13 Free Things to Do in Boston, December

sowaFirst Friday SOWA Open Studios (Photo via SOWA Artists Guild)

We’ve reached the first week of December and the last month of the year, the season during which we buy the most things. With or without Black Friday deals, our spending cash is surely dwindling. Once again, we have compiled a list of free things to do this month for those of us on a tight budget.


Saint Nick Celebration

Popular for its walk-in studio and art parties, ArtBeat The Creativity Store in Arlington is hosting a month-long holiday celebration in honor of Saint Nicholas’ birthday on December 6, known in Slovakian as Svaty Mikulas. Traditionally, Slovakian children will put out their shoes overnight and wake up to find them filled with presents. Visitors to the store will be able to make their own Saint Nick wooden figure, free with a purchase of any studio product while supplies last.

Dec. 3-31 (excluding Dec. 25 & 26), Artbeat The Creativity Store, 212 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-646-2200, artbeatonline.com

First Friday SOWA Open Studios

The SOWA Artists Guild, in effort to make art more accessible to the public, will be having a free open studios event on the first Friday of every month, including this coming Friday, December 7. Guests will have the chance to view artwork, meet and chat with artists, and enjoy “an evening of culture and inspiration.” Parking is available.

Friday, Dec. 7, 5-9 p.m., 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, sowaartistsguild.com


mit museumPhoto via MIT Museum

MIT Second Fridays

Ever ventured over to the MIT Museum? Start your weekend off right every second Friday of the month, during which, for a few hours, the museum will open its doors free to the public. Check out the 3-D holography exhibit and some of the latest technologies, and take advantage of performances and lectures held in various galleries. Next Friday, December 14, browse the new Sampling MIT exhibit and enjoy presentations by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory on flying and designing aircraft.

Friday, Dec. 14, 5-8 p.m, MIT Museum Building N51, 265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-253-5927, web.mit.edu/museum


Apollo Club Holiday Choral Event

Having been active as a men’s chorus group since 1871, the Apollo Club of Boston will perform its free holiday concert at the Boston Public Library. In addition to some holiday classics, the group will also sing college anthems, a “My Fair Lady” medley, and songs of endearment. For some quality (free!) tunes to get you in the gift-giving spirit this season, head down to BPL’s Rabb Lecture Hall on December 11.

Tuesday, Dec. 11, 7-8 p.m., Boston Public Library Central Branch, Rabb Lecture Hall, 700 Boylston St., Boston, 617-536-5400, bpl.org


Art Demonstration: Printmaking with John Schulz

John Schulz, a renowned printmaking artist whose works are displayed in museum collections both nationally and internationally, has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1995. On December 9, he will offer a woodblock and linoleum-cut printmaking demonstration, free to the public at the Druker Family Pavilion. Schulz has taken prints from books, comics, and other print material and will share how he reconstructs these into his own masterpieces. Whether or not you leave with a newfound hobby or just a bit more enlightened, don’t miss out on this free art class.

Sunday, Dec. 9, 12-3 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, Druker Family Pavilion, Community Room 159, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org


chanukahPhoto via Thinkstock

A Light Through the Ages

Celebrate Chanukah this year with a free concert by Emmanuel musicians at the Central Reform Temple of Boston. “A Light Through the Ages” seeks to bring forth the holiday’s true meaning as well as recognize the importance of love, family, hope, and peace. The performance will feature a narration of Chanukah as it has been celebrated in various times and places throughout history, alongside traditional and modern music.

Sunday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m., Central Reform Temple of Boston, 15 Newbury St., Boston, 617-262-1202, centralreformtemple.org


Cookies & Carols at the New School of Music

If you enjoy eating and music, this free event may be a wise way to spend your time. On Saturday, December 15, join the New School of Music’s holiday cookie potluck (bring your own treats, without nuts) and seasonal sing-a-long. Great for all ages!

Saturday, Dec. 15, 3:30-4:30 p.m., New School of Music, 25 Lowell St., Cambridge, 617-492-8105, newschoolofmusic.org


Cultural Survival Bazaar

For an unusual and fascinating pastime this season, check out the Cultural Survival Bazaar, featuring native arts and artisans from around the world. Find the most unique gifts (artwork, jewelry, tribal rugs, etc.) and listen to free, international performers as you dabble in a mix of cultures. The event will be held for the next three weekends, with this weekend’s bazaar featuring music of Mali, crafts from Botswana, works by the Zimbabwean wire artist Bernard Domingo, and much more.

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 1000 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-441-5400, bazaar.culturalsurvival.org


Geeks Who Drink Trivia

Every Tuesday this month, City Side pub will host a traditional Anglo-Irish STUMP! trivia competition, during which teams of up to six people will participate in 8 rounds of 8 questions. Social drinking, of course, is encouraged to relieve some of that beginning of the week stress. While drinks aren’t free ($3 draughts), it’s free to play—get out there and duke it out with friends.

Tuesdays, 8 p.m., City Side, 1960 Beacon St., Brighton, 617-566-1002, citysidebar.com


Cloud Ludum

This Saturday, Cloud Ludum at the Xibus Performance Hall—a concert combining acoustic with electric sounds (a style defined as “third stream”) and jazz with classical songs—will present Karlheinz Stockhausen’s “Zodiac” for jazz ensemble and Alisa Apreleva’s EthnoLoops, which mixes original Eastern European and Native American songs using voice, cello, and a loop station. The event is free, but donations are welcome.

Saturday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m., Xibus Performance Hall, 535 Cambridge St., Cambridge, cloudludum.com


Celebration Soul-Jazz Concert at Leslie

Featuring well-known musicians Jeanie Gagne and Stan Strickland, as well as some beloved members of Berklee faculty, this free soul-jazz concert at Leslie University will put a twist on some classics and present new compositions to the crowd. Claiming to be “jump-jiving” and “funky and sweet,” the show will likely have you surprised you didn’t shell out big bucks for tickets.

Thursday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m., Stebbins Hall at Leslie University, Marran Theatre and Gallery, Cambridge, 617-349-8265, lesley.edu


carolyn wirth sculpturePhoto via Carolyn Wirth

Haunted: Sculpture by Carolyn Wirth

With very little gesture, Carolyn Wirth’s sculptures on display at Pine Manor College’s Hess Gallery are realistic and slightly eerie, with pieces of mold used as abstract parts, and uniquely give the appearance that they are either unfinished or crumbling. Wirth uses both Classical and Renaissance traditions, exploring “self and emotional meaning.” See her works on display until January 30.

Until Jan. 30 excluding holidays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Hess Gallery, Pine Manor College, 400 Heath St., Brookline, 617-731-7157, pmc.edu/hess-gallery


Chanukah in Copley Square

A project of Chabad of Boston, Chanukah will be celebrated in Copley Square on December 9, welcoming the public to a celebration of Light, Unity, and Liberty. The event will feature live music, hot refreshments, and holiday giveaways.

Sunday, Dec. 9, 5-6 p.m., Copley Square, Back Bay, jewishboston.com

UPDATE, 12/3/12 at 8:40 p.m.: Updated the time for the A Light Through the Ages concert. The event is at 4 p.m., not 7 p.m. We regret the error.