Browse for the perfect gift, like Christmas ornaments from Germany; enjoy European food, sweets and drinks, such as Bratwurst and Lebkuchen (gingerbread); and watch performances from bands and dance groups at the 2012 Christmas Village of Philadelphia. (Photos courtesy Christmas Village)
One of the ways you know it’s the most wonderful time of the year in Philadelphia?
The annual Christmas Village of Philadelphia, an outdoor holiday market located in Love Park and modeled after Germany’s traditional open-air Christmas markets.
Opening for the 2012 season on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, the Christmas Village brings the old European Christmas charm here to Philadelphia.
Never been to the Christmas Village, or need a refresher? Check out a few highlights of what to expect:
Holiday Gift Shopping
From Thanksgiving all the way until Christmas Eve, more than 60 vendors in more than 90 wooden booths, along with two large tents, offer a wide range of international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry, toys and high-quality arts and crafts. Admission is totally free; just pay as you go for gifts.
Food and Drink
For all that holiday shopping, you’re going to need some fortification in the form of food and drink. This year, the Weihnachtshütte heated food tent will be located on the JFK Boulevard side of the park (map below). Enjoy traditional German and European food, sweets and drinks like bratwurst with sauerkraut, currywurst, strudels, pretzels, potato soup, landjager and more. You can also stay warm with a mug of hot gluhwine (mulled winde) and a cup of hot chocolate with some marshmallows on top for the little ones.
In addition to the official food tent, Chaddsford Winery will sell mulled wine in Booth 51, German Grill will have more traditional German fare in Booth 46, Nuts About You will make fresh as-you-wait funnel cakes (Booth 6), and Helmut’s Original Austrian Food will be located at Booth 61. Check out Booth 13 for German Christmas foods like Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Cookies), Stollen (traditional German Holiday Cake), Cinnamon Stars and Spekulatius (traditional German spicy cookies). Again, we’ve included the full booth map below.
It’s not just an outdoor shopping mall. Decorated with thousands of lights, including a giant Christmas tree in the center, as well as festive booths and the aroma of sweets, the Christmas Village will transport you to a real German Christmas Market.
Events include the Grand Opening Ceremony on November 24 with the original Christkind from Nuremburg, Germany; Meet Santa Day on Friday, November 30; German American Weekend on December 8-9 with sining, dancing and traditional German fare; plus live performances by local choirs and bands at the central stage. The full event schedule is available online.
Liberty USO is teaming up with the Christmas Village this year to help spread the Christmas spirit to our troops this holiday season. This year, the Christmas Village will be a drop-off location for items to be included in Operation Stocking Stuffers.
Thanksgiving Day Sneak Peek
Get a special sneak peek of the village on Thursday, November 22. It will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dates and Times
Official opening day is November 24, and closing day is December 24. Times are as follows:
Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Christmas Eve: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Check out a detailed aerial view map of the 2012 Christmas Village, below, and the numbered vendor list right here.
Christmas Village in Philadelphia
When: November 24-December 24; Sneak Peek on November 22
Where: Love Park, 1500 Arch Street
Cost: Free admission; pay as you go for shopping and refreshments
More info: www.philachristmas.com