Back Bay - Midtown neighborhood notes

Staff Writer
Link Boston Homes

Virtual holiday party for kids and teens

Looking for some festive family fun? The French Cultural Center will be hosting classic holiday workshops to celebrate the season from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

All workshops will take place on Zoom and will be animated by their children’s teachers.

Among the family fun with a French twist will be holiday-themed arts and crafts, storytime, music and cooking.

Go to frenchculturalcenter.org/events for more information, including a schedule of activities and a links to register (prices range per activity).

Moving images: An artful afternoon with Black N' Animated

Black N' Animated, both a consortium of Black professionals working in the animation industry as well as a popular podcast, is coming together from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 on the Boston Public Library Teen Services Twitch channel.

This teens-only event will feature an honest discussion with Black animators currently working at Disney and Marvel as well as a live, real-time drawing demo by guest artists Kellye Perdue and Wynton Redmond. Teens can ask questions - and maybe even influence the artists' demos - all in real time.

Whether you're a teen interested in becoming a professional animator or a wicked otaku looking to nerd out for 90 minutes, join the Boston Public Library for this window into a fascinating artistic world.

No registration is necessary; simply visit Twitch.tv/BPLts at the event time or follow on Twitch early to receive notification of upcoming entertaining teen-oriented events.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and (optional) registration.

Build It! (on Zoom)

Children, ages 5 through 12 and their families, are invited to join Librarians Patty and Rebecca from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 to tackle a monthly building challenge. The participants will use supplies found in their homes, principles of engineering and a lot of ingenuity.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Guild of Boston Artists juried exhibition

The Guild of Boston Artists will present its annual members juried exhibition through Saturday, Dec. 12 which can also be previewed online.

The work in this exhibition encourages contemplation of the interplay between movement and stillness. Directed by the artist's hand, the viewer's eye traces lines and arabesques or settles gently on a passage or detail - the spirit soars and beauty hangs in the balance.

Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and by appointment; Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Visit www.guildofbostonartists.org for more information.

Christmas at Old South Church

During this holiday season, Old South in Boston will provide a variety of virtual programming as follows:

Christmas Pageant – Sunday, Dec. 13 at 10 a.m.

The children of Old South make their camera acting debut in this original performance of the story of Jesus' birth. Coordinated by Children's Music Leader Amy Budka and incorporated into their regular Sunday All-Church Worship service, this pageant is sure to warm your heart and make you laugh.

Blue Christmas Jazz Worship – Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.

While people are being bombarded with words lauding the wonders of the season, many find the holidays anything but joyful. The season may be even more difficult as many people wrestle with COVID-19 and isolation. Blue Christmas provides an opportunity to step away and let go into music and readings that acknowledge your feelings without trying to talk you out of them. Even if you love the holidays, you may find comfort in this special service.

Christmas Eve Services – Thursday, Dec. 24

- 5:00 p.m. Candlelight Family Service: In lieu of their beloved in-person impromptu Christmas pageant, the ministers will don costumes and perform a delightful rendition of this classic story. The program is perfect for children and adults alike.

- 8:00 p.m. Candlelight Service of Lessons & Carols: An elegant telling of the Christmas story in carols and readings with music for choir and organ, culminating in the singing of Silent Night. They encourage viewers to light candles in their homes along with them.

- 11:45 p.m. Candlelight Communion: A warmly traditional service with festive carols, traditional lessons and the singing of Silent Night at midnight. Be sure to prepare some wine/juice and bread for Communion.

Christmas Morning – Friday, Dec. 25 at 10 a.m.

This brief service will feature a special Christmas blessing. If you're still in your pajamas or dressed your Christmas best; if children are bouncing off the walls or if you're spending the day alone – you are welcome at this service.

Jazzy Lessons & Carols – Sunday, Dec. 27 at 10 a.m.

Join in for All-Church Worship, featuring the soulful tunes of the Willie Sordillo Ensemble and chances to sing along to your favorite Christmas songs.

Hop online at oldsouth.org/christmas, and have yourself a merry little Christmas with Old South Church in Boston.

Mary Baker Eddy Holiday Gift Drive

Mary Baker Eddy Library, alongside The First Church of Christ, Scientist and The Mother Church Sunday School, is collecting new items for five impactful groups:

- Casa Myrna (Household Goods/School Items)

- Project R.I.G.H.T. Inc. (Warm Coat Drive)

- Toys for Tots MA (Toys)

- School on Wheels Massachusetts (SOWMA) (School Supplies)

- Cradles to Crayons, Boston (Kids Essentials)

Visit marybakereddylibrary.org/kids-groups-families/holiday-gift-drive to learn more about each organization and links to donate. All donations are tax-deductible.

Barre en français

Exercise your body and your vocabulary. Join the French Cultural Center for a barre class that will help people to focus on strength, core stability, flexibility, muscle control, posture and breathing from the comfort of home.

French instructor Chloé Mizuta will guide participants in their practice from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14 and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21 via Zoom.

All levels of French and barre are welcome. When registering, tell them your level of both so they can tailor the program to fit all needs.

Visit frenchculturalcenter.org for more information and reservations (Member - $7; Non-member - $10).

‘They Knew They Were Pilgrims’

Americans have been telling two very different stories about the Pilgrims. One is the tale of brave religious refugees who established Thanksgiving and democracy in the New England wilderness. The other is the story of unscrupulous invaders who betrayed their Indian allies, stole their land and went to war against them.

John G. Turner (George Mason University) narrates a more complex history in They Knew They Were Pilgrims, tracing the contested meanings of liberty – and slavery – in the seven-decade history of Plymouth Colony.

Go to masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration for this online program, slated from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14.

2020 Christmas Shop

Christmas Shop needs support to help bring hope and joy to those most in need during the holiday season.

– People can provide new gifts and clothing (no food items) to individuals and families in need in Boston - View Wish List online

– People can volunteer to help with sorting items and packing them for recipients (adults only).

Go to citymissionboston.org/christmas-shop for more information.

Victorian holiday customs

No one celebrated Christmas quite like the Victorians. The festivities began with Thanksgiving and extended through New Year's Day (and sometimes Twelfth Night). We continue to embrace many customs the Victorians popularized – such as the Christmas tree – although others, such as the once-traditional gift of an orange, have fallen by the wayside.

Etiquetteer Robert B. Dimmick will delve into the food, gifts, entertaining and superstitions involved in Victorian celebrations from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Go to thegibsonhouse.org/events.html for more information and Zoom registration ($10).

Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group

The Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Group at the Boston Public Library's Central Library is geared toward young adults in their 20s and 30s will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15 (earlier than usual due to the holiday).

The December read will be Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including the video chat link.

Beyond the Page: ‘The Talented Miss Farewell’

December is the month for making snow angels and reading about Becky Farewell, the female con artist who is less than angelic.

Beyond the Page book club will meet with author Emily Gray Tedrowe for a relaxed and intimate discussion from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday Dec. 15.

The Talented Miss Farewell is an electrifying page-turner of greed and obsession, survival and self-invention that is a piercing character study of one unforgettable female con artist. Becky is simultaneously the treasurer of a small, struggling town and a cutthroat New York City art collector.

As they spiral deeper into the novel and her double life, join the book club’s Facebook group where they will host reading goals and conversation leading up to the main event.

Toys for Tots collection

New, unwrapped toys to benefit the US Marine Corps Toys for Tots program can be dropped off at the following places:

- Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, 19 Arlington St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Tuesday, Dec. 15.

- Lilly Pulitzer, 133 Newbury St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Wednesday, Dec. 23; and

Donations via check can be sent to: Toys for Tots Coordinator, 21 Drydock Ave., Box 21-810W, Boston, MA 02210. You can also make a donation online.

Go to boston-ma.toysfortots.org for more information, including the link to donate.

Esplanade 2020 Holiday Auction

The 2020 Holiday Auction includes rounds at premier golf courses, a private catered dinner party, roundtrip airline tickets from JetBlue, time in the Top Golf Swing Suite at Lynx Fitness Club, an overnight stay at the Whitney Hotel, a unique garden tour, with new items added throughout the length of the auction, including an exclusive wine package.

Please consider taking part in this holiday auction this year to give back to the beautiful riverside park.

Bidding will run through 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Visit https://esplanade.org for more information.

Music & Art for the Soul

Music improves mood, reduces stress, lessen anxiety and helps people eat less. Through art, people open their hearts and minds to possibilities.

Those who would like to share their musical talent - i.e. singing, sing-a-longs, playing an instrument and dancing – are invited to join the Good Vibes three-part series from 11 to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16 on Zoom.

Facilitated by Boston Public Library staff members, this series offers collaborations of creativity voluntarily shared by the participants.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Researching your home

Learn about resources at the Boston Public Library and beyond that can assist people in discovering the history of their Boston home. This course will take place on Zoom from 3 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Book Tasters

Looking for a new book, a recipe or just something to do?

Book Tasters will be held from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

The group will talk books, then craft, play games and chat over Zoom. At the end of the session, participants will get a new recipe to try at home. Come for the book review, stay for the fun.

The group is aimed for kids in Grades 4 through 6; Families welcome.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

‘Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’

In Cross of Snow, Nicholas Basbanes reveals the life, the times, the work – the soul – of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a man who shaped the literature of a new nation with his countless poems, sonnets, stories, essays, translations and whose renown was so wide-reaching that his deep friendships included Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Ward Howe and Charles Sumner.

Highlighting research materials from the MHS archive, Basbanes will frame Longfellow’s life and work in the context of 19th century literary Boston.

Go to masshist.org for more information and Zoom registration for this author talk, slated from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Author Christina Schwarz with ‘Bonnie’

In this suspenseful, gorgeously-detailed novel, the #1 New York Times bestselling author vividly evokes the life of Bonnie Parker, her fascinating love affair with Clyde Barrow and their infamous partnership in crime.

Born in a small town in western Texas, Bonnie was a natural performer and a star student who dreamed of being a movie star, singer or poet. Schwarz follows Bonnie from this promising start to her final month of shoot-outs and desperate car chases through Depression-era America.

In conversation with Sandra Tsing Loh, Christina Schwarz will explore such topics as turning life into story, women’s struggles to make their dreams reality and the promise and pitfalls of Christmas; unpacking scenes from the novel and more from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Go to americanancestors.org/events for more information and registration.

Tips for interviewing relatives

The oral tradition of a family is perhaps just as important as the evidence you find in document-based research. Even if you learn that not all of the details are 100 percent accurate, these stories provide important clues to begin - or continue - your research, give life to names and dates on a page, and may provide information not found in records. But how do you start the conversation, stay on track and record the information provided?

Stephanie Call, Associate Director of Archives and Education, will present a webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 that will offer some valuable tips and techniques for interviewing relatives—and suggest strategies for encouraging family to talk.

Go to americanancestors.org/events for more information and registration.

Coat Boston

City Mission is collecting new, unused coats in all children’s sizes and all teen sizes (including adult men’s and women’s) that will be given directly to Boston schools and organizations that serve low-income families.

Coats can be donated in one of the following ways:

– Buy a coat and deliver it to your organization’s coat drive then dropped off at the Coat Collection Center

– Order online and send directly to the Coat Collection Center (See Wish Lists)

The address is: Coat Collection Center, First Parish Westwood, Attn: City Mission, 252 Nahatan St. Westwood, MA 02090.

Go to citymissionboston.org/coat-boston for more information.

Tween Time

Kids, ages 8-12 years old, are invited to join librarians for puzzles, games and different projects from 4 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17.

This program is a great way to spend an hour and virtually hang out with kids around Boston.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

BB@YOURHOME 2020-2021 Season Series

Enjoy a night at the ballet wherever you are with BB@YOURHOME, a new virtual series featuring fresh creations, signature works and classical ballet gems captured live in-studio and streamed directly.

Their reimagined season showcases the creativity and innovation that defines Boston Ballet, pushes the boundaries of their artform and continues to provide world-class dance despite the current constraints.

Dec. 17-Dec. 27: The Gift

Bring a joyous sparkle to the holidays with divertissements set to the deliciously bluesy compositions of Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite. Inspired by one of the greatest jazz musicians Boston Ballet dancers will choreograph unique new works culminating in the regal grand pas de deux from Act II of The Nutcracker as a grand finale.

Jan. 21-Jan 31: Look Back, Focus Forward

Take a virtual voyage of Boston Ballet’s history ad artistic achievements, including outstanding international tours, the special relationship with Jiří Kylián’s repertoire, the intimate ballets from Leonid Yakobson, and many more. This reflective collage celebrates our journey together and explores the exciting future ahead getting ready to enter a new year.

Feb. 25-Mar. 7: Celebrating Jorma Elo

Celebrate the boldness and choreographic evolution of Jorma Elo’s work through his 15 years as Boston Ballet’s Resident Choreographer. Watch as a new cast of dancers takes on his mind-blowing hit Plan to B and be the first to experience his brand-new work for two dancers.

March 25-April 4: The Art of Classical Ballet

Open a treasure chest of pas de deux from classical ballet including a rarely-performed gems. Experience a curated look at the foundations of the artform and the leaps ballet has made since then.

April 15-April 25: Process & Progress

Enjoy innovative, never-before-seen dance by new, international choreographic voices Nanine Linning and Ken Ossola, plus a preview of ChoreograpHER.

Bring the Ballet home to you. With each subscription ($180/series), you support their dancers, fuel new art-making, and invest in Boston Ballet's future.

Go to bostonballet.org/Home/Tickets-Performances/Performances/BB-at-your-home for more information and tickets.

LRC: Unity

The power to come together within similar and across diverse communities seems more and more elusive. The alienation from the people around us manifests in ever-growing depression, addiction, physical and psychological abuse, crime, violence and suicide – indicators of spirits in distress and despair. People are caught in giant social and political arguments about the symptoms of dis-unity that ignore the heart-felt desire for harmony and peace with one another and the earth.

In the face of all this, the gift of the power of unity calls everyone to find our way back to a deep knowing of interconnection and community. The challenge is to trust in unity, even if there is a history of experiences that lead people to distrust and feel separate from others.

Join the facilitated living room conversation from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, where participants can practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

‘The Ghost Light Series’

The final performance of the Ghost Light Series will be at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 airing on New England’s Connection Network (NECN) featuring Livingston Taylor.

For centuries, theatres around the world have had what is known as a Ghost Light, a single lamp left shining when everyone has left. The legend is that this light protects actors, patrons and theatres from bad luck and ghosts.

These half-hour shows in the Ghost Light Series will feature artists performing to an empty audience on the Boch Center stage illuminated only by the Ghost Light. There will be no amps and no spotlights – just the artists and their instruments, playing and sharing stories, and revealing what it is like to be a musician at a time when you are cut off from your audience.

Visit www.bochcenter.org/discover/ghost-light-series for more information, including all prior performances.

Chorus pro Musica Candlelight Christmas 

Chorus pro Musica’s annual Candlelight Christmas, an annual Boston tradition, will be virtual this year and include everything people have come to know and love: candles; sing-along-carols; the Old South Organ; Silent Night; Joy to the World; beloved holiday classics and new works blended with some previous CpM classic recordings from years past, illuminated by stunning images, and more.

Go to https://choruspromusica.org for more information and registration ($15 to $40; includes access to A (Virtual) Candlelight Christmas, plus a PDF of the program and carols.).

Access to the virtual concert will be e-mailed on Saturday, Dec. 19. The concert will be accessible for one week through Saturday, Dec. 26.

Baroque Christmas

Handel and Haydn Society Principal Keyboard and Associate Conductor Ian Watson will bring light and warmth to the cold Boston winter with a special program of music fit for the season.

Performed by members from the superb H+H Orchestra and from Boston's beautiful St. Cecilia Parish, this concert will be presented via stream online.

Subscribers and donors who give more than $100 will automatically be sent a link for a complimentary performance and post-concert Q&A with musicians slated for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20.

Others may access the public premiere of this concert slated for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22 by registering, with a suggested donation of $10 to defray costs of production and help compensate the musicians.

Visit handelandhaydn.org/concerts/baroque-christmas-streaming-concert for more information and registration.

Handel's Messiah for Our Time

In collaboration with GBH, the Handel and Haydn Society invites everyone to join them for a special televised and streaming performance of Handel’s Messiah, an uplifting and joyous experience for a holiday season unlike any other. The program will include Handel: Messiah, Part I and “Hallelujah” Chorus.

Premiering at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20 and available throughout the holiday season, the concert will be broadcasted on GBH Television Channel 2 and WGBY in Springfield. Also streaming on social media channels for GBH and H+H, including Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo.

This triumphant concert is their free gift to the community, for all to enjoy.

Holiday Small Works: 2020

Featuring work from their membership of more than 300 artists, Holiday Small Works 2020 is one of Copley Society of Art’s most anticipated exhibitions each year. This traditional holiday show offers hundreds of affordably-priced small artworks in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, mixed media and photography.

The artworks will be on view through Friday, Dec. 25 at the Co|So’s Gallery, 158 Newbury St. and virtually at www.copleysociety.org.

Gallery temporary hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.; Mondays by appointment.

Give the gift of membership – now through January

Give the gift of membership this holiday season. This gift will ensure that the beloved parks - the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall - remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at friendsofthepublicgarden.org/2020/11/06/give-the-gift-of-membership-now-through-january.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s virtual gala/auction

For all of the people who watched Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s Virtual Gala/Auction live on Oct.14, the BLO apologizes for the technical difficulties with the stream. BLO has put together a polished recording of the event that can be watched by all on their website at landmarksorchestra.org/2020-gala.

There is still time to donate to their Gala at gofundme.com/f/landmarksorchestra.

Monday Mettā

Join Rev. Kim at the Arlington Street Church at noon on Mondays for a half hour of lovingkindness meditation. She will give brief instructions, and the group will join in sending lovingkindness to ourselves and to the world. No meditation experience necessary.

Join with video at https://zoom.us/j/8958866876 or participate by phone by dialing 929-436-2866. For either option, the meeting ID is always 895 886 6876.

New Parent Group (on Zoom)

Looking for a way to meet other parents with infants? Need support from experts while navigating new challenges? Have questions about childhood development, parenting and early literacy?

Join the Boston Public Library’s New Parent group on Zoom. The group will meet from 1 to 2 p.m. on (most) Tuesdays for an informal – and informative – program for families with infants, birth to 12 months. The group will meet on Dec. 15 and Dec. 22.

There will be guest speakers visiting each week to speak about a variety of topics, including diapering, napping, feeding, early communication and general wellness for parents and infants. There will also be time before the guest speaker arrives so people can connect with other new parents and get early literacy recommendations from the librarians.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information, including a weekly speaker/topic and registration.

The Buddhist book discussions and meditations

Buddha's Belly and Arlington Street Meditation Center (feel free to come to one or both) meet via Zoom on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

6 p.m. Buddha's Belly: a book discussion group that explores a variety of books from Buddhist teachings. All are welcome.

7 p.m. Arlington Street Meditation Center: these gatherings include seated meditation, a brief reading from Buddhist teachings, and conversation. Beginners and experienced meditators from all traditions (or none!) are warmly welcome.

Visit www.ascboston.org for more information and links to attend.

Jackbox party gaming for teens on Twitch

A small team of the friendly local Boston Public Library teen librarians will be using their newly-minted Twitch stream to host a series of wacky, irreverent online party games from the Jackbox suite - all of which are designed to be played by large audiences.

Kids in 6th through 12th grade can visit TWITCH.TV/BPLts from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and use their phone or internet-enabled device to join the game, joke around in chat and even recommend the next game.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

Pajama Story Time

Grab your coziest PJs and a favorite stuffed animal and join Librarian Rebecca for end-of-day stories, songs and movement from 6 to 6:45 p.m. on Thursdays. Wind down with a cozy craft inspired by the reading. This story time is ideal for toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Email Librarian Rebecca (rfox@bpl.org) with your child's name and age to register and receive a link to the Boston Public Library’s Zoom room.

Virtual Jazz Coffee House

The Virtual Jazz Coffee House, featuring the Willie Sordillo Ensemble, will be live streamed from the Old South Church in Boston from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at https://livestream.com/oldsouth.

The Bach Cantata Series 2020 - 2021

The Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music, conducted by Artistic Director Ryan Turner, has returned to Emmanuel Church for the 2020-2021 Bach Cantata Series. As they were originally written for worship services, these cantatas are presented at the culmination of the 10 a.m. Sunday liturgy at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St., where Emmanuel Music is the Ensemble-in-Residence. The series will be held through May 9 with a special Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Those aiming to hear just the cantatas are welcome to join at approximately 11 a.m., but both organizations encourage all to join at any time during the service with the motto that “the longer you are here, the more you will hear.”

The services are open to all with strict COVID-19 protocols in place.

The service including the Bach Cantata will be streamed live on Emmanuel Music's and Emmanuel Church's Facebook pages.

For more information, visit www.emmanuelboston.org and/or www.emmanuelmusic.org.

BSRA

The Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. (BSRA) typically meets on the first Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m. with a short business meeting followed by an entertainment program. Everyone is welcome to attend this online meeting.

The BSRA online store is open.

Rollsign, a bi-monthly publication on New England transit news and history, is also available.

Visit www.thebsra.org for more information, including how to join the meeting.

Esplanade explorer activities packet

If you're looking for a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon on the Esplanade, register to receive the Esplanade Explorer Activities Packet filled with a scavenger hunt, Eye Spy Bingo, ice cream and more – available through Thursday, Dec 31.

The packet is filled with outdoor activities that you can do on your own time while being physically distant. Any donation will support the Esplanade Association’s work to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and provide educational, cultural and recreational programs for everyone.

Register at eventbrite.com/e/esplanade-explorer-activities-packet-tickets-126306059825 ($10).

Once registered, you will receive the Esplanade explorer activities packet via email.

Participants will also be registered to win a gift card to either Trident Booksellers and Café or Boston Swan Boats.

Future Readers Book Club

The Boston Public Library will host the Future Readers Club for children, ages five years and younger, and their caregivers, with a goal of reading 1,000 books together before the child begins kindergarten.

Register at bpl.org to keep track of the books you read together and earn badges for your young milestones at bostonpl.beanstack.org.

In addition, the BPL offers an assortment of programs as part of the Future Readers Club to engage children in stories, songs, finger play and crafts.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration to each event.

Genealogy for the next generation

Several free, easy-to-do fun activities that will keep kids entertained and get them thinking about their family history are available at www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/youth.

These exercises are designed to teach critical skills while encouraging kids to explore their personal connection to the past. Studies show that young people who know facts about their heritage have a stronger sense of self, which can help them perform better in school and life.

Big Sister mentoring

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide award-winning (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister and Little Sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit www.bigsister.org.

Support the Esplanade Association

The Esplanade is the stretch of public green space that extends for three miles one way along the Boston shore of the Charles River from the Boston Museum of Science to the Boston University (BU) Bridge.

In addition to providing a beautiful natural landscape, the park is home to the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell, various historical monuments, recreational facilities and more than five miles of pathway for walking, running or biking.

Please consider making a donation to the Esplanade Association to help keep the green space thriving and the activities alive.

People’s support of Esplanade Association is more critical than ever before, especially since the annual Moonlight Gala was canceled and this event typically makes up 50 percent of their operating revenue. All donations are tax deductible and people can use any means to send their support, including Donor Advised Funds.

Visit https://esplanade.org for more information and links to donate.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information

Boston Eats will continue to provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth –

18 years of age and under – through Dec. 31. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations and other information. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens is also included.

Visit foodpantries.org for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

If you need additional food resources, contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333.

‘Dream Boston:’ Five-minute audio plays

Welcome to Dream Boston, a future vision of this city that is somewhere between dream and reality, powered by the Huntington Theatre.

Through short audio plays, Dream Boston asks local playwrights to imagine their favorite locations, landmarks and friends in a future Boston when everyone can once again meet and thrive in the city.

Visit www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/upcoming/dream-boston for more information and links to listen on your favorite podcast platforms.

Boston Ballet

Enjoy a variety of behind-the-scenes videos, virtual choreography, performance clips, and articles on www.bostonballet.org along with exclusive, ballet videos posted Mondays through Fridays at www.facebook.com/bostonballet and/or www.instagram.com/bostonballet.

Support Boston Ballet at www.bostonballet.org/Home/Support/Donate.

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs need help

Common Cathedral and Boston Warm programs under the umbrella of Ecclesia Ministries at Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St.) needs partners to help them serve the increasing number of homeless and underserved during this critical time.

There are three specific ways that you can help make a difference:

1) Donate supplies listed on their Amazon account.

2) Donate individually wrapped homemade or purchased sandwiches, soft fruits and granola bars.

3) Donate your time, your treasures (donations) and your prayers – they are always welcomed and valued.

Visit www.commoncathedral.org for other information, including links to keep this mission alive.

Friday Night Supper Program emergency appeal

The Friday Night Supper program (FNSP) at the Arlington Street Church – the longest running program in Boston – has served more than 13,000 meals a year to more than 130 guests from all over Boston since 1984.

Your donations make a difference in the lives of people in need, whether through philanthropic dollars or individual gifts of money, clothing, toiletries and gift cards. Help fill the gap with their Emergency Appeal so they can continue their mission.

Visit www.Fridaynightsupper.org to make a donation.

Support Women’s Lunch Place

Women’s Lunch Place, 67 Newbury St. continues to serve women while maintaining all three of their core services areas – healthy meals, direct care and advocacy.

WLP is open every day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provides one take out package that contains a nutritious breakfast and lunch with extra snacks to sustain their guests.

Women’s Lunch Place needs donations – money, gift cards, toiletries, underwear and other basic necessities – to keep their mission going.

Visit www.womenslunchplace.org for more information.

‘BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception’

From 17th century attempts to woo European settlers to the New World with maps that exaggerated natural resources, to a 2019 Sharpie-enhanced weather map designed to reshape the politics of disaster planning, maps and visual data have always been tools for manipulating reality.

In a wide-ranging, year-long initiative comprising exhibitions, programs and educational activities, “BENDING LINES: Maps and Data from Distortion to Deception” at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map & Education Center (Copley Square), offers a critical look at how to understand the world as it appears in geographic representations.

The show features historical and contemporary documents and interactive displays designed to show visitors the power of persuasive mapmaking and will be on view through May 2021.

Visit leventhalmap.org/bending-lines for more information.

This is the scene outside the Boston Public Library and Copley Square at Christmas time during the 1940s. See more at www.digitalcommonwealth.org.