The Macy’s Christmas Light Show, A Decades-Old Philadelphia Tradition, Returns For The 2012 Holiday Season On Friday, November 23, With A Special Sneak Preview On Saturday, November 17

Macy's Center City is bursting with holiday spirit all season long, including the grand Macy's Christmas Light Show, festive Holiday Window displays and the quaint Dickens Village. (Photo by G. Widman for GPTMC)

Philadelphia is rife with holiday traditions, and one of our favorites is kicking off next week on Black Friday, November 23.

The Macy’s Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City, dating back to 1955, is returning for the 2012 holiday season with the briliant lights, festive music and cheer it brings each year to holiday shoppers.

The holiday spectacle features narration by the legendary Julie Andrews and the glorious sounds of the famous Wanamaker Organ. More than 100,000 energy-efficient multicolored LED lights create dazzling holiday images on the four story high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium.

The Macy’s Christmas Light Show takes audiences on a journey through popular Christmas stories including The Nutcracker, Frosty the Snowman and a magical Christmas Tree. It will flicker into the hearts of visitors every hour on the hour starting each day at 10 a.m.

But that’s not all: Macy’s Center City is bursting with holiday spirit all season long. In addition to the light show, the store presents Holiday Windows, famed displays that have been stunning spectators since the early 1870s. Macy’s was actually the first store to ever feature holiday windows created for the pure fun of the season. Be sure to check them out starting this Saturday, November 17.

Also starting Friday, November 23, Dickens Village will open its doors on the third floor of Macy’s. Now a holiday mainstay, the 6,000-square-foot Dickens Village takes Philadelphians back in time to 1840s London with 26 heart-warming scenes setting the stage for the classic story of Scrooge. Take photos with Father Christmas and pick up holiday trinkets.

Special Sneak Preview Events: Saturday, November 17

This Saturday, head to Macy’s Center City for the kick-off of the holiday season. The Holiday Windows display will be unveiled at 1 p.m. by Santa and other holiday friends, with a special performance from the Walnut Street Theatre’s cast of A Christmas Carol preceding it at noon. There is a variety of holiday festivities following throughout the day, including a Philadelphia Boys Choir performance, arts and crafts with Radio Disney, face painting photo opps with the Phillie Phanatic and more.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Men’s Department, celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the movie Mannequin — set inside the John Wanamaker’s Department Store, now Macy’s — with actor and author Andrew McCarthy. With any $50 Macy’s purchase, receive a copy of his new book, The Longest Way Home and his autograph.

Also: there will be a sneak preview of this year’s Macy’s Christmas Light Show at 1:45 p.m. in the Grand Court. And you’ll be able to visit the Dickens Village to get your photo snapped with Santa, too.

Been good all year? Treat yourself to a holiday spectacle you won’t forget.

Macy’s Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City
When: November 23–December 31, shows begin on the top of each hour from 10 a.m.-8 pm., Dickens Village is 10 a.m.-7 pm.
Where: 1300 Market Street
Cost: Free
More info:


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  1. Loved this
    – part of my chilhood that was great memories. Loved and worked at wanwmakers during xmas. It is a wonderland for all

  2. I miss this, many years ago I lived in Philly and this was a part of my childhood, I loved Christmas at Wannamakers, “what a feeling”. I remember riding in a little train, it was elevated in the store, you could look down and see all the people shopping and go over and see Santa his self…..ah to be a child again….

  3. Warm and tender memories flooded my mind and heart as I saw the Macy’s display. My Mother took me there every Christmas…I am now 70 and thankful for the loving moments that Macy’s, Wanamakers, Lits and all the Philly stores provided at such a blessed season. Peace, Lynne

  4. Such wonderful Christmas memories of Christmas in Philadelphia area. I am so happy my parents took us every year . I would even go as a teenager with my friends! My wife, a Floridian learned the tradition and we always took our sons!! I am 64 years old and go every year. Love the entire Christmas traditions of my youth!!!
    Tom Melchiorre

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