Kids’ Almanac (Dec. 21-28)

The performance of A Christmas Carol, on stage from December 22-24, is a 12-year tradition at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck.

“The pine stays green in winter… wisdom in hardship.”
– Norman Douglas

A Christmas Carol

Haha, I found this gem online: “I am the ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Subjunctive: I will show you what would have happened were you not to have changed your ways!” It’s the last call for the 1843 Dickens hit, A Christmas Carol. Here are two final opportunities this season to enjoy Bob Cratchit and crew:


A Christmas Carol, a 12-year tradition at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Friday, December 22, 8 p.m.; Saturday, December 23, 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, December 24, 1 p.m. 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck. Tickets cost $24 for adults; $22 for students and seniors. Geared for all ages. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit

A Christmas Carol solo show, performed with the same modified story script and cues as Dickens performed it. Thursday-Saturday, December 21-23 at 8 p.m. at Solaris, 360 Warren Street in Hudson. Free! Appropriate for ages 10 and up. Info and reservations at (518) 610-0909, or

Operation Christmas Cheer card-writing community 

Are you feeling like a Scrooge, a mensch or somewhere in-between? Sending holiday cards to kids cooped up in the hospital could be just the thing to turn your mood around, or to enhance your already-soaring spirits. Be a part of the Operation Christmas Cheer card-writing community at My friend created and manages this local card campaign, and the rest of us are simply tasked with showering medically compromised, chronically or terminally ill children with colorful, upbeat cheer, as well as the rest of the family.

Here are some tips from the organizer: “Just a reminder that some of these kids are currently undergoing treatments that will last for months or years, and some are in remission. Please be sure not to use phrases like, ‘Feel better soon’ or ‘Get better quick.’ It is hard for kids to understand when they know they are facing the biggest fight of their life, or when they are no longer ‘feeling’ sick. Kids can feel let down when they aren’t healing as fast as they’d like. If you are unsure what to say, just simply wishing a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays is enough to make them feel thought of. I’ve posted the individual stories of each child with their Facebook and social media links that allow you to read more about their current status. Thank you, and I hope we are sending hundreds of cards to drop an avalanche of love on all these amazing kids!”

When’s the last time you could make such a positive difference in a child’s life with a piece of paper, a pen and a stamp? I hope you will join our family in sending holiday cards to these local kids!

Local history for the holidays

Interested in infusing your holidays with some history? Here are some fun local activities with something for all ages!

• Bring the Kids: Winter Break! takes place at Boscobel this week, with each of the two dates offering different activities. Come to one, or register for both! Sessions are available each day at 9:30 a.m. or 3 p.m., and the event begins with a family-friendly candlelight tour of the house, followed by special crafts to take home. “Winter Wonders” is held on Tuesday, December 26, featuring candlemaking, pomander balls and a winter globe ornament. “Get Ready for the New Year” is held on Thursday, December 28 with noisemakers, funny hats and a countdown clock. The cost is $20 for an adult and child together; $5 per extra person; and $10 for members for an adult and child.

Boscobel is located at 1601 Route 9D in Garrison. For reservations or more information, call (845) 265-3638 or visit

• The Holiday Open House at Knox’s Headquarters gives your family a chance to time-travel to 1754, with this house decked out in holiday finery. Free and open to the public of all ages; come by for a tour at 10 or 11 a.m., 1, 2 or 3 p.m. on Thursday or Friday, December 28 or 29. Located at 289 Forge Hill Road in Vails Gate. For more information, call (845) 561-1765, extension 22, or visit

• Staatsburgh State Historic Site/Mills Mansion has a slate of activities for families this week, and bring your sled for fun on the epic hills afterwards. Forget about creatures not stirring; it’s time to build a mouse house! At 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 27 to 29 29, kids ages 6 to 10 are invited to “Make a Mouse House,” including a tour of Mills Mansion to hunt for mouse houses; then they craft their own version to take home! The cost is $8 per child, or $15 for families with up to 3 kids. Reservations are required.

Then come back on Sunday, December 31 between 1 and 3 p.m. for “Holiday Whodunit: A History Mystery in the Mansion.” Solve the mystery and you could win a prize! This one-hour holiday adventure is free with admission, and reservations are required: $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors and free for youth age 12 and under. The address is 75 Mills Mansion Road 1 in Staatsburg. For reservations or more information, call (845) 889-8851 or visit or

• “A Cure for Cabin Fever” takes place at the Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site this Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, December 27 to 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. In addition to the decorated house tour, finish with time to explore the museum and do a hands-on craft: Wednesday and Thursday, create a Badge of Military Merit; and on Friday and Saturday, make your own mobcap or tricorn hat to wear. Everything is included in the museum admission: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and free for ages 12 and under.

Washington’s Headquarters is located at 84 Liberty Street in Newburgh. For more information, call (845) 562-1195 or visit and


Two great family-friendly strolls at Lake Minnewaska

Walking in a winter wonderland… Let’s not just sing about it: We can actually do it!

• Pre-Holiday Walk around Lake Minnewaska meets up at the Nature Center and takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve on Saturday, December 23. The activity is free, but entry costs $10 per vehicle, and preregistration is required. The park is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Kerhonkson. For more information or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit

• Loop around the Lake for Families at Sam’s Point begins at the Sam’s Point Visitors’ Center and lasts from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Minnewaska State Park Preserve’s Sam’s Point Area on Saturday, December 23. The three-mile hike is free, but entry costs $10 per vehicle and preregistration is required. The park entrance is located at 400 Sam’s Point Road in Cragsmoor. For more information or to register, call (845) 647-7989 or visit


“All about Birds” at Mohonk Preserve

Inspired to learn more about our feathered friends beyond the one in the pear tree? Then head over to “All about Birds” at the Mohonk Preserve this Wednesday or Thursday, December 27 or 28 between 1 and 3 p.m. for some time with the Mohonk Preserve Youth Nature Ambassadors at the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center. From facts to artifacts, they have lots of fascinating information about various local volants.

This program is free and open to the public of all ages; no registration is necessary. The Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center is located at 3197 State Route 55 in Gardiner. For more information, call (845) 255-0919 or visit

Winter Break Mini-Camp at Xylophone

Boost your kids’ winter break with all-abilities fun at Zylofone’s Winter Break Mini-Camp! Sessions take place daily from Wednesday through Friday, December 27 to 29 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. In addition to singing, dancing, acting, creating and listening to music together, hot chocolate will be provided daily! The cost is $100 per day. Sign up for one, two or all three days!

Zylofone is located at 3020 Route 207 in Campbell Hall. For more information or to register, call (845) 476-8257, e-mail or visit


Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum stages The Gingerbread Man

Do your kidlets love stories? Both listening and telling them? Then they’re sure to have a stellar time at The Gingerbread Man play, taking place on Thursday, December 28 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Generally geared for children up to age 6, 12 volunteer kid actors and loads of audience participation bring this classic story to life: Can you help catch the Gingerbread Man? The cost of the play is $3 in addition to museum admission, $9 general admission and free for babies under one year.

The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum is located at 75 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 471-0589 or visit

Erica Chase-Salerno is obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Ben Franklin’s Song” by the Decemberists. She can be reached at