Free & Fun Things to Do with Kids in and around Boston: Chanukah Festivals, Christmas Celebrations, and More December 8-9

things to do with boston kids for chanukah, christmas dec 8 and dec 9

Our December calendar continues to fill with free and fun holiday specials, craft fairs, winter festivals, and your pick of wintertime events. The Mass Horticultural Society's Festival of Trees continues through Saturday, and the Concord Museum is decked out for the holidays with its annual Family Trees exhibit. The first night of Chanukah is this Saturday, so get in the spirit with the lighting of the Menorah on the Boston Common, a Family Chanukah Celebration at the Boston Synagogue or the Chanukah Cantata at the Central Reform Temple of Boston.

Those are just a few of the great things going on this weekend. Read on for all of our picks. You can find additional options in our Event Calendar and our Winter Holiday Fun Guide.

If you’re still looking for good camp options for December Vacation Week or need some structure for your little one during the time off from preschool, we’ve rounded up more December vacation week camps to consider. And for those of you with winter birthdays in the family, read some ways we’ve overcome the challenges of a winter birthday party.

Our first ever Biggest Holiday Giveaway offers up the hottest gifts of the season, with a different prize each day. Each prize is available for 24 hours only, so be sure to check in every day.


Christmas Pajama Story Time at the Festival of Trees - The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Wellesley
Fri 12/7
Free with festival admission: Adults $8; Children under 12 FREE

Mass Hort's Children's Garden educator reads classic Christmas and holiday tales in her pajamas; kids are encouraged to wear theirs, too. Stories include 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Littlest Christmas Tree and The Grinch that Stole Christmas.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. This is one of many holiday-inspired events at Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Festival of Trees running through Saturday, December 8.

Nano Days + Free Admission - Discovery Museums, Acton
Fri 12/7

Kids see nano gold, make a DNA necklace, change the color of a butterfly’s wings, play I Spy Nano, and more. Find the nano in your everyday life and discover the special and unexpected properties found at the nanoscale. Donations for the Acton Food Pantry are gratefully accepted.

Pitching in for Kids 8th Annual Candy Land Tournament - Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston
Sat 12/8
Cost: $20        

Kids play Candy Land and sample some of Boston's best local vendors with entertainment, arts and crafts, and raffles. Every child leaves with a Hasbro toy. All proceeds to benefit Pitching in for Kids.

Dickens' A Christmas Carol Times Two! A Benefit Performance - Old South Meeting House, Boston
Sat 12/8
Cost: $10 in advance; $12 at the door        

One man, 18 characters... "Victorian Englishman Thomas Hutchinson," portrayed by Al LePage, uses voice, gestures and more to create 18 characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim, from Mrs. Cratchit to Marley's Ghost. Rev. Dr. Dianne Carpenter, minister and professional musician, dances her fingers across the keyboard playing holiday classics, plus a surprise historic tune about the Boston Tea Party.

Holiday Concert with Boston Children's Chorus - Holy Cross Cathedral, Boston
Sat 12/8
Tickets $10

Boston Children’s Chorus singers perform holiday classics in an all-choir celebration that unites audience and singers in sing-alongs throughout the program.

Paprika Kids Grand Opening - Belmont
Sat 12/8 & Sun 12/9

The weekend features entertainment, prizes and lots of fun as Belmont's newest toy store celebrates its grand opening. Saturday's celebration includes a sing-along and balloon shapes with Andreza Moon. Sunday's celebration runs includes cupcakes for everybody.

Tales of Beatrix Potter - Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brookline
Through 12/9
Tickets: $12        

Applause Unlimited, a solo puppeteer/storyteller, explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, the performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Mudeye Puppet Show - Barefoot Books, Concord
Sat 12/8
Cost: $8/child        

The Mudeye Puppet Company presents Hazel and Vel-Crow's Wacky World Tour, an all interactive puppet show in which children join Vel-Crow and Hazel Kangaroo as they take a journey across the world, learning about creative reuse as they go.

Stick around after the show and meet the puppets - made of recycled materials! - up close and personal. Children are welcome to make a wonderful holiday craft (at no cost) to usher in the season. Attendees can enjoy discount on our gorgeous selection of Folkmanis puppets. Pre-registration requested.

The Muppet Christmas Carol - Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline
Sat 12/8
Adults $10; Children $8        

The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve.

Menorah Lighting - Boston Common
Sat 12/8 - Sat 12/15

Join Chabad of Downtown Boston nightly for the Public Menorah Lighting at Boston Common. The Menorah will be erected near the Park St. T on the Common, facing the State House.

Family Series: How Wolfgang Got His Groove Bach - Longy School of Music, Cambridge
Sun 12/9

Wolfgang Amadeus Schmutzinberry has lost his sense of rhythm and students from the Longy School of Music help him get his groove back. The entertaining and interactive show features NY actor and musician Rami Vamos, percussionist Zach Nazar and students from Longy's Saturday music program.

Winter Lights, Bright Nights - Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston
Through March 30

Winter Lights on the Greenway is a series of lighting displays and innovative art installations intended to bring warmth and cheer to the Greenway during the darkest part of the year. Local artists, architects and design teams display their installations for different periods of time; some will last only a few days and others up to three months.

Photo: The Muppets Christmas Carol