The twinkling lights, the bustling stores, children with big, bright eyes dreaming about the bounty of gifts they will receive and the radio waves flooded with tidings of comfort and joy – the holidays are upon us.
Although this can be a stressful time of the year, it doesn’t have to mean just spending money, waiting in long lines and dealing with crazy relatives.
Living in Philadelphia, there are plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit.
Be sure not to miss the Lord and Taylor Holiday Light Spectacular. A Philly tradition since 1956, the John Wanamaker department store wowed crowds with its organ concert that features thousands of animated lights.
Lord and Taylor continues the tradition. You can’t help but feel like a kid again when you see the grand display.
Every Wednesday from now until Dec. 17, the Antique Row Business Association is hosting a “Shop and Dine on Pine” event. Many of the trendy shops along Pine Street will participate in this event which will include holiday entertainment and refreshments plus a wide selection of holiday gifts for the whole family.
For something a little out of the ordinary, stop by “Unsilent Night.” Relâche and Phil Kline bring some sound into the season as a raucous procession of hundreds of Philadelphians, boom boxes in hand, make their way through the streets of Center City.
The event begins outside of the Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1908 Rittenhouse Square, on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free; all you need is a boom box.
The holiday spirit continues indoors as the Pennsylvania Ballet brings “The Nutcracker” to life now through Dec. 31 at The Academy of Music. For more information, call (215) 893-1999 or visit their Web site at www.paballet.org.
If traditional ballet is not your thing, try “Philly-Nutt-Crak-Up,” a twisted version of the holiday classic by ContempraDance Theatre. This incorporation of rap, funk and Philly cheesesteaks runs Dec. 12 through Dec. 14 at the Painted Bride Art Center.
For ticket information, call (215) 925-9914 or visit their Web site at www.contempradancetheatre.org.
Finally, Freedom Theatre presents “Black Nativity,” a vibrant play combining African spirituality with the biblical story of the birth of Christ. For more information on the show, running through Jan. 11, call (215) 978-8497 or visit www.freedomtheatre.org.
The Philadelphia Orchestra, performing in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, will feature its “Winter Wonderland” holiday concert. Performances run throughout December. The Kimmel will also play host to holiday concerts by the world renowned Vienna Boys Choir. For ticket information, call (215) 893-1999.
The Kimmel Center is also hosting a Holiday Walking Tour throughout December. Admire the stunning architecture of Philadelphia’s buildings and view the festive holiday décor along South Broad Street. For information call (215) 790-5800.
The Elfreth’s Alley Museum will host a Holiday House Tour on Dec. 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring beautifully decorated homes, holiday entertainment, refreshments and artisan demonstrations. For information call (215) 574-0560.
The African American Museum of Philadelphia, located at 701 Arch St., will host a Kwanzaa celebration Dec. 22 featuring storytelling, performances and traditional Kwanzaa festivities. For more information, call (215) 574-0380.
Located at 55 N. 5th St., the National Museum of American Jewish History will have a “Being Jewish at Christmas” event Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring music, refreshments and other festivities. For further information, call (215) 923-5978.
This year, celebrate the new year Philly style with the Mummers. If you haven’t watched hundreds of middle aged men parading around in more sequins and feathers than a stage full of drag queens, you haven’t truly experienced a Philly New Year’s Day celebration.
The 103rd Annual Mummers Parade will take place along Broad Street, ending at City Hall. To get a behind-the-scenes look at this celebrated tradition, check out Mummers Fest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Dec. 28 through Dec. 31.
Don’t forget to ring in the New Year with a bang. If you can’t be in the Big Apple to watch the ball drop, Philly has an alternative. The New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show at Penn’s Landing is spectacular and you can do a little ice skating at the River Rink while waiting.
This year, get out there and see the city in all its holiday glory. Happy Holidays!
Milli Protheroe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org