The holidays are here again. And along with turkey, gatherings and gifts, a favorite holiday tradition returns this week. It's the Concord Museum's 23rd annual "Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature," open Nov. 21-Jan. 1.

Visitors are invited to admire 31 fancifully decorated holiday trees and wreaths inspired by themes from children's literature throughout the museum's new Rasmussen Education Center.

Melissa Sweet, an award-winning children's book author and illustrator, is this year's honorary chairperson.

"'Family Trees' combines two things I loved growing up -- books and making things," Sweet said. "So it's no surprise that I ended up becoming a picture-book artist and writer. It's been an honor to have more than one of my books interpreted over the years in this festive event. The trees bring the books to life in a kind of visual storytelling. They are a creative delight!"

Each tree serves as a canvas for the creations of dedicated decorators. Inspired by the storyline, illustrations, characters or setting of a particular book, the decorators let their imaginations take flight.

"Family Trees" is a volunteer effort, and all money raised benefits the museum's educational programs.

Highlights include Thanksgiving weekend crafts on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 23-24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Santa visits Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (reservations required). Costumed-character days are Dec. 15-16, 1-3 p.m. (free with admission.) The museum is open daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Visit for info.


Nancye Tuttle's email address is

Art picks

CREATIVE WOMEN: All are invited to join and participate in "Women's Work" on Thursday, Nov. 29, 3-7 p.m.. at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center, 50 Warren St. "Women's Work" is part craft fair, art show, performance art and big fundraiser for UMass Lowell's Center for Women and Work. Come find unique art work and handcrafts, all created by UML women and other talented regional artists. Begin your holiday shopping and enjoy musical performances by UML women. Free and all are welcome. For info, call 978-034-4386 or visit

ALL SHOPPING: The Arts League of Lowell's "100 & Below," a members' holiday show, is open now and runs through Jan. 6 at the ALL Gallery, 307 Market St., Lowell. It offers shoppers an opportunity to purchase gifts by local artists and is a good way to support the local economy. A reception takes place Saturday, Dec. 8, 6-8 p.m., and the gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Visit

ACRYLIC DEMO: Artist Debra Bretton Robinson gives a demonstration of acrylic painting at the Chelmsford Art Society meeting Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m., at the Chelmsford Center for the Arts, 1A North Road, Chelmsford. Robinson, a Western Avenue Studios artist, is inspired by the New England landscape and paints in a representational/abstract style. Her paintings are inspired by Matisse, Hopper and Neel, among others. She exhibits widely and has won many awards. The meeting is free and open to all.