The Getting-Out Guide :: Boston’s Best Activities for Families This December

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Hello, December! The holiday season is upon us! The Boston area is brimming with fun things to do in the chilly weather. Bundle up, and get ready for a fun-filled month ahead!

Check out our guide to December, sponsored by the JCC Greater Boston! We encourage you to join the JCC Greater Boston for upcoming PJ Library Lights Up Chanukah events. You can find more information here.

In addition to this guide, our calendar has daily events listed to keep you active and entertained this month!

We’ve also included links to area libraries and recurring events. We know this is not a comprehensive list, so if you think of any fun family activities we missed, please share them with us in the comments.

If you are looking to connect with other moms near you, make sure to join our Community & Conversation Group!

December 1–January 4 :: Hot Chocolate with the Reindeer :: Stone Zoo, Stoneham

Have an up close encounter with the beautiful reindeer, and learn some amazing facts about them too! Guests can customize their cocoa with festive toppings from the hot chocolate bar, enjoy some cookies, have their photo taken with the reindeer, and enjoy exclusive early entry to ZooLights.

December 1–29 :: Gardens Aglow :: Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich

Heritage’s expansive gardens will be aglow with beautiful light displays, extensive indoor holiday décor and numerous activities around the grounds and galleries. This year visitors can expect expanded lighting displays and outdoor interactives, along with all of your favorites from previous years!

December 4 :: Meet Fancy Nancy Illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser :: The Blue Bunny Books and Toys, Dedham

Robin Preiss Glasser actually wore tiaras and tutus when she danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet! She put away the fancy clothing, and switched over to Fancy Nancy! Her illustrations have won the Children’s Choice Award for Best Illustrator of the Year for Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. Come meet her at the Blue Bunny Books and Toys!

December 5 :: Frozen Wonderland :: The Children’s Museum in Easton

Enjoy a day of play at the Easton Children’s Museum, and meet your favorite Snow Queen while you are there! Elsa will be in attendance to meet and take pictures with families. Guests will also have the opportunity to design their very own frame for their pictures and create keepsake ornaments.

December 6–8 :: SOWA Winter Festival :: SoWa Art + Design District, Boston

‘Tis the season for the fourth annual SoWa Winter Festival. Now over two weekends, join for the biggest winter shopping village and holiday festival in Boston. You’ll find the perfect handmade gifts, sip on winter cocktails, and discover the best of the SoWa Art + Design District. The SoWa Winter Festival is family friendly and free to attend.

Through December 22 :: Miracle on 34th Street :: Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham

If you really believe, anything can happen. When Kris Kringle agrees to serve as a last-minute replacement for Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, he is so convincing that he is offered a job as the Santa for Macy’s department store. He claims to be the real Santa Claus, but can he convince the doubters, including a little girl longing to find something to believe in? Come find out at the Greater Boston Stage Company’s production of Miracle on 34th Street!

December 7–24 :: Boston Pops Holiday Pops Kids Matinees :: Symphony Hall, Boston

These special family concerts include a children’s singalong and post-concert photos with Santa. For those seated at the floor tables, there are special kid-friendly menu options along with holiday treats. The December 7 performance will be a sensory-friendly concert. The show is designed for all families with children or adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities. The concert will be a shortened 60-minute version of the regular Holiday Pops concert, with a flexible, non-judgmental environment.

December 8 :: PJ Library Lights Up Chanukah :: Framingham and Belmont

Join PJ Library for an imaginative, illuminated interpretation of Chanukah at Amazing Things Arts Center (160 Hollis Street) in Framingham from 10-11:30 a.m., and from 4 – 5:30 at Studio Cinema (376 Trapelo Road) in Belmont. This glowing Chanukah performance features singing, juggling and hula hoops to create mesmerizing, rhythmic patterns with light while telling the story behind the Festival of Lights.

December 10–11 :: Pentatonix Christmas Tour :: Agganis Arena, Boston

Join the chart-topping group as they tour with their new holiday album “Christmas Is Here!” A family favorite for sure!

December 12 :: Rupi Kaur :: Boch Center, Shubert Theater

Rupi Kaur is a poet, artist, and performer. At the age of five, her mother handed her a paintbrush and said, “draw your heart out.” At seventeen, she happened upon a local open mic night where she performed her first spoken word poem. While studying at the University of Waterloo, Rupi wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first collection, milk and honey. In the years since, milk and honey has sold over three million copies, been translated into more than 35 languages, and landed as a #1 New York Times bestseller. Come see her inspirational performance in Boston!

December 14 :: Kendall Square Holiday on Ice :: Kendall Square Community Skating Rink, Cambridge

The 11th annual Holiday on Ice celebration at Community Ice Skating includes free admission all day, free food, and a free show produced by Frozen Frog Productions. The show will feature holiday numbers as well as local and international competitors and world-class professional skaters. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with free admission, and the ice skating show begins promptly at 2 p.m. Join for a fun show that is sure to get you in the holiday spirit! Skate rentals will be available at regular rates.

December 15 :: PJ Library Lights Up Chanukah :: JCC Greater Boston, Newton

Join PJ Library for an imaginative, illuminated interpretation of Chanukah at the Riemer-Goldstein Theater, Leventhal-Sidman JCC (333 Nahanton Street) in Newton from 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. This glowing Chanukah performance features singing, juggling and hula hoops to create mesmerizing, rhythmic patterns with light while telling the story behind the Festival of Lights.

December 15 :: Knead Doughnuts Pop Up at EHChocolatier :: EHChocolatier, Cambridge

Back by popular demand, Knead Doughnuts of Providence, RI, returns to EHChocolatier on December 15! After selling out in record time at their first pop up, they will be bringing WAY more doughnuts, and offering hot cups of coffee and hot chocolate to keep you warm!

December 15 :: PJ Library Storymakers :: Bow Market, Somerville

Come with your kids for a fun and easy Sunday morning at Bow Market (1 Bow Market Way) in Somerville from 10:30–11:30 a.m. Meet in the lobby, next to In Season. Get your coffee and listen to some favorite PJ Library read-aloud books, sing songs, and do a hands-on project related to the story. Grab lunch or shop afterward in Bow Market’s many eclectic establishments.

December 15 :: PJ Library Lights Up Chanukah :: Elm Street School, Walpole

Join PJ Library for an imaginative, illuminated interpretation of Chanukah at Elm Street School (415 Elm Street) in Walpole from 4–5:30 p.m. This glowing Chanukah performance features singing, juggling and hula hoops to create mesmerizing, rhythmic patterns with light while telling the story behind the Festival of Lights.

December 18 :: PJ Library Celebrates Chanukah at Playgroup :: Temple Sinai, Sharon

Join PJ Library for a special Bagels and Books in celebration of Chanukah! Transform into a Maccabee at the craft station, enjoy holiday-themed stories, sing holiday songs and eat delicious snacks. For more information, contact [email protected] and join the JCC South Area Family Connection Facebook group.

December 18 :: Celebrate Chanukah at the MFA :: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Come together for an evening of art, music, and activities in celebration of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Immerse yourself in history and tradition with a tour of the MFA’s Judaica collection, catch an array of musical performances by artists from around the world, and view a one-of-a-kind menorah created by a local artist before participating in a community candle lighting.

December 20 :: PJ Library Celebrates Chanukah at Friday Playgroup :: Natick and Arlington

Drop into PJ Library playgroup for a special Chanukah-themed day! There will be songs, crafts, and treats to celebrate the festival of lights! The celebration will occur at Temple Israel in Natick from 9:45 – 11:15 a.m., and at Ready, Set, Kids! in Arlington from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.. For more information, contact [email protected] and join the JCC Metrowest Family Connection Facebook group.

December 21 :: Winter Carnival :: Waltham Recreation Department, Waltham

There will be a Carnival set up in the Auditorium of Waltham Rec! Guests will also enjoy bowling, Wii bowling, inflatables, crafts, laser tag, and more! The Night will end with a movie in Skate ‘n’ Scoot. Admission is FREE! The Paint Locker will be open for ornament decorating as well ($5.00 Large piece, 2 for $5 Small pieces). Snacks and pizza will also be available for purchase.

December 21 :: Get Your Craft On: Open Paint :: Hammer & Stain South Shore, South Easton

At this family friendly open paint, there will be designs for family, kids, and just about anyone. Tons of projects geared to gift making for everyone! Bring the kids in to make wood slice ornaments and the perfect handmade gift. If you would like a specific project/design prior please message [email protected] one week prior to the event.

Through January 5 :: Bird Park Reindeer Quest :: Bird Park, Walpole

Grab your snow shoes, hiking boots, or cross-country skis and get the family outside to seek out the four wooden reindeer sculptures hidden in Bird Park. See if you can find “Charlie,” “Anna,” “Billy,” and “Birdy” and leave a bell around the neck of the first one you spot! This is a self-guided program and bells can be found by the Bird Park Office (maintenance area, behind white house; park side). The quest is available dawn to dusk.

December 26 – 29 :: Disney On Ice Presents Celebrate Memories :: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence

Join Moana on her high-seas adventure, dance with your favorite Toy Story friends, celebrate Elsa and Anna’s sisterly bond, and watch dreams come true for the Disney Princesses. Share the excitement and make new memories the whole family will treasure forever!

December 27 :: PJ Library Chanukah Mitzvah Meet-Up & Story Time :: Bacon Free Library, Natick

It’s Chanukah time! Join for holiday stories, games, songs, and treats at the Bacon Free Library. Light up a child’s life by bringing a book to donate to hospitalized kids, and make a special bookmark to go with it.

Through December 29 :: Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Enchantment :: Agganis Arena, Boston

From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment!

December 28 – January 7 :: All Aboard! Trains at Science Park :: Museum of Science, Boston

The Museum’s seasonal tradition continues with All Aboard! Trains at Science Park. This fun-for-all-ages model train exhibit features classic winter landscapes and a hint of nostalgia. Miniature trains, snow-covered peaks, engaging hands-on activities, and even a few surprises await!

December 28 :: Luau Party with Moana :: South Shore Children’s Museum, Kingston

Come have a luau with Moana from 1 – 3 pm! Guests will make leis and create island body art and shell bracelets before they dance in a luau! There will also be ham and pineapple kabobs for a snack!

December 31 :: First Night Boston :: Boston

For 40 years, Boston’s First Night has been a cherished tradition and a signature event for the city, with artistic performances, the wonders of the season, and the beginning of a new year. Entertainment and special attractions will be focused in Copley Square and Boston Common. Many of the beloved traditions of First Nights past will be retained, including ice sculptures and light displays. In addition, arts and musical performances will take place in numerous inside and outside venues around the heart of the event.

Storytime at Showcase Cinema de Lux :: Patriot Place, Foxborough :: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.

This free weekly storytime takes place every Tuesday at Showcase Cinema de Lux. After a story reading, a special character makes a weekly appearance followed by a short movie.

Public Telescope Nights at New England Sci-Tech :: 16 Tech Circle, Natick :: Tuesdays and Fridays, 8–9 p.m.

The public is invited to join New England Sci-Tech for an evening of astronomy during the spring, summer, and fall months. Depending on staff availability, inside activities such as planetarium shows and visiting the astronomy classrooms may be available. Visitors are also invited to borrow smaller “starblast” telescopes to use on their own.

Urban Air Sensory Friendly Jump/Play Time :: Bellingham :: Sundays, 9 a.m.

This event is specifically designed for children with autism and special needs to enjoy time at the park and have a lot of fun without loud music and flashing lights! The lights will be white and music/video games turned off for those with sensory challenges during this time.

Family Night at Urban Air :: Bellingham :: Thursdays, 4–8 p.m.

Family Night is a crazy deal! Get four ultimate passes, four bottles of water, and one pizza for $79.99! It’s fun for the whole family!

Baby-Friendly Monday Matinees at the Capitol Theatre :: Arlington :: Mondays, 12–2 p.m.

The Capitol Theatre features a baby-friendly movie every Monday afternoon. Please check the theater’s Monday schedule to see what feature has been selected for parents and their infants.

Kids’ Art Club :: Dorchester :: Tuesdays, 4:30–5:30 p.m.

This club has a new art project at the library every Tuesday. Projects include collage self-portraits and artist’s books. Art Club projects are showcased in rotating displays in the library children’s room.

Nature Time at Blue Hills Trailside Museum :: Milton :: Thursdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

Introduce your preschool-aged child to nature with this fun program. Programs may feature a story, nature games, crafts, short walks outside, or meeting one of the museum’s animal residents. Meet, play, and learn with other area families. Each program runs for 45 minutes and meets most Thursdays. Museum admission is included with this program. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

JFN Free Friday Playgroup :: Natick :: Fridays, 9:30–11:30 a.m.

Bring the little ones and come join other parents and caregivers in the Metrowest area for a fun-filled morning of play and socializing. There are plenty of songs, activities, toys, snacks, and laughter, as both the children and their grown-ups build connections and lasting friendships.

Backyard and Beyond: Forest Fridays :: Acton :: Fridays, 10–11 a.m.

A great way for the whole family to enjoy time outdoors, the Forest Friday program is held outside, no matter the weather. Every Friday morning there is a nature-based activity based on the weather and season, either in Discovery Woods or out on the adjacent conservation land. All ages are welcome but activities are designed for 2- to 6-year-olds. Please note that the conservation land trails are not ADA or stroller accessible; please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

Storytime at the Curious George Store :: Cambridge :: Fridays, 10:30–11 a.m.

Small children and their caregivers are welcome at these weekly storytimes, running throughout the year.

SaturPLAY :: Rose Kennedy Greenway – Chinatown :: Boston :: Select Saturdays, 1–3 p.m.

The Asian Community Development Corporation’s youth program, A-VOYCE, hosts a placemaking event monthly to activate and bring children to The Greenway’s Mary Soo Hoo Park. Each month features a different theme with games, activities, crafts, and more. Youth volunteers are on hand to engage children. SaturPlay is subject to weather conditions.

ImprovBoston Family Show :: Cambridge :: Saturdays, 4–5 p.m.

Improv Boston’s improv and music extravaganza is completely made up on the spot every week based on your suggestion. No two shows are alike! Best of all, children who want to participate have opportunities to be on stage and take part in the fun! The show is ideal for family outings, birthday parties, and school field trips. It’s fun for the whole family and best for children ages 4-12.

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Deanna Greenstein
Deanna is a mom of five (yes, five) children under 11 years old, who lives in Brockton with her small circus of kids, her husband, their Boston Terrier and a few cats. Her life is loud, energetic, mostly fun, often gross (did she mention four of those kids are boys?), and she wouldn't have it any other way. In between carting kids to school, baseball, gymnastics, guitar, dance, track and field and every other kid activity known to mankind, she works as the Director of Religious Education at the Unity Church of North Easton, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Deanna also holds degrees in Elementary Physical Education and Dance Education, which she plans to put back into use one day. At parties, Deanna can often be found hanging out with family pets. She follows her children around with a camera like the paparazzi, is pretty sure that 97% of her blood stream is made of coffee, and her laundry is never done. You can also find her blogging at https://eighteenmoreyearsofburpsandfarts.wordpress.com

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