What To Do: Christmas bursts out all over

Music, parades kick off Chester County holiday celebrations

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

ksoOne of the area’s most eagerly-anticipated holiday attractions is scheduled for this weekend. On December 3, the Kennett Symphony of Chester County will perform “Pops Goes the Holiday” at 7:30 p.m. at Unionville High School (750 Unionville Rd, Kennett Square, 610-444-6363, http://www.kennettsymphony.org).

The Kennett Symphony and Music Director Michael Hall will present a holiday concert filled with the joyful sounds of the season. The family-oriented event will also feature the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus, a sing-a-long and a visit from Santa.

The fun will get underway at 6:30 pm with “Selfies with Santa” and pre-concert entertainment featuring caroling from the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus and a brass trio. The Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus will also be part of the main show.

The show will offer an array of holiday classics including Tchaikovsky’s “Danse Chinoise,” “Danse Russe’ and “Danse Arabe,”

Jim Stephenson’s “Holiday Overture,” Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” Silvestri’s “Suite from the Polar Exress,” “Wendell’s “O Holy Night,” “Prokofiev’s “Troika,” “Gustafson’s “Glorious Sounds of Christmas,” Strauss’ “Overture to Fledermaus,” Beckel’s “A Christmas Fanfare,” Hayen’s “Jesu Bambino,” Rutter’s “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol,” and Hayes’ “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Attendees are asked to join the Kennett Symphony in a food drive to benefit The Kennett Food Cupboard by bringing non-perishable food items to the concert on December 6. Tickets for the concert are priced at $53, $45 and $30 at the door for adults and $10 for students.

Horse-drawn carriage rides in Kennett Square.

Horse-drawn carriage rides in Kennett Square.

Another way to get in the holiday spirit in Kennett Square is by taking a special seasonal ride. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered on December 4, 11 and 18 from noon to 3 p.m. The rides begin at the intersection of State and Union streets and tickets are $5.

Kennett Square will also celebrate First Friday with its Art Stroll (downtown Kennett Square, http://historickennettsquare.com) from 6-9 p.m. on December 2.

The event celebrates the local art scene with special activities in the galleries, shops and restaurants throughout town.  Many of the town’s businesses and galleries will stay open late for First Friday.

Kennett Square’s Art Stroll is a monthly celebration of the local art scene as it is showcased in the galleries, shops and restaurants throughout town.  Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to wander along the tree-lined streets and browse the many businesses that stay open late.

Lancaster also has a lively First Friday celebration very month. This month’s edition of First Friday Lancaster (http://www.firstfridaylancaster.com/) will run from 5-9 p.m. on December 2 in downtown Lancaster.

The event will feature attractive exhibitions at art galleries, artisan studios and museums. There will also be live performances presented in a variety of genres — professional theater, symphony orchestra and performing groups.

Another popular traditional holiday event is scheduled for this Saturday — Candlelight Christmas in Chadds Ford (various locations in the Chadds Ford area, 610-388-7376, www.chaddsfordhistory.org). For more than three decades, it has been one of the area’s highly anticipated holiday events.

This year’s tour, which is presented by the Chadds Ford Historical Society, will be held on December 3 from 1-6 p.m. at a variety of locations in the Chadds Ford area. The tour includes more than 10 homes and historic sites in and around the Kennett Square/Unionville area, including be the CFHS’s main buildings — the Barn Visitor Center and the Barns-Brinton House.

The historic sites will be candlelit, decked with exquisite holiday decor and offer special holiday programs.  Guides will be on hand the day of the tour to highlight each sites’ unique history, architecture, and decor.

Tickets for Candlelight Christmas in Chadds Ford are $20 in advance and $25 day of tour.

The West Chester Christmas Parade.

The West Chester Christmas Parade.

On December 2, it will be time for the West Chester Christmas Parade on Market Street (610- 696-4046, http://www.downtownwestchester.com).

The 37th Annual Christmas Parade which is scheduled to get underway at 7:15 p.m. with the lighting of the borough’s Christmas tree. Runners in the Jingle Elf Run will take off at 6:30 p.m. The parade will highlight the arrival of Santa in his sleigh.

As an added attraction, there will be a “Holiday Village” from 5-9 p.m. on High Street between Gay and Market streets.

The Phoenixville Holiday Parade.

The Phoenixville Holiday Parade.

The Phoenixville Holiday Parade (https://phoenixvillechamber.org) is scheduled for December 2 with a scheduled 7 p.m. starting time. The Phoenixville Candlelight Holiday Tour will be conducted on December 3 from 3-7 p.m.

 Tickets, which are $25, can be purchased the day of the tour beginning at 2:30 p.m.at the tour starting point. First Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 170th anniversary and will be the starting point for the tour.  The brass choir concerts will be featured there.  Parking for tour patrons will be available in the church parking lot across the street.

The tour features beautifully decorated homes, houses of worship, and adaptive re-use.  There will be several homes near downtown for those who wish to make this part of the tour a walking tour.

Special attractions include a violinist featured at one of the homes, and original art work done by another home owner and another home. Also featured will be model trains, holiday collectibles, and decorations.

Proceeds from this year’s tour will benefit children and the arts – Ann’s Heart Code Blue and The Firebird Children’s Theatre.

Hibernia Mansion

Hibernia Mansion

From December 2-4, Hibernia Mansion (Hibernia County Park, off route 340, Wagontown, 610-383-3812, http://dsf.chesco.org/ccparks) will host its annual Candlelight Tours. The tours will be presented from 6:30-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2-4 p.m. on Sunday.

The event at Hibernia Mansion features costumed tour guides portraying former mansion owners and their families. The 19th-century mansion will be decked out for the holidays. Live music will be performed in the Ballroom and Santa will entertaining friends each day.

The mansion, as seen today, reflects the changes of lifestyle and social status of its various owners over the past two hundred years. At the turn of the 20th century, Hibernia became the country estate of Colonel Franklin Swayne, a wealthy Philadelphia lawyer, who added extensive renovations and lavish entertainment for his personal pleasure. Among those pleasures was his love of fox hunting.

This year’s theme of “Holidays, Horses & Hounds” portrays how the Mansion may have appeared during a holiday hunt. Colonel Swayne often hunted informally on the property accompanied by local gentlemen. Visitors can step back in time and enjoy the many fox hunting prints original to the house along with the red jacket that the Colonel wore when fox hunting in England.
The tour includes a stop in the Mansion’s Ballroom, where the Friends of Hibernia will provide holiday cheer and refreshments. Admission is $5 per person with children under 12 admitted free.

Malvern Victorian Christmas

Malvern Victorian Christmas

If you’re looking for a holiday event with an old-time vibe, then Malvern’s Victorian Christmas (610- 296-9096, www.malvernsvictorianchristmas.org), which will be held this weekend in several locations around downtown Malvern, is something you should check out. The 2016 edition of Malvern’s annual “Victorian Christmas” will be held December 2 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and December 3 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The festive, family-oriented event will begin with the Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m. in Burke Park and continue through 9 p.m. at sites all around downtown Malvern. There will be a variety of shows and performances on Friday evening along with several “Open Houses” by area merchants in the downtown area of the borough.

There will be special musical performances throughout town, strolling street performers, children’s shows, horse and carriage rides and hayrides. As an added attraction Friday night, Santa Claus will be available to hear children’s gift wishes under the pavilion at Burke Park.

Saturday’s schedule includes “Photo with Santa & Mrs. Claus” (Malvern Federal Savings Bank), a performance by the Main Line Dance Company (King Street), and “Make a Gingerbread House” (Malvern Bible Chapel).

Additionally, there will be free horse and carriage rides (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), pony rides (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and hayrides (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) The carriage rides board on King Street while the hayride takes place at Christopher’s a Neighborhood Place. The pony rides start at Gallagher’s Auto Service on King Street.

If your list of holiday gift recipients includes someone who collects sports cards or sports-related memorabilia, then you should definitely check out this weekend’s Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show, which is running December 2-4 at the Valley Forge Casino Resort (First Avenue, King of Prussia, 610-524-0822, http://www.phillyshow.com).

The show will feature dealers from all over the country who will be selling a wide array of sports-related items such as game-used equipment, autographed balls, posters, magazine, game programs and autographed pictures. Visitors can also find a huge selection of collectors’ supplies including protective sheets, binders, ball protectors and display cases.

A major focus of the show will be trading cards — especially baseball cards. Show attendees will be able to find everything from ultra-rare vintage Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle cards to the latest releases. All sports will be represented, including football, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, wrestling, Olympics and UFC.

Gino Marchetti

Gino Marchetti

The show will also have a large number of live guests — autograph-signing guests — including Jack Lambert, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Vince Papale, Herb Adderly and Don Money.

Admission to the show is $8 per day or $21 for a weekend pass.

Do you have an ugly holiday sweater – one of those sweaters that is so hideous it’s not even embarrassing to wear it. If so, put it on this Saturday and make a short drive to Oaks.

The Valley Forge Beer & Cider Festival, which will be held on December 3 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (100 Station Road, Oaks, 484- 754-3976, www.valleyforgebeerfest.com), has a special attraction – Sly Fox Brewery’s “Ugly Sweater Contest.” Prizes include a $50 gift card and commemorative festival clothing items. Contestants are instructed to wear their most outrageous, over-the-top, festive holiday sweaters. Props are welcome as well. 

The Valley Forge Beer and Cider Festival

The Valley Forge Beer and Cider Festival

This thirst-quenching pay-one-price tasting experience will be fun-filled day for all — the beer lover and the cider drinker.  The event will break all records with more than 150 beers and ciders for sampling. The list of exhibitors includes not only the most popular local breweries and cideries but also some of the top producers from across the country and around the world.

There will be two separate sessions — 12:30- 4 p.m. and 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets, which are $40 online in advance and $60 at the door on event day, include a 5 oz. tasting glass with a 2 oz. pour line and access to walk the festival and sample beer and cider from participating companies. Tickets are $10 for “Designated Drivers.”

Food is not included in the ticket price, but will be available for purchase during each session from the on-site concession stands. The event will help support the local Committee to Benefit the Children (CBC) at St. Christopher’s Hospital in their efforts to improve the quality of life for children and families who face cancer, leukemia and serious blood disorders.

If you want to see a holiday show on stage, consider attending out the Barley Sheaf Players’ (810 North Whitford Road, Lionville, 610-363-7075, www.barleysheaf.org) production of “Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” which is running now through December 11.

A holiday tradition at Barley Sheaf, this story brings to life the Christmas story. It starts with a family with two children who have always participated in their church Christmas pageant. Every year it is the same — same director, same characters, same story.

But not this year.

The director had an accident and is unable to direct the show. An undesirable clan of six Herdman children show up and want to get involved. Conflict and craziness ensue. Acceptance and understanding are demonstrated, and in the end the unpredictable happens — a touching moment where the true meaning of Christmas is discovered.

The production, which is directed by Rhonda Bastarache, has performances scheduled for December 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and December 4, 10 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults and $13 for students (18 and under) and seniors (60 and over). Tickets sell out quickly so check with website before making plans.

From December 2-4, visitors to Joanna Furnace (1250 Furnace Road, Geigertown, 610-286-0388, www.haycreek.org) will be transported back to the Christmas season of 150 years ago — back to the joyous celebration of the Christmas of 1866 with the iron master’s family and village residents.

1866 was a great year at Joanna Furnace, Ironmaster Levi Bull Smith’s sons and other village young men have returned home from the War and have had almost a year to renew their lives. Joanna Furnace Iron Works is running at full capacity and producing almost 1400 tons of iron. And, there is talk that a new railroad is going to be built and bring even more prosperity through the area. Times are great at Joanna Furnace and the villagers want to share their excitement.

Visitors are invited to join with the village residents as they prepare for their Christmas.   Live music and Christmas carols will be heard throughout the village to delight the guests. A reverent look at 19th-century Christmas spirit, bonfires, caroling, food, gift ideas, post-Civil War dancing, a salute to Civil War veterans make your family’s visit a memorable experience.

The iron works village has been decked out with greenery and period decorations to capture the mid-19th century holiday spirit. Actoivity will take place all around the 26 acres of the furnace site and a large portion will be illuminated by candlelight and bonfires. More than 1,000 glowing luminaries will illuminate various furnace walkways. Visitors are encouraged to explore the furnace complex by following these clearly defined pathways.

Attendees will be able to browse among holiday crafts items sold by dozens of vendors in the annual Christmas Craft Market. Guests will find one of-a-kind gifts such as hand-carved items, various handcrafted fiber and woven items, unique Christmas craft items, baked goods, cookies, candy and additional sought-after food gift items.

Live entertainment will be provided throughout the weekend by the Lukens Band of Coatesville and the Joanna Furnace Carolers. Another special attraction will be an old-fashioned wagon ride with the tractor slowly weaving through the light-painted historic site along the luminary-lit pathways.

Admission is $7 with children (under 12) admitted free.

The “Deck the Alley Open House” could only take place at one location — Elfreth’s Alley (Elfreth’s Alley and Elfreth’s Alley Museum, 126 Elfreth’s Alley, http://www.elfrethsalley.org).

Elfreth’s Alley is America’s oldest continuously occupied residential street. On December 3 from 3-7 p.m., its residents will once open their doors and welcome holiday visitors.

The small alley was a nice place to live in 18th-century colonial Philadelphia. It is still a nice place with preserved architectural details such as bond brickwork and cedar shingle roofs. The homes also have impressive interiors, which are open to the public only twice a year.

Admission to “Deck the Alley” is $25 for adults, $10 for children (under 16) and $60 for families. All proceeds support the education and preservation programs of the Elfreth’s Alley Museum.

Included with admission are seasonal refreshments, a display of a Pennsylvania Dutch upside-down Christmas tree, performances by colonial carolers, an appearance by Belsnickel and visits from Benjamin Franklin and Dolly Madison.

This weekend is also time for several similar theatrical presentations — not on stages but rather in churches and in a museum. Every year, this is the weekend that Saint Lucia Day festivities begin.

Philadelphia has two sites which stage impressive Lucia Fest pageants — the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-389-1776, www.americanswedish.org) and Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church (Delaware Avenue and Christian Street, Philadelphia, 215- 389-1513, www.Old-Swedes.org). Another top-flight celebration is staged in Wilmington, Delaware.

Lucia is a Swedish festival that began in 17th century Sweden as a festival of light in the midst of the darkest days of winter. In America’s Swedish communities, the popular annual event features a Lucia procession with traditional songs and dances. Lucia, wearing a white gown and a crown of candles, leads the procession, followed by girls dressed in gowns who act as her attendants. Boys also join the festivities as starboys.

The American Swedish Historical Museum will present its Lucia Celebration and Julmarknad (Christmas Bazaar) on December 3 from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Lucia Processions will begin at 1 and 3 p.m. Swedish needlecrafts, pastries and other delicacies will be for sale in the Julmarknad, while imported gifts, crafts and Christmas decorations will be featured in the Museum Gift Shop.

Admission is $10 for adults, $4 for children (ages 4-12) and free for children (under 4).

Reservations are not required, but tickets may be purchased online in advance.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Philadelphia, the 2016 Lucia Fest will be held from December 9-11. At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Wilmington, the Sankta Lucia Celebration is scheduled for December 11.

The line-up of on-going holiday events in the area is varied enough to have something for everyone.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) has shifted into holiday mode with the arrival of “A Longwood Gardens Christmas.”

The festive holiday display at Longwood Gardens, which is continuing through January 8, features spectacular lights, lavish decorations, holiday music and colorful displays featuring thousands of brilliant poinsettias, brightly-decorated trees and fragrant flowers — all inside the heated Conservatory.

The colorful annual event, which appeals to the entire family, also has a lot of outdoor attractions such as fountain shows and nighttime light displays. Longwood’s Christmas celebration also includes a wide array of seasonal music — holiday concerts, organ sing-alongs and carillon performances. There will also be performances by choirs and musicians evenings through December 20.

When darkness arrives at Longwood, a night-blooming garden of more than a half-million lights strung on close to 100 trees with approximately 40 miles of wire comes to life. A carillon with 62 cast bells plays holiday music every half hour during daylight hours. Longwood’s Open Air Theatre fountains dance to holiday music each half hour — temperature permitting.

As always, admission by “Timed Ticket” — tickets issued for specific dates and times. Timed ticketing limits the number of people in the Gardens at any given time and allows guests to enjoy minimal lines and a better viewing experience. There are different prices for “Peak” and “Off Peak” times.

Visitors to “A Longwood Gardens Christmas” can also check out Longwood’s Garden Railway — a whimsical display set into motion with G-scale model trains. This is the 15th year that the railway has delighted visitors with special water features and custom trains traveling in and out of bridges and tunnels.

Admission to Longwood Gardens is $23 (non-peak), $30 (peak) for adults, $20/$27 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and $12/$16 for students (ages 5-18).

“A Brandywine Christmas” is running now through January 8 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org). The attraction features an extensive O-gauge model. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating scene.

The well-attended annual “Critter Sale” is scheduled for December 1-4 from 5-9 on December 1 and 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. from December 2-4. Cute and decorative, critters are tree ornaments and tabletop decorations made from natural materials, including dried flowers, pinecones, seeds, pods, and berries. Crafted by hand, critters are environmentally friendly, distinctive, and artistic. Shoppers can choose from over 10,000 critters — all made by the museum’s talented volunteers. Prices range from $5-$25 with specialty items starting at $30. 

 “A Brandywine Christmas” also features an extensive O-gauge model. Five moving trains operate at all times and include a 60-car freight train winding past a village, stone quarry, oil refinery, mountains, Herr Foods plant, running waterfall and animated skating scene.

Special events include “Carols Concerts” on December 4, 11,18; “Children’s Christmas Party” on December 7, “Breakfast with the Trains” on December 10 and 17, “Christmas with the Dolls” on December 17, and “Terrific Trains Family Program” on January 7. Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65 and older) and $6 for children.

“Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Broad and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215-391-3017, www.philachristmas.com) is a free outdoor holiday market event that captures the vibe of the traditional European Christmas markets. Christmas Village in Philadelphia will have a new home in the City Hall Courtyard and Northern Apron. The attraction is modeled after traditional German Christmas Markets.

At the Village in Philadelphia, vendors selling traditional European food, sweets and drinks are set up in 80 wooden booths and timber houses that form a medieval village. They will also offer a unique shopping experience with international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry and high-quality arts and crafts.

At the center of the market, an ornate and grand old-time carousel will be operating to give children of all ages a new holiday tradition while visiting the authentic German Christmas Market. The carousel features 20 wood-carved horses that will twirl around for an unforgettable view of the new market inside City Hall’s courtyard.  

Like kids of all ages, Santa Claus enjoys the special experience of riding on a train that is being pulled by a steam locomotive. This year, Santa will be visiting several of the area’s tourist railroads to take special rides with his friends.

One of the best train rides with Santa Claus is the one presented by the West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233 or www.westchesterrr.net). The special “Santa’s Express” trains (which feature heated cars decorated for the holidays) will run on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. There will be additional departures at 5 p.m. on December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.

The 90-minute journey on the trail line’s heated decorated train travels through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa Claus will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills. Adult fare for the West Chester Railroad trips is $23. Tickets for children (ages 2-12) are $17 while toddlers (ages 9-23 months) get to ride for $7.

The Colebrookdale Railroad (www.dynamicticketsolutions.com) has several options for holiday-related excursion rides.

The “Santa Claus Polar Express Train,” the “’Twas The Night Before Christmas Train” and the “Winter Starlight Express Train.”

It is approximately a two-hour round trip for any of the train excursions. Tickets are $45 for adults, $31 for children (ages 2-12), $40 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for toddlers (under 2; must be held; no seat).

The Wilmington & Western Railroad (2201 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-998-193, www.wwrr.com) will run its “Santa Claus Express” on Saturdays and Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and $16 for children (ages 2-12).

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding along with passengers on the steam-powered 90-minute round trip to Ashland Station. They will be greeting everyone on board and offering chocolate treats to the youngsters. Santa will also be posing for pictures with his fans. Tickets for these trains, which run now through December 24, are $18 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and $16 for children.

The tourist rail line will also be running special “Holiday Night Express Trains,” featuring a peaceful evening ride in the railroad’s 1929 Doodlebug rail car. Tickets for these trains, which are running now through December 30, are $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and $10 for children.

The Strasburg Rail Road (Route 741, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is running its “Santa’s Paradise Express” now through December 18. Santa will be greeting passengers, shaking hands, posing for photos and giving a treat to each child. After the train ride, children are treated to storybook readings of holiday classics. Visitors of all ages can also enjoy a ride aboard the Tinsel Trolley, a self-propelled motor car.

The Strasburg Railroad will also be running its “Night Before Christmas” train on December 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16. A reader dressed in a Victorian nightshirt and cap will read Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem “The Night before Christmas” as the train rolls along. After the poem is read, passengers can enjoy a treat of milk and cookies.

Tickets for rides on the Strasburg Railroad are $18 for adults, $11 for children (ages 3-11) and $3 for toddlers (under age 3).

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is operating its “North Pole Express” now through December 31. Tickets are $48.95 for adults, $46.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $14.95 for toddlers.

Passengers can ride the rails with Santa, Mrs. Claus and a group of holiday revelers. Children and adults of all ages can sip hot cocoa and enjoy cookies while Santa visits with each child and presents them with a special gift. Local musicians will be on board to play and sing Christmas carols. Additionally, children are encouraged to come dressed in the pajamas.

Christmas trains also come in a smaller variety. Model railroad displays and the Christmas holiday season have been linked together since a time before even your parents were even kids.

One of the most elaborate model train layouts in the Delaware Valley can be found at the Morris Arboretum (100 Northwestern Avenue, Chestnut Hill, 215-247-5777, www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/index.html). The popular Garden Railway Display that has become a summer fixture at The Gardens at Morris Arboretum returns again for a special holiday display.

The display, which is open to the public now through December 31 in the winter garden of the Morris Arboretum, has a quarter-mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with 15 different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under) and bustling model trains.

The buildings and the display are all made of natural materials — bark, leaves, twigs, hollow logs, mosses, acorns, dried flowers, seeds and stones — to form a perfectly proportioned miniature landscape complete with miniature rivers. Philadelphia-area landmarks are all meticulously decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle.

Admission to the Morris Arboretum is $17 for adults, $15 for seniors (65 and older) and $9 for students and military.

“Holidays at Hagley,” a popular Brandywine Valley exhibit that is included with regular admission, is running now through January 1 at Hagley Museum and Library (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org).

This year’s edition of “Holidays at Hagley” features tours of Eleutherian Mills, which is the first du Pont family home built in America. The tours, which will be presented each day from 10a.m.-4:30 p.m., feature decorations in a combination of styles from both the 19th and 20th centuries.

The theme this year at Eleutherian Mills residence is “A Child’s Delight.” Toys, games, and dolls are the decorative theme in the annual “Holidays at Hagley” exhibition at Eleutherian Mills.     

Prominently displayed in the Parlor is a large early 20th-century decorated Christmas tree with tinsel. Underneath, toys and dolls are waiting to be admired by children of all ages. Scattered throughout the room are more toys, including two charming monkey toys—a puppet and a swinging toy monkey. Also featured is a small display of child-related items, including a large wicker baby carriage, doll beds, and a stroller called an “Oriole.”

Well-loved displays returning include the elaborate Twelfth Night celebration in the dining room and the Victorian library’s Christmas for children with its table-top tree surrounded by toys and games. Of course, there will be warm glowing lights and poinsettias. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $5 for children (ages 6-14).

One of the best premier Christmas-themed events in the area is the annual “Yuletide at Winterthur.” This year’s 38th annual staging of the event, which runs from November 19 through January 8 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware,800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

In celebration of the extraordinary dollhouse recently gifted to Winterthur by the McDaniel family, Yuletide at Winterthur 2016 will highlight the holidays through a child’s eyes in the 19th and 20th centuries and feature the exquisite house-in-miniature as a central attraction. The 18-room house is fully decorated with wreaths, candles, trees, and more miniature delights.

In celebration of the house’s debut, Yuletide at Winterthur will highlight the holidays as experienced by children from 1850-1950 and feature museum room displays that include Winterthur’s own collections of miniature objects. As an added attraction, Winterthur’s current exhibition “Lasting Impressions: The Artists of Currier & Ives, Yuletide” will explore why a “Currier & Ives Christmas” is so beloved and still resonates with people today.

As always, the rooms will be enhanced with the floral displays so essential to du Pont’s decorating, and with special Christmas trees inspired by the beauty of the Winterthur garden – including the popular Dried Flower Tree in the Conservatory.

Timed Yuletide Tour reservations are required. Admission to Yuletide at Winterthur is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (age 62 and older) and $2 for children (ages 2-11).

Nemours Mansion & Gardens (Route 141 South, Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-651-6912, www.nemoursmansion.org) is welcoming visitors for the Christmas holidays with special holiday-themed tours. The three-hour tours are held Tuesdays through Sundays and run now through January 3.

Originally constructed in 1910, Nemours Mansion is one of Delaware’s grandest buildings and includes the largest formal French garden in North America.

During the holiday period, the guided tours will include several stories of the house and part of the gardens. Many of the rooms featured in the tour will be decorated as they would have been when DuPont resided there in the early 1900s while some will retain their traditional period decorations.

Tickets for the tour at Nemours are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and $7 for children (under 16).

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2016 Christmas Holiday Tour will be presented now through December 31 in Odessa’s historic district (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org). The Historic Houses of Odessa’s National Historic Register Wilson-Warner House has been transformed into vignettes inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King.”

Historic Odessa will celebrate the bicentennial of this classic tale as the National Historic Register Wilson-Warner House is transformed into the home of the Stahlbaums on Christmas Eve. There will also be story vignettes beautifully recreated throughout the 247-year old Wilson-Warner’s period rooms.

Another popular attraction is the “Storybook Trees Exhibit,” which is a festive display of Christmas trees that reflect books and works of children’s literature. The trees have been decorated by local families, schools and organizations. All the Historic Odessa Foundation’s museum properties, collectively known as the Historic Houses of Odessa, are open and on display for the 2016 holiday season.

The Historic Houses of Odessa are open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. The last full tour of the Historic Houses starts at 3 p.m. The Houses will be closed on December 24 and 25. Admission to the Historic Odessa Foundation holiday tour is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and students and free for children (under 6).

Many of the local amusement parks are fun places to visit in November and December because of their special holiday attractions.

Now through January 1, “A Very Furry Christmas” will be presented by Sesame Place (100 Sesame Place, Langhorne, 215-752-7070, www.sesameplace.com). The event is a one-of-a-kind family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite furry friends — Grover, Oscar and the rest of the gang from Sesame Street. Admission is $27 online and $32 at the gate.

“Christmas Candylane,” which is the annual holiday event at Hersheypark (100 West Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, 800-HERSHEY, www.hersheypark.com), is running now through December 31. Tickets are $19 per person. Children age two and under are admitted free.

Visitors to Hershey can also experience the winter wonderland called “Hershey Sweet Lights, A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular.” The attraction is a two-mile drive through wooded trails featuring approximately 600 illuminated, animated displays.

Video link for “Hershey Sweet Lights” — https://youtu.be/fs43VXoT96A?t=3.

Admission is $24.15 on Fridays and Saturdays and $19.15 the rest of the week,

Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park (2249 Route 30 East, Lancaster, 866-386-2389, www.dutchwonderland.com) is hosting its “Dutch Winter Wonderland” from Now through December 30 on Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays.

Visitors are invited to celebrate the magic of the season at Dutch Winter Wonderland with rides, entertainment, and the Royal Light Show, a spectacular display of thousands of twinkling lights dancing to music.

Tickets are $11.99 in advance and $13.99 at the gate. Children age two and under are admitted free.

Bethlehem, which is known as the “Christmas City,” presents Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem (PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 East First Street, Bethlehem, 610-332-1300, http://www.christmascity.org) every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday now through December 18.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem showcases aisles of exquisite handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans. The market also features live performances of Christmas music and vendors with an amazing variety of tasty food items.

Two of Montgomery County’s scenic historic sites are ready to begin celebrating the 2014 Christmas holiday season this weekend.

Pennypacker Mills (3 Haldeman Road, Perkiomenville, 610- 287-9349, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) is hosting “Victorian Holiday Tours” now through January 8 while “Twelfth Night Tours at Pottsgrove Manor” (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) are running now until January 8.

For the next six weeks, Pennypacker Mills will offer free tours of the 18-century mansion used by General George Washington as temporary headquarters during the Revolutionary War. The home will be decorated for an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas and will feature the warm glow of oil lamps, festive decorations and a candy-making demonstration.

The event at Pottsgrove Manor features guided tours through an elegant 18th-century Georgian mansion that is decked out in period holiday decorations. Tour guides will discuss Twelfth Night celebrations and Christmastide traditions.

Visitors will be able to view the parlor and kitchen as it would have been during colonial times when the Potts family prepared for their holiday guests. They will also be able to check out the servants’ quarters and see the rustic holiday celebrations as enjoyed by the household staff.

Visitors to Peddler’s Village (Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, 215-794-4000, http://peddlersvillage.com) can get in the holiday spirit at the Village’s Grand Illumination, which showcases thousands of tiny white lights outlining the Village’s buildings, colorful lights with less-than-common colors (teal, peach, and fuscia) adorning the trees and shrubs and a landscaped backdrop featuring a group of reindeer glowing in white light.

The Grand Illumination is accompanied by the Giggleberry Fair, which features attractions for kids including for “Photos with Santa.” The Giggleberry Fair will be open through December 23. The Peddler’s Village “Gingerbread House Competition and Display,” which runs through January 2, features over $2,000 in cash prizes in such categories as Traditional and Authentic Reproduction of a Significant Building.

Koziar’s Christmas Village (782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, 610-488-1110, www.koziarschristmasvillage.com) has started its 68th annual season and it will remain open every night through January 2 — including Christmas Eve, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Night.

The village is a visual wonderland with a large amount of holiday displays and special attractions including “Santa’s Post Office,” “Christmas in the Jungle,” “Toy Maker and his Toy Shop” and “Christmas in Other Lands. Other attractions are a huge model train display, a toy shop, a country kitchen, indoor and outdoor Christmas displays. Admission to Christmas Village is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for children (ages 4-10).

From a theatrical standpoint, the holiday season has definitely arrived in the area.

The New Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting its special holiday show “Christmas by Candlelight” now through December 23.

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.), Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.) and Wednesday matinees (doors, 11 a.m./show, 1 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) has its holiday show running now through December 30.

The AMT’s 2016 show “Winter Wonderland” is an all-new presentation of favorite sacred and secular holiday songs performed by professional artists from across the country. The show will feature spectacular vocal harmonies, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing and the music of the AMT Orchestra.

Also featured will be elaborate scenery, elegant costumes and a theater decked out with holiday decorations.

The show will have both matinee and evening performances each week with the addition of 10:30 a.m. performances on Saturdays throughout December. Show length is two hours and 15 minutes with a short intermission. Tickets are $42.

The Rainbow Comedy Playhouse (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.Rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting its holiday production “Green Holly & Gray Potatoes” now through December 28.

Matinee performances are every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and selected Saturdays with an 11:30 a.m. lunch and a 1 p.m. curtain. Evening performances are every Friday, Saturday and selected Thursdays with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show following at 8 p.m. There will also be “Twilight Performances” on selected Sundays with dinner at 2:30 p.m. and the show at 4 p.m. Ticket prices range from $25-$56.

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