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Holiday activities coming fast and furious

We hear you.

You’ve polished off the last of the turkey and pie leftovers, cleared the centerpiece from the table, and before you can exhale the last of the Thanksgiving air, your neighbors have already installed a six-foot-tall snowman in their front lawn, neatly arranged strings of LED lights across their property, and pinned a set of reindeer antlers to the family car.

Our festive communities know how to celebrate, and they know how to squeeze every last drop out of goodness from this all-too-brief holiday season — even if it can often feel like a mad dash to do so.

With so much on offer in Hometown Weekly’s towns, it can be a little daunting to keep track of it all. While we couldn’t possibly cover everything in this small space (and we sincerely apologize to those who we’ve missed, and to those whose holiday events have occurred before the time of print), we’ve done a little of the legwork for you and prepared a streamlined guide to some of the holiday fun and warmth in the coming weeks — and this weekend in particular, during which there will be an explosion of holiday activity.

Festivities begin in Medfield this Friday evening, December 2, with the Holiday Stroll and annual tree lighting. Set to turn much of Medfield into a veritable winter wonderland, including the beautiful Bellforge Arts Center (which is very much worth your visit, if you’ve yet to explore), the Holiday Stroll will welcome over thirty vendors to town — in addition to food trucks, carolers, and ice sculptors. The fun runs from 4-9 p.m., and a holiday parade will follow down Main Street the next morning, Saturday, December 3.

Nearby at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Garden at Elm Bank, just on the Dover border, organizers are hosting the annual Festival of Trees. The festival features beautiful holiday trees that are donated and decorated by local businesses, garden clubs and other organizations, and individuals. Visitors to the festival vote on their favorite trees via raffle tickets — and at the event’s end, the trees are raffled off to the lucky viewers. Sweetening the deal is the garden itself, which is decked out in holiday lights and decorations, and the Snow Village, a beautiful, sprawling model train exhibition that captivates both young and old alike. The Festival of Trees runs through December on weekdays from 4-8 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (both with last entry at 6 p.m.)

For those who enjoy a little of the great outdoors along with their holiday celebrations, Powisset Farm will be hosting a festive Holiday Haybale Tree Lighting, complete with hot drinks and snacks, at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. In addition to the lighting of the picturesque haybale tree, the event presents a perfect opportunity to stroll the grounds and complete the concurrently-running Reindeer Quest — an informal scavenger hunt in search of nine wooden reindeer planted throughout the farm property. The quest runs through the end of January.

Needham, meanwhile, will be hosting its own annual tree lighting on Saturday as well, at 5 p.m. on Greene’s Field. Dating back years to the original Blue Tree, which was planted in 1954 and has since been replaced, the festivities serve as a start to the holiday season in town. Revelers will be joined by the Needham High School Chorale and Plugged In band program, both of which will be performing, and Santa Claus himself, who will be available for visits and photo opportunities.

Speaking of Santa, he’s a busy guy at this time of year — which is why Walpole residents welcomed him back to town with a festive parade from Walpole High on November 26. While this article is a little late for Santa’s glorious return, he will be back throughout the month. Through Thursday, December 22, Santa will be hosting “office hours” in his house on Main Street on Mondays through Fridays from 4-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Walpole’s Bird Park is also set to host its own tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9, with help from the WHS chorus and treble chorus. The event will feature hot chocolate and friendly neighbors as the ten-foot-tall balsam fir tree is illuminated for the season.

Just down the road in Westwood, residents will have two Christmas fairs from which to choose this weekend on December 3, when First Baptist Church and First Parish will host their Holly Berry Fair and Christmas Fair, respectively. Both fairs will feature holiday goods and gift ideas, tasty bites to eat, and plenty of good cheer — and both will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.

While Hanukkah’s later arrival this year means celebrations will occur a bit later in the month, this multicultural editor is very much looking forward to the unique pleasure of lighting candles after his Christmas Eve dinner this year. Hometown Weekly is also very much anticipating the return of Needham’s annual menorah lighting, an always-festive event at Town Hall that is not to be missed. Announcements are expected soon on www.jewishneedham.com.

Those who don’t mind a light commute for festivities might also be curious to know that Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a celebration of Hanukkah from 5-10 p.m. on December 15. The event will feature “Brighter Ignited”, an illuminated mobile art installation by Needham-based Tova Speter, among additional art, talks and music.

Hometown Weekly’s communities are playing host to a number of additional fantastic upcoming holiday sales, concerts, tours, and charitable endeavors, as well. Readers are encouraged to look for more activity appearing this month throughout the paper’s editorial section — and in the community calendar on page four.

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