Ho Ho Holiday Traditions

Revive an old tradition or start some new ones this holiday

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Thursday, Dec 17, 2009  |  Updated 12:19 PM EDT
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Ho Ho Holiday Traditions

j.Holder for GPTMC

The Macy's Holiday Light Show, a Philadelphia tradition, dazzles both locals and visitors. Soaring several stories high, the Julie Andrews-narrated show features more than 100,000 lights, favorite holiday characters and the world-renowned Grand Organ.

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Christmas is around the corner and you know what that means -- time to break out the traditions. Here are a few of Philly's best.

Wanamaker Holiday Light Show
Perhaps Philly's most venerable holiday tradition, the Wanamaker Light Show has dazzled families for more than half a century. Stretching eight stories tall, the hourly show walks fans through a Winter Wonderland using music and lights. The show tells the tales of popular Christmas classics like Frosty the Snowman and The Nutcracker. The show was updated by Macy's in 2007 after they took over the flagship store -- replacing the figurines' incandescing bulbs with LED lights and updating the soundtrack to include Mary Poppins' herself, Julie Andrews

Macy's Center City -- Grand Court, 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia | Hours: 15 min. showings, every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Daily | Cost: Free

Dickens' Village
Forget the 3D glasses, you can experience Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in real life in the Dickens' Village at Macy's Center City. Another Christmas mainstay, the walk-though attraction features over 125 animated scenes from the holiday novel. The village originally debuted at the Strawbridge & Clothier flagship store in the 1950s, but was moved down Market Street after the store was mothballed. You can even get your picture taken with Ole Saint Nick at the end of the experience.

Macy's Center City – 3rd Floor, 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia | Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Daily | Cost: Free

A Longwood Gardens Christmas
If you love over the top Christmas displays, it doesn't get bigger than this. Twenty specially decorated rooms, hundreds of twinkling trees, performances by dancing fountains and plenty of Christmas tunes will put you in the holiday spirit at the Chester County gardens.

Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa. | Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Cost: $16 for adults, $6 for students, Free for kids 4 and under

Blue Cross RiverRink
Lace up your skates and head down to the river for a little spin on the ice at Philly's only outdoor ice skating rink. Whether it's in the snow or under the sun, everyone loves to cut up the ice. You may even run into a penguin.

Blue Cross RiverRink at Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Walnut St., Philadelphia | Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fri. & Sat. | Cost: $8 to skate, $3 for skate rental

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular in 3D
What's better than watching an awesome holiday show on a 2,100-sq. ft. HDTV? Watching an awesome holiday show on a 2,100-sq. ft. HDTV in 3D. Yep, it's only a year old and Comcast has already tweaked the area's newest holiday tradition. After seeing this show, you'll be happier than Santa when he sees cookies.

Comcast Center – Lobby, 17th St. and JFK Blvd., Philadelphia | Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Daily | Cost: Free

Pennsylvania Ballet's The Nutcracker
Can't you just hear the orchestra? See the dancers? The Nutcracker is back in grand style at the Academy of Music for another season. Clara, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King all come to life on stage just as they did in 1892.

Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Sts., Philadelphia | Performances: 24 between Dec. 12 and Dec. 31 | Cost: Tickets range from $24-$129, available at paballet.org

Holiday Village on Dilworth Plaza
Remember that Christmas Bazaar your school held when you were a kid? Well, the city's holding their own and this time you'll probably be able to find something better for Mom than a Christmas Tree ornament with her name gel inked on the side -- well, hopefully. The village features gifts, food, lights and even Santa's House.

Philly City Hall -- Dilworth Plaza, Broad and Market Sts., Philadelphia | Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Daily | Cost: Free (unless you wanna buy something)

Holiday Garden Railway at the Morris Arboretum
Who doesn't love miniature trains? My Dad had a set, I had a set and all my friends had a set. And nothing was cooler then sending that little locomotive down the tracks during Christmastime except when you saw a gigantic, quarter-mile long seven-track display like the one at the Morris Arboretum. It's just awesome and is sure to revive the kid in you.

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia | Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Daily | Cost: $14 for adults, $7 for kids (3-17) and students

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Relive history on Christmas Day as the Revolutionary War comes alive along the banks of Delaware. Reenactors don full garb and load into wooden boats as they paddle across the river from Pennsylvania to New Jersey for Gen. Washington's Crossing. Give our first president -- or rather his actor -- a salute and witness the birth of a nation all while listening to that new iPod that landed under the tree.

Washington Crossing Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing, Pa. | Time: 1 p.m. | Cost: Free

Christmas in Peddler's Village
Do a little window shopping, grab a bite and enjoy the Yule tidings in a town you'd swear is a dead ringer for the North Pole. Quaint Peddler's Village near New Hope, Pa. will have you ready to sing a few carols as you feast your eyes on huge gingerbread houses.

Peddler's Village, Rts. 202 & 263, Lahaska, Pa. | Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon. – Sat., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sun. | Cost: Free, until you're ready to shop

Shopping in KOP
If you're gonna shop, it's best to go big or go home and with only one weekend left, serious shoppers know to head over to the King of Prussia Mall for their gift finding missions. Hundreds of stores and restaurants make up the largest mall on the East Coast, easily earning the mall the title of shopping mecca. Find whatever you want for everyone on your list in one place.

King of Prussia Mall, Rt. 202 and Mall Blvd., King of Prussia, Pa. | Hours: Varying hours through the holiday, Daily | Cost: A lot...

Decorating the House
Channel your inner Clark W. Grizwold and bust out the lights, because nothin's a better than making sure your home looks and feels like the inside of a Christmas catalog. If you need a few extra decorations, head down to Kindy's for cheap finds and you can even win a ton of prizes in the NBC10 Light Up the Holidays contest, if your house makes the cut. And remember, 'Tis the season to be merry!


Your house | Goal: Making your house bright enough to be seen from the International Space Station

Christmas Radio Wars
So This is Christmas…It's time to hear John Lennon's song about peace, not the holidays, played over and over and over again until you want to pull out a gun and shoot your radio -- ironic, eh. Anyway the radio wars will have stations pinning for your holiday love.

On your radio: B101, BEN-FM, WOGL-HD only | On your computer: B101radio.com, ilikeBENFM.com and others

NYE in AC
Party like it's 2009 in true chic-style at the shore. As Atlantic City, N.J. continues to transition itself from an oversized slot parlor into an East Coast Vegas, you'll make out. All the casinos offer opulent and ever-so-cool, but pricy parties to ring in the New Year in style.

Hotel Rooms, Clubs, Bars | Goal: Get drunk, have fun and ring in 2010

Mummer's New Year's Day Parade
It's the only parade where you'll find men comfortably dressed as wenches and dancing around wearing feathers, string banjo bands, strutting and mayhem. And it's a century's old tradition that is uniquely Philly -- unable and unwilling to be duplicated by anyone else. If you've never been, please go. You won't regret it.

Broad Street, Philadelphia | Hours: All day New Years Day | Cost: Free

 

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