Our wallets tend to take a lot of hits this time of year, so it's a bonus when we can find festive family fun that's also free. Here are twenty things to do with the kids in and around Boston this month to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah -- without even touching your wallet.
Boston lights it up with dazzling holiday tree lighting ceremonies in and around town. By late November, lights are aglow in Faneuil Hall and Christopher Columbus Park, and the festivities continue through early December with tree lighting ceremonies in neighborhoods throughout the city.
It's not all just about flipping the switch, of course. The tree lighting ceremonies are treasured annual community celebrations, with live performances, activities for kids, holiday giving, and appearances by Santa himself.
The holidays are upon us. Grocery stores have clearanced out fall goodies to make way for winter holiday treats. Malls are playing Christmas carols and setting up Santa's chair for young visitors. And our Mommy Poppins calendar is no different. This weekend, we notice some holiday events creeping onto our pages with many more to come!
However, there are some non-holiday events to embrace before we are immersed in the season. There are Boy Scout or Girl Scout events to help scouts earn badges. If you are looking for a bargain, check out this weekend's consignment sales. Or, channel your artsy side and make a mosaic cookie plate... just in time to leave cookies for St. Nick on Christmas Eve.
I have a confession to make: I have three kids (ages 11, 7 and 5) and I've never taken them to see Santa. Its not that my family doesn't enjoy Christmas. We love looking at decked-out houses and decorating our own tree, all that good stuff. It just so happens that my kids have never been keen on characters—from Elmo to Mickey, they turn away from all of them, and whenever we pass Santa in the mall or at a holiday event, they never want to meet him.
However, when I heard about DreamWorks' brand-new North Pole Adventure at Westchester's Ridge Hill in Yonkers, I was intrigued. I figured even my character-shunning kids might enjoy going on an immersive journey to find Santa, with Shrek and his pals leading the way. And, since everybody hates lines, I was thrilled to hear that, unlike Macy's Santaland and other Kris Kringle spots, you book your North Pole Adventure time slot in advance online, so no wait! Plus it's FREE (though purchasing photo packages is, of course, encouraged but not required).
As you can see from our pics, my kids and I really enjoyed our North Pole Adventure experience but there are some important things to know before you go, especially if you're making the trip from NYC or upstate.
Poor November! After the Halloween decorations and political campaign signs have all come down, it seems November doesn't have a chance as we are thrown right into the winter holidays. However, our jam-packed Mommy Poppins calendar and our November Go List remind us to pause and take time to enjoy some family fun.
If your family appreciates the arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers multiple programs this weekend: Family Gallery Tours, Drawing in the Galleries and Tours for Tots. If the theater appeals to your clan, there are plenty of shows to keep the family entertained. The Walnut Street Theatre's Mary Poppins opened this week while The Media Theatre's Annie Jr. and The Players Club of Swarthmore's Peter Pan still have performances going on. And, don't forget it is the last weekend for the Weeki Wachee Mermaids so be sure to swim over to Adventure Aquarium for their unique performance.
Remember, take some time and enjoy the 11th month of our calendar... because, you know, there are only 3 more weeks until Black Friday...
I didn't grow up in Los Angeles; and although I have Latin American family, we are not of the Mexican or Guatemalan variety - meaning I arrived in SoCal knowing next to nothing about Day of the Dead. I've gradually pieced together the whole fascinating cultural and historical puzzle, discovering how many Halloween traditions we actually owe to the Native Americans who were in the city of angels before us, before the Spanish, before Christianity. El Día de los Muertos is a rare opportunity to understand several layers of angeleno culture, while celebrating something that looks a heck of a lot like Halloween.
While LA offers many Day of the Dead celebrations, the most authentic may be the novenarios, the nine nights of revelry leading up to November 2. Many Spanish-speaking countries have novenarios leading up to Christmas, but there is a similar build-up to the Day of the Dead, and here in LA it is most celebrated, not surprisingly, on Olvera Street. I've been curious to check out this traditional celebration for years, but between ghost trains and haunted houses our last week of October has always been booked solid. Not to mention that whole parking downtown thing. This year I finally decided to take the sugar skull by the horns and go see what it's all about. Curious?
WaterFire just might be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to Providence, Rhode Island. In the 20 years since the first bonfires were lit on the rivers in Providence, the brilliant and moving art installation has helped to transform the city into a vibrant, family-friendly destination.
Part community festival and part art exhibition – complete with bonfires juxtaposed with water, music, arts and crafts vendors, boat rides, and live performances – WaterFire is an event not to be missed. But just like other wonderful, very popular events such as First Night Boston, having the inside scoop on WaterFire can mean the difference between having a magical night with the family and a total bust. Here are 25 things to look for and to know before you go – with wisdom learned (sometimes the hard way) from my family’s WaterFire adventures and from the very knowledgeable team at WaterFire.
If you went to the One Family Music Festival last year, you have a pretty good idea of how rockin’ the Boston Kids Really Rock music and arts festival will be. Conceived of and organized by the very same visionary, Karen Kalafatas of Karen K and the Jitterbugs, the festival will feature many of the same wonderful Boston bands and community-building activities for families. What you may not know is that Boston Kids Really Rock is going all out with Dan Zanes as headliner and special guest Father Goose. The festival's focus is on sharing messages of kindness, creativity and community spirit with Boston kids. Mommy Poppins Boston will announce the winners of our Boston Kids Who Really Rock contest at the festival, too. We're excited to celebrate local kids and tell the inspiring stories of how they are making a difference in their communities.
If that’s not enough to convince you, keep reading for the top five reasons to make some time in your schedule and take the kids to the Lawn on D this Sunday for a glorious day of community, music, arts and family fun.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara