‘Tis the season for stories. And what better way to share a story than snuggling up with your favorite kids and turning the pages of a beloved holiday book. Here are twenty suggestions for Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa!
Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights. For eight days, Jewish families light one more candle of the eight that create the menorah each evening. In Western Massachusetts there are many places to explore the traditions of Hanukkah and Jewish culture through community events and local museums. Bring your family to celebrate while participating and learning about customs of the holiday.
Holiday events happening across the region. We’ll be adding to this list each week, so check back!
Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts is a bimonthly publication produced by Hilltown Families that sheds light on embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.
With these downloadable seasonal itineraries, self-directed teens, lifelong learners, and families are encouraged to engage together in cultural opportunities that support similar interests, resulting in a shared history, strengthening sense of place.
Looking through a seasonal lens, our Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for November and December includes…
Find out about family holiday events in Western MA with our comprehensive list of non-commercial holiday events!
Find out about family holiday events in Western MA! We’ll be adding to this list as the month progresses, so be sure to check back each week! — Remember to mark your calendars and get ready to support Hilltown Families on Valley Gives Day: December 10th!
We’re building a comprehensive list of family holiday events happening in Western MA, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice. Arranged according to date, county or type of event, families are sure to find the perfect holiday event for the season to share with the kids or to take visiting relatives to. Find out about community tree lighting events, visits by Santa, holiday strolls, places to MYO gifts, caroling and choral music and more!
Beneski Museum to MASS MoCA. Storytelling to Marionettes. Hansel & Gretel to Stone Soup. Classical Music to Chemistry… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out… Read More
Boreal Forest to Kitchen Science. Papercrafts to Winter Crafts. Symphony to Contra Dance… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library! NATURE… Read More
Quarry Hikes to Animal Adaptations. Victorian Crafts to Holiday Traditions. Winter Yule to The Nutcracker… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public… Read More
Chanukah Celebrations & Performances Celebrate and learn about Chanukah with the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst! On Sunday, December 9th, the Center is hosting a day full of music, dance, theater, and art, all centered around teaching and learning about the story of Chanukah and the traditions that accompany the holiday. The most exciting part of the event, however, is that participants in the day’s workshops will learn songs, dances, and maybe… Read More
Holiday Books ‘Tis the season for stories. And what better way to share a story than snuggling up with your favorite kids and turning the pages of a beloved holiday book. Here are twenty suggestions for Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Some are brand new books and some are not-so-new favorites, but all are sure to get you and your kids into the holiday spirit. The Polar Express written and illustrated by… Read More
Watch a Little Dreydl Spin! December is such an exciting time of year as folks prepare for holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. For those who are celebrating Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights, there are goodies to prepare, a menorah to light with it’s eight special candles, relatives to greet and a wonderful little game to play based on a top that spins, called the dreydl (or dreidel). So why… Read More
Mama Doni Brings The Heart of Chanukah to the Hilltown Family Variety Show On Saturday, Dec 17th, 9-10am Hot on the heels of a tremendously successful summer tour, the fall/winter Mama Doni National Tour has begun! Parents’ Choice Award winner, Mama Doni is thrilled to come home for the holidays, highlighting the Chanukah season with a number of festive concerts in December, and she’ll also be “Guest DJ” for a special “Heart… Read More
Hanukkah in Western MA If you aren’t Jewish, Hanukkah may be the only Jewish holiday you’ve ever heard of. But in fact, it’s a relatively minor holiday. It falls into the surprisingly large category of Jewish holidays which can be neatly summarized as follows: someone tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. In this case, the “someone” refers to Antiochus, a ruler in ancient Israel who prohibited the practice of Judaism…. Read More
Eco-Friendly Holiday’s (Web Reviews) Hanukkah: Let There Be (Renewable) Light: A New Look at Hanukkah This site considers “the connection between Hanukkah [Festival of Lights], energy use, and the environment,” and provides “holiday tips and resources for families, schools, and congregations to infuse Hanukkah celebrations with additional meaning,” and “tips for what you can do save energy in your congregation/school and at home.” Includes a “CFL installation ceremony,” an essay about the… Read More
Links to Share & Learn About Hanukkah with the Family The History of the Dreidel The History of Hanukkah (video) Hanukkah Recipes Hanukkah Songs and Poems (blog) Send a Chanukah Ecard Cooking Latkes (recipe) History of Channuka (web site) Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights (curriculum) Make a Driedel (printable) Celebrating Hanukkah (web site) Dreidel Game (web site) Hanukkah Crafts for Kids (blog) How to Play Dreidel: Rules for the Popular Hanukkah Game… Read More
Family Titles for Chanukka The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA recommends the following Chanukka books for kids: Hanukkah Around the World By Lehman-Wilzig, Tami Hanukkah Haiku By Ziefert, Harriet Hanukkah Lights By Martin, David
The Online Menorah Introduction to the meaning of Hanukkah and the Hanukkah menorah. Features background about why Hanukkah is celebrated, the basic rules associated with the use of the menorah (what one may use to light the candles, and how one lights the candles), and audio, with English translations, of three blessings that are recited when the candles are lit. Also includes links to more detailed material about Hanukkah. From a Jewish… Read More