2021 Holiday and Christmas Events Guide for Chester County and Surrounding Area



Our comprehensive guide of holiday and Christmas events lets you and your family fully embrace all of the holiday spirit available in Chester County and the surrounding area. Please visit the website of the place you would like to visit before leaving home for cost and COVID guidelines. Visitor capacity is often limited, and most locations require you to purchase tickets in advance. The list below is just suggestions, please use your own discretion to decide what is best for your family during these unusual times.

Happy Holidays from Fun Things.

On-Going Holiday Events


November 20–January 2

Celebrate the season with a one-of-a-kind holiday experience. The Yuletide tour at Winterthur showcases rooms in Henry Francis du Pont’s former home decorated in full holiday splendor, including specialty decorated trees that celebrate the garden, and du Pont family traditions. The displays are inspired by the traditions and festivities of the season as enjoyed by H. F. du Pont and his family.  

Special holiday programs throughout the season include Wonderful Wednesdays in December, evening events featuring live jazz performances, caroling, and workshops. In addition to the Wednesday evening festivities, visitors can enjoy a live one-man performance of A Christmas Carol by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, wine and cocktail tastings, and family events with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.  

Purchase tickets online or call 800.448.3883. 




 November 26 through January  2

This year, “home” may have taken on a different, more poignant, meaning, especially around the holidays, when the family gathers. It is in this spirit that Hagley celebrates the holiday season with the theme, “Home for the Holidays: A Celebration of Family.”
Brandywine Railroad at Brandywine River Museum
November 26- January 9 

A holiday favorite since 1972, the Brandywine Railroad offers something for everyone with its dazzling array of both toy and scale model trains made by Lionel, Williams, Atlas, Mike’s Train House, K-line, and others.

The display features trains running on 2,000 feet of track with more than 1,000 pieces, including locomotives, passenger and freight trains, and trolleys that pass through a small village, a farm, factories, and even a carnival and a drive-in movie theater. Interactive components are also incorporated into the display, operated by hands-free foot pedals that allow for further engagement.



Christmas Around the Farm at Linvilla
November 26th -December 23rd

We transform the Garden Center into a Winter Wonderland, featuring Santa and his Elves, handmade wreaths, greens and holly, and a sea of poinsettias. Shop an enormous selection of timeless holiday decorations, children’s toys, and collectibles you won't find anywhere else!



November 26th - January 2nd

Visitors of all ages will be wowed by a quarter-mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum. The display and buildings 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 small streams. Each building, while an exact replica of the original, is unique in its design. Philadelphia-area landmarks such as a masterpiece replica of Independence Hall are made using pine cone seeds for shingles, acorns as finials, and twigs as downspouts.




November 11th -December 31st

Starting November 11th, search for 57 hidden Santas (one for each year we have been open) and watch as Santa’s sleigh flies above the 1,700 square foot model train extravaganza, which includes 150 hand-built animations and 22 moving trains. 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.


November 25 - December 24

Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an outside Holiday market event in Center City Philadelphia, which is modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany.

Vendors in more than 60 wooden booths will sell traditional European food, sweets, and drinks. They will also offer a great shopping experience with international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry, and high-quality arts and crafts.

The unique atmosphere with thousands of lights and the delicious smell of waffles, gingerbread, bratwurst, and mulled wine will bring you and your family into the perfect Christmas spirit.



Santa Events and Parades

December 4th

The Coatesville Christmas Parade will march down Lincoln Highway in Coatesville Pennsylvania on Saturday, December 4th at 10 AM.




December 11th 

The Christmas Committee is working hard to bring you the best Christmas celebration ever. Come join us on Saturday, December 11th when Lancaster Avenue comes alive with the sights and sounds of Christmas! The Christmas Parade will begin at 3:00 pm traveling from west to east along Lancaster Avenue.



A Visit with Mrs. Claus
December 3rd
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Your holiday is not complete without attending this event! Mrs. Claus will be telling stories and taking questions from the guests. Everyone will have a chance to meet Mrs. Claus individually for a picture. Cookies and cocoa included.




December 3rd

Welcome the holiday season with Christmas in Wayne! Friday evening enjoy Carriage Rides, carolers, Tree Lighting, and Santa's Arrival. Saturday it is the Radnor Memorial Library Elves for Shelves Fun Run and 5 k at 8 am and the Santa Parade down Lancaster avenue with Santa PIctures on the veranda of Rosalie Restaraunt at the Wayne Hotel.



Santa's Stroll Through Downtown Media
Sunday, November 28th, 4-6pm

Before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be upon us! Of course, we can't plan our traditional Santa's Parade in Media this year, but that doesn't mean you won't see lots of holiday cheer! Your Santa's Parade Committee is planning an extraordinary, socially-distant, drive-by event throughout the entire Borough! The star of the show, of course, Santa Claus! 



December 4th
at 12-4pm


FREE photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Suburban Square!  Your photos will be printed on the spot as your gift from Suburban Square. Reservations Required

Framebridge will be on hand to help you select a beautiful frame for your photo!

Come see Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at their favorite soda shop in their vintage Thunderbird at 10:00 am.  Music and other fun festivities will round out the day!



Friday, Nov. 26th at 6:15pm

The bright lights of Kennett’s Holiday Light Parade the day after Thanksgiving will shine even brighter this year after a year off! The festivities start at the intersection of State and Union at 6:15pm with a performance by dancers from Longwood Performing Arts. Although Santa and Mrs. Claus will not be able to do their usual meet and greet this year, they will ride in the parade and turn on the town Christmas tree to officially kick off the holiday season before heading back to the North Pole to continue their preparations.



November 27th from 4:00PM- 8:00PM

‘Tis the season! Glen Eagle Square welcomes the community to join us for our annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Event on Saturday, November 27th from 4:00PM- 8:00PM. Get there early to see Santa’s arrival and light the tree. Enjoy live music, carriage rides along with complimentary kettle corn, hot chocolate, and activities when you bring an unwrapped toy for a child in need (children ages three-six) in support of local school, Stubbs Early Education Center in Wilmington, DE.




December 11th, 10 am – 2 pm

Santa lets the reindeer rest for the upcoming big day and instead arrives via helicopter! He flies in at 11 a.m. ready to hear children's wish lists in our colorful Santa’s Workshop. Bring your cameras to take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, too.

We’ll also have our friends from Paws for PeopleTM therapy dogs, music by Keyboard Companions, a holiday-themed craft, holiday movies in our theater, and more.



                                               Arasapha Farms

Pick out the perfect Christmas Tree or get social distance photos with Santa Every Saturday and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm




Special Holiday Events



December 3rd
6:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Historic Chester County Courthouse (2 N. High St.) including live music from West Chester University Marching Band, Gospel Choir and acapella Group Under A Rest as well as the West Chester Area School District Honors Choir. Keep an eye out for the big guy in a red suit, as well as iconic images from holidays past projected on borough buildings. This is also First Friday in the borough and stores will be open late. There will also be FREE street-level parking. High Street (from Gay to Market Street) will be closed from 5-9pm for the ceremony.




Narberth Dickens Festival 
Sunday, December 5th  Noon – 4 pm


The Narberth Dickens Festival is a free family event held each December on the streets of downtown Narberth. It draws thousands to this little borough every year, and it has become the fastest-growing holiday festival in the Philadelphia area. In this Dickens-themed event, the town of Narberth is transformed into 1840's London, as Ebenezer Scrooge and all the characters from A Christmas Carol roam the streets for an afternoon.





Phoenixville Firebird Festival 
Sat, December 11th

A festival of arts and culture celebrating our town of Phoenixville through the mythology of the Phoenix.







Holiday Concerts and Shows

December 3rd at 5:00 pm and December 4th at 1:00pm

Come out and enjoy traditional holiday favorites as well as lively new songs made famous by R&B and pop soloists, perfect for all ages. Our performers at WCStudio at Uptown include area youth studying to be our future Broadway stars and performing enthusiasts! The Holiday Cheer Concert will include students from our Professional Youth Program, Uptown Singers, The Singing Artists, The Singing Academy and Broadway Kiddos.


Elf the Musical presented by Salt Performing Arts
December 3rd - 19th

Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity.

Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn't even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Dec. 10th @ 7pm
Dec. 11th @ 2pm & 7pm
Dec. 12th @ 2pm
Dec. 16th @ 7pm
Dec. 18th @ 2pm & 7pm

In this hilarious Christmas classic, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids–probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem – and the fun – when the Herdmans collide with the Christmas story head on!




December 4th -24th

The holiday classic soars off the screen in this musical adaptation of the beloved television special. Filled with holiday hits like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Holly Jolly Christmas.”





November 20- January 2nd


Callous Scrooge shackled Marley, and the haunting spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future spring vividly to life in our fresh adaptation of a favorite yuletide ghost story. Featuring a vibrant mix of original songs and newly arranged nineteenth-century English carols, this music-infused retelling captures the magic, joy, and generosity of Dickens’ beloved classic.

Quick thing! For all you People's Light holiday veterans, A Christmas Carol is not a panto. But it is music-filled, interactive fun for every age—whether you believe in spirits or not.



 November - January 2nd

Based on the beloved Hans Christian Andersen story and the classic film, Disney's The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and letting go. Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, challenges her father’s authority as she dreams of ļ¬nding her own way in the world above the sea. But what will she give up to fulfill her dreams of independence? Disney’s The Little Mermaid will capture your heart with its timeless story and irresistible songs, including "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Part of Your World." Disney’s The Little Mermaid promises to be one of the most spectacular productions ever staged at the Walnut!



Grab your Mickey's ears and get ready for the ultimate party when Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate skates into your hometown with more than 50 unforgettable Disney characters. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, go on an adventure through 14 of the greatest Disney stories ever told. Sing along with Olaf as he dreams of summer and dance with Aladdin as he stays "one jump ahead" in Agrabah. Share Forky's wonder as he learns what it means to be a toy and forget your worries with Timon and Pumbaa. Dream big with the courageous Disney Princesses and much more as you create new memories with your whole family at Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate.



Nutcracker



Fri. Dec. 17th 10 am show
Sat. Dec. 18th 11 am & 5pm
Sun.Dec. 19th 11 am & 5pm
Join us this December for the Holiday Classic, The Nutcracker! Ring in the season with Tchaikovsky's timeless score, and join Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer as they battle the Mouse King, travel through a magical forest of dancing snowflakes, and finally enter the Land of Sweets to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy who rewards them with performances by a sweet cast of characters.

December 11th -12th In-Person and Virtual

The Philadelphia Dance Academy, now in its 17th season, and its youth performance company, The Philadelphia Youth Ballet, celebrate their 12th annual production of the Nutcracker: the popular ballet that has become a holiday classic throughout the world. Our production of the Nutcracker features performances by Dance Academy students, Youth Ballet members, and professional guest artists. Performances are Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12.

All attendees 12 years old and up must be fully vaccinated.  Masks are also required for all attendees.




December 11th at 12 and 4 PM

'Tis the season for magic, family, and fun as the beauty and joy of the Nutcracker Ballet comes alive once again at theDescription:
'Tis the season for magic, family, and fun as the beauty and joy of the Nutcracker Ballet comes alive once again at the Kleinlife Center on December 11th.






What would the holidays be without George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®? Whether it’s your first or thirty-first time seeing Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of the classic, watching the timeless story brought to life is always a delight. From a festive family party to the exciting battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, and the delectable journey through the Land of Sweets, Marie’s magical story is thrilling for the young – and young at heart.



Breakfast With Santa

Lunch with Santa at Twelves  
December 11th 11:30 AM – 2 PM
Make your reservation for Twelves lunch with Santa


December 9th

Breakfast with Santa at the History Center 


Train Rides With Santa

 
December 5th - 23rd

All aboard for Strasburg Rail Road's Night Before Christmas Train! Passengers aboard this train enjoy the childlike anticipation of Christmas Eve, recall the old-fashioned nostalgia of Christmas past, and delight in the magic of an authentic steam train during the holidays.


Santa’s Paradise Express

November 26th- December 24th

A Christmas tradition since 1959, Strasburg Rail Road welcomes a very special visitor every November and December. That’s right, Santa himself will climb aboard the historic steam train to greet families as they travel down the tracks to Paradise, PA and back. As a special treat, children ages 11 and under will receive a gift from Santa and his helper during this nostalgic 45-minute steam train ride.



December 2nd -23rd

Santa is stepping out of his busy workshop to take an extraordinary trolley ride aboard the Strasburg Rail Road this Christmas season! Make your child's visit with Santa an especially unique memory to be cherished for a lifetime.


Nov 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
Dec 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19
11AM, 1PM, 3PM
Additional 5PM departures: Dec 4, 11, 12, 18, 19
       
All aboard Santa's Express! Join Santa for a 75-minute journey on our heated decorated train through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills and return. Santa will be visiting all passengers while on the train. Make sure you bring your holiday lists with you so Santa can check them twice! Passengers will also enjoy live entertainment onboard from Greg Wright and friends!



 November 26th  - December 19th

Why stand in line at the mall and wait to see Santa when you can ride our train and have Santa come to you? The Jolly Old Elf himself rides the train, greets everyone on board, and gives all children a chocolate treat. Be sure to bring your camera and have Santa pose for pictures with your child during this 1½-hour round-trip to Ashland.


December 10th - 30th

Experience the magic of riding aboard our festively decorated, 100-year-old heated coaches, each of which is covered in thousands of holiday lights! Many of our trackside neighbors also decorate their homes and yards for our passengers to enjoy during this 1-hour evening trip through the Red Clay Valley.


Ice Skating

Delco Veterans Memorial Rink 
December 3rd

We’re very excited to bring an outdoor ice skating rink to Delaware County! For our first year you can expect fun for the whole family including ice skating sessions, lounge area, heated tent, and great food and beverages.


Blue Cross River Rink Winter Fest
Opens November 26th- March 6th

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 the 28th season on November 26th. 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




Winter at Dilworth Park
November 5th – February 27th

Come to ice skate at the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, relax with a warm seasonal beverage at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin, stroll through the seasonal plant arrangements in the Wintergarden, view the dazzling Deck the Hall Holiday Light Show, and shop for gifts at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.


Christmas Lights

November 27th 

Christmas Tree Lighting
6:00 pm – Music, refreshments, face painting, crafts, and games

6:45 pm – Santa arrives to light the Christmas Tree





Join us downtown for the final First Friday of the year! See all the things you've come to love at First Friday: vendor market, live music, PLUS special holiday activities like the annual tree lighting, appearances by beloved
                           characters, and by Santa Claus.


December 5th - December 31st 2021
Monday-Thursday 6PM - 9PM
Friday-Sunday 6PM - 10PM

 This is a synchronized Christmas light display in the Marchwood neighborhood of Exton, PA, drive up, tune your radio to 90.3 FM, and enjoy!




Herr's Christmas Lights

November 24th- January 2nd

Come enjoy our FREE Holiday Lights Display from dusk to dawn (5pm-7am). Drive through our corporate campus and over 600,000 dazzling lights. We ask that all visitors stay in their cars for everyone’s safety.




West Chester Griswolds
November  25th- January 2nd

 The lights will start on Thanksgiving night (November 25).    We will run through at least January 2, 2022.  We look forward to seeing everyone and have some exciting new stuff planned for this year.  We will also accept letters to Santa again this year



Christmas at Longwood Gardens
November 2oth - January 9th


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, artemisia, begonias, cyclamen, hybrid lilies, kalanchoes, paperwhites, red-berried plants, etc 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.


December 3, 2021 – January 2, 2022

During the daylight-deprived month of December, Rose Tree Park sparkles at night with its annual Festival of Lights display. Dozens of illuminated trees and lit displays draw visitors back every year to walk in the winter wonderland and linger in the festive atmosphere. A treasured Delco tradition for more than four decades, The Festival of Lights provides a perfect opportunity to get in the holiday spirit with friends and family or take a sweetheart stroll after dinner.

The 2021 Festival of Lights opens with a brief Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 3, at 5:00 PM. Displays are lit nightly from 5:00-10:00 PM through Sunday, January 2. Admission and parking are free. The pedestrian mall is handicapped-accessible. Well-behaved canine companions on a leash are welcome.

This year The Festival of Lights will feature a Delco Vendor Village on the first three weekends: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18. For details, please visit https://www.holidayvillagedelco.com.



Holiday Light Show and Dickens Village Macy's Center City

For 2021, the light show will run just once a day at 10:30 a.m. from Dec. 1-24, and moves to 11:30 a.m. from Dec. 26-31. No reservations, but times may change as the holidays approach, so check the Macy's Santaland website — where you can also watch it on-demand — before heading out. Reportedly the Christmas Light Show backdrop will remain fully lit most of the shopping day, as it was last year. Macy’s has expanded its toy department onto the Third Floor 13th Street for your gift-giving convenience.
The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ annual Christmas in the Grand Tradition Concert, starring Peter Richard Conte, is held Sunday December 12, 2021, at 6:45 pm and is admission-free in the Grand Court.



Winter in Franklin Square
November 18th- February 27th

Winter in Franklin Square presented by Citizens featuring the Electrical Spectacle Light Show presented by PECO will sparkle from November 18 – February 27. Guests can celebrate the magic of the season both day and night in festive Franklin Square.

New this year, Winter in Franklin Square will feature new songs incorporated into the Electrical Spectacle Light Show. Plus, Franklin’s Winter View provides outdoor fire pits and a beautiful indoor heated tent featuring adult and hot beverages and seasonal food. Chilly Philly Mini Golf presented by IBEW Local 98 transforms Center City’s only miniature golf course both daytime and evenings. Experience lights, seasonal music, and larger-than-life wintertime friends throughout the course!



LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo
November 18th - January 9th

LumiNature, a fantastical new winter light experience set to transform the Zoo, will take guests on a magical journey of illuminations, music, sound, and surprises.





November 19 - December 30

Elmwood Park Zoo’s favorite family tradition, Wild Lights, returns this holiday season! With new lights and decorative attractions and more animals on exhibit, this year’s Wild Lights is sure to be brighter than ever! Take a stroll through “Oh” Christmas Tree, and be surrounded by a glistening forest, or visit with our big cats in Trail of the Jumping Jaguar. Each night of Wild Lights features live entertainment, unique animal encounters, performances, holiday music, and a chance to see Santa himself.



Virtual Seaport Parade of Lights
December 4th

‘Tis the season to get festive at the Seaport! Sea-lebrate the holiday season with Independence Seaport Museum on Saturday, December 4, as Parade of Lights returns to the Delaware River. Make a day of it along the waterfront, with crafts, activities, fun, and exploration; there’s truly something for everyone! And, of course, the day culminates with a lighted parade of local boats along the river after the sun goes down (roughly 5:15PM).




Open EVERY NIGHT from Nov. 19 through Jan. 9
5 pm to 10 pm

Experience the magic of more than 3 million lights illuminating acres of farmland at the Shady Brook Farm Holiday Light Show! Encounter whimsical holiday displays and familiar characters.
Drive through in the comfort of your own car or enjoy the show in a private open-air wagon ride (weather permitting).



November 19th - January 9th

Stroll an enchanted Village and sip tasty beverages. Find perfect gifts in 65 specialty shops and boutiques. Enjoy fine dining or casual fare in your choice of restaurants. Ride a 1920s carousel and play in the arcade. See a magnificent display of gingerbread houses. Spend the night in our elegant country inn. And enjoy the company of the people you love.

 

Amusement Parks


Sesame Place A Very Furry Christmas


November 20th - January 2nd

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place® is a festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street® friends. The park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations all around.
At the center of our 1-2-3 Christmas Tree show is a 30-foot fully-illuminated pixel-based tree that will project festive animated images. At the same time, guests can dance along to a festive holiday soundtrack – all making for the ultimate light show experience!
Sing along at two special Christmas shows and take a train ride tour through the Twiddlebugs’ Gingerbread Cookie Factory on the Sesame Place Furry Express!



Hershey Park Christmas Candyland

November 12th - January 2nd


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! 


Dutch Winter Wonderland

November 22nd - January 2nd


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. 



Fun Things to Do With Kids In Chester County is not responsible for and can not be held liable for any of the events or activities posted on this blog. Events and activities are posted for informational purposes only. We do not guarantee the accuracy of the times, dates, or locations of activities and events. We also do not guarantee that you and your kids will have fun, but we hope you will.

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All the contents on this website and all social media platforms are provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to offer guidance regarding venues and businesses that are reopening. The ultimate judgment regarding any specific activity is yours. We do not take any responsibility for any decision you make with the information provided on this website and on our social media platforms. We are not medical doctors or professionals, nor do we have any medical or scientific training, education, or experience. You should follow government guidelines for safe practices for yourself and your family members before making any decisions relating to any activities that are outside your home.