Getting in the holiday spirit is easy this season when you mark your calendar for these merry Mid-Atlantic events.
A land where stories light up the imagination
Fantasy With Lights
November 13–December 30 (weather permitting) Kids of all ages are sure to say “wow” when Storybook Land becomes aglow in thousands of lights in this outdoor holiday display that has become a regional tradition. Kids can watch Santa light up the park each night at dusk with a simple wave of his wand and also visit with Santa and the Mrs. in their decorated chalet, beginning with their grand arrival on November 13 rain date: November 14) through December 23.
Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey
609/641-7847 or 609/646-0103 (extension 5); storybookland.com
The place to see flowers, fountains and figure eights
A Longwood Gardens Christmas
November 25–January 9
Flowers and fountains are elevated to an art form in this annual holiday display featuring thousands of poinsettias and decorated trees inside—where you can catch a seasonal concert—and dancing fountains and some 500,000 lights strung on trees outside, where professional ice skaters perform under the stars. Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
610/388-1000 or 800/737-5500; longwoodgardens.org
A du Pont estate decked out for the holidays
Christmas at Hagley
November 26–January 2
Activities on Workers’ Hill: November 26–30; December 4–5, 11–12 and 18–19; and December 26–January 2
There’s no prettier time of the year than Christmastime to see the 1803 du Pont ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, at the Hagley Museum and Library. Come see what it means to decorate Colonial Revival style, from the flowers and fruits to the lights and music. Also check out the holiday activities on Workers’ Hill, including baking and sampling old-fashioned recipes, experimenting with musical instruments, working on handcrafts and playing fun games.
Christmas in Cape May
November 19–January 2
Step back in time to a Victorian Christmas with a visit to Cape May during this annual holiday celebration. More than two dozen special events are on tap, from candlelight house tours and museum exhibits, to chefs’ holiday dine-arounds and cooking classes, to theater productions and trolley rides with Santa. Cape May
609/884-5404 or 800/275-4278; capemaymac.org
The Grounds for Sculpture hosts a cookie-decorating workshop and holiday music, 3–5 p.m., along with an awards ceremony for the 6th Annual Gingerbread House Contest at 4 p.m.—all leading up to the official lighting of the park at 5 p.m.
November 26–January 2
Adventure Aquarium is the place to meet Rudolph, a Scuba Santa and Bumble (A.K.A. The Abominable Snow Monster) this holiday season. (Bet you can guess who will be placing the star atop the giant Christmas tree.) Visitors can also enjoy sweet treats, a dance party and a “ride” on the Polar Express 4D Experience in the 4D theater.
Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Visitors can honor those brave men and women who served our country at The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in a special ceremony, 6–7 p.m., that includes the lighting of a Christmas tree and Menorah, as well as a Kwanzaa reading. Admission is free.
Holiday Celebration of Fine Crafts
Talented artisans from Maine to Florida will be showcasing their wares at this special event, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Ocean City’s Music Pier and presented by the Jersey Shore Artisans Guild. Parking is free, and there’s no admission fee for children under age 12. (Note: If you can’t make the date, check out The Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival, November 13–¬14, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., on Ocean City’s Music Pier.)
November 26–28; December 2–5, 9–12 and 16–19
If you can’t make it to Germany, this Old World-style holiday market is modeled after the traditional Christkindlmarkts, with everything from unique gifts and ice-carving demonstrations, to festive music and traditional fare. Kids will also enjoy visits with St. Nick, rides and other holiday activities.
The Philadelphia Mummers New Year’s Day Parade
An official tradition in Philadelphia since 1901, this parade/party showcases thousands of Mummers strutting their stuff up Broad Street. Get a free spot on Broad Street early. Public transportation is recommended.