Holiday Event Guide in the Philadelphia Area 2012

Our comprehensive listing of holiday events lets you and your family fully embrace all of the holiday spirit available in Delaware County and the surrounding areas. Please click on each link for the full detail on the cost and specifics of each event. Happy Holidays from Fun Things.

On Going Holiday Events
Yuletide at Winterthur Museum

November 17, 2012–January 6, 2013

Experience traditions of the past and dazzling entertaining displays in this special wintertime tour. Yuletide at Winterthur will delight you with visions of holidays of old and inspire you to create your own spectacular celebrations. Be transported to a 19th-century market square to see how preparations for winter festivities began, and in celebration of the exhibition Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition, see the scrumptious evolution of the holiday meal from the colonial period to the early national period. Enjoy Winterthur’s unique version of a winter wonderland as you meander through a re-created woodland path offering vistas of the Winterthur Garden enveloped in snow.

Christmas at Hagley
November 23rd   through January 6th

Hagley’s Workers’ Hill will be buzzing with fun for visitors. Like the nineteenth-century families who lived on Workers’ Hill, visitors can enjoy making Victorian Christmas paper decorations and ornaments, savor scrumptious holiday cookies, admire the “Dear Old Tree”, and experience Christmas family traditions. These activities are offered 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Programs are included in the cost of admission.

A Brandywine Christmas at Brandywine River Museum
November 23 - January 6

The museum celebrates the season with fabulous holiday displays including an extensive O-gauge model railroad, an elaborate Victorian dollhouse, and thousands of whimsical "critter"ornaments on holiday trees.

November 23rd – January 1st

Adventure Aquarium will be transformed into a holiday wonderland under the sea, featuring larger-than-life decorations, twinkling lights, glowing trees, gently falling snow and of course, appearances from the Aquarium’s beloved Scuba Santa (and his elf helpers!), who will delight children all ages as he dives the 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit among rare sharks, gigantic sea turtles, hundreds of schooling fish, massive stingrays and more.

The Farm is decorated for Christmas. See our Christmasland display and visit with the animals in their winter coats. The Farm Market features wreaths, freshly cut trees, greens & holly, decorations, fruit and gift baskets, Christmas gifts, hot mulled cider & children's crafts.

Choo Choo Barn’s Holiday Display
Choo Choo Barn is celebrating the season with an enhanced holiday display from November 23 through December 31, 2012. Look for 51 hidden Santas and watch as Santa’s sleigh flies above the gigantic model train display. Enjoy the holiday decorations throughout the display including holiday lights and the snow-covered landscape. Plus, take a close look at the zoo animals in Traintown to see how they’re getting into the holiday spirit! Choo Choo Barn is open daily from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Closed Christmas Day). 

Night Before Christmas TrainNovember 30, December 7 and 14
This very unique train recreates the excitement and anticipation of Christmas Eve. A reader dressed in a Victorian nightshirt and cap will read Clement Clarke Moore's classic poem, The Night Before Christmas, as passengers enjoy cookies and milk as the train rolls along. After the train ride, children are also treated to storybook readings of holiday classics aboard our Caboose (stationary) and visitors of all ages can enjoy a ride aboard the Tinsel Trolley, a self-propelled motor car.

Special Holiday Events

Wassailing Caroling Hayrides
December 1, 8, 15 & 22 ~ 5 & 6:30 pm

Celebrate the ancient tradition of Wassailing and singing Christmas Carols around the campfire! Enjoy roasting marshmallows and apple cider. 

Gingerbread House Making in West Chester
Gingerbread House Making
December 1st
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
West Chester Municipal Building
*Must pre-register.

Narberth Dickens Festival 
Saturday December 8th  Noon – 4 pm
Location: Downtown Narberth, Forrest & Haverford Ave, Narberth, PA

Radnor Hotels Holiday Tea
Saturdays, December 8th and 15th
1 - 3 p.m
Children's Saturday Afternoon Tea at The Radnor
Bring your little ones to enjoy a themed Afternoon Tea!
Ideal for children ages 3-8.

Advanced Ticket Purchase Required
Please call 610-341-3191

Gingerbread Fun at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia
Saturdays, December 8 & 22, 2012, 1 to 3 p.m.

Philadelphia families are invited to create their very own gingerbread winter wonderland bedecked with gumdrops, icing, and candy galore during Family Gingerbread Delight on December 8 & 22 at The Ritz Carlton, Philadelphia.
Children and families will delight in decorating their own keepsake gingerbread houses with all the trimmings. The afternoon events include complimentary holiday sweets, a make-your-own hot chocolate station, champagne bar for adults, caroling and a visit from Santa. Additionally, participating children will receive their very own chef hat and embroidered chef apron to wear and keep as a memento of the festive event.

For more information or to make reservations for this event, please call 215.523.8273.

Hanukkah Events

Lansdale Menorah Lighting
December 8th at 6:30 in the Railroad Plaza (West Main & Green Streets).
The public is invited to Railroad Plaza on the first night of Hanukkah for the annual lighting of the Menorah.

Santa Events
Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting in Kennett Sq.
Friday, Nov. 23rd.

Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov. 23rd. This year along with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa's Arrival & Festival of Lights in Media
Friday November 23rd at 5:00 PM
Santa arrives @ 6pm!
Makin' Music from 5-6pm

Saturday, November 24th
at 12:30pm

Holiday Fun at Glen Eagle
Visit Glen Eagle Square on Saturday November 24th at 5:50 for Santa's Arrival and our Holiday Tree Lighting! Beginning at 5:30 PM, they will have horse drawn carriage rides, crafts and much more.

Saturday with Santa
December 1, 2012, 9 am to 11 am 

Make sure Santa knows what you want for Christmas this year! Bring the whole family, and spend Saturday morning with Santa on December 1, 2012, from 9 to 11 am at the Narberth Presbyterian Church Gymnasium. There'll be music, dancing, coloring and stories for the kids, donut holes and fruit to nibble on, and beverages (including coffee for the grown-ups). Best of all, you don't need to go to the mall in order to get some one-on-one time with the big guy. All children will have the chance to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to bring a camera and take pictures. Tickets are $5 per person or $20 for the entire family and can be purchased online at

Visit with Santa at Linvilla Orchards
Saturdays & Sundays 12 - 3 pm
Bring your camera!

Scuba Santa at the Adventure Aquarium
Come and experience the excitement of Scuba Santa as he makes his grand appearance in the Adventure Aquarium Rotunda. And he wouldn't be Santa without bringing with him some surprise Christmas Magic! After he takes his place in the Christmas throne, you will have the opportunity to meet him in person and tell him your Christmas wish
Breakfast with Santa at Chester County Historical Society
December 1st
Two seating's: 8:30 am & 10:00 am
Must register for this event!

For more information, please contact the West Chester Parks and Recreation Department at 610-436-9010.

Santa Trades in his Sleigh for a Helicopter
December 15th
American Helicopter Museum

Come see Santa arrive by helicopter at 11:00 a.m. and again at 1:30 p.m. to greet and meet with children.  Bring your own camera!  

Visit Santa at Santa's Village in Media
Location: Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU)
Dec. 8, 6-9pm

Dec. 17, 3-7pm
Dec. 18, 3-7pm
Dec. 19, 3-7pm
Dec. 20, 3-7pm
Dec. 21, 3-7pm
Dec. 20, 3-7pm
Dec. 21,  3-7pm
Dec. 22, 12-4pm
Dec. 23, 12-4pm

Call for more Information 610-566-5039

Holiday Concerts

The Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars
December 14th
The Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars – a performance group featuring the region’s most talented teens – brightens the holiday season with the family show, “The Best Time of the Year!”

Audiences of all ages will enjoy the Shooting Stars as they light up the stage with the annual Holiday Show


International Ballet Classique Performs Nutcracker Ballet

Tis the season for magic, family, and fun as the beauty and joy of the Nutcracker Ballet comes alive at the beautiful 300 seat Meagher Theatre, Neumann College , Aston. International Ballet Classique (IBC) presents IBC productions of this holiday favorite.

December 13 @ 10:00am (children's abridged performances)
December 13 @ 11:30am (children's abridged performances)
December 14 @ 7:30 pm
December 15 @ 2:00 pm
December 15  @ 7:30 pm
December 16 @ 2:00 pm

The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s Nutcracker is an expertly choreographed and beautifully executed masterpiece that is as family friendly as it is unique. This “Children’s Nutcracker” showcases the breadth of talent being cultivated within the studios of the academy, with soloist and semi-soloist roles being played by pre-teen and teen ballerina’s in training.

There will be four performances that will take place at the Prince Music Theater, located at 1412 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA  19102:

Friday December 14th 7:00pm
Saturday, December 15th 1:30pm and 4:30pm
Sunday, December 16th  1:30pm

The Brandywine Ballet Company
Friday, December 7 - 10 am
Saturday, December 8 - 12 pm
Saturday, December 8 - 4 pm
Sunday, December 9 - 2 pm
Thursday, December 13 - 10 am
Saturday, December 15 - 12 pm
Saturday, December 15 - 4 pm
Sunday, December 16 - 6 pm

Performance are at The Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, West Chester University

A magical tea time with the cast!

December 8 - 2:30
December 9 - 12:30
December 15 - 2:30

Join Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and many other characters of The Nutcracker for a special pre-performance tea party full of delights! Enjoy tea sandwiches, fruit tray, cookies, favors and don't forget to bring your camera! The Tea is held at The Philips Memorial Library. Simply walk downstairs to the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall for the performance of The Nutcracker!

The Nutcracker Tea tickets - $25/person (you will also need to purchase tickets to see the Nutcracker)

Pennsylvania Ballet's George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
December 8th - 30th
Be enchanted by the Philadelphia region's most beloved holiday tradition,George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™. For 43 years, families have created yuletide memories with Pennsylvania Ballet's production of this classic tale. The simple story of a girl, a gift, and a fanciful dream is made magical by opulent sets and costumes by Peter Horne and Judanna Lynn and the impassioned artistry of Pennsylvania Ballet dancers. The renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir raises their voices with the magnificent Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra to bring Tschaikovsky's unforgettable score to life.


A Christmas Carol at Upper Darby Performing Arts Center

December 21st @7:30
Theatreworks USA brings us the timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his midnight visitors who transform him from a selfish old fool to a man of generosity and caring. Tiny Tim and his family share great music and fun for all ages right before Christmas! 

Snow Queen at  The Players Club of Swarthmore Theater

December  1st -16th
The Snow Queen rules her magical kingdom with a heart of ice and a grip as cold as steel. When shards of an enchanted mirror fly into Cei’s eye he falls under its spell. He becomes cold-hearted and the Snow Queen steals him away to her far-away land. With Cei as her helper, The Snow Queen has a chilling plan: to freeze the hearts of all living things and rule supreme over a world of snow and ice. Only little Gerda, Cei’s childhood friend, believes he can still be rescued and sets out on a life-changing journey to save Cei and defeat the Snow Queen.

December 7th -24th
This year marks our 20th annual presentation of the classic Dickens tale about the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from miser to man who honors Christmas in his heart, as adapted by internationally known playwright Nagle Jackson. Come find out why this has become a Delaware Valley holiday tradition.

Train Rides With Santa
Santa Arrives at Strasburg Rail Road

November 23rd -December 16th
Just in time for the holidays, Santa’s Paradise Express is pulling in to Strasburg Rail Road Thanksgiving weekend, starting November 23rd. Join Santa on his journey to spread the magic of the season to thousands of families who believe.

West Chester Rail Road Santa's ExpressNovember 23, 24, 25
December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16
11AM, 1PM, 3PM

All aboard Santa's Express! Join Santa for a 90 minute journey on our heated decorated train through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills. Once at Glen Mills passengers can disembark and explore the historic station. There are plenty of photo opportunities on Santa's lap inside the station. Remember your cameras! Upon return to West Chester, all passengers receive treats from Santa!

All Aboard the Santa Express

Nov 23rd
Join The Gallery and SEPTA for a fun filled ride with Santa and his cast of merry characters. Check website for stations and departure times:

Family Fun
Blue Cross River Rink
Opens November 23rd
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is proud to continue to present a wintertime tradition in Philadelphia, as the Blue Cross River Rink will re-open for a 18th season on November 23rd.
The Blue Cross River Rink at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia’s only outdoor public ice rink, is located on Columbus Boulevard at Market Street.

Call 215-925-RINK for current rink and weather conditions

Christmas Lights

Rose Tree Park Festival of Lights

The Festival of Lights runs 5:30-9:30 pm nightly Dec. 1 through Jan. 2 in Rose Tree Park, Route 252, in Upper Providence. Opening ceremony is 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. Free admission. For information contact the Department of Parks and Recreation at 610-565-7410

Christmas at Longwood Gardens
December 22 - January 6
Half a million outdoor lights and holiday magic await you during Longwood's incomparable Christmas display. Enjoy dazzling trees and seasonal concerts. The Music Room hosts a special, themed holiday display. Kids of all ages will delight in a miniature Garden Railway decked out for the holidays. Thousands of poinsettias accented with amaryllis, artemesia, begonias, cyclamen, hybrid lilies, kalanchoes, paperwhites, red-berried plants and many other flowers flourish inside acres of heated glass conservatories. Living wreaths, swags and live floral trees adorn rooms throughout the Conservatory. Included in Gardens admission.

Holiday Light Show and Dickens Village Macy's Center City

THE 2011 CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW runs hourly from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve day check website for times. The DICKENS VILLAGE (Floor 3) is open continuously during the same period from 10am to 7pm.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular 2012

Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Weekend 2013
Shown daily; 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
15-minute shows at the top of each hour
(Shows are not hosted on weekdays at 5:00 p.m.)

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular 2012” debuts Thanksgiving Day at 10:00 a.m., marking the fifth year it will dazzle and delight audiences throughout the holiday season. A new “Snowman Symphony” helps strike up the orchestra and kick-off the show this year. Favorite scenes from The Nutcracker, beautifully performed by the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet, a magical sleigh ride through the snow covered Pennsylvania countryside, a world-class 1940s swing-style dance of Jingle Bell Rock featuring Broadway stars, the majestic sounds of a 64-piece orchestra, the harmony of the Commonwealth Youth Choir’s Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, and more, will delight people of all ages.

The free Comcast Holiday Spectacular has quickly become a “must see” Philadelphia holiday tradition. Since its debut in 2008, more than a half million people have seen the 15-minute show. Full of stunning original holiday imagery and music and created by using cutting-edge technology, it appears on the 83’ x 25’ Comcast Experience video wall in the Comcast Center lobby, which is the world’s largest four-millimeter LED screen with incredible resolution that’s five times that of an HDTV.

Amusement Parks

Sesame Place A Very Furry Christmas

November 17th - December 31st

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place! For a one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone's favorite furry friends. The fun starts with 3 special Christmas shows, awesome music and twinkling lights all around. Plus, you'll find more than 300 Christmas trees, including a huge celebratory tree decorated Sesame Street-style. The street will glow with festivities and come to life at night with our illuminated Street Party Parade. And the fun continues with a special Christmas menu, super holiday shopping and, of course, a visit with Santa.

Dutch Winter Wonderland

November 17th - December 30th

Dutch Winter Wonderland offers themed rides, games, and holiday entertainment under thousands of twinkling lights! Indoor activities include cookie decorating, voting for your favorite gingerbread house, and sharing holiday wishes with Santa. 

Hershey Park Christmas Candyland

November 16th - December 31st

The magic of the holidays comes to life at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane. With two million twinkling lights, rides for all ages, festive decorations, and Hershey's Product Characters decked out in their holiday best, there is something for all to enjoy! 

Christmas Candylane features many attractions for guests of all ages including over 30 rides including the family-favorite, Twilight Express.

Visit the Fun Things advertising page to find out more about how you can promote your holiday event on Fun Things.