NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Grace Farms is offering an array of opportunities for the public to serve the community during the holiday season, with its "Christmas Joy at the River" schedule from Dec. 10-23.
The seasonal programs will offer people a contemplative space and a taste of the Christmas season through music -- both traditional holiday music and jazz -- readings and preparing holiday gifts for Neighbors Link, Malta House, local homebound seniors and the International Institute of Connecticut.
The events include fireside readings, holiday piano arrangements, a "Poetry Potluck," a moonlit stroll, community dinner and a three-on-three "Christmas Cup" basketball tournament.
Visitors are welcome to attend a single event or wander along the river to experience a variety of activities on a given day, or enjoy a quiet hour in the sanctuary with the winter view of the surrounding meadows and woodlands.
Here is an overview of the holiday activities:
Open Art Studio for Kids -- Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kids can work collaboratively on songs, dances, paintings and sculptures.
Fireside Stories -- Gather around the fire and listen as staff members read aloud with hot cider and snacks.
- Saturday, Dec. 10, from 4-6 p.m. -- C. S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"
- Saturday, Dec. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. -- Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"
Songs of the Season -- Tuesday through Saturday, Dec. 14-23, from 2-3 p.m. Pianists Lisa Lynne Kirkpatrick, Karen Nisenson, and Joyce DiCamillo will perform improvisational arrangements of Christmas carols.
Moonlit Stroll -- Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Grace Farms Foundation Nature Initiative Director Mark Fowler will lead participants in a fireside conversation about the moon's phases and how they affect the environment, followed by a moonlit stroll along the river building.
December Community Dinner -- Friday, Dec. 16, from 6-7:30 p.m. Local jazz artists Rob Fried and Hot Sauce, joined by Tyger MacNeal and Doug Hartline, will perform during this special dinner. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for kids. Advance tickets are required. Buy tickets and check out the menu here.
After dinner ... Gifting for Good -- Friday, Dec. 16, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Folks will help assemble and wrap holiday packages to benefit local immigrant families through the nonprofit Neighbor’s Link. The $20 donation provides blankets, toiletries and other essential items.Registration is preferred but not required. Register here.
Second session of Gifting for Good -- Saturday, Dec. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. As above, but special tea tastings will be offered, as well. Registration is preferred but not required. Register here.
Poetry Potluck -- Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 6-8 p.m. Print out a beloved poem to share and enjoy the poetic offerings of others.
Christmas Cup -- Friday, Dec. 23, from 2-6 p.m. Bring family and friends to compete in teams of four in Grace Farms' Christmas Cup, a friendly basketball tournament for teens, college students and adults. The three-on-three tournament will begin at 2 p.m., with seven-point, half-court games in a double-elimination bracket of 12 teams. This event is free, but advance registration is required. Register here.
For more detailed info on all these events, visit Grace Farms' calendar.
Throughout December, the public also can give to newly resettled refugees through a Giving Tree in the facility's library.
On Tuesday, Dec. 13 and 20, New Canaan's own Service League of Boys will bake holiday cookies and pastries for homebound seniors in the area and Malta House in Norwalk.
Grace Farms, 365 Lukes Wood Road, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. As exceptions for the holiday season, the property will be closed Dec. 24-26, closing at 4 p.m.,from Dec. 27-31 and closed from Jan. 1-4.