What To Do: It’s holiday excitement from wall to wall

Ballet, candlelight tours, shows, music — everything to get you in the holiday spirit

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times


The Brandywine Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will have eight performances now through Dec. 21 at West chester University.

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 Delaware Valley is the annual presentation by the Brandywine Ballet. The 2014 production marks the 35th year the local company has been presenting its version of “The Nutcracker.”

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 21 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.

“This year, we have new sets for Act II — the Land of the Sweets,” said Muzio, during a phone interview Wednesday evening. “And, we have new costumes for two of the divertissements in Act II.

“Every year, we work on one or` two divertissements to keep it fresh and new. This year, it’s ‘Chinese’ and ‘Spanish.’ We also have new choreography for the ‘Snow’ pas de deux. The whole ‘Snow’ scene is more theatrical.”

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

Performances of the ballet are scheduled for December 12 at noon, December 13 at noon and 4 p.m., December 14 at 6 p.m., December 19 at 10 a.m., December 20 at noon and 4 p.m., December 21 at 4 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 13, 20 and 21.

This special event, 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. Tickets for the tea event are $25.

This Saturday will be the last sequentially-dated day (12.13.14) in any of our lifetimes so it’s a good day to get out and celebrate — a day to take advantage of the many holiday events on the area’s schedule of activities.

Santa Claus will make an arrival by air 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. and again at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.

Inside the museum, youngsters can get to visit with Santa and tell him what items are on their holiday wish list. Children will also be able to enjoy refreshments and Christmas activities such as cookie decorating, face painting, storytelling and sipping on hot chocolate.

The event also features special appearances by Elsa and Olaf the Snowman from Disney’s movie “Frozen.” If you come dressed as a “Frozen” character, you’ll be eligible to win a prize. Additionally, there will be door prizes — tickets to Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey or a DVD of Disney’s film “Planes.”

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.

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Downingtown’s annual Good Neighbor Christmas event takes place Dec. 13.

Downingtown has to be considered a neighborly town — especially with an annual event schedule that includes Good Neighbor Day each summer and Good Neighbor Christmas every December.

On December 13, Downingtown will host its annual Good Neighbor Christmas event beginning at 1 p.m. at the Hospitality Suite. Activities at the Hospitality Suite include free refreshments, music by Brother Bob and friends and a visit from Santa Claus from 1-2:30 p.m.

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 run along Lancaster Avenue. Last year, the event had to be cancelled because of a snowstorm.

All activities featured in Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas are free.

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Coatesville’s “Holiday House Tour,” is Dec. 13.

Coatesville will be the site of a special Christmas event on December 13 — the “Holiday House Tour,” which is presented by the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum (50 South First Avenue, Coatesville, 610-384-9282, http://www.steelmuseum.org).

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.

Admission is $5 or a donation of a canned good for the Coatesville Emergency Food Cupboard.

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Kennett Square’s 2014 “Candlelight Holiday Home Tour” is Dec. 14.

Kennett Square and Oxford, which are two of the oldest towns in Chester County, each have special holiday events slated for this weekend.

“Downtown Oxford Country Christmas” (various locations around downtown Oxford, www.downtownoxfordpa.org) will be held on December 12 from 5-9 p.m. and Kennett Square’s 2014 “Candlelight Holiday Home Tour” (various locations around downtown Kennett Square, 302-559-0923, http://www.kennettsquarehistory.org) will take place on December 14 from 4-7 p.m.

The event in Oxford will get underway with the “Tree Lighting Ceremony” at 6 p.m. after which Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures until 8:30 p.m. Carriage rides and hayrides will be available from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Live entertainment will be provided throughout the evening by Andrea’s Academy of Dance, Avon Grove Theater Company, ProSound Entertainment, local singer-songwriter Jamie Marie and a bagpiper.

The Kennett Square tour will feature a varied selection of the town’s historic homes — each decorated in the personal style of the owners. The tour is self-guided and the brochure will have a brief history of each home and what you can expect to see there. Tickets are $20.

Another Kennett Square holiday tradition will go on all month. Horse-drawn carriage rides 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.

herr's xmas Starr_reindeer

Herr’s “Christmas Snacktacular,” kicks off Dec. 13 and runs through Dec. 24.

December 13 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 now is called “Christmas Snacktacular.”

“Christmas Snacktacular,” which runs from December 13-24, features a variety of activities nightly for 10 days rather than 12 days. 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 Oxford Area High School Choral Ensemble on December 16. On December 17, it will be time for the Christmas Pickle Tradition & the Pickle Squad.

Live music on December 18 will be presented by students from Oxford Hopewell School and bagpipers Sharon and Kyle Grasty. The real star on December 18 will be “Starr the Reindeer.” Visitors can meet the live reindeer and have their pictures taken with Starr from 5-8 p.m.

On December 13, the Mill at Anselma (1730 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, 610-827-1906, www.anselmamill.org) will offer “Christmas Lantern Tours” from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Mill has been decorated for the holidays and is ready for an old-fashioned winter event. On Saturday, Santa Claus will be the featured guest and will be meeting and greeting his fans throughout the day.

As an added attraction, the Mill at Anselma, which was built in the 1740s, will present an interesting and educational flour milling demonstration in its historic grist mill. Special technology tours will be available that focus on how different parts of the mill works.

There are also hands-on interactive activities for children. Additionally, the site’s newly-expanded holiday gift shop will be open throughout the event. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children (ages 4-14).

“A Longwood Gardens Christmas,” the festive holiday display at Longwood Gardens (Route 1, Kennett Square, 610-388-1000, www.longwoodgardens.org), is running now through January 11. 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.

A special attraction at the 2014 “A Longwood Christmas” is the botanical tourist site’s bird-inspired display. 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 the sun goes down 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.

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).

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 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27 and 28 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).

Guests 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.

Two of Montgomery County’s historic sites — Pennypacker Mills and Pottsgrove Manor — will be celebrating the holidays with special events this weekend.

On December 13, Pennypacker Mills (3 Haldeman Road, Perkiomenville, 610- 287-9349, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) is hosting a “Victorian Christmas Open House” from 2-8 p.m.

Governor-elect and Mrs. Pennypacker will be receiving guests to view the splendor of Christmas in the early 1900s. The mansion is hosting a holiday party and the décor of each room tells a different story of Christmas. The house will feature Victorian era decorations, costumed historians, a Victorian Santa Claus and a clear toy candy demonstration.

On December 14, Pottsgrove Manor (100 West King Street, Pottstown, 610-326-4014, www.historicsites.montcopa.org) will present “Pottsgrove Manor by Candlelight” from 2-8 p.m.

Visitors will be able to tour the manor house by candlelight as costumed interpreters portray the 18th-century residents of Pottsgrove Manor as they were when celebrating Twelfth Night.

Kids will be able to make kids make seasonal crafts that they can then take home with them. The event will also include festivities in the parlor, hearth cooking in the kitchen and the serving of tasty refreshments.

Both events are free but there is a suggested donation of $2 per person.

On December 13, 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 Elite Brass Brass from noon-3 p.m.

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

If you want to get started on building your own holiday rail display for the future or if you want to expand one you already have, then 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 13 and 14 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 $8 and are good for both days. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

The Delaware Art Museum’s 29th Annual Holiday House Tour will be held on December 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at various locations in northern Delaware (302-571-9590, www.delart.org).

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of event. The Museum will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with free admission. Each Holiday House Tour ticket will include one holiday raffle ticket. Prizes will be drawn at 3:30 p.m. in the museum and winning ticketholders need not be present to win.

This year’s tour will focus on five historic Brandywine Valley barns that have been decorated for the holiday season. Three barns are historic properties that have been fully renovated with modern amenities while keeping many of the original features intact.

Featured barns include a stylish guest house barn built in the 1790s, an imaginative “entertainment” barn built in 1821, a newly-built “green” barn with a western flair and a rustic 1870 barn made of wood and “Wilmington Blue Rock.”

Live entertainment on Saturday will be provided by Gabriella Stout, the Cathedral Choir of Delaware, Cab Calloway Middle School Choir and Cab Calloway Jazz Choir.

There will also be artisan shopping at the Museum on December 12 as part of the museum’s “Art is After Dark” program and on December 13 in conjunction with the tour.

On December 13 from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 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 — “The Spirit of Christmas.”

The free event, which is celebrating its 14th anniversary this year, is sponsored by the New Castle Presbyterian Church and the New Castle Visitors’ Bureau. 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 Amstel House has been decorated for a traditional holiday celebration in colonial times and showcases traditional 18th-century customs during the period of Governor Nicholas Van Dyke’s residency. The Dutch House features a celebration of St. Nichols’ Eve, a tribute to the legend of Holland’s patron saint — Saint Nicholas.

As an added attraction, the New Castle Presbyterian Church will hold an all-day sale of crafts, used books, homemade soups and breads, and gift items. Shops and restaurants throughout Olde New Castle will be open as well, welcoming visitors with special discounts

The festivities conclude at 5 p.m. with the town’s annual tree lighting ceremony accompanied by caroling in the Market Square. 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 2014 Christmas Holiday Tour will be presented now through January 4 in Odessa’s historic district (Main Street, Odessa, Delaware, 302-378-4119, www.historicodessa.org).

This year, the Historic Houses of Odessa’s Corbit-Sharp House (c. 1774) will be the focal point for the literature-inspired Christmas Holiday Tours. The exhibit is inspired by the classic fairy tale “Snow White.”

Delaware will also have another type of holiday event this weekend when the DuPont Theatre (10th and Market streets, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-656-4401, www.duponttheatre.com) hosts “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” through December 14.

The show, which was created and directed by Neil Goldberg, is a stage spectacular that has an international cast of over 30 talented performers performing old and new Christmas numbers. It features acts such as gingerbread men flipping mid air, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, puppets dancing and reindeer soaring high above a landscape of holiday wonderment.

The touring spectacle, which played the DuPont three years ago, also features an original music score along with some seasonal favorites, over 300 super colorful costumes and a stage setting with a 20-foot tall tree, gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering soldiers.

Tickets range from $20-$79. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. from December 9-11 and 8 p.m. on December 11 and 12. There are also 2 p.m. matinees on December 10, 13 and 14.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.nctstage.org) is presenting the holiday classic show “A Christmas Carol” now through December 23. Tickets, which include a tasty buffet dinner, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

“A Christmas Carol,” a novella by Dickens that was first published in 1843, tells the tale of an old miser name Scrooge who gets transformed from a curmudgeon to a likable old soul after visits from his deceased partner Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.

The Barley Sheaf Players’ (810 North Whitford Road, Lionville, 610-363-7075, www.barleysheaf.org) production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” is running now through December 14. The production has performances scheduled for December 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. and December 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students (18 and under) and seniors (60 and over).

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 show features spectacular vocal harmonies, lively musical arrangements, impressive dancing, elaborate scenery, elegant costumes and the music of the AMT Orchestra. Tickets are $42.

The Rainbow Dinner Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, www.RainbowDinnerTheatre.com) is presenting its holiday production “Burglar’s Holiday” now through December 28. Ticket prices range from $48-$54.

“A Brandywine Christmas,” which is running now through January 4 at the Brandywine River Museum (Route 1, Chadds Ford 610-388-2700, www.brandywinemuseum.org), is a family-oriented annual holiday event. Visitors to “A Brandywine Christmas” this weekend get an extra bonus because the museum’s annual “Critter Sale” is being held on December 6 and 7.

“A Brandywine Christmas” features thousands of natural “critter” ornaments on holiday trees. The “critter” ornaments are used to decorate holiday trees, wreaths and diorama settings throughout the museum. The intricately designed ornaments are made from all-natural materials by museum volunteers and have found homes on trees at the White House and the Smithsonian Institution.

“A Brandywine Christmas” also features an array of interesting holiday displays, including an extensive O-gauge model railroad and thousands of natural “critter” ornaments on holiday trees.

The Brandywine Valley Wine Trail’s “Holiday Open House” (www.bvwinetrail.com) is several years old and well on its way to becoming a Chester County tradition. The event will be held this year on December 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28

Five local wineries from the BVWT will be hosting special holiday celebrations including Kreuz Creek Vineyards (553 South Guernsey Road, West Grove, 610-869-4412, www.kreuzcreekvineyards.com) and Paradocx Vineyard (1833 Flint Hill Road, Landenberg, 610-255-5684 or www.paradocx.com).

The other three are Black Walnut Winery (3000 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville, 610-857-5566, www.blackwalnutwinery.com), Penns Woods Winery (124 Beaver Valley Road, Chadds Ford, 610-459-0808, www.pennswoodswinery.com) and Borderland Vineyard (332 Indiantown Road, Landenberg, 215-436-9154, www.borderlandvineyard.com).

One of the best ways to hang with Santa Claus for a few hours is to ride along with him on an excursion train rides.

The West Chester Railroad (Market Street Station, West Chester, 610-430-2233 or www.westchesterrr.net) is running its “Santa’s Express” trains on December 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. There will be additional departures at 5 p.m. on December 13, 14, 20 and 21.

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 $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 now through 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. He will be greeting everyone on board and offering chocolate treats to the youngsters. Santa will also be posing for pictures with his fans.

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 from December 12-30, 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 20. Santa will be the featured guest on each ride from Strasburg to Paradise and back. 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 New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (32 Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-2332, www.newhoperailroad.com) is operating its “North Pole Express” now through December 23. Tickets are $45.95 for adults, $43.95 for children (ages 2-11) and $12.95 for toddlers.

One of the best model railroads in the area is 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 4 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. Philadelphia-area landmarks are all meticulously decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle. Admission to the Morris Arboretum is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors (65 and older) and $8 for students and military.

The Mount Hope Mansion (Route 72, Cornwall, 717-665-7021, www.parenfaire.com) features an annual holiday celebration honoring one of the most respected authors in the English language – Charles Dickens. The event, which is set in the mid-1800s, is called “Dickens of a Christmas.”

Various rooms in the mansion have been temporarily converted into mini-theaters which will host performances of some of the most popular holiday tales, including Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Tickets for adults are $16.95 on weekdays and $18.95 on weekends. Children’s tickets are $9.95 for all shows.

The popular annual event “Holidays at Hagley,” which is included with regular admission, is running now through January 6 at Hagley Museum and Library (Route 141, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-658-2400, www.hagley.org).

The 2014 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 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., feature decorations in a combination of styles from both the 19th and 20th centuries.

The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and interpretation on the French traditions of exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day and the celebration of Twelfth Night.

Dried flowers, greenery, fruits, and other natural materials create a beautiful holiday ambiance accentuated by soft lights and Christmas music. This year’s exhibit is inspired by the winter pastimes and pursuits of the property’s former residents.

Admission is $14 for adults and $5 for children (ages 6-14).

This year’s 36th annual staging of “Yuletide at Winterthur” is running now through January 4 at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Route 52, Wilmington, Delaware, 800-448-3883, www.winterthur.org).

It highlights the winter celebrations of H. F. du Pont and his family at Winterthur in the first half of the 20th century. It also ties in with Winterthur’s “Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibition.

Special family activities include “Downton Afternoon Tea Buffet” (December 28 and January 4), “Family Workshops” (December 14), “Brunch with Santa” (December 13, 14, 20 and 21) 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 requiredAdmission to Yuletide at Winterthur is $25 for adults, $23 for seniors and students and $5 for children.

Nemours Mansion & Gardens (Route 141 South, Alapocas Drive, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-651-6912, www.nemoursmansion.org) is celebrating the Christmas season now through December 31with special three-hour holiday-themed tours.

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.

Amusement parks have also become a favorite holiday attraction for families.

“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 $12 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.

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 $24.

Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park (2249 Route 30 East, Lancaster, 866-386-2389, www.dutchwonderland.com) is hosting its “Dutch Winter Wonderland” now through December 30 on Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays (December 26, 29 and 30). Tickets are $12.99.

In many of Europe’s larger cities, it is a common sight to see Christmas villages erected in downtown locations. These villages are temporary sites that feature live music, a variety of holiday attractions and a large number of specialized vendors.

Philadelphia has its own version which is open now through December 28. “Christmas Village in Philadelphia” (Broad and Market streets, Philadelphia, 215-391-3017, www.philachristmas.com) is set up each holiday season in Love Park on the west side of City Hall.

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 21.

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

Koziar’s Christmas Village (782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, 610-488-1110, www.koziarschristmasvillage.com), which is now in its 67th annual season, will be open every night through January 1 — 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 such as a huge model train display, a toy shop, a country kitchen, indoor and outdoor Christmas displays. Admission to Christmas Village is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors (65 and older) and $7 for children (ages 4-10).

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