The holiday spirit of Santa, Ralphie Parker, Buddy the Elf, and a post-conversion Grinch descends on the Northwest Philadelphia area as neighborhood residents celebrate a time of family, gift giving and joy.
Mark your calendars for tree lightings, special shopping days, concerts and children’s events. A holiday-themed Baby Shark is even scheduled to swim ashore in Glenside, but theme songs are a no-NO!
Here are a few holiday happenings to consider.
Chestnut Hill kicks off its holiday season with the annual Circle of Trees celebration at Woodmere Art Museum Saturday. Nov. 19, at 5:30 p.m. The countdown to lighting the museum’s towering Christmas Tree features hot chocolate, cider and cookies, music, goodie bags for the kids, and, of course, the famous straw maze. Santa is scheduled to make a pre-Christmas stop via fire truck. Organizers are asking families to donate a new, unwrapped toy, or a new or gently-used book for a school-aged child. The event is free to the public.
The Hill’s Small Business Saturday on November 25 will be anything but small. Expect Mummers, Victorian carolers and horse and carriage rides. And, Santa will drop by, taking a break from all the overtime he’s clocking in the toy workshop. Carolers will sing from 1 to 3 p.m.; carriages will ride, noon to 3 p.m. and Santa will stroll from noon to 2 p.m. For more info, visit chestnuthillpa.com. Manayunk will host its version on Main Street. For info, visit, manayunk.com/events
Morris Arboretum launches its holiday season on Sunday, November 26, with the annual Holiday Garden Railway which will chug-a-lug through the holiday season. The expansive train display includes 15 rails spanning a quarter mile track, surrounded by natural materials, multiple train cars, towns and miniature figurines. The exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with weekend nightly tour hours. For information, visit morrisarboretum.org.
And what would holidays on the Hill be without Stag and Doe nights? Then, we wouldn’t be in Chestnut Hill anymore, Rudolph. Starting December 7, every Wednesday during the month, the holiday tradition will offer extended store hours, holiday specials and complimentary refreshments at many stores. Horse-drawn carriage rides return from 6 to 9 p.m. and a brass quartet will blow holiday tunes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. More details at chestnuthillpa.com
Think you know where Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie got their names? What broke up the Haynes sister at that Vermont Inn? Or which Who warmed the Grinch’s heart? Then prepare to vanquish all comers at the Center on the Hill’s Holiday Trivia contest. The event that organizers call “Trivia for Everyone” will be 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.,Thursday, Dec. 8. Registration is required, but the event is free, and there will be snacks.Center on the Hill is at 8855 Germantown Ave.For more information, visit: chestnuthillpres.org or call (215) 247-8855.
Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing returns to the Presbyterian Church in Chestnut Hill for their annual tradition.The choir’s 5 p.m. concert on Sunday, Dec, 18, features the world premiere of Caroline Shaw’s Ochre, a piece that maintains a sense of joy and wonder regarding our planet, alongside Mason Bates’s Mass Transmission - a colorful, innovative, original, and heart-wrenching piece that explores how the advent of radio technology brought us closer and yet magnified our distances and loneliness. Tickets are $20.00 to $35.00. For information, visit crossingchoir.org.
In “Bennet - Christmas at Pemberley,” Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, the Jane Austen heroine and married sister now ensconced at her husband’s family estate, invites her sisters to visit for the holidays when gentle manners and comic misunderstandings ensue. Performances are Nov. 25 to 27; Dec. 8 to 10. Stagecrafters Theater, 8130 Germantown Ave.. For information, visit thestagecrafters.org.
Artwork created by area school students as gifts for people homebound with chronic illnesses is on display for the 29th year in KIDS CARE, an annual exhibition at Woodmere Art Gallery in Chestnut HIll. This year’s theme is “Landscape Journeys” and is inspired by Woodmere’s collection of Hudson River School art. The exhibit will be on display through December 18. For information visit woodmereartmuseum.org/experience.
The Chestnut Hill Community Association will host its annual Hill Community Parade from 9 to 10 a.m. on Dec. 10. The event will include marching bands, community and school groups, choirs, antique cars, fire trucks, and, of course, Santa Claus. The parade begins at Chestnut Hill and Germantown Aves. and ends at The Market at Fareway. Check chestnuthill.org for more details. Oh, and did we mention the Phillie Phanatic?
Candle Lighting and caroling are on tap Dec. 14 at McMichael Park, an annual East Falls tradition. Meet at the war memorial for cookies, cocoa, and caroling to sing in the holiday. Details at eastfallscommunity.org
Bring the family to Main Street in Manayunk every Thursday in December from 5 to 9 p.m. for Holiday Light Nights. This weekly event brings food and drink deals, shopping specials, and festive live entertainment. Too cold to walk? The Jolly Trolley will run up and down Main Street making several stops at your favorite businesses. For information, visit manayunk.com.
On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and you. Join Manyunk’s 8th Annual Rudolph Run on Saturday, Dec. 10, for a fun three-mile run along the Manayunk Canal. Dress in your holiday best. Lights, reindeer antlers, red noses, sparkles and ugly Christmas sweaters are welcome. Race starts at 9 a.m., check-in is at 8:30 a.m. For information, visit manayunk.com/events.
Roxborough’s annual Happy Holidays will be 2 to 6 p.m., Dec. 10, at Roxborough’s pocket park on Ridge Ave. This annual event features a tree lighting ceremony and a holiday market with local artists and crafters, as well as food trucks and specials from local restaurants. Kids can craft their own ornaments, write a letter to Santa, and drop it into the North Pole mailbox. Rain date is Dec. 11. For info: roxboroughpa.com.
Santa is a busy guy, but expect him to make time on his schedule for a Santa sweep of Erdenheim on Dec. 18. Mr. Claus will be escorted through the streets by the Flourtown Fire Company. Route Maps and items will be posted at erdenheimcivic.org.
For the kids, Baby Shark Live! The Christmas Show! will descend on the Keswick Theater at 1 p.m. Dec. 11. The theater invites families to splash along with Baby Shark and Pinkfong as they journey into the sea for the holidays to sing and dance through some of your favorite songs. For info, visit keswicktheatre.com.