Weekly Happenings: December 1 – December 7

Below are a list of unique or ongoing things to do this week in Hartford County.

December 1 – 25 | ABC’s 25 days of Christmas

Monday, December 1 at 4pm | Barnes & Noble | Join us in celebration of Grinch Day! Special Storytime featuring the holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Coloring and activities to follow. Free

Monday, December 1 – January 1 | Sun-Thurs 5-10pm and Fri-Sat 5-11pm | Plainville, CT | Lights on Lovely | Tune your radio to 96.1FM to hear the music synchronized to the light show. Free

Monday, December 1 {snow date 12/3} at Elmwood Community Center for “Building Meaningful Relationships with Teachers” from 6-7:30pm. An important key to your child’s success is the parent-teacher relationship. Come join us for an evening of information and humor with presenter Beth Bye, long-time early childhood educator, as she helps build parental self-awareness and provides practical advice for strengthening your relationship with your child’s teachers. Dinner provided and childcare (age 3 and up) by reservation. Please RSVP by Sunday, November 30 to RSVPGreatBy8@gmail.com. Free

Monday Dec 1, {Reoccurs on Jan 5} 6:30pm – 9:30pm | Hartford, CT | Learn to Solder at MakeHartford | Back by popular demand! Participants will learn to solder electronic components to a printed circuit board while assembling and testing a small electronic project kit. The finished project is useful for the further study of electronics and is the participant’s to keep. Instruction will include workbench safety. All tools and materials will be provided. Eye protection is required. Safety glasses are available for an additional $4. Ages: Teens/Adults. Cost: $35/class.

Monday, December 1 at 8pm | Hartford, CT | Girls 4: A Christmas Together is a fabulously flirty, funny frolic featuring four famous females! Theatre lovers hit the jackpot when four dynamic, award-winning musical stars from Broadway, film, TV and recordings come together for one night on the same stage to celebrate the holiday season. What transpires is an evening of song, dance, laughter and memories that will leave you seeing stars.

Tuesday, December 2 from 8:45-10:30am | West Hartford, CT | Renbrook School | Open House Free

Tuesday, December 2 from 4:30-8pm | Bristol, CT | Moms Shop Kids Jump | Santa and over 20 vendors are on site to sneak some holiday shopping in.

(PTO) Parents Time Out: Tuesday, December 2-Thursday, December 4 at 7:30pm | Friday, December 5 at 8pm | Saturday, December 6 at 4 and 8pm | Sunday, December 7 at 2:30 & 6pm {Reoccurs through 12/21) | Hartford, CT | Christmas on the Rocks | It’s Christmas Eve in a rundown local bar. Expecting a silent night, the bartender finds himself mixing drinks for a parade of surprising guest – children from your favorite holiday specials – now all grown up! Tiny Tim, Charlie Brown, Cindy Lou Who and a host of other favorites pour out their Christmas woes in this delightful parody.

Thursday, December 4 from 4-6pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited create some festive holiday greeting cards to share with family and friends. Free

Thursday, December 4; 5-7pm | Canton, CT | Give-a-Gift, Get-a-Gift | Give a new unwrapped toy for  “We Are The Children” get a $25 gift card. While supplies last. One gift per household.

Thursday, December 4; 5–8 pm – Sunday, December 5; 10am–5 pm {Reoccurs through December 14} Note: Closed Dec 8-9 | 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions | Celebrate the season at the 41st Annual Festival of Trees & Traditions! Established in 1973 by the Women’s Committee as a museum fundraising event, Festival has become an annual holiday tradition for many visitors from throughout the state and beyond. Stay tuned for our experience review!

Thursday, December 4 | Old Wethersfield, CT | 5th Annual Holidays on Main | Come join us for caroling, the town tree lighting, live entertainment, craft and food vendors, plus so much more! Free

Thursday, December 4 from 5:30-8:30pm | West Hartford, CT | Holiday Stroll | Get into the Holiday spirit with a night at Blue Back Square that the entire family can enjoy! Sit with your family and friends aboard our horse-drawn carriage rides as they go around beautiful West Hartford. Take a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus while listening to carolers throughout Blue Back Square. Enjoy local bands and children signing groups on our stage in the center of Blue Back Square with a tree lighting, and more! Free

Thursday, December 4 at 7pm with additional performances on December 6-7 (snow performance date: December 9) | West Hartford, CT | Kiss Me Kate – Teen Theater Production | This year’s Teen Theater production is Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate – an entertaining play-within-a-play in which each cast member’s on-stage life in the Shakespearean classic of The Taming of the Shrew is complicated by what is happening offstage. Musical numbers include “Too Darn Hot”; “Brush Up Your Shakespeare”; and “Another Op’nin, Another Show.” Under the direction of Carolyn Mostel Weiser.

Friday, December 5, 5-7:30pm & Saturday, December 6, 1-4pm | Newington, CT | Visits with Santa | Santa is taking a break from the North Pole and dropping into Newington to hear your child’s secret wishes and smile for your cameras. Get in the holiday spirit with your family and enjoy pictures with Santa! Don’t forget to bring your cameras! On Saturday only take the family on a ride around Mill Pond Park on a horse-drawn sleigh/wagon. Free with a canned food item per person.

Friday, December 5 from 5-8pm | Bristol, CT | Whoville Spectacular | Embark on a magical holiday journey as the  Imagine Nation Museum, located at One Pleasant Street in Bristol, is transformed into Dr Seuss’ Whoville!  A wacky and wonderful festival complete with crafts, sing-alongs and special visitors including the Grinch, his dog Max, Cindy-Lou Who and the Mayor of Whoville!

Friday, December 5 from 5:30-8:30pm {Reoccurs on 12/19} | West Hartford, CT | Parents Night Out | Drop your kids off for three hours of nonstop fun at My Gym. Activities include games, rides, songs, dance, relays, practice & play, and more! Dinner included! Perfect for children ages 2.5 and up (potty-trained, please). Space is limited.

Friday, December 5 from 6-7:30pm | Newington, CT | Elf Workshop | Shoppers and their children are invited create sparkly edible snowflake! Free

Friday, December 5 – Sunday, December 7 {Reoccurs: December 12 – 14, December 19 – 21} Friday 5-9pm, Saturday & Sunday 4-9pm | Bristol, CT | Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce | The park will be covered in lights, thousands of bulbs and spectacular light shows every half hour set to music. A selection of children’s and family rides will be open. Find all “12 Days of Christmas” – 12 light displays throughout the park. Meet Santa!

Friday, December 5 – Sunday, December 7 {Reoccurs through December 29} | 5 or 6-9pm | East Windsor, CT | Winterfest | That delightful and magical season of WinterFest is now upon us. The Connecticut Trolley Museum once again pushes the limits to treat you and yours to an evening of entertainment and seasonal exhilaration! Ride the antique traction through the “Tunnel of Lights” tripping on our open electrical chariot (The Montréaler) or another open car – 3 miles of cool breezes under the starlit heavens. Or cozy down in an enclosed trolley for the warmer, dashing through the snow, rail trip. Open your complimentary “Ride & Sing Along WinterFest Songbook” and belt out your favorite Christmas Carol with the Trolley Crew and fellow passengers! Stroll through the Teresalee Bertinuson Visitor Center where the functioning and enchanting model train layouts will take your mind on a flight of fancy. The “halls are decked” with the proverbial “boughs of holly” and there are enough decorations to satisfy any souls need for visual Holiday splendor. The youngsters can sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift – you may also if you desire.

Friday, December 5 at 6:30pm | Avon, CT | Holiday Festivities at Riverdale Farms | Lighting of Flame on the “Kids For Kids Candle of Hope” benefits UCONN Children’s Cancer Fund includes the Christmas tree lighting, old fashioned carol sing, Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive by horse and sleigh and hayrides.

Friday, December 5 at 7pm | Barnes & Noble | The Polar Express Storytime | The Polar Express story will be read, along with some activities. Kids can come in their PJs too! Free

Friday, December 5 at 7:30pm | Simsbury, CT | Festival of Carols and Dance

Friday, December 5 – Saturday, December 6 at 7pm, Sunday December 7 at 2 pm | New Britain, CT | A Charlie Brown Christmas faithfully follows the story of the 1965 television special in which Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang learn the true meaning of Christmas.Frosty the Snowman is based on the original 1950 song in which the magical snowman “came to life one day!”The cast of thirty children will be joined onstage by a chorus at the end of performances for a Christmas sing-along with the audience! Stay tuned for our experience!

Saturday, December 6 at 8am | Breakfast with Santa | Hartford, CT | Gather your family and friends for a memorable morning at The Bushnell. Take a photo with Santa and visit with Santa’s elves and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy breakfast, carolers, crafts and more. Christmas lists accepted!

Saturday, December 6 from 8am-12pm | Wethersfield, CT | 25th Annual Santa Pancake Breakfast | Freshly Made Breakfast: Pancakes, Sausages, Juice, Milk and Coffee. Festive horse drawn wagon ride with family and friends Wethersfield Teen Theater will provide us with holiday cheer “The Big Red Truck” presented by our Volunteer Firemen! Face Painting too! $6 per person.

Saturday, December 6 {Reoccurs on December 20} Seatings at 8:30am and 10:30am | Canton, CT | Santa Brakfast at Dish n’ Dat.

Saturday, December 6; 8:30am-4pm & Sunday, December 7; Noon-4pm through December 21 | Canton, CT | Victorian Carolers | Celebrate the season with Victorian Carolers. Free

Saturday December 6 – Sunday, December 7 {Reoccurs December 13-14, 20-21} | Breakfast seatings at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 | West Simsbury, CT | Breakfast with Santa | Breakfast Includes: a hearty breakfast with pancakes, home fries, sausage and farm fresh eggs, a memorable visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, Frosty and the Grinch, a toy from Santa, a relaxing time on a Christmas Trolley ride out to reindeer land and a free visit to the petting zoo. Stay tuned for our upcoming review.

Saturday, December 6 from 8:30am-6pm | Bristol, CT | Free cider, popcorn and cookies at Wojtusik Nursery. Free

Saturday, December 6 from 9am-12pm | Home Depot | How to Build Holiday Yard Stakes Free

Saturday, December 6 from 10am-1pm | Hartford, CT | Holiday Poppers | Come celebrate the holidays at CHS with our annual popper craft! First invented by a London pastry chef in the 1840s, poppers (or “crackers”) have become timeless favorites. Poppers make great gifts, holiday party favors, or New Year’s Eve noisemakers. Traditional fillers, like candy, paper hats, and fortunes will be provided, or you may bring your own. Free

Saturday, December 6 10-11:30am | Windsor, CT | A Natural Holiday Wreath Making Workshop | Please join us for a hands-on Natural Wreath Making Workshop. Those age 12 and above will make a wreath from provided natural materials during this hands-on workshop. Participants have the choice of several different wreath styles to be used as gifts, decorations, or to feed winter birds. Registration is required as space is limited. $20 per family.

Saturday, December 6 from 10am-3pm | Unionville, CT | 36th Annual Holiday Craft Fair | Shop crafters and artists from around the state, children enjoy crafts, a gingerbread decorating room, visit with Santa, raffle, refreshments and more. Elsa and Kristoff will make an appearance from 10:30am-12noon for a meet and greet and picture opportunity.

Sat, December 6 – Sun, December 7 from 10am-4pm | Farmington, CT | Hill-Stead’s Annual Holiday Boutique draws more than twenty-five artists and crafters bring their best to present a dazzling array

Saturday, December 6 from 11am-1pm | Newington, CT | Canvas and Cupcakes Class | Children will show off their artistic talents as we paint a rosy cheeked snowman. Our host will guide you step by step thru the creation of your snowman and then we will create a Snowman Cupcake to snack on. Ages 5 and older. $30 per child.

Saturday, December 6 – Sunday, December 7 {Reoccurs December 13, 14, 20, 21} 12 – 3pm | Hartford, CT | Winterfest: Photos With Santa | Winterfest wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa, so visit the Pump House and have your photo taken with him for free. Each family receives 1 free 5×7 photo; additional prints may be purchased online, the day after you skate.

Saturday, December 6 from 12-4pm | Hartford, CT | Victorian Christmas | Join Connecticut Landmarks’ Isham-Terry House Staff and celebrate a Victorian Christmas with Santa at the festively decorated house. Bring the kids for Victorian crafts throughout the day and to hear readings of “The Night before Christmas,” a holiday favorite. Admission is $8 for adults; $6 for children 6 -18; $15 for a family of 4.

Saturday December 6 – Sunday, December 7; 12-4pm | Suffield, CT | Ivy Home for the Holidays Tours | Experience the season’s splendor at the Phelps-Hatheway House with an English ivy and wintergreen inspired palette. Children’s activities throughout the weekend. Tickets: $15; children 6-18: $10 (under 6 Free)

Saturday, December 6 – Sunday, December 7 from 12-4pm | Hartford, CT | Tour the decorated McCook House and enjoy a Victorian Christmas celebration! Enjoy holiday music in the North Parlor, tour the first floor of the McCook House, and sample light refreshments.

Saturday, December 6 from 2-4pm | Windsor, CT | A Christmas Workshop | Be our guest for our Annual Christmas Workshop at Poquonock Community Church. All Ages Invited. Spend a few hours working on Gingerbread Houses, Christmas ornaments, decorating cookies (and eating them), and trimming our Christmas Tree. Snacks and Hot Cocoa will be available. Free

Saturday, December 6 at 2pm and 7pm | Hartford, CT | It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play | George Bailey, Zuzu, Clarence the Angel, and grumpy old Mr. Potter are turning Hartford into Bedford Falls this year! Come relive the story of a man who gets to see what life would have been like if he had never been born. (And there’s even a Twain connection–when Clarence is pulled out of the water, he dries off his copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer!) When the film It’s A Wonderful Life was released in 1946, it was not an immediate popular or financial success. However, it’s reputation grew over the years, and a clerical error resulting in the loss of its copyright protection resulted in it being shown widely during the Christmas season every year. It has become a phenomenon, and many don’t feel that their holiday season is complete without watching it. Now, there’s a very unique opportunity to revisit this wonderful story–in a fun, live radio-show performance, complete with a foley (sound effects) artist! If you liked our “Dracula” program last month, you’ll love this!

Saturday, December 6 from 4-6pm | Unionville, CT | The Jubilee is filled with family friendly holiday activities and cheer and promotes our downtown businesses and restaurants. We encourage everyone to stop by a shop downtown, join us for some festivities, sing a few carols, meet Santa then dine out at one of our many restaurants. The event begins with family activities from 4:00-5:30 p.m. Stop by the Unionville Youth Center for cookie decorating and take a photo in front of the holiday backdrop.  Kid’s games will be offered next door at the Youth Center Annex and Union School PTO will also be sponsoring holiday ornament making at the First Congregational Church.  The Tunxis Hose Firehouse will be open as a warming station with holiday kids movies.  After 5 p.m., the event centers around Unionville’s Gazebo in Clover Pinney Park which will be transformed into “Jingle Bell Square”.  Enjoy a bonfire, free popcorn, cider, live music, and a carol sing at 5:30pm. The fun concludes with a visit from Santa around 5:45pm.  At the same time, the Unionville Museum will hold its annual free Yuletide Open House from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. featuring a holiday tree exhibit and ornament auction, and refreshments.

Saturday, December 6 at 5pm {Rain/Snow Date: Sunday, December 7th} | Newington, CT |  Newington Night of Lights | The fire truck parade, refreshments, entertainment, guest speakers, carol sing, tree lighting and the arrival of Santa. Bring a canned food item to benefit the towns food bank. 

Saturday, December 6 from 5-6pm | South Windsor | Torchlight Parade | Join the South Windsor Fire Department to kickoff the holiday season. Children 12 years and under will receive a holiday themed gift.

Saturday, December 6 from 5-8:30pm | Farmington, CT | Candlelight Tours: Christmas in CT | Go back in time! This magical 1 1/2 hour program starts with a supper of soup, bread & cookies in the Whitman Tavern. Then follow your costumed guide to see mini-dramas in the decorated 1720 historic house. Seating is limited, so register early!

Saturday, December 6 at 5:30pm | Wallingford, CT | Fresh Beat Band Live

Saturday, December 6 at 6pm | Windsor, CT | The Archer Memorial Mass Choir will perform a medley of gospel and holiday music at Windsor Art Center. This performance is part of the ongoing Women Artists Collective art show and sale. plenty of free and family activities.

(PTO) Parents Time Out: Saturday, December 6 {Reoccurs December 13, or 20} | 5-9pm | New Britain, CT | Holiday Kids’ Night Out | Wondering what to do with the kids while you finish your holiday shopping? Pizza dinner, games, activities, and animals included. Pre-registration and pre-payment required for each evening. Call (860) 827-9064 for more information and to register. Fee: $24/non-members Ages: 3-10.

(PTO) Parents Time Out: Saturday, December 6 from 8-10pm | Hartford, CT | CT Forum | Today’s TV has raised the bar in every way – from writing and cinematography to acting and directing. Whether we binge-watch or adhere to appointment viewing, we are inspired, challenged, and entertained by smart, high quality television programming: compelling, complex characters we love to hate and hate to love; powerful, surprising, emotionally moving narratives; and larger than life personalities we come to know and admire through their “real life” TV personas. And now, thanks to an ever-expanding array of content distribution platforms, we can tune in to our favorite shows wherever, whenever, and however we choose. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from some of today’s most respected TV insiders and personalities. The mastermind behind Heisenberg, Jesse Pinkman, and the critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad. The creator of a groundbreaking TV series with perhaps the highest joke-per-minute ratio of any show ever produced, Arrested Development. The expert who has set new standards for style, fashion, and mentorship, as only he can, on the hit show Project Runway. This will be a live, unscripted conversation before an audience of 2,800 people at the Bushnell in Hartford. Come early for a special Viewing Party! Theater doors will open early at 7:25pm for a special Viewing Party! We’ll have hilarious Arrested Development clips, intense Breaking Bad moments and some fun and fashionable Project Runway scenes. Don’t miss it… if you’re a big fan or if you want to be introduced to the panelists’ work, it will be a great way to start the night. 

Sunday, December 7 from 8am-5pm | Hartford, CT | The KAR Dance Convention offers dancers a one-day workshop in Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Musical Theater taught by some of the best teachers in the country! Yes, teachers who understand students of all ages and abilities because they currently teach at dance studios like yours!

Sunday, December 7 | Kids Run: 10am, 5K: 10:30am | West Hartford, CT | Blue Back Mitten Run | Celebrate the season with our holiday 5K course along the wide avenues of West Hartford, past festive shop windows and decorated neighborhoods. Start, finish and post race refreshments in Blue Back Square. Please help benefit our neighbors in need by bringing a donation of new mittens, scarves or hats.

Sunday, December 7 from 11am-2pm | Simsbury, CT | Brunch with Santa

Sunday, December 7 from 11am-6pm | Hartford, CT | The Chocolate Expo | Celebrate your passion… and celebrate life! Chocolate is truly one of life’s simple pleasures.  Almost everyone loves chocolate!   The Chocolate Expo, now one of the very largest chocolate events in the U.S., offers tastings & sales of chocolates, baked goods, specialty foods, gelato, cheeses, wines and more from 35-80 local, regional and even some international vendors, depending on location and the size of the facility.   Each Chocolate Expo event combines chocolate and food with a dash of fun such as unique exhibits, performances, demonstrations and/or celebrity appearances. Whether its touring a world-class air & space museum on Long Island, touching live sharks in Connecticut, a magical Beatles tribute concert in NYC or an appearance by “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro in New Jersey, The Chocolate Expo is unlike any other chocolate event.

Sunday, December 7 | 11am-3pm | Farmington, CT | An Old Fashioned Holiday Open House | Participants will enjoy an old fashioned horse-drawn hayride, a visit with Santa, holiday cookies, crafts and more! Please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to the local food bank. This program is open to Winding Trails Members and Farmington residents only.

Sunday, December 7, 11am-4pm | Hartford, CT | 34th Annual Holiday House Tour | This is the famed-in-Connecticut weekend holiday tradition when people flock to the Mark Twain House, and to five distinctive area homes, for The Friends of The Mark Twain House & Museum Holiday House Tour. The tour will feature Mark Twain’s 19-room home and The Hartford Club, where Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was a member. Several historic homes will be opened for viewing for the 34rd year of this event. Each will be decorated for the holidays and will feature live music and floral arrangements. The Twain mansion will be decorated for a 19th-century Christmas with the Samuel Clemens family. The tour takes about three hours and requires some driving, but all the houses are not far from one another. Proceeds from the tour will benefit the continued restoration, preservation, and education programs of The Mark Twain House & Museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Sunday, December 7 at 1pm | Manchester, CT & Enfield, CT | Hanukah Storytime | Join us for a Hanukah Storytime featuring Honeyky Hanukah by Woody Guthrie. It’s Honey Hanukah time! A fun-filled story celebrating Hanukah with accompanying CD followed by arts and crafts.

Sunday, December 7 from 1-4pm | Farmington, CT | Meet the Family | Join the family, their household staff, and illustrious guests as they prepare to celebrate the holidays of 1901. Tour the house at your own pace and chat with interpreters in period dress and character. Free to members or with museum admission.

Sunday, December 7 at 1:30pm | Hartford, CT | The New England Jazz Ensemble has a rich archive of original music, including two ‘live’ performances, as well as one CD of a historic nature, which is the subject of today’s concert. In 2003, the band released one of the first big-band recordings of the suite from the Nutcracker ballet, Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite which was reinterpreted by Billy Strayhorn for Duke Ellington. In the first half of the band’s Infinity Music Hall debut, the band will perform this piece, which is more casually known as “Ellington’s Nutcracker.” The second half of the program will include the band’s original arrangements of other contemporary holiday tunes from its “Cookin’ Christmas” recording, plus other material from its extensive repertoire.

Sunday, December 7 at 2pm | Farmington, CT | The Elf on the Shelf Storytime Free

Sunday, December 7 at 3pm | Simsbury, CT | Festival of Carols and Dance

Sunday, December 7  at 5pm | West Hartford, CT | West Hartford Figure Skating Club Holiday Skating Show | $7 adults and $5 seniors & children. Tickets are available at the door.

December 7 5-8pm ” Simsbury, CT | Luminary Night: Light up the Night for Simsbury | Luminary Night is our club’s major annual fundraiser which helps support local organizations in need. Join your community in this non-denominational celebration of the season.

Check out our Holiday happenings page for holiday happenings after this week.

Save the Date: January 31st -February 1st , 2015 | Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday, 10am to 4pm | 11th Annual Big Y Kid’s Fair | Fun, entertainment, exhibits, prizes and more are what you’ll get this day at the Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford. Here’s one-stop-shopping for the latest products and services for growing families, including national, state and local companies offering product samples and valuable information. Plus, we’ll present entertainment, celebrity appearances and loads of activities for families with busy babies and toddlers. There will be Pony Rides and a Petting Zoo, magicians, a stage area featuring events like a kids fashion show, a kids play area, amusement rides and much, much more! $10 Adults, $5 Kids {Adults get $2 off with Big Y Express Savings Club or Silver Savings Club Card, limited to one per party}.

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