What To Do: Downingtown’s Good Neighbor Christmas

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Also: Santa makes many, many appearances in and around Chester County

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for Downingtown’s Good Neighbor Christmas, Saturday.

For as long as anyone around here can remember, Downingtown has had a reputation as a neighborly town — especially with an annual event schedule that includes Good Neighbor Day each summer and Good Neighbor Christmas (downtown Downingtown, http://www.dtownchristmas.com) every winter.

On December 12, Downingtown will host its annual Good Neighbor Christmas event beginning at 1 p.m. Activities include free refreshments, live entertainment by Brother Bob and Company, Octorara Intermediate School Band and Touch of Class.

Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas includes a variety of events but the main focus is always on the Downingtown Christmas Parade which will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The parade will have its main route along Lancaster Avenue. There is no rain date. (Two years ago, the event had to be cancelled because of a snowstorm.)

All activities featured in Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas are free but a donation is requested. Bring a canned or boxed food item to donate. The Downingtown Football Rugby Club will be collecting non-perishable foods for the Lord’s Pantry in decorated shopping carts they will be pushing in the parade. 

Coatesville will be the site of a special Christmas event on December 11 from 5-8 p.m. — the “Holiday Open House” at the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum (50 South First Avenue, Coatesville, 610-384-9282, www.steelmuseum.org).

steel museum xmas coatesville

The National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville will hold it’s annual “Holiday Open House” Friday, Dec. 11.

Visitors will be able to stroll through candlelit grounds, enjoy holiday refreshments and listen to live music performed by carolers and the Lukens Band. They can also tour lavishly-decorated, historic buildings, shop at the museum store and check out an interesting model train display.

The museum will also host a “Brunch with Santa” on December 12 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Families can enjoy brunch and then kids can receive a picture with Santa. The brunch is $5 and the photographs are free.

Kennett Square has several special holiday events slated for this weekend.

kennett ymcaThe “Happy Holidays Event” at the Kennett YMCA, 101 Race Street, Kennett Square, 610- 444-9622, https://www.ymcagbw.org) is scheduled for December 13 at 4 p.m.

The event, which is free and open to the community, will offer an afternoon of holiday fun with games, music, crafts and pictures. There will even be a story time with Santa himself.

Another Kennett Square holiday tradition will go on all month. Horse-drawn carriage rides (http://historickennettsquare.com) will be offered on December 14 and 21 from noon to 3 p.m. The rides begin on State Street at the Genesis walkway and tickets are $5.

christmas-snacktacularDecember 12 marks the start of the annual multi-day holiday event at Herr’s Snack Food Factory (20 Herr Drive, Nottingham, 610-932-9330, www.herrs.com). Formerly known as “12 Days of Christmas at Herr’s,” the event has morphed into “Christmas Snacktacular.”

“Christmas Snacktacular,” which runs from December 12-January 3, features a variety of activities nightly. The area around the factory site will be illuminated with thousands of lights and holiday displays.

The entertainment schedule features the Quarter Ringers Bell Choir from Oxford United Methodist Church on December 15 and the Christmas Pickle Tradition and the Pickle Squad on December 16.

The real star on December 17 will be “Starr the Reindeer.” Visitors can meet the live reindeer and have their pictures taken with Starr from 5-8 p.m.

For families as well as fans of the arts, one of the most popular annual holiday activities each year is attending a performance of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.”

One of the best productions in the area is the annual presentation by the Brandywine Ballet. The 2015 production marks the 36th year the local company has been presenting its version of “The Nutcracker.”

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The Brandywine Ballet will be performing The Nutcracker, now through Dec. 20 in West Chester.

The Brandywine Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” is a professional show that features skilled dancers, lively choreography, colorful costumes and sparkling sets. The show will have eight performances now through December 20 at West Chester University’s Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall (700 South High Street, West Chester, 610-696-2711, www.brandywineballet.org).

The ballet is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s tale “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King” and set to a score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. With its familiar music and energetic dance numbers, “The Nutcracker” is a show that appeals to audiences of all ages.

The original version of the timeless classic was first presented in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1892. The Brandywine Ballet’s annual staging of “The Nutcracker” features original choreography by Brandywine Ballet Artistic Director Donna Muzio along with Tim Early, Richard Hoskinson and Nancy Page.

The Brandywine Ballet’s production features more than 60 company members along with over 65 students from the Dance Center, which is the Brandywine Ballet’s school.

Performances of the ballet are scheduled for December 11 at 10 a.m., December 12 at noon and 4 p.m., December 13 at 6 p.m., December 18 at 10 a.m., December 19 at noon and 4 p.m., and December 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, $32 and $42 with the morning performances priced at $18.

Each year, the Brandywine Ballet also hosts a special event in conjunction with the ballet performances — the “Nutcracker Tea.”  Three sessions have been scheduled for this year — December 12, 19 and 20.

This festive activity, which will be held in the library of Asplundh Hall, is an opportunity for youngsters to join Clara, The Sugar Plum Fairy and other characters of “The Nutcracker” for a special pre-performance brunch featuring tea sandwiches, fruit tray, cookies and favors.

Members of the Company will be on hand to greet guests, sign autographs, and give attendees an up close look at the beautiful details of the show’s costumes. Tickets for the tea event are $25.

Santa Chopper

Santa will be at the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, Sunday.

Usually associated with coming down chimney, Santa Claus will drop in using a totally different method on December 13 when he visits the American Helicopter Museum (1220 American Blvd., West Chester, 610-436-9600, www.helicoptermuseum.org). Children will be able to stand outside and watch when Santa arrives in a helicopter at 11 a.m.

Activities get underway at 10 a.m. with face painting and cookie decorating. Santa and Mrs. Claus land at 11 a.m. accompanied by Elsa from Disney’s movie, “Frozen,” and one of Santa’s very special elves.

Inside the museum, youngsters can get to visit with Santa and tell him what items are on their holiday wish list. Kids will have the opportunity to create ornaments for a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Children will also be able to enjoy refreshments and Christmas activities.

Admission is $10 per person and includes a photo opportunity with Santa. As an added attraction for the entire family, helicopter rides will also be available throughout the day — weather permitting. Tickets for the ride are $40 per person.

On December 11, the Mill at Anselma (1730 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-1906, www.anselmamill.org) will offer “Christmas Lantern Tours” from 5-6 p.m.

The Mill, which was built in the 1740s, has been decorated for the holidays and is ready for an old-fashioned winter event. The site’s expanded holiday gift shop will be open throughout the event.

On December 12, it will be time for “Santa Visits the Mill.” The big guy in the red suit will be on site from 10 a.m.-4 to welcome kids of all ages and hear what their holiday wishes are.

December 12 is also one of the site’s “Milling Demonstration Days.” Special technology tours will be available that focus on how different parts of the mill works. Visitors can meet the miller and hear him talk about how the gears work and what they do. There are also hands-on interactive activities for the children as they sift flour and operate a pump on a smaller water wheel.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children (ages 4-14).

Christmas-in-the-Village_V21-300x197On December 12, Historic Sugartown (609 Sugartown Road, Malvern, 610-640-2667, HistoricSugartown.org) will present “A Sugartown Christmas”. The event, which runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., will have a Victorian flavor throughout.

Visitors can learn about Victorian holiday traditions as they move around the village. Youngsters will be able to decorate gingerbread houses and cookies and make take-home Victorian ornaments. They can also visit with Santa at the c. 1805 William Garrett House and enjoy holiday treats and hot cocoa.

Admission is 6 for adults, $5 for seniors (60 and older), $4 for children (ages 3-17) and free for children (two and under).

A fun — and somewhat different — way to celebrate the holidays is to go on a “Holiday Hayride” at Arasapha Farm (1835 Middletown Road, Gradyville, 610-459-2944, www.holidayhayride.com).

Arasapha Farm is featuring its “Holiday Hayride” on December 11, 12, 13, 14, 18-23, 26 and 27 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each night — weather permitting. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children (ages 2-8). Pictures with Santa are $15.

logo-inline2Guests will ride on sound-equipped hay wagons through a six-acre holiday wonderland featuring huge light displays, decorated trees and buildings, a variety of Christmas scenes, live reindeer and a beautifully animated Santa’s workshop. The hayride last about 20 minutes and is choreographed with all the favorite songs of the season.

After the wagon ride, guests are encouraged to gather around the bonfire to enjoy hot beverages. There also will be opportunities to have pictures taken with Santa and check out the live nativity scene that features real animals and actors.

There are two churches in the area that are presenting interesting Lucia Fest pageants this weekend. Both have the same — Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church (Delaware Avenue and Christian Street, Philadelphia, 215- 389-1513, www.Old-Swedes.org), the 2015 Lucia Fest will be held on December 11-13.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church (606 Church Street, Wilmington Delaware, 302- 652-5629, www.oldswedes.org), the Sankta Lucia Celebration is scheduled for December 13.

Lucia is a Swedish festival that 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.

At Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Philadelphia, a number of Swedish traditions of the holiday season are woven into a colorful pageant that is presented in a church building constructed by Swedish colonists in 1699-1700. The climax is the entrance of “Santa Lucia”, who was a martyr in the fourth century.

The Lucia Fest & St. Eric’s Fair at Old Swedes’ Church will be held December 11 at 6 and 8 p.m. and December 12 and 13 at 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m.

Before, during and after each of the presentations, the St. Eric’s Fair, a Christmas bazaar that specializes in Scandinavian imports, is held in the Parish Hall that adjoins the Church. Tickets for the Lucia event are $12 for adults and $6 for children (ages 11 and under).

Gloria Dei Old Swedes’ Church in Delaware will present its traditional celebration of the Feast Day of Sankta Lucia on December 13 at 1 p.m. and again at 3:30 p.m.

The Delaware Swedish Colonial Society, which sponsors the annual December celebration, will also have its Hendrickson House Museum open to the public. The museum, which has been decorated for a Swedish Christmas will be open for tours and shopping from noon-5 p.m. The doors of the church will open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Tickets for the 2015 Sankta Lucia Celebration are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

On December 12 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Historic New Castle (Fourth Street, New Castle, Delaware, 302-328-3279, http://www.newcastlepreschurch.org/spirit) will be the site of a special event called “The Spirit of Christmas.”

The free event, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is sponsored by the New Castle Visitors’ Bureau and the New Castle Presbyterian Church. Activities include tours of many historic homes decorated for the season, museum tours, events at the New Castle Court House (part of the First State National Monument) and musical performances and entertainment throughout the town.

The New Castle Presbyterian Church will hold an all-day sale of crafts, used books, homemade soups candies, baked goods and breads, including the “Look What $20 Will Buy” table.

The festivities conclude at 5 p.m. with the town’s annual tree lighting ceremony and caroling in the Market Square. All proceeds generated by the New Castle Presbyterian Church will be donated to support the Friendship House, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, ministry to the homeless.

The Historic Odessa Foundation’s 2015 Christmas Holiday Tour appeals to kids of all ages. The tours 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 Lewis Carroll’s famous book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” which was published in time for Christmas in 1865. Visitors to the Historic Houses of Odessa will be transported into Alice’s dream through each of the period rooms of the foundation’s 246-year-old Wilson-Warner House made.

 “Yuletide at Winterthur” is always one of the best holiday events in the area. This year’s 37th annual staging of the event is running runs now through January 3 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware,800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

In celebration of 30 years of Winterthur’s famous dried-flower tree, the site is showcasing this annual favorite in the Conservatory, where it will be surrounded by a living tribute of flowers and blooming plants.

In honor of another exhibition — “A Colorful Folk” — there are displays that explore holiday practices of the Pennsylvania Germans, who introduced Americans to such seasonal standards as the Christmas tree, the charity bazaar, and the tradition of the gift giver.

Special family activities include “Glass Matters Wine Seminar and Tasting” (December 16), “Family Workshops” (December 13), “Brunch with Santa” (December 12, 13, 19 and 20) and the “Yuletide Touch-It Room” (Monday–Friday, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; weekends, 12:30-4:30 p.m.).

Timed Yuletide Tour reservations are required. Admission to Yuletide at Winterthur is $20.

“Holidays at Hagley” is another of the Brandywine Valley’s most popular holiday attractions in this area every year. The exhibit, which is included with regular admission, is running now through January 3 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.

Lace decorations add to the ambiance of Hagley’s annual holiday exhibition. The theme this year at Eleutherian Mills residence is “A Feminine Touch.”

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).

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 $15.

“Christmasland at Linvilla” converts a summertime destination for home-grown produce into a sparkling winter wonderland. The popular annual event at Linvilla Orchards (137 West Knowlton Road, Media, 610-876-7116, www.linvilla.com) is running now through December 23.

Visitors will be able to cut their own Christmas trees, or, if not so inspired, purchase them at the shop — which also features other decorations, including holiday wreaths. Christmasland features freshly-cut trees, greens and holly, poinsettias, hand-made wreaths and a large variety of children’s toys and collectables.

Santa and his elves will be stopping by every Saturday and Sunday to visit his friends in Christmasland from 1-3 p.m. And, there will be caroling Hayrides Saturday evenings in December that include the ancient tradition of Wassailing, singing Christmas Carols around a campfire and roasting marshmallows.

Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org) is presenting “A Longwood Gardens Christmas” now through January 10.

It 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 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.

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 14th 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 $20 (non-peak), $27 (peak) for adults, $17/$24 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and $10/$13; students (ages 5-18).

Visitors are invited to experience the magic of the holidays at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival (Franklin Square, Sixth and Race streets, Philadelphia, www.historicphiladelphia.org). Now through December 31, there will be an amazing display of lights at the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show.

Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s electrifying genius, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show features more than 50,000 lights that shimmer, dance, and illuminate the Square to a soundtrack of holiday classics performed by The Philly POPS in two alternating shows every 30 minutes.

The festival will also offer comfort food, authentic German beers, and hot beverages at Ben’s Bites & Brews and gift shopping at the Holiday Market.

Video link for Electrical Spectacle — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b4dQHm5GX1s.

On December 12, the Independence Seaport Museum (211 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, 215-413-8655, phillyseaport.org/lights) will present its annual “Parade of Lights” along the Delaware River near Penn’s Landing starting at 5:30 p.m.

The lighted boat parade features Philly’s working port, with tugboats and other vessels decorated in lights. Before the parade, spectators can spend the day inside the Museum for holiday activities and entertainment. Museum visitors will get the best view of the parade from the second floor balcony overlooking the Delaware River. 

Some of the event’s attractions are Santa’s “Workshop on the Water” (to make holiday ornaments and gingerbread boats), live music by a local high school choir, a lighted model ship display in the Ship Model Shack and the “Silver Ships Display,” a holiday tradition featuring dozens of tiny silver ships from the Museum’s collection.

Admission to the museum costs $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, children, students and military.

All throughout Europe, it is common to see Christmas villages erected in downtown locations of big cities. These villages are temporary sites that feature live music, a variety of holiday attractions and a large number of specialized vendors.

Philadelphia is keeping pace with the European cities with a Christmas village of its own — a special site that will be open until until December 27.

 “Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Broad and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215-391-3017, www.philachristmas.com) is set up each holiday season in Love Park, which is located on the west side of City Hall. The free outdoor holiday market eventis modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany.

Vendors selling traditional European food, sweets and drinks are set up in 60 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.

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 20.

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 10 while “Twelfth Night Tours at Pottsgrove Manor” (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) are running from November 27- January 10.

For the next seven 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 event at Pottsgrove Manor features guided tours through an elegant 18th-century Georgian mansion that is decked out in period holiday decorations.

On December 12, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Route 741, Strasburg, 717- 687-8628, www.rrmuseumpa.org) is hosting its annual “Home for the Holidays” event from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Costumed interpreters — engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and railroad passengers –will recreate scenes of holiday travel from the past. Visitors will also be able to ride the Museum’s Cab Simulator.

Children will be able to send a message to Santa Claus with the help of a railroad telegrapher who will send their personal telegrams from Steinman Station to the North Pole. And, they can visit with Santa in person at the Steinman Station passenger depot.

Cookies and hot chocolate will be offered in the Museum lobby. There will be hands-on activities in the Stewart Junction railway education center for rail fans of all ages. There will also be live holiday music performed by the band Brass from noon-3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $8 for youth (ages 3-11).

The rail line will also present “Christmas with the Conductor” on December 12.

A costumed conductor will welcome passengers on one of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s historic coaches for a special reading of a holiday classic story.

Kids will be able to create a take-home craft in Jack Frost Station. And, each child will receive a small bag of goodies. Advance registration, with a $10 per child fee is required.

There are times when Santa Claus parks his sleigh, gives the reindeer a break and rides the train. This year, Santa will be visiting a number of the areas tourist railroads to take special rides with his friends — including a tourist rail line just down the road from the Railroad Museum..

The Strasburg Rail Road (Route 741, Strasburg, 717-687-7522, www.strasburgrailroad.com) is running its “Santa’s Paradise Express” now through December 19. The Strasburg Railroad will also be running its “Night Before Christmas” train on December 11 and 18.

Tickets for rides on the Strasburg Railroad are $17 for adults, $11 for children (ages 3-11) and $3 for toddlers (under age 3).

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

The “Santa Claus Train” will be running several times a day on December 11-13 and 18-23. Riders will be able to sip complementary hot cocoa, enjoy Christmas cookies and sing favorite carols as the Secret Valley passes by the window.  Santa brings a gift for every child, and every child has an opportunity to give their Christmas letter to him.

The “’Twas The Night Before Christmas Train” will run on December 11 and 12 and 18-23 at 6 p.m. each night. These special evening trains bring the storybook magic of the season to life. Riders can sip complimentary hot cocoa as a narrator reads “’Twas The Night Before Christmas.”

Passengers can enjoy Christmas music and the comfort of the railroad’s Edwardian-era cars as the holiday lights of the Secret Valley roll past the window.  Santa will be onboard the train with a gift for every child.

It is approximately a two-hour round trip for either train excursion. Tickets are $35 for adults, $21 for children (ages 2-12), $30 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for toddlers (under 2; must be held; no seat).

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 12, 13, 19 and 20 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. There will be additional departures at 5 p.m. on December 12, 13, 19 and 20.

Adult fare for the West Chester Railroad trips is $22. Tickets for children (ages 2-12) are $16 while toddlers (ages 9-23 months) get to ride for $6.

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).

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 run now through December 30, are $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and $10 for children.

The New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is operating its “North Pole Express” now through January 3. Tickets are $48.95 for adults, $46.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $14.95 for toddlers.

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.

If model railroads are more to your liking, you should check out “Greenberg’s Train and Toy Show” at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center (Station Road, Oaks, 484-754-3976, www.phillyexpocenter.com).

Greenberg’s Train & Toy Show, which will be held December 12 and 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, has been around since 1976. Over the years, it has evolved into the largest traveling model train and toy show to serve the northeastern United States.

The huge annual show offers one-stop shopping at a competitive hobby marketplace featuring model and toy trains, die-cast action figures, parts and accessories, highly collectible toys, the latest hobby books and large and intricate operating layouts from HO and N scale to O and G gauge.

The Hobby Marketplace will feature dealers with thousands of model and toy trains, including American Flyer, Lionel, K-Line, LGB, MTH, HO and N scale and more. Also on sale will be a wide array of train parts and accessories.

The show will also feature a number of free workshops and demonstrations. Additionally, there will be hourly door prize giveaways. Tickets are $9 and are good for both days. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

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 display, which is open to the public now through January 3 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.

Admission to the Morris Arboretum is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for students and military.

Amusement parks may be a huge summertime attraction but they also hold their own as a destination during the Christmas holiday season.

Now through December 31, “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 $25 online and $30 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 $18 per person.

Visitors to Hershey can also experience the winter wonderland called “Hershey Sweet Lights, A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular.” The attraction, which has an admission fee of $24.15 on Fridays and Saturdays and $19.15 the rest of the week, is a two-mile drive through wooded trails featuring approximately 600 illuminated, animated displays.

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. Tickets are $11.99 in advance and $13.99 at the gate.

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-0 648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) has its holiday show “Deck the Halls” running now through December 30. The show features spectacular vocal harmonies, elaborate scenery, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing, the music of the AMT Orchestra, elegant costumes and a theater decked out with holiday decorations.

The Rainbow Dinner Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting its holiday production now through December 27.

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).

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