Wednesday, November 25 2020 9:04

Close to Home for the Holidays

Written by Alyssa Menko & Olivia Smith

So many ways to celebrate locally

Christmas is coming! Let us count the ways to celebrate.
In a year of online celebrations, modified gatherings, virtual tours and drive-through displays, our area still offers many ways to share the dreams of a very merry holiday. Here are some ideas for bringing joy to your world—safely—this season.


Festive Fun in Phoenixville

Let your heart be light (online) at the Phoenixville Candlelight Holiday Tour on December 5th. Get an inside look at historic houses and modern homes decorated from front doors to living rooms in evergreen trees, bright lights and all the holiday trimmings. Tune in to the tour from 3 to 7 p.m., free at

Then make your spirits bright at the Luminaria Shopping Night in Downtown Phoenixville. On December 9th from 5 to 9 p.m., over 1000 luminaries will light up the streets with a festive glow, perfect for holiday shopping at your favorite Phoenixville spots. Buy toys for all ages at Generations Toy Store or head to Reads & Company for books, book-themed candles and other gift recommendations.

The Phoenix will always rise—just online this year. The 16th Annual Firebird Festival is calling for community members to submit art, videos, stories or other creative ideas to share the spirit of the Firebird (deadline December 12th). On December 19th at 8 p.m., join the livestream celebration for an evening featuring Firebird dancers, music, poetry and all the fiery submissions from the community. For more fun ideas, visit


Keeping Christmas in Kennett

Holiday happenings in Kennett Square begin November 29th with the spectacular annual display at Longwood Gardens. Through December, A Longwood Christmas offers fragrant flowers, dancing fountains and towering trees sprinkled with a half million lights, glitter and holiday cheer. To visit, purchase timed admission tickets online ($16-$30).

Kennett is planning a Light Up the Square initiative to make the town more festive than ever. And get help with your holiday shopping at their Holiday Village Market held at The Creamery on the weekends of December 5th and 12th. Take the downtown shuttle to the site for unique vendors, holiday cocktails, firepits and wreath-making tutorials. Purchase timed tickets on their website.


A Very Merry Media

Celebrate the holidays at Linvilla Orchards’ Christmas Around the Farm. Through December the orchards will be transformed into a winter-wonderland—farm style. Got a family tradition of cutting your own Christmas tree? You can chop your own, then shop at their holiday market for gifts, holiday plants and even pre-cut trees—if you want to leave the work to them. (See the sidebar for more places to cut your own tree.)

Santa will make special appearances Saturday and Sunday evenings so you can get that perfect photo in time for your holidays cards. Get out of the house and join in the festivities!


West Chester Wonderland

All aboard! Your family’s perfect holiday excursion is on West Chester Railroad’s Santa’s Express. Take a scenic 90-minute holiday train ride through Chester Creek Valley while enjoying live music and visits from Mr. Claus himself. Trains are limited to 50% capacity, so get your tickets in advance through December at

Rather walk than ride? Try West Chester Public Library’s new Holiday Door Tour, running from December 5th to 12th. Enjoy the festive front doors and porches, sure to inspire your own decorating ideas. With a donation, you’ll score a booklet with a tour map, scavenger hunt list and entry in the Holiday Raffle Drawing.
And be sure to stroll through the downtown business district to get in the holiday spirit. Read more in “Making a List … and Filling It in West Chester” in this issue.


A Classic Coatesville Christmas

You can have yourself a merry little Coatesville Christmas with holiday floats, bands, antique cars and entertainment—all from the comfort of your own home. Relive 16 years of past Coatesville Christmas Parades, though virtually. Co-creator of the parade, Greg DePedro, suggests you immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas past: “Maybe it was a year your favorite string band was featured, or your child’s scout troop walked the parade route, or maybe it was a year you yourself were in the parade.” Catch something you missed or loved from parades of yesteryear on their website.


Decking the Halls in Delaware

Celebrate the ho ho Holidays at Hagley, a du Pont ancestral home decked out with Christmas decor and festive French finery. On December 5th, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a socially-distanced visit to the Gibbons House kitchen along Workers Hill. Stop by the Millwright Shop to admire the sweet entries in this year’s gingerbread house competition or sample individually wrapped cookies outside the 19th-century kitchen. Check for dates and other festivities at

Why walk through a winter wonderland when you can drive instead? Through January 3rd, fill your eyes and ears with thousands of lights, animated installations and interactive music at the Winter in Wilmington Drive-Thru Holiday Light Show. Advance reservations required. Check for dates and tickets at


Not-So-Silent Nights in Oxford

Have a holly, jolly Christmas with more than just snacks at Herr’s Annual Christmas Lights Display. The drive-through celebration may be far, but it’s got a lot of wattage—featuring more than 600,000 lights (mostly energy efficient LEDs). Enjoy the dazzling display for free from dusk to dawn from the safety of your car through January 1st.

In full swing this season is Oxford’s Country Christmas special. Get into the spirit from December 4th to 9th with live entertainment, vendors, food trucks and more. Masks are required but all are welcome to this special event.


Can’t Wait for Christmas in Wayne

Santa is coming to Wayne! Plans are on for Christmas season in Wayne with their Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa photo op. Wayne’s traditional seasonal events are a flurry of fun, so bring the kiddos for the outdoor lighting of the town’s tree, tentatively scheduled for December 4th. Plus free socially distanced photos with Santa, December 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Wayne Winter Grove Tent.

A Far Away Holiday

Gather your family in the car for a fun outing a little farther from home. These three holiday destinations are well worth the drive for festive fun and a change of holiday scenery.

Lancaster County

Go the distance to the City of Lancaster for the Weekend Winter Wonderland on December 4th and 5th. Spot Santa on his journey around the city in the Kringle Caravan and listen for the heavenly harmonies of the Prima Theatre on wheels in their Lancaroler holiday performance.

Shop and dine after dark at the annual Lancaster Shops Late night on December 10th. Enjoy the merry atmosphere of downtown with roaming entertainment, warm beverages and tasty treats at select locations. More at

On your way to the city, ride the rails with Santa and his helpers at the Strasburg Rail Road. Listen to holiday stories at the station before heading down the tracks. Reserve your seats on the steam train at

Bucks County

The car ride is worth the fun of the destination! Seasonally styled in one million lights, Peddler’s Village in New Hope, continues their Christmas celebration through January 10th. Travel there for 60+ shops with holiday treasures and a glimpse at the renowned gingerbread house competition and “Elf on the Stealth,” outdoor walking mystery event.

Odessa, DE

Take a trip to the Annual Odessa Christmas on December 5th. Enjoy the festive ambiance of decorated homes, fresh evergreens (sold for decoration) and end the day with a tree lighting at 5 p.m. at the Old Academy Building.

Cut Your Own Tree This Christmas

Find the perfect tree out in the fresh air, far away from others. Local farms with cut-your-own tree options are a great way to get a live evergreen and stay safe while doing it. Whether it’s a blue spruce or Douglas fir, your live tree supports local farmers and brings a special part of Christmas to your home.

First, a few tips to make your outing stress-free:

Check Before You Visit. Some farms haven’t updated with COVID-19 guidelines yet.
Measure It. Measure the space where you’ll put your tree, and bring a tape measure on your hunt.

Do a Walk Through. Ask which tree types are where before heading out on the farm. When you’ve explored your options, check your final pick for bald spots or live animals before cutting.

Freshness Test. Grab a branch and run it through your closed hand. Outer part should bend and needles shouldn’t easily shed.

See Saw. A lightweight saw is best for cutting. Most farms provide saws, but call ahead to make sure. Cut the tree low to the ground to avoid splintering and to allow it to resprout.

Shake It. Give the tree a good shake to get rid of loose needles and critters before taking it home.

Boswell’s Tree Farm
1093 N. Grange Ave., Collegville

Clarks Christmas Tree Farm
235 Pusey Mill Rd., Cochranville

Corkum Tree Farm
797 Bridge Rd., Collegeville
610 489-3448;

CT Farm
175 S. Church St., Parkesberg

Hague’s Christmas Trees
755 Forty Foot Rd., Hatfield

Heylmun’s Pine Hill Tree Farm
1174 Sheep Hill Rd., Pottstown

Linvilla Orchards
137 West Knowlton Rd., Media

Marsh Creek Tree Farm
301 Marsh Creek Rd., Elverson

Old Stone Farm
688 Strickersville Rd., Landenberg

Schmidts’ Tree Farm
1741 Flint Hill Rd., Landenburg

Sitko Tree Farm
1141 Kepler Rd., Pottstown

Tricolor Tree Farm
1480 Hall Rd., West Chester

Westlake Tree Farms LLC
2421 N. Hill Camp Rd., Pottstown

Wiggins Christmas Trees
1257 Westtown Thornton Rd., West Chester 610-344-7822
2176 Gap Newport Pk., Cochranville

Yeager’s Farm & Market
1015 Pike Springs Rd., Phoenixville