://linktr.ee/welcomeyule
Pioneer Valley Ballet
Celebrating its 50th year, Pioneer Valley Ballet presents The Nutcracker, an annual favorite at The Academy of Music in Northampton. Each year, PVB’s Nutcracker is reinvented by Artistic Directors Maryanne Kodzis and Thomas Vacanti, celebrating the history of the company and the tradition of Clara’s magical story. In addition to PVB dancers and local community members, this year’s performance will feature guest artists from Carolina Ballet for the first time since 2019. Join them as they celebrate 50 years of Pioneer Valley Ballet! On Friday, December 9, there will be a Sensory Safe performance at 4pm and PVB’s 50th Anniversary Performance at 6:30pm. Weekend Performances December 10 & 11 at 1pm & 4:30pm Purchase tickets at aomtheatre.com.
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in South Hadley, MA, is committed to supporting the Artist in every student! Students from over 50 towns in Grades 7-12 thrive in an arts-centered, creative, challenging learning environment. No tuition or audition is required. They are now accepting applications for grades 7-11 for the 2023/24 school year at www.pvpa.org/admissions. Application deadline: February 10, 2023. Lottery: February 17, 2023. Limited seats available for the 2nd semester of the 2022/23 school year. Applications will be accepted for Grades 7, 10 & 11 until January 2, 2023. Lottery: January 6, 2023. Students will start by January 31, 2023. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
FEATURED COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Holyoke Community College
Students interested in saving time and money can earn three college credits in just 11 days during the Holyoke Community College Wintersession. Wintersession is the perfect opportunity to complete college prerequisites and lighten spring course loads for students who want to earn college credit during the January break. Registration is due by Dec. 28, 2022, for classes that begin on Dec. 29. Holyoke Community College credits are affordable, and you can take your credits with you. (Many of their classes easily transfer to other institutions. Check-in with your receiving college or university for details.) hcc.edu/wintersession
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Community Music School of Springfield
Make music with the Community Music School of Springfield! CMSS offers high-quality music instruction for students of all ages and levels with flexible scheduling and a choice of online or in-person learning. Whether you’re just starting or are a seasoned musician, CMSS takes the time to match you with a teacher who will connect with you while helping you accomplish your personal musical goals. Offering instruction in over 30 instruments and voice, their registration team can help you decide whether to rent or purchase your instrument. Getting started is easy – your future music lesson is a click or a phone call away! More info: www.communitymusicschool.com
FEATURED MUSIC SCHOOL
Berkshire Music School
Give the gift of music this holiday season with a private lesson package from the Berkshire Music School! The Holiday Private Lesson Package includes four 30-minute lessons, free instrument rental, waived membership fee, and a BMS tote bag, all for $154! Your loved ones can enjoy private lessons in-person at Berkshire Music School’s historic campus in Pittsfield or online from the comfort of their home. Berkshire Music School lessons are offered in all band and orchestra instruments, including voice and theory, for students of all levels and ages. For more information on how to register, visit the Berkshire Music School website: www.berkshiremusicschool.org.
Questions? Call 413-442-1411 or email email@example.com
See Your Ad Here
Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
List of Weekly Suggested Events
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Gingerbread Houses
Is there anything better than the sound of children happily discussing whether gumdrops or gummy bears make for better foliage in a confectionery garden? Grown-up architects debating the merits of Lifesavers vs. melted lollipops to convey gothic stained glass? The hum of conversation and laughter as designers of all ages bring their inspiration and creativity to bear on gingerbread walls, roofing material, and piles of buttercream mortar? – Building a gingerbread house is a fantastic way to include creative folks of all ages in creating a delicious, well-engineered work of art, along with skills in architectural design, engineering, geometry, communication, and collaboration.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Christmas Trees
The Christmas tree offers a lens for learning about history, agriculture, botany, cultural heritage, and much more. This time of year, get curious with your kids and explore these topics. Discover how families might have historically decorated a Christmas Tree with candles and cookies at one of our living history museums. Visit a local Christmas tree farm to learn how they are grown while noting the various shapes of the needles of different trees. These are points of entry for using the Christmas tree as your catalyst for learning this holiday season!
MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Wreaths
During the holiday season, locally harvested evergreen branches of evergreens, like balsam and white pine, are often wrapped around lampposts or circled together on front doors, bank lobbies, libraries, and town halls. Where else might you see wreaths? Why wreaths? Why branches of evergreen? Are there other times of the year wreaths might appear? Getting curious, asking questions, and finding answers can guide self-directed learning toward discovering community traditions, symbolism and meaning, history, and arrangement methods. Notice where you see a large wreath display in your community. How did it get there? Is the wreath hanging in your town center or above the grand entrance of a learning institution an annual appearance dating back decades? Want to learn how to make an evergreen wreath? Look for classes and workshops at schools, garden clubs, and even historical museums. Lessons in history, plant botany, and methods of floral arranging are embedded in the process.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Generosity & Gratitude
The holiday season is a time of generosity, with gestures of abundance played out through our community landscape. Nature is generous, leaving our open fields and meadows with a plethora of grass and wildflower seeds feeding wildlife in the winter and delivering a promise to summer pollinators. The cultivated land is generous, providing a cornucopia of locally grown food from the late harvest. People are generous, volunteering and spreading kindness during the holiday season. Family and friends are generous, sharing recipes and stories during holiday dinners. And the community is generous, creating a shared history together during annual community meals. During this month, at least two common threads run through these gestures of generosity. The first of which is food! Integrating community engagement opportunities centered around food with curiosity and compassion can help to strengthen our connection to place by being fully present in the moment and open to those with whom we share our lives… and our meals! Read more in our post, November: A Month of Generosity.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Music Studies/Gamelan Music
Did you know that Gamelan music is the traditional musical ensemble of the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia? In the Javanese language, the word “gamelan” means “to strike with a mallet,” If you’ve ever had the chance to hear this amazing music, you’ll know why: the ensemble is made up almost entirely of percussive instruments! According to Indonesian mythology, the gamelan was created thousands of years ago by an ancient king who invented the gong to summon the gods. The impact of this beautiful music has been felt worldwide, and several well-known Western composers were so struck by it that they incorporated gamelan elements into their music.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Matryoshka Dolls
The Matryoshka, or nesting doll, is a distinctly Russian handicraft. Incorrectly referred to as “babushka dolls,” matryoshka were first created by Russian craftsmen in the late 19th century and often portray characters from Russian folklore or Soviet history. It is unknown where the inspiration for the doll originally came from, though the first matryoshka artists were heavily influenced by traditional crafts and dolls from China and Japan. For example, the Japanese Seven Lucky Gods nesting doll may be an early instance of the matryoshka.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2022
Self-Directed Learning: Language Art/Emily Dickinson
Born December 10, 1830, this Dec 10 is Emily Dickinson’s birthday. By the time Emily Dickinson turned 35 that year, she had produced nearly 2,000 poems we know today. By the time Emily Dickinson turned 35 that year, she had produced nearly 2,000 poems we know today. When you visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, you’ll step into the creative space of one of America’s greatest poets. The Museum includes the Homestead, where Emily Dickinson was born and lived most of her life; The Evergreens, home of the poet’s brother and his family; and three acres of the original Dickinson property in the center of Amherst, MA. While Dickinson wrote most of her poems in her upstairs bedroom, these environments deeply inspired her work. Poems like “Bee, I’m expecting you!” reflect Dickinson’s love of nature. The flowers, birds, animals, and insects that shared her Amherst surroundings were the source of many of her poems, a great way to connect via language arts and the seasons of Western MA.
Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.
Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Amherst, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.