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    Events: the week ahead around Boston


    NEW YEAR’S NEEDHAM CELEBRATION If you like the idea of Boston’s First Night celebration but prefer to stay in the suburbs, go to Needham and enjoy more than 40 performances by acts including comedian Jim Colliton, “Singing Trooper’’ Sergeant Daniel M. Clark, Charles River Ballet, and magician Chris Bolter. Arts, crafts, and a fantasy-theme castle sculpture by ice artist Jerome Shea are also planned. Dec. 31, programs begin at 10 a.m. $5 button allows admittance to events, free trolley transportation provided to and from event locations in downtown Needham.

    NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN Your kids are itching to practice their counting backward skills but you don’t want them staying up until midnight. This delightful solution offers a “kids-countdown-to-midnight’’ with noisemakers, party hats, and a ginger ale toast. Awesome Robb’s Toy Soldier Holiday Show is on tap at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $10, reservations suggested. Wenham Museum, 132 Main St., Wenham. 978-468-2377,

    FAMILY NEW YEAR’S PARTY It’s party, party, party all day long with magic shows, crafts, games, confetti blast countdowns, balloon artistry, and special guest Ruff Ruffman. Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. $10. Children’s Museum in Easton, 9 Sullivan Ave., North Easton. 508-230-3789,


    DECEMBER HOLIDAY VACATION WEEK Days off from school are a chance to hang out at Boston’s fabulous Museum of Fine Arts. Each day features a variety of activities to choose from, including musical performances, gallery tours, art workshops, short films, and story hours. Through Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. 617-267-9300,


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    RESOLUTION BALL Young professionals gather on New Year’s Eve for the 14th annual New Year’s Eve gala featuring hors d’oeuvres, dinner, cocktail reception, champagne toast, DJ Samuel L., the Felix Brown Band, and goodie bags. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. 21+. Seaport Hotel, Commonwealth Hall, 1 Seaport Lane, Boston. 781-444-7771,

    NEW YEAR’S EVE AT OLE New Year’s Eve festivities don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet if you choose the Olé Restaurant Group’s three-course, prix fixe menu. Stick around until the stroke of midnight to enjoy free samples of “lucky’’ foods from around the world to go with your champagne toast. Dec. 31, 5-11 p.m., late night until 3 a.m. $38 per person (regular menu also available). Olé Mexican Grill, 11 Springfield St., Cambridge. 617-492-4495. Zócalo Cocina Mexicana, 35 Stanhope St., Boston. 617-456-7849.

    NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS CRUISE Sail into 2012 on board the Odyssey with a four-course meal, entertainment, champagne, and a fantastic view of the downtown fireworks display. Dec. 31, 8 p.m. boarding, 9-11 p.m. cruise. Packages begin at $159. Rowes Wharf, Boston. 866-307-2469,

    TOP OF THE HUB Food and a view sound like a good way to end the old year. Indulge in a six-course prix-fixe dinner and a champagne toast on the 52d floor of the Prudential. The Bob Nieske Group and vocalist Maggie Galloway provide music for dancing. Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $275 includes tax, gratuity, and beverages. 21+. Top of the Hub, Prudential Center, Boston. 617-536-1775,