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Holiday happenings in Boston and beyond, through Dec. 31

Posted by Jen Clark Estes  December 3, 2012 02:00 AM

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Stone Zoo

A scene from Zoolights at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham.

December, the "most wonderful time of the year," is especially delightful in New England. Here's a round-up of some family-friendly activities and events happening in and around Boston this season:

Ongoing

"Winter Lights on the Greenway," Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston. Through March 29. Series of lighting displays and innovative art installations encourages interaction, shared experiences and unexpected encounters for visitors to the parks. Free. www.rosekennedygreenway.org

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"Blink! Light & Sound Extravaganza," Faneuil Hall, Boston. Daily, through Tues., Jan. 1. All ages. Free. Featuring the music of the Holiday Pops, this is a state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that will transfer every inch of Faneuil Hall. Free. www.bostonblinks.com/events (Photo: Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe)

"Bright Nights at Forest Park," Sumner Ave., Springfield. Daily, through Tues., Jan. 1. New England's largest lighting display. Enjoy the wonders of Seuss Land, Jurassic World, Toy Land and more from the comfort of your car. Mon. - Thurs., $18; Fri. - Sun. and holidays, $21.www.brightnights.org

"ZooLights," Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. Through Dec. 19. All ages. Get into the holiday spirit by strolling along tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Wednesday nights feature local singing groups. $7, members $6. www.zoonewengland.org

"Constructing Holiday Tradition -- Nautical Ornaments," USS Constitution Museum, Charlestown Navy Yard. Daily, through Dec. 24, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Create a weatherproof ornament for the Old Ironside's holiday tree for free. Or create one to take home ($2, $5). www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org


Week of Dec. 3 - 9


"Storytime with Mrs. Claus," Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St., Stoneham. Dec. 4, 11 & 18; 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Storytime and holiday crafts inside the Animal Discovery Center. $7; $6 members. www.zoonewengland.org

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"Chanukah and Christmas: Celebrating Meaning," Arlington Senior Center Community Room, 27 Maple St., Arlington. Wed., Dec. 5, 7:30 - 9 p.m. Learn, share and discuss ways to bring different family traditions into a holiday home. Program geared for interfaith couples and parents. Register by Dec. 3. Free. www.bostonjcc.org (Photo: AFP Photo/Patrik Stollarz)

"Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of Magi's Gold," Lowell Auditorium, E. Merrimack St., Lowell. Dec. 6, 8 p.m. It's "CSI: Bethlehem" in this hilarious holiday mystery. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir and audience members, Sister must solve the age-old mystery: what happened to Magi's gold? $45.75, $37.75, $35.75. www.lowellauditorium.com

"Christmas at Gordon: Music, Lights, Stories and More," Gordon College, 255 Grapevine Rd., Waltham. Dec. 6 - 8, times vary. Music, outdoor lights, stories, traditional performances, "make your own s'mores station," hayrides, bonfires and more. Most activities are free. www.gordon.edu

"Gingerbread House Workshops," Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Rd., Concord. Sat., Dec. 8. 9:30 & 11:30 a.m.,1:30 p.m. DIY fun for all ages! Get creative and get tips from the farm stand chefs on how to decorate your gingerbread house. Under 10 accompanied by adult. $35www.verrillfarm.com

"Gingerbread Express & Contest," Wenham Museum, 132 Main St., Wenham. Sat., Dec. 8 - Sat., Dec. 15. Gingerbread train exhibit and fantasy gingerbread house contest. All ages welcome; sign up as group or individual. Entries to museum by Dec. 7. Entries will be displayed in museum; rules and registration forms available from museum. www.wenhammuseum.org

"Mass Hort Festival of Trees," 900 Washington St., Wellesley. Daily through Dec. 8. Mon. - Fri. 4 - 8 p.m; weekends 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Spectacularly decorated trees in themes to appeal to all ages. All trees will be raffled off, with proceeds going to the gardens at Elm Bank. Holiday train rides around the property during festival hours. www.masshort.org

The Oriana Consort presents "Festive Light," St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 15 Paul St., Brookline. Dec. 9, 5 p.m. A celebration of light in music for the holiday season, featuring music by Tallis, Lauridsen, Gjello, Mendelssohn and Bach, with period accompaniment. Adults, $20; seniors & students with ID, $15. Tickets at the door or online. www.brownpapertickets.com/event/292136 www.theorianaconsort.org

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"Santa Tea," Gore Place Mansion, 52 Gore St., Waltham. Sat., Dec. 8, 1 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. & 3 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, 3 p.m. Special menu children's tea, hands-on activity, story time, followed by a visit from Santa. Children must be accompanied by adult. Tickets required one week in advance. $35; $30 members. www.goreplace.org (Photo: iStockphoto.com)

"Sing the Story: 'The Snowy Day,'" New School of Music, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge. Sat., Dec. 8, 10 a.m. - noon. Explore the dramatic content of "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats using voices and bodies through movement, acting and song. Ages 6 - 10. $25. Register online. www.newschoolofmusic.org

"Story time with the Grinch," Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston. Sat., Dec. 8, 10 a.m. Come dressed as your favorite Whoville character and enjoy a reading of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas," as well as an interactive poetry workshop and costume contest. Free. www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com

"Jumping, Jiving Chanukah Jamobree," 10 Acton St., Arlington. Sun., Dec. 9, 10 - 11:30 a.m. Chanukah celebration with music, make-your-own dreidel, and special Chanukah treats. $15 per family prior to event; $20 walk-ins. Register online. www.bostonjcc.org/metronorthjamboree

Week of Dec. 10 - 16

"Chanukah Wonderland," Temple Sinai, 50 Sewall Ave., Brookline. Tues., Dec. 11, 3 - 5 p.m. Chanukah crafts, interactive Olive Press workshop, doughnut decorating, dreidel woodcrafting demonstration, music, raffle and more. $5 per person. www.GetChai.com/Wonderland

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"Tales from Snowy Lands," Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline. Thurs. & Fri., Dec. 13 & 14, 10:30 a.m. Sat. & Sun., Dec. 15 & 16, 1 & 3 p.m. Sparky's Puppets perform a lively medly of stories that take place on a winter's day. $12; $8 members. www.puppetshowplace.org (Photo: Puppet Showplace Theatre)

"Ben Rudnick & Friends 10th Annual Holiday Extravaganza," Regent Theatre, 7 Medford St., Arlington. Sat., Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. Featuring unique spins on favorite Christmas and Chanukah songs in the band's adventerous and high-energy style. Adults, $10; kids and seniors, $8. www.regenttheatre.com

"Holiday Sing-A-Long," Firehouse Center for the Arts, One Market Square, Newburyport. Sat., Dec. 15, 11 a.m. The Youth Choir from the Immaculate Conception Church leads the audience in well-loved carols. Also includes a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," a visit from Santa, and treats for each child. www.firehouse.org

Week of Dec. 17 - 25

"Holiday Checklist: Cookie Decorating," Discovery Museums, 177 Main St., Acton. Thurs. Dec. 20, 10 a.m. Use frosting and sprinkles to decorate a tasty masterpiece using a cookie canvas. $11 www.discoverymuseums.org

"Irish Christmas in America," Irish Cultural Centre of New England, 200 New Boston Dr., Canton. Fri. Dec. 21, 5 & 8 p.m. Family-friendly performance features Irish and Scottish ballads, lively instrumental tunes and thrilling Irish dancing. $25 advance; $30 at door. www.irishculture.org


Find more holiday events!


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Welcome to Parent Buzz, where you can read about and discuss the hot parenting issues of the day, find family-friendly events in Boston and beyond, and get parenting tidbits and tips.

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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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