What to do?

Keep the kids busy during the holiday week.


OK, so if all the gifts have been opened and you’re stymied on what to do, there is a plethora of options for you during the week before the kids go back to school.

Here are choices for those who are interested in being outside:

For teenagers, there is Sassafras, which offers programs that through connecting to nature build confidence, passion, vitality, and memorable experiences. They host Teen Fire Night on Thursday, Dec. 27, from 6 to 9 pm, including a hearty meal. “All our programs are ‘unplugged,’ meaning no phones,” according to the camp’s director, Saskia Vanderhoop. “We believe that it is really important to offer that space, be outside, and have some good fun and warm food [stew].” The suggested donation is $25, but they never turn anyone away for lack of funds. Call 508-645-2008 or visit the website sassafrasmvy.org/teen-programs.

If you want to spend some time with the appealing animals on the Island, Barbara Ronchetti at Island Alpaca invites everyone to an open house every day from 10 am to 4 pm, including New Year’s Day. There won’t be an admission charge until April 27, but donations are welcomed. She says, “We also have our 2 o’clock walks that we do every day [or anytime, with preregistration].” Ronchetti emphasizes as an added allure, “On all weekends, we will have open house with alpaca meets and greets throughout the day, and cookies and hot cider.”

If you want to get up-close and personal with the alpacas, everyone can try the Alpaca Discovery: Basics for Children and Adults program that includes not just learning about the alpacas and their care, but behind-the-scenes experiences that can include feeding and halter training. Call 508-693-5554 or visit the website to register: islandalpaca.com.

Ann Quigley at Polly Hill Arboretum shares that although they don’t have any special holiday-week programs, “we are open sunrise to sunset, and there are a lot of beautiful things to see here if families want to get out in nature. At this time of year, plants are displaying unique foliage color, textures, structure, cones, and berries.” Maybe a stroll is just what you need to knock off some of the high-intensity energy of the holidays.

A whole lot is cooking indoors at the Island’s libraries.

While you won’t be doing the cooking, there will be free soup and bread lunches for all ages at the West Tisbury library, as well as a full schedule of family and young adult crafts and film screenings. These activities are free and open to all. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by a mature caregiver. For more information, call 508-693-3366 or email olarsen@clamsnet.org. The times are as follows:

Monday, Dec. 24 (early closing at 3 pm)

10:30 am-2 pm: Drop-In Family Crafts

10:30 am-2 pm: Drop-In Teen Crafts

11:45 am-12:45 pm: Soup and Bread Lunch

Wednesday, Dec. 26, Thursday, Dec. 27, Friday, Dec. 28, and Monday, Dec. 31 (early closing at 5 pm)

10:30 am-4 pm: Drop-In Family Crafts

10:30 am-4 pm: Drop-In Teen Crafts

11:45 am-12:45 pm: Soup and Bread Lunch

1-3 pm: Family Movie

1-3 pm: Teen Movie

The Edgartown library also offers an array of choices, and one that particularly caught my eye comes on Thursday, Dec. 27.

Friday, Dec. 21

Monthly afterschool Nutrition Program for kids ages 9 and up, will meet from 12:30 to 1:30 pm this month in observance of the half-day before winter break. This workshop is led by public health nurse Lila Fischer. She will teach the basics of good nutrition habits, and lead the kids in making a healthy afterschool snack that they can learn to make themselves. No preregistration is required.

Saturday, Dec. 22

Drop-in craft: DIY holiday cards and wrapping paper. All ages welcome, children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult. 11 am-4 pm.

Thursday, Dec. 27

Annual family regifting party. Not sure what to do with that gift that you received this year that’s “not quite you”? Bring it to the library for a Yankee swap-style gift exchange. Here’s how it works: Rewrap the new item that you would like to swap and bring it to the library for a chance to swap it with something different. Bring your family, bring a friend, or come alone. One item per person. Arrive at 1 pm and enjoy light refreshments before the swap begins. No preregistration is required. For more information, you can call the library at 508-627-4221.

Saturday, Dec. 29

Monthly Dungeons and Dragons club. Registration is strongly recommended for this event. Call the library for more information and to sign up at 508-627-4221.

Monday, Dec. 31

Kids’ New Year’s Eve Celebration. Come make New Year’s Eve party poppers and decorate cookies. All ages are welcome; children under 9 must be accompanied by an adult. Free New Year’s Eve sunglasses while supplies last. 11 am-1 pm.

Check out these events happening at the Chilmark library.

Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 2 pm

Maker Space Project. Check out the new Maker Space, and make something fun.

Thursday, Dec. 27

Drop-In Afternoon Craft. Come make a wintry drop-in craft while enjoying hot chocolate.

Friday, Dec. 28, at 10:30 am

Lego Free Build. Come play with a giant bin of Legos in the meeting room.

Saturday, Dec. 29, at 1 pm

Movie Matinee. Join the library for a family-friendly movie. Popcorn provided.

The Vineyard Haven library offers Crafts at 2:30 pm and a Family Movie Screening at 3:30 pm on Dec. 26, 27, and 28. Call the library for the movie titles at 508-696-4211. On Dec. 31, Preschool Storytime is from 10:30-11 am.

The Aquinnah library hosts on Dec. 27 Storytime, 3:30-4 pm, and Kid’s Pizza and a Movie, 5-6:30 pm. And on Dec. 28, Storytime is from 10:30-11:15 am, and Kids Craft: Slime is from 11 am-3 pm.

There are certainly enough enticing choices all week to keep the young ones happy, and even the young at heart yearning for school to restart.


  1. And don’t forget Holiday Movies like MARY POPPINS RETURNS playing at the Capawock Theater all week long. And Bolshoi Ballet THE NUTCRACKER at 12:55 pm on Saturday at the MV Film Center and The MET OPERA: THE MAGIC FLUTE (Julie Taymor puppets) on December 28 at 1PM. Both are great for children and adults.

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