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High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 1–2

Happy weekend! Holiday fun abounds! Plan the perfect weekend with our picks.

Happy weekend! Holiday happenings abound, and we know just how to tackle them! Plan the perfect weekend with our picks.

 

Click here for ongoing events that run through the weekend, like all the museum exhibits.

Looking for more? Here’s what’s going on in the suburbs!

 

All Weekend

See this: Holiday Lights in Philly

Philly Book and Author Fest at Cherry Street Pier

December 1—2

121 N. Columbus Blvd.

 

Some of Philly’s favorite independent bookstores like Big Blue Marble and Head House Books will be selling books from 11 am to 8 pm both days, with authors on hand to sign and personalize books. Philly kids’ favorites like Greg Pizzoli, Judy Schachner, and Charles Santore will be there, including many others. See the full schedule here. While you’re there, the Christmas Tree Stand will also be selling trees and ornaments!

The Holidays at Greensgrow Farms

December 1—2, 10 am—4 pm (also next weekend)

2501 E. Cumberland St.

 

Get your tree or holiday greens and check out gifts from local makers, too. There will also be live music and a visit from Santa on Sunday!

Lila Liberty’s Hero Quest

December 1 and 2, 1—3 pm

National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut St.

 

Meet Lila Liberty, a young hero on a quest to spread acceptance and kindness. To complete her mission she needs to collect all six of her “Super Hero Gadgets,” to learn the qualities that make someone a “hero.” This activity is designed for children between the ages of 6-11, but all are welcome to participate. Included in admission.

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

December 1—23

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

WST for Kids presents a special hour-long musical adaptation for families, using traditional songs to highlight Dickens’ magical Christmas story. Since it’s only one hour long, it’s a perfect way to get into the spirit without having to make your kids sit still for too long!

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 1—22

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

This Philly tradition features over 300 performers bringing an all-new repertoire of favorite holiday classics. In addition to the fabulous pop orchestra conducted by Broadway legend Todd Ellison, the concert features vocals by Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, and the Philly POPS Festival Chorus.

Philly Nutt Crak-Up

November 30—December 2

Suzanne Roberts Theater, 480 S. Broad St.

 

Back for its 15th year, ContempraDANCE Theatre’s Philly Nutt Crak-Up is The Nutcracker like you’ve never seen it before! Join the Rappin’ SugarPlum Fairy, battling Hip Hoppin’ Railway Rats, City Hall Dolls, Captain Philadelphia, and Liberty Belle-Anne, as they travel to the Kingdom of Prussia for an adventure full of dance, rap, and lots of Philly references!

Clover Market’s Holiday Market at PAFA

December 1—2, 11 am—5 pm

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 128 N. Broad St.

 

This indoor market will feature 75 vendors including handmade gifts, antiques, and specialty foods. The market is free and open to the public, and situated in the second floor galleries of PAFA, so there’s more than just gifts to look at. There will also be make-and-takes from the Handwork Studio, the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, and Black Hound Clay Studio; as well as facepainting, food, and a cash bar.

Paper-Cutting “Scherenschnitte” at Museum of the American Revolution

December 1—2, 11 am—3 pm

101 South Third Street

 

Every weekend throughout December, sit down at the Activity Table to snip, shape and create items inspired by the winter seasons of the Revolution. Snip your way to shaping an ornament inspired by objects in the museum’s collection. Learn the art of paper cutting, brought to America by German immigrants.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

November 23—March 3, 2019

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Come to skate, come to party in the cabins, come for the fun and food. This rink is a Philadelphia favorite for a reason. This year, it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has lots of fun events planned throughout the season– read all about it in our preview!

Macy’s Santaland and Christmas Light Show

November 23—December 31 (Closed Christmas Day)

Showtimes: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm

1300 Market St.

 

If you’re from Philly, you probably grew up watching it, and not a thing has changed. The bears, the dancing snowmen, the “magic Christmas tree,” the Wanamaker Organ finale—it’s all there, and it’s all aglow in colorful nostalgia. After the show, head upstairs to Dickens Village to walk through an animatronic telling of A Christmas Carol, then meet Santa!

Winter in Dilworth Park: Rothman Rink, Wintergarden, and Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

Through January 1, 2019 (Rink through February)

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

Right outside City Hall, more than 40 local artisans, designers, crafters, and confectionaries will offer unique selections for gifts and special holiday foods. This market was designed to complement Christmas Village across the street—but only focuses on locally made gifts. Stop by after skating on the Rothman Rink and running through Wintergarden Maze!

Christmas Village

Through December 24

Love Park, 1500 Arch Street

 

Modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany, this annual market features over 80 vendors in wooden booths selling authentic European food, ornaments, crafts, clothing, and more from all over the world.

Oliver!

Through December 23

Quintessence Theatre, 7137 Germantown Ave.

 

With familiar songs like “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food,” this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic is a crowd pleaser for all ages.

‘Matilda’

Through January 6, 2019

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, Matilda The Musical will delight with high-energy dance and catchy songs.

Charlotte’s Web

November 28, 2018 – January 27, 2019 (in previews until December 8)

Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.

 

The heart-warming story of a special friendship between a lovable pig and everyone’s favorite spider comes to life at the Arden.

Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium

November 23—December 25

1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ

 

Scuba Santa is back and ready to make the most underwater appearances in aquarium history! Visit him in Ocean Realm as he spreads the magic of Christmas and takes selfies through the glass. The aquarium will also have the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, and more decorations throughout.

Japanese New Year: Celebrate Oshogatsu

December 1—2, 11 am—5 pm

Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Horticultural and Lansdowne drives

 

Celebrate an early Japanese New Year this holiday season with festive decorations and displays.

Saturday

Phillies Holiday Fun and Tree Lighting at Citizens Bank Park

December 1, 10 am—6 pm (tree lighting at 5 pm)

1 Citizens Bank Way

 

Visit CBP for holiday sales, festivities, fun surprises, and of course Phanta Claus (the Phanatic dressed as Santa)! There will be holiday crafts and activities presented by the Phillies Kids Club from 10 am—2 pm, photos with Phanta Claus from 11 am—1 pm,  Reindeer on the concourse, and more! Then at 5 pm, stay for the Phillies’ Christmas tree and ballpark lighting with Phanta Claus and Scott Kingery outside the ballpark at the First Base Gate.

A Very Philly Christmas: Sounds of the Season

December 1, 10 am—4 pm

Fairmount Park

 

Fairmount Park’s historic mansions are opening their doors for the holidays, each with festive decorations and live music. Catch the Holiday Houses Loop (powered by Phlash) and tour them all!

Holiday Bazaar at Northwestern Stables

December 1, 10 am—3 pm

120 W. Northwestern Ave.

 

Shop for the holidays, plus for kids there will be a visit from Santa, mini “reindeer” riding lessons, and crafts. All proceeds support the stables’ scholarship program.

Greens Sale and Market at Bartram’s Garden

December 1, 10 am—3 pm

5400 Lindbergh Blvd.

 

Enjoy seasonal music and refreshments as you get everything you need to deck your halls—including decorated and undecorated wreaths, centerpieces, fresh evergreens and more. Plus, Holiday Marketplace vendors will be there so you get some gift shopping done too.

Victorian Christmas Bazaar and Open House at Ryerss Museum and Library

December 1, 10 am—2:30 pm

7370 Central Ave., Burholme Park

 

Santa will be there along with craft vendors, live music, treats, and a tea room.

Nature Play Saturday at the Schuylkill Center

December 1, 10:30—11:30 am

8480 Hagy’s Mill Road

 

Bring your family for a hike and unstructured nature play with representatives from the NaturePHL program. Climb, explore, and learn more about the many health benefits of outdoor activity. No registration required, all ages welcome.

Storytime with Sarah Claxon at Big Blue Marble Bookstore

December 1, 10:30—11:30 am

551 Carpenter Lane

 

Bring your little ones out for a special storytime with local writer and illustrator Sarah Claxton,  celebrating the release of her second picture book Square: How Our Complex Emotions Make Each Of Us Unique and Wonderful.

Lucia Fest and Christmas Market

December 1, 11 am—4 pm

American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Avenue

 

Stroll through the Christmas Market, or Julmarknad , where Swedish delicacies, crafts, decorations, and imported gifts may be purchased, before the musical entertainment begins. At 1 pm and 3:15 pm, the lights will dim and the doors will close for a performance of Swedish Christmas songs and dances, performed by children and teens in traditional costume, culminating with the procession of Lucia. Tickets available online.

The Cat’s Pajamas Grand Finale Concert

December 1, 11 am

World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St.

 

Grab the family, grab your cat gear, and come for one final concert before The Cat’s Pajamas retirement. They’ll be holding a huge New Orleans-style parade, complete with a horn section and a nine-piece band, and bursting with balloons, noisemakers, beads, and parasols. Tickets available online.

Manayunk’s Promenade of Trees

December 1, 11 am—6 pm

Main Street, Manayunk

 

Stroll down Main Street to vote for your favorite trees by dropping coins in the jars in front of each tree. Pick up your bag of coins and a map at Style Me Mananyunk. There will also be a guided tour at 4 pm.

Family Ornament Making

December 1, 11 am—1 pm

University City Arts League, 4226 Spruce St.

 

Led by afterschool ceramic instructor Olivia Rodriguez, families will work together to make a ceramic ornament for their holiday decorations. Ornaments will be once-fired and displayed on the UCAL mantle until families pick them up. Register online.

Colonial Chocolate Making at Betsy Ross House 

December 1, 11 am—4 pm

239 Arch St.

 

Experience Colonial chocolate-making demonstrations and meet two female entrepreneurs while learning about women’s role in the American Revolution. Then take a special holiday-themed tour of the Betsy Ross House.

Ceramic Handprint Keepsake Workshop

December 1, 11 am—2 pm (in 15-minute slots, reserve online)

Minnow Lane, 2029 Frankford Ave.

 

Make a personalized ceramic handprint with your little ones. Perfect for a gift, family, or as a holiday memory. All supplies included, including firing and glazing; final product will be ready for pick up week of December 17. Pre-registration required.

Disney Junior Holiday Fun at Philadelphia Mills

December 1, 11 am—12:30 pm

1455 Franklin Mills Cir.

 

Celebrate the season with family fun and festive activities inspired by your favorite Disney Junior pals.

Storytime at the Lodge

December 1, 11:30 am—12:30 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.

 

Listen, Learn and Play will lead interactive activities and music, along with some stories. Light snacks and hot chocolate will be provided for the kids.

Free Kids Arts and Craft Workshop at Reading Terminal Market

December 1, noon—4 pm

51 N. 12th St.

 

Kids will be making 3-D snowflakes with Fleisher Art Memorial.

Santa Paws Photos at Hotel Palomar

December 1, 1—4 pm

117 S. 17th St.

 

Get a professional photo of your pet with Santa to benefit local shelter Saved Me! Photos are free but donations will be accepted. Saved me will be bringing by some adoptable friends, so everyone, even non-pet owners are encouraged to attend! There will also be treats and fun surprises.

Typewriter Letters to Santa

December 1, 1—4 pm

Philly Typewriter, 1439 East Passyunk Ave.

 

Tap some analog keys and draft an old-fashioned letter to Santa on custom letterhead.

Nelson Agholor at the Xfinity Store

December 1, 1—3 pm
Xfinity, 1429 Walnut St.

 

Meet the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor with SportsRadio 94WIP’s Jon Ritchie.

Ugly Sweater Jumbo Gingerbread Man Workshop

December 1, 2—4 pm

Ella Vanilla, 7922 Germantown Avenue

 

Adults and kids age 9 and up can learn techniques for decorating a jumbo gingerbread man cookie with cake artist Noelle DeSantis, owner of Ella Vanilla. Register online.

Deck the Alley

December 1, 3—7 pm

Elfreth’s Alley Museum, 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley

 

Visitors to the historic homes on Elfreth’s Alley will spot Santa Claus, hear the sounds of colonial carolers, and watch traditional loom weaving as the street transforms into a winter wonderland under the glow of holiday lights. Tickets available online.

Kahn Park Holiday Party

December 1, 5—6 pm

11th and Pine streets

 

Stop by for live music and treats!

Santa at Franklin Square

December 1, 5:30—7:30 pm

200 N. Sixth St.

 

Keep an eye out for Santa near the Franklin Square fountain for photo ops!

Car Menorah Parade on the Parkway (and Celebration at Independence Mall)

December 1, 7 pm (Parade of Lights around 5:30 pm)

Parade beginning at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway; Celebration at Fifth and Arch streets

 

Jewish organizations from all corners of the Philadelphia metro area outfit their cars with giant menorahs and converge to fill the Parkway with light and music. Even if you aren’t part of the festive motorcade, you can watch it pass by, and join in the revelry. The parade goes all the way to Independence Mall, where kids can enjoy treats, face painting, balloon art, live music, dancing, and more.

Sunday

Sensory Friendly Sunday at the Franklin Institute

December 2, 8 am—noon

 

The museum opens early, and exhibits are modified to provide an opportunity to experience all the Franklin Institute has to offer for people on the autism spectrum and with a range of differing abilities. They also create a dedicated quiet space that provides a chance to cool down and take a break with a tent, fidgets, noise-cancelling headphones, and more. Admission is free with pre-registration, and for guests arriving before 9:30 am on the day of the event. For questions, contact sfs@fi.edu.

Play Without Boundaries Sensory-Friendly Morning at Please Touch Museum

December 2, 9—11 am

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

The museum will open early and adapted to provide a relaxed environment for individuals with autism, learning differences, or other sensory and communication needs. The morning will have quiet rooms with sensory toys, reduced noise and crowds, dance therapy sessions, and meet-and-greets with community partners from the greater Philadelphia area with resources for families and individuals with autism. There will also be a relaxed performance of the museum’s new train-themed theater show All Aboard!

Family Festival: Festive Fashion

December 2, 10 am—3 pm

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Play dress up and join special guest artist Eric Anthony Berdis to create a wearable cape! Then explore the Fabulous Fashion exhibit with a seasonal twist on a family-friendly tour. Free after pay-what-you-wish admission.

PECO Free First Sunday Family Day at the Barnes Foundation

December 2, 10 am—5 pm

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Families get in free for a special day recognizing women in the arts, in honor of the museum’s special exhibition Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist.  The day will include family-friendly art making, storytime, performances, and discussions featuring women creators.

Candy Cane Hunt with the Sugar Plum Fairy

December 2, 10 am—noon

One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market St.

 

Pennsylvania Ballet’s own Sugar Plum Fairy guides kids of all ages on a hunt for her lost candy canes high above the city. Tickets available online.

Breakfast with Santa at Momo’s Treehouse

December 2, 10 am—noon

205 Arch St.

 

Momo’s is hosting Sunday brunch with Santa! Tickets are required in advance.

Family Day at Lemon Hill Mansion

December 2, 10 am—4 pm

Lemon Hill Dr.

 

Tour this historic Fairmount mansion with a full day of entertainment and activities for children aged 12 and under including a visit from Santa himself. Perhaps even more exciting, there will be a Cabot Cheese sculpture of Gritty! Tickets available online. Free for kids.

Storytime and Book Signing with Greg Pizzoli

December 2, 10:30—11:30 am

Tildie’s Toy Box, 1829 E. Passyunk Ave.

 

Award-winning local author and illustrator Greg Pizzoli will be doing a storytime at Tildie’s, and then stick around to sign books. May we recommend his delightful holiday telling of The 12 Days of Christmas?

Art and Storytelling at Woodmere Art Museum

December 2, 11 am — noon

9201 Germantown Ave.

 

Introduce your preschoolers to the enjoyment of art through stories and artmaking. Enjoy reading picture books in the galleries, followed by an art project.

Brunch with Santa at City Tap

December 2 and 16, 11 am—3 pm

3925 Walnut St., Fl. 2

 

A $5 ticket acts as a donation to the Valley Youth House.  Kids under 10 eat free. The day includes pictures with Santa, holiday movies, Santa pancake making station, and a balloon artist. Reservations are highly recommended: email rbaker@table95.com.

Holiday Sing-Along with Mandy Gonzalez

December 2, 11—11:30 am

Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St.

 

Here for her temporary Philly residency singing in the A Philly POPs Christmas, sing along with Mandy Gonzalez, the Broadway star who is currently starring in Hamilton as Angelica Schuyler! Gonzalez will perform holiday classics and more from her impressive career.

Seger Dog Park Santa Paws Photos

December 2, 1—4 pm

1098 Rodman St.

 

The dog park will have holiday treats to eat and a Christmas “studio” set-up for pictures with Santa.

Children’s Christmas Party at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

December 2, 1:30—4:30 pm

200 W. Tulpehocken Street

 

Santa will be at this historic mansion for photos! Plus, pastry chef and owner of Frosted Fox Cake Shop in Mt. Airy, Jennifer Lowe, will be there to help children decorate a special Christmas cookie to take home; and there will be traditional Christmas stories for children read in the parlor.

 Santa at Blue Cross RiverRink

December 2, 2–5 pm

Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Visit Santa and the Coca Cola Caravan! Take photos with Santa in the Lodge or at the River Rink!

Free Library of Philadelphia’s Sundays on Stage: ‘The Nutcracker’

December 2, 2 pm (doors at 1:30 pm)

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.

 

This free performance by Pages to Pirouettes presents The Nutcracker through story and dance, and closes with a ballet lesson for the whole audience.

PAFA Family Arts Academy

December 2, 2—4 pm

118-128 N. Broad Street

 

In this free family arts afternoon, join a collaborative workshop that incorporates drawing, color transfers, and repetition to make large-scale artworks.

Gingerbread Workshop at Ritz-Carlton

December 2, 2—4 pm

10 Avenue Of The Arts

Children and adults come together to create confectionery masterpieces, plus a surprise special visit from Santa Claus. Pre-registration required: call 215.523.8261 or email phila.specialevents@ritzcarlton.com for details.

South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

December 2, 4—6 pm

Headhouse Shambles, Second and Lombard streets

 

Santa will make a grand entrance on a firetruck, and then he’ll kick off the holidays with the lighting of the Headhouse Christmas tree. Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty will all be on hand for photo ops!

Girard Avenue Dream Garden Tree Lighting

December 2, 2—5 pm (tree lighting at 5 pm)

31st St. and Girard Ave.

 

Family crafts (including ornaments for your own tree) with Kith + Kin will begin at 2 pm, along with holiday vendors and hot chocolate! Then at 5 pm, the tree will be lit up!

Mayfair Christmas Village and Tree Lighting

December 2, 2—6 pm (tree lighting at 4:45 pm)

Ryan and Cottman avenues

 

Craft and gift vendors, live music, a visit from Santa, and more festivities kick off the season. On or about 4:45 pm, the Parade Grand Marshal will “Flip the Switch” on the tree lights.

Winter Lights Celebration at Gold Star Park

December 2, 4—6 pm

625 Wharton St.

 

Come for a free kids’ art activity and celebration of lights at Gold Star Park.

Menorah Lighting at Betsy Ross House

December 2, 4:30 pm

239 Arch St.

 

Join the Betsy Ross House and Old City Jewish Arts Center for the community menorah lighting celebrating the first night of Hanukkah. Enjoy beverages and traditional foods like latkes and donuts in the courtyard.

Caroling Night at Gorgas Park

December 2, 5—7 pm (caroling starts at 6 pm)

6300 Ridge Ave.

 

Sing songs of the season, enjoy cookies and hot chocolate, donate a toy for needy children, watch a performance by Merge Dance Studio, and enter the annual Christmas tree raffle.

 

Photograph courtesy of South Street Headhouse District.

Contributing Writer

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