Philadelphia Phestivites: 2014 Winter Events

This season, it will be hard not to get caught up in the general consumerist thrills and coupon-cutting adrenaline rushes. Believe me, I know how great it feels to save three entire US dollars on that one sweater you’ve been eyeing up for months. In the tradition of being wonderfully cliche during the holidays, I am going to throw out a frequently used piece of advice ‒ it’s not about gifts. It’s not about shopping, pulling the last pair of clearance boots in a size 8 out of someone else’s greedy palms and it’s most certainly not about tapping your foot while waiting in line. I encourage you to spend your time this year making memories, taking time for yourself and (if you’re me) falling on your ass, which will make way more sense after listing the raddest festivities going on in Philadelphia in the coming weeks.

Philadelphia Festivities, or affectionately phestivities, are happening all around you. Here are just a few to help ease the pain of not having warm enough mittens and wearing not two, but three whole shirts, like, every day:

Blue Cross Winterrink Winterfest

When: December 5th – March 1st, Monday-Sunday, times vary Where: Penn’s Landing Cost: Prices varying

Winterfest is something I’m absolutely stoked to attend. Between drooling over pictures of the beautiful Lodge, conducting online searches for “how to stand up after you’ve fallen while wearing ice skates” (because this WILL happen), and being of age to enjoy the bar there are so many possibilities to have a terrific day here. Heck, you can even skate with Santa.

2014 Nutcracker Market

When: Dec. 11-13 from 11am-8pm, Dec. 14 from 11am-5pm Where: The Kimmel Center Cost: Free admission!

This fundraiser for Pennsylvania Ballet and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet just sounds like a really neat way to support local merchants and get into the holiday spirit sans heinous shopping mall lines. There are daily activities ranging from origami lessons, to arts and crafts, to visits from the characters of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. All-in-all the Nutcracker Market shows a lot of potential for a great weekend holiday pitstop.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™

When: See performance dates on official website Where: Academy of Music Cost: Tickets range $30-$125

A classic, a tradition. This musical and dance production comes to life with the vivid performances of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet students as well as Pennsylvania Ballet dancers and the Philadelphia Boys Choir. A must see for families, friends, and couples of all ages.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

When: Now-Dec. 31 Where:Franklin Square Cost: Free admission

The holidays aren’t complete without a little light. Franklin Square is providing the public with daily light shows from now until the end of the year. Along with food trucks and flashing lights, there’s also still time to catch two light show ignitions by members of the cast of Mary Poppins and the Philly Phanatic!

NYE Fireworks

When: Dec. 31 Where: Penn’s Landing Cost: Free

The best thing about the last moments of the year is that around the country we choose to collectively say hello to the new one with a bang. Fireworks are free and beautiful and you’re silly if you don’t think so too.

Johnny Brenda’s Presents New Year’s Eve

When: Dec. 31, Doors 8pm, Show 9pm Where: Johnny Brenda’s Cost:

Some shameless promotion for this specific New Year’s Eve gig because it’s where I’ll be spending my last moments of 2014. Between native Philly band, Hop Along and my first New Year’s Eve at legal drinking age, I’m definitely looking forward to it.

SO, if you find yourself a student post-finals or a parent looking for family-friendly activities, there is most certainly something on this list for everyone. This season can be hectic and frigid. If you’re anything like me, break isn’t necessarily a thing that comes inherently. Sometimes you’ve got to just stop and realize that there’s way too much going on to get stuck in the stressful habit of last-minute shopping and end-of-the-year regret. Do yourself a favor by checking out these local activities, markets, light shows and performances, and give yourself a break.

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