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Family-friendly holiday events in Boston 2016

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Let’s talk about family-friendly holiday events in Boston.

The holidays are a time where you should be spending a chunk of your free time with family. Maybe they live far away most of the year, but there’s a chance you’ll be around them during parts of December. If those interactions are taking place in Boston or the surrounding areas — and if some of your family (i.e. you yourself) have little kids — well, what are some of the best family-friendly holiday events in Boston for 2016? Here’s a primer.

Teddy Bear Tea: This is at the Boston Four Seasons. The goal is to teach kids the spirit of charity. (Very noble.) You get tea at the Bristol Restaurant, and then a Boston celebrity reads a famous children’s book. The Four Seasons also collects teddy bears for needy Boston-area children; in the course of this program, they’ve collected over 100,000 bears.

Immaculate Conception School North Pole Express: Leaves the Newburyport train station for the North Pole with a 70-minute round trip adventure, including cocoa and treats, a visit from Mr. C and his elves, and a silver bell presented to each child during a reading of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” by local storytellers. Come in your pajamas or as you are for a truly magical experience for children and parents alike.

Kendall Square Holiday on Ice: (FYI that link does take you to a Facebook events page.) This is on December 10th, in, well, Kendall Square. There are activities for the entire family, even the littlest ones.

Seeing Santa: While the magic around Santa is still fresh, you absolutely need to get your kids in front of him. This link has a very strong list/rundown of all the different places in the metro area to see Santa, from Prudential Center (photo packages begin at $20) to Smolak Farms in North Andover.

ZooLights: This is at the Stone Zoo (Stoneham) through the end of the year. On that page, there’s a really nice YouTube video of what the experience is like for kids.

Enchanted Village: This is at Jordan’s in Avon. It’s open until 8pm on weeknights and 9pm on weekends, with some adjustments for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Sleighbell Christmas Tree Farm: This is in Sutton, and it’s gorgeous and fun. Your kids will be in love with all the trees — and it’s a good learning experience around nature vocabulary and general themes associated with the holidays.

Old Sturbridge Village: Old Sturbridge Village treats visitors to Christmas by Candlelight tours and 19th-century holiday traditions, including sleigh rides, carolers, roasted chestnuts, and more. New this year at Sturbridge: a North Pole Village with family activities, trackless train rides, and Tinsel the talking Christmas tree.

Somerville Illuminations Tours: Somerville’s Arts Council hosts trolley tours of houses and yards transformed by holiday lights on December 17 ($10 for adults, $5 children and seniors). These 45-minute Illuminations Tours leave from City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue, between 4:30 and 10 p.m.

Santa Stampede 5K and Family Fun Run: On Cape Cod December 3, you and your energetic offspring can don a costume and your running shoes for the Santa Stampede 5k and Family Fun Run starting at The Barley Neck Inn in East Orleans. Register in advance ($25) on the website or at 9 a.m. on race day ($30). On December 10th, Boston has an Ugly Sweater run at Suffolk Downs — it’s $35, but kids under 5 are free.

More resources: If you’re looking for even more ideas, try this list from The Boston Globe.

Anything else you’d add on family-friendly holiday events in Boston near you that we missed?

Kristin Smith

Kristin is a wife, mom, doula and a kick ass swaddler. She spends her time helping families get top notch support throughout their parenting journey. When she isn't swaddling babies, she can be found sipping latte's and watching her daughter play softball. Read more...

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