Thursday, Dec. 6
Holiday Wreath MakingPHS Meadowbrook Farm, 1633 Washington Lane, Meadowbrook. During this hands-on session participants will decorate an evergreen wreath with natural materials, pinecones, seed pods and bows. You may bring elements to customize your own wreath. 6 to 8 p.m. Information: meadowbrookfarm.org
Tree Lighting and Photos with Santa Holmesburg Community Center, Ditman and Rhawn streets. 7 p.m. Photos with Santa will be taken at 6 p.m. Refreshments served. Sponsored by MARC and the Holmesburg Recreation Advisory Council.
“White Christmas” Performances McBride Hall, St. Katherine of Siena Parish, 9700 Frankford Ave. Performed by the Siena Players. 7:30 p.m. Continues Dec. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. $10 in advance, $12 at the door. 215-284-8680.
Ten Thousand Villages 8331 Germantown Ave. Shop for handmade holiday gifts sold by this fair-trade organization and 15 percent of your purchase price will be donated to the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network. 5 to 9 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 7
Drama Presentation Second Baptist Church, Frankford, 1801 Meadow St. “Take Me to the King” will be presented by the SBC Drama Ministry. A free-will offering will be accepted. 7 p.m. Also on Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. 215-533-6222.
“White Christmas” Performances Mitchell Performing Arts Center, 800 Tomlinson Road, Bryn Athyn. Presented by Academy of the New Church secondary schools. 8 p.m. Continues Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets $15, $12 for high school and college students. Call for tickets. 267-502-4810 or visit www.ancss.org
HOLIDAY POPS 2012! Holiday concert with Peter Nero and the Philly POPS Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., featuring vocalist Capathia Jenkins, the POPS Festival Chorus, The Philadelphia Boys Choir and more. 8 p.m. Tickets $105 to $33. Continues through Dec. 22 with some concerts at 3 p.m. and others at 8 p.m. 215-893-1999 or www.phillypops.org
Saturday, Dec. 8
Breakfast with Santa Bridesburg Presbyterian Church, 2770 Pratt St. $5 per person. 9:30 a.m. Call for tickets. 215-870-3819.
Craft Bazaar Franklin Towne Charter Elementary School gym, 4259 Richmond St. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 267-847-0218.
Christmas Festival, Chinese Auction and Bake Sale St. Leo Convent, Tulip Street and Unruh Avenue. Takes place following the 5 p.m. Mass. Continues Dec. 9 after the 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m. Masses.
Holiday Stop & Shop Benefit Norcom Community center, 10980 Norcom Road. Features 40-plus vendors, food, Chinese auction and gift wrapping. 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Benefits Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Lunch with Santa Emmanuel Resurrection Episcopal Church, 8201 Frankford Ave. $5. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 215-624-8520.
Winter Bazaar Tacony Academy Charter School, 1330 Rhawn St. Features vendors, food, raffles, games and more. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 215-439-4857.
Winterfest Tacony Branch Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave. Noon to 3 p.m. Meet Santa from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Victorian carolers perform at 12:30 p.m. Features other holiday festivities and activities. 215-685-8755.
“Winter Tidings: Works celebrating the winter solstice” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Performances by students from the Curtis Institute of Music at 1:30, 2:15, 3 p.m. in Gallery 204, the medieval cloister. Free with museum admission ($23.50 adults, $21.50 seniors, $17.50 youths/students, $3.50 children.) Visit www.philamuseum.org or 215-763-8100.
Sunday, Dec. 9
Christmas Bazaar St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church, school gym, 4521 Longshore Ave. Tables $10 or two for $15. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 215-402-7111.
Concert for the Advent Season St. Cecilia Church, 535 Rhawn St. Musica Concordia, an ecumenical choir of 30 voices, will perform hymns, chants and more. A free-will offering will be accepted. 4 p.m. Tickets are not required.
Service of Nine Lessons and Carols St. Mark’s Church, Frankford, 4442 Frankford Ave. Carillon recital at 1:30 p.m. Organ prelude at 1:45 p.m. A reception follows the service. Guest choir is from Church of the Good Samaritan (Episcopal) in Paoli. 215-535-0635.
“The Light of Christmas” Calvary Memorial Church, 7200 Roosevelt Blvd. Features the sanctuary choir and pageant. Free. Nursery available for children age 4 and younger. 6 p.m. Also Dec. 16 at the same time.
Skate with Santa and Friends at Blue Cross RiverRink, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street. Saint Nick will arrive at 2 p.m. aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia ship. Santa will skate for two sessions: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 5 p.m. Kids can take a photo with Santa and tell him their Christmas wish lists. Admission $9, skate rental $4, parking $12. No reservations are required.
Monday, Dec. 10
Christmas & Grief Talk Mater Dolorosa Church, Paul and Ruan streets. The Rev. Joseph Leggiere will give a talk on Getting through Christmas after the loss of a loved one. There will be time for questions. Parking is available across from the church. 7 p.m. 215-535-4036.
“Follow the Star: World Nativities” Exhibition Glencairn Museum, 1001 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn. Monday through Saturday, through Jan. 6. Closed Dec. 17, 18, 24 and 25. Free. Noon to 4:30 p.m. Donations accepted. Other programs are also taking place. Call for information. 267-502-2600.
Pet portraits with Santa Santa set, Neshaminy Mall, 4200 Neshaminy Blvd., Bensalem, 6 p.m. to close, dogs and cats only. Repeats, 6 p.m. to close, Dec. 17.
Tuesday, Dec. 11
“Listening with an Advent Ear” Program Mother Boniface Spirituality Center, 3501 Solly Ave. The people of the Advent scriptures, the songs and prayers will come alive during the program. 7 to 9 p.m. $15, includes refreshments. Also Dec. 12, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Register. 267-350-1830/1831.
Story Time for Children Torresdale library branch, 3079 Holme Ave., holiday-themed story time for children ages 2 to 5. Children must be accompanied by adults. 2:30 p.m. 215-685-0494.
Frankford Friends School Choir performs at noon at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut St.
“Oh! What Fun” Comedy Variety Show Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler. Hosted by Tony Braithwaite and includes holiday-themed improvisation of “It’s Your Wonderful Life!” Continues through Dec. 30. $22-33 with discounts for subscribers, seniors and students. Visit www.act2.org or call 215-654-0200.
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Christmas Celebration and Tree Lighting Glen Foerd on the Delaware, 5001 Grant Ave. Features tours of the mansion, music in the art gallery and entertainment for all. 4 to 7:30 p.m. Non-members $5, members and students under age 18 $4. No charge for children under age 3. Caroling and tree lighting are free for all and takes place at 7 p.m. 215-632-5330.
Holiday Recital and Open House Tacony Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave. The Northeast High School Select Choir will entertain. Free holiday refreshments. 6:15 p.m. 215-685-8755.
Meet Santa! Holmesburg Branch Library, 7810 Frankford Ave. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Bring a camera. Enjoy holiday crafts and cookies. Santa will read stories at 6 p.m. Sponsored by Friends of Holmesburg Library. 215-685-8756.
Movie Afternoon St. Leo Convent, Tulip Street and Unruh Avenue. “White Christmas” will be shown at 1 p.m.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry! stroller tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 11 a.m. For parents and caregivers with young children. Museum educators lead tour of thematic works. Meet at Lenfest Hall/West Lobby. Free with regular admission to the museum. Visit www.philamuseum.org or call 215-763-8100.
Thursday, Dec. 13
Cairnwood by Candlelight 1005 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn. Features a jazz trio, tours, a display of Victorian gowns, yuletide desserts and more. $20. 7:30 p.m. Preferred parking $5. 215-947-2004, www.cairnwood.org
Friday, Dec. 14
“Murray the Elf and the Case of the Missing Mistletoe” Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler. A new children’s comedy written and directed by Bill D’Agostino. Continues through Dec. 23. $12 for adults or $8 for kids. Visit www.act2.org or call 215-654-0200.
Celebrate Hanukkah Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with the drums and brass of West Philadelphia Orchestra, 5 to 8:45 p.m. Free with regular museum admission. Visit www.philamuseum.org or call 215-763-8100.
Home for the Holidays — With First Person Arts StorySlam competition, Gallery 176, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 3600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free with regular museum admission admission. Visit www.philamuseum.org or call 215-763-8100 for information.
Handel’s “Messiah” Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, 1723 Race St., with the Ama Deus Ensemble with soloists, a chorus and a Baroque orchestra, 7 p.m. $25 adults, $20 seniors, $10 students. Visit cathedralphilaconcerts.org
Saturday, Dec. 15
Christmas Bazaar and Indoor Flea Market Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center, 4744 Frankford Ave. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 215-831-2926.
Holiday Concert with the Penn Sirens, Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Ave. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free with museum admission ($13.75 for adults, $11.75 for seniors, $9.75 for students and youth). Visit www.easternstate.org or call 215-236-3300.
Lunch with Santa Rowland Community Center, 400 Myrtle Ave., Cheltenham. The annual lunch is hosted by the East Cheltenham Community Council. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $3. 11:30 a.m. 215-663-0505.
“The Nutcracker” Settlement Music School’s Kardon-Northeast branch, 3745 Clarendon Ave. Admission is free. 11 a.m. 215-320-2620, www.smsmusic.org
Tucker’s Tales Puppet Theatre Tacony Library, 6742 Torresdale Ave. Enjoy “Jingle Bell the Cat,” a holiday version of Aesop’s fable “Belling the Cat.” 2 p.m. 215-685-8755.
Sunday, Dec. 16
Holiday Craft Market and community celebration, St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave. Local crafts for sale. The celebration will focus on the new murals in Frankford, improvements to the 4600 block of Frankford Ave. and the rain garden at Womrath Park. 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hosted by the Frankford Community Development Corp., Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez (D-7th dist.), Flying Kite Media and Philly Swap.
TubaChristmas Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza, 350 S. Broad St. More than 100 regional tuba, sousaphone and euphonium players join together to perform holiday classics. Free. 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. 215-790-5800, www.tubachristmas.com
“Selections from The Nutcracker” The Central Library, 1901 Vine St., Free. 2 p.m. 215-686-5322.
Thursday, Dec. 20
A discussion of Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol, The Central Library, 1901 Vine St., Free, but registration is required. Visit http://flpcarol.eventbrite.com to reserve a space. 6:30 p.m. 215-686-5322.
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s “Glorious Sound of Christmas,” concert, Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St. 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 22. Performances are based on the lush “Philadelphia Sound” on the orchestra’s best-selling 1986 album of timeless holiday classics. $40 to $119. Visit www.philorch.org or call 215-893-1999.
Friday, Dec. 21
Flower Arranging Class Max Myers Playground, 1601 Hellerman St. Features holiday-themed arrangements. $5. 7 p.m. Register. 215-685-1242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, Dec. 23
Handel’s “Messiah” performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St., with conductor Paul Goodwin, 2 p.m. $29 to $124. Visit www.philorch.org or 215-893-1999.
Monday, Dec. 24
Christmas Eve Service Westminster Mayfair Presbyterian Church, Brous and Harbison avenues. Parking available in the church parking lot. The community is invited. 7 p.m. 215-535-6540.
Public Skating Sessions The Blue Cross RiverRink, Columbus Boulevard and Market Street. Sessions will be held today and again on Dec. 25 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 5:30 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Admission, $9, skate rental $4, parking $12.
ldquo;A Christmas Carol” Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St., A musical adaption of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, suitable for kids in kindergarten through 9th grades and their adult friends. Continues through Dec. 22. The Dec. 12 performace will be ASL interpreted and Audio Described. Tickets $10-16. Matinee performances. 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787.
Look at some enchanted scenes
Philadelphia has many holiday traditions, but few are as enchanting and nostalgic as the Enchanted Colonial Village on display now through Jan. 6 at the Please Touch Museum in West Fairmount Park, 4231 Avenue of the Republic.
The expansive exhibit is a 3/4-size arrangement of seasonal scenes in a colonial hamlet. It includes a toymaker’s shop, blacksmith’s shop, schoolhouse, tailor’s shop, wigmaker’s shop, watchmaker’s shop, family dinner scene and a group of carolers, among other displays, each featuring mechanically animated dolls.
Designed by Philadelphian Thomas Comerford and built by the German toymaker Christian Hofmann, the village debuted at Lit Brothers department store, Eighth and Market streets, in the early 1960s and was open to store patrons from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve annually until the store’s demise in the mid-1970s.
In 2000, Please Touch Museum bought the exhibit and commissioned a restoration. Today, 10 of the original 18 scenes survive. Self-guided tours are included with museum admission ($16 for children and adults).
Enjoy decorated Fairmount Houses
Fans of Colonial and Federal architecture may tour the Charms of Fairmount Park Historic Houses, which will be decorated in their full holiday regalia and open to the public on Dec. 8 and 9.
As a group, the houses rank among the nation’s most significant examples of 18th and 19th century domestic architecture, each featuring period furnishings including some original pieces. The residences include Mount Pleasant (built in 1765), Laurel Hill (circa 1767), Lemon Hill (1800), Woodford (late 1750s) and Ormiston (1798).
Admission costs $5 per person per site and is free for children under 12. The houses are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Hosts will greet visitors at each location to lead tours and discuss the unique history, design and the thematic holiday decorations of each house. Guests at each location will also receive a free American Recipe Card featuring an image of the house as well as a traditional recipe.
Folks hoping for a similar, but sweeter and much smaller experience can take a side trip to The Shops at Liberty Place, 16th and Chestnut streets, to view 10 deliciously magnificent gingerbread houses crafted by Philadelphia chefs and modeled after the same Fairmount Park sites. The display is open through Dec. 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Light up the tree at Glen Foerd
Northeast residents looking for a traditional and affordable Christmas experience closer to home may plan a visit to Torresdale’s Glen Foerd on the Delaware on Wednesday, Dec. 12, for the site’s annual tree-lighting and celebration.
The 18-acre estate at Grant Avenue and State Road features a 30,000-square-foot Edwardian country house that harkens to America’s Gilded Age at the turn of the 20th century. The Christmas celebration will run from 4 to 7:30 p.m.
This year’s decorations are inspired by a recently-discovered watercolor painting by early 20th century Philadelphian Violet Oakley, who counted Glen Foerd matriarch Florence Foerderer Tonner among her patrons. Much of Tonner’s vast art collection remains on display in the mansion’s second-floor gallery.
Visitors will also enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, including Nutcracker ballerinas, music in the gallery and children’s activities. The evening will conclude outside with caroling and the tree lighting.
Admission costs $5 for adults or $4 for youths. There is no charge to attend the caroling and tree lighting only, which begin at 7 p.m.
Celebrate a milestone ‘Nutcracker’
The Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual production of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” is another Philadelphia holiday tradition, as well as a birthright of sorts for the region’s many youth dance troupes. Each year, dozens of local children vie for coveted ensemble roles and to grace the legendary Academy of Music stage alongside the ballet’s elegant principal performers. The show is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The narrative follows Marie and her Prince on their journey to the wondrous Land of Sweets, through a dazzling party scene, a harrowing battle, a glistening forest covered in snow and into the Sugarplum Fairy’s kingdom. The production features Tchaikovsky’s classic score, spectacular sets and colorful costumes. In addition to the local dance students, members of the Philadelphia Boys Choir add to the show’s hometown flavor.
Performances begin on Saturday, Dec. 8, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 30, at the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. Tickets range in price from $15 to $135 and are available via www.paballet.org or 215-893-1999.
Savor chocolate plus a train trip
A train ride through the Pennsylvania countryside and chocolate will be the key ingredients to a sweet and picturesque holiday celebration: Amtrak’s new Christmas in Hershey package. The prices will not suit all budgets, however.
Travelers can buy discounted tickets on Amtrak’s Keystone Service and along with an overnight stay in The Sweetest Place on Earth with visits to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. Packages include accommodations at The Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge, shuttle service to and from the train station and the park, along with admission to the park, museum and gardens.
The Keystone Service connects New York City with Harrisburg via Philadelphia. Riders can board at the Cornwells Heights park and ride or 30th Street Station. The route traverses Downtown Philadelphia, the Main Line suburbs and rustic Chester and Lancaster counties. So hope for snow.
Riders will receive 40 percent off their second ticket after purchasing the first at full price. The lodging and tour portion costs $289 per room for the Hershey Lodge or $389 for the Hotel Hershey. Visit www.patripsbytrain.com for information.
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspooons lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup toasted almonds finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stir in the lemon zest and the almond extract. Mix in the flour mixture, then the chopped almonds. You might need to use a dough hook for the mixer.
Divide the dough into 2 halves. Shape each portion into a log about 10 inches long by 3 inches wide. Place the loaves onto the prepared cookie sheets about 4 inches apart, and flatten slightly. Bake in oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until tops are light brown and not soft to the touch anymore. Cool on baking sheets for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut baked loaves diagonally into ½ inch thick slices, lay on sides on cookie sheets then bake for about 5 minutes more to crisp them up. Turn them to the other side and bake about another 5 minutes to crisp that up, too.
Cool completely on wire rack. Store in airtight container.
2 cups chocolate cookie crushed
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter melted
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup crushed candy canes
Combine the first 3 ingredients and press into bottom of a 9” springform pan. Beat sour cream, sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla, and the extract until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and the butter, stir in the crushed candy. Pour onto crust, and bake on lowest rack in oven for about 50 to 60 minutes or until firm. Cool completely in refrigerator, remove from pan and serve.