Hilltown Families

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QUESTION AND ANSWERS How does YOUR family handle excessive consumerism and commercialization during the holidays? Amanda Saklad writes, “We don’t visit any malls from October until February. Crazy out there!” Meagheanne Donahue writes, “My son gets “ten and a goat”. Santa brings him ten Christmas presents (not big ticket items, usually just movies, Legos, board games, etc.) and a donation in his name to Heifer International. Santa even leaves a Heifer International… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast. SUGGEST AN EVENT If you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening,… Read More

Let the Holidays Begin Traditions abound in our family beginning with the annual Thanksgiving dinner featuring 25-plus family and friends, mint chip pie, a rousing game of left-right-center and a roundtable discussion of what everyone is thankful for. Soon the holiday books for everyday of December will be wrapped (our own take on the Christmas advent calendar), trees will be chosen, chopped and decorated, and my children’s annual Christmas Eve gift —… Read More

History and the Holidays Come Alive at Old Sturbridge Village Is your family craving a simultaneously delightful and non-commercial holiday adventure? Old Sturbridge Village has just the thing- Christmas by Candlelight! The event will take place during three weekends in December (Fri-Sun from 4-9pm), and the activities and learning opportunities featured emphasize history, tradition, and the spirit of the holidays. Activities include horse-drawn sleigh rides, listening to Victorian carolers, hands-on art activities… Read More

TRUCE Action Guides: Toys, Media & Children It’s Black Friday and many parents have holiday gift buying on their minds.  The discussion of holiday buying looms large in our community, with folks chatting about buying local, buying handmade, and buying non-commercial. Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE), a Massachusetts based group of educators concerned about how children’s toys and entertainment are affecting the play and behavior of kids, has a few guides… Read More

In search of holiday season events with meaning By Barbara Solow, Daily Hampshire Gazette CHESTERFIELD, MA (Nov 23, 2011) – As the holidays approach, Sienna Wildfield faces a dilemma she believes is common to many parents at this time of year. Wildfield, the mother of a 9-year-old and founder of the Hilltown Families online network, aims to steer clear of the commercialism that envelopes the season like too much gaudy wrapping paper…. Read More

Don’t Leave Us Yet Fall: Snow gives locals a jump on the winter season in the Berkshires but there is still time to squeeze out some last drops of fall! Snow came early to the Berkshires this year and while many spent their days and nights being lulled to sleep by the terminal humming (or screeching) of their generators, my children took the opportunity to break out the snowmobiles and start the… Read More

Hilltown Social Services writes: The Gateway National Honor Society will again be working with Hilltown Social Services to help families with lower incomes by providing holiday gifts for children, newborns up through age twelve, who live in the towns in the Gateway School District. This will be the eighteenth continuous year for this community service project. Local residents, businesses, churches and other organization also donate to this effort. Wish Lists will be… Read More

At the turn of the year, Hilltown Families will be turning five years old … and we will be celebrating all year long! To start the celebration, we have invited five Hilltown mompreneurs to partner with us. These five crafty businesses, located here in the Hilltowns of Western MA, create handmade products that kids will enjoy receiving — and we have one of each to giveaway to one lucky family!  It’s our… Read More

Buy Nothing Day Confronts the Economic Meltdown Now in its 17th year, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in over 65 countries around the world. Over the years, Buy Nothing Day (followed by Buy Nothing Christmas) has exploded into a global movement, inspiring the world’s citizens to live more simply and buy a whole lot less. Designed to coincide with Black Friday (which this… Read More

Curbing sugar overload during the holidays Starting on October 31, sweets seem to be a staple part of kids’ diets through the end of the year. Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, cookies, candy canes…it seems like there’s no end to the sugar. Seasonal treats are part of the holiday fun, but eating something sugary every day for a few months sets kids up to crave it year-round. Here are a few… Read More

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