A merry and bright return to community holiday events


For non-profit organizations like the Chestnut Hill Community Association, the last 18 months have been a time of constantly juggling decisions about having events and activities and making sure we are abiding by all the City’s rules designed to keep people safe and our own common sense about what makes sense to do. 

At no time is this more true than during the Holiday Season, which presents lots of questions to ask and decisions to make. Should we have a Holiday House Tour? Should it be in person or virtual? Are we even allowed to have a parade? And if we are, should we? How could we safely manage all those kids and Santa Claus? Yikes! 

In the beginning of the pandemic, all of us here at the CHCA struggled, but rose to the occasion and taught ourselves how to use Zoom, convert videos to You-Tube, and film things with our phones along with a myriad of other skills that we learned, quite literally, as we went. 

Then, just as we got the hang of it, Zoom fatigue set in, people were tired of virtual events and yearned for an opportunity to come together. I get it, we all felt the same! But we still needed to take precautions and acknowledge that life has not returned to “pre-covid” times.

So here we are – it is the 2021 Holiday Season. To answer a popular question - No, the CHCA is not having the Holiday House Tour this year. This decision made us very sad. But it really felt like the right thing to do, since asking homeowners to allow 400 to 500 people in their homes during one afternoon (even if they were wearing masks) seemed way too much to ask. 

But we wanted to do something to celebrate the holiday season and that’s when our good friends at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy came to the rescue. They offered the use of their beautiful outdoor space at the Norwood Campus, and access to the newly renovated historic “Big House” for a holiday event. The CHCA Social Committee has worked hard with the NFA staff to plan a very special event.

The CHCA invites you all to join us for a Twilight Toast to the Holidays on December 11 from 4 p.m. to  6 p.m. Attendees will be able to enjoy an evening of Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and NFA students, live music, firepits, hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and a raffle for holiday gift baskets. In addition to all this merriment, the historic “Big House” will be beautifully decked-out for the holidays and open for tours. Event tickets are $30 per person for CHCA members and $40 per person for non-members. All proceeds will benefit the Chestnut Hill Community Association and our events and activities throughout the year. 

Another date to put on your calendar is Saturday, December 18th and the return of the annual Chestnut Hill Community Holiday Parade. The parade has been impacted by not only the pandemic but also a couple years of really bad weather. This year we are planning on great weather (because we are really due!) and a bigger and better than ever parade. Starting at 9:00am at Rex Avenue and making its way down Germantown Avenue to Hartwell Lane where it will end at 10 a.m. at the Market at the Fareway, this community event brings together marching bands, singing groups, schools, fire trucks, antique cars, horses, the Philly Phanatic and of course Santa. The entire community is invited to line Germantown Avenue and enjoy the spectacle, and perhaps end the parade with hot chocolate, a treat and a photo with Santa. 

It promises to be a merry and bright holiday season throughout Chestnut Hill, Enjoy!

For more information about either of these great events, please visit our website at chestnuthill.org or call (215) 248-8811.