DIY Holiday Crafts and Present Making Classes near Philly

The holidays are just around the corner, and nothing says "I love you" quite like a homemade gift. Treat your loved ones and family members to something really special with an awesome DIY gift that will blow them away! Or, make something special for your own home- like a wreath or ornament. The family bonding time alone is worth it, and you'll have something beautiful (or delicious) to bring home. Check out some of these great classes and workshops being offered in the area this month to learn how to make something unique.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Planetariums, Holiday Lights, Santa Sightings, December 5-9

The holidays are in full swing, as Philly families can tell from our jam-packed events calendar. From train rides to Nutcracker performances to light shows, there is so much to do. We have picked some of our favorites for the week ahead.

View the beautiful holiday lights at Shady Brook Farms, Herr's Snack Factory, or one of the many venues throughout the Philly area. Gaze into the night sky at the Franklin Institute's Night Skies in the Observatory or West Chester University's Public Planetarium Show. Visit Barnes and Noble at Neshaminy Mall for its Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball, have pictures with Santa at King of Prussia, or experience Adventure to Santa at Cherry Hill Mall. Or, bundle up and head to the Ambler Train Station and welcome Santa to Ambler as he arrives by train.

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Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Zoo Noel, Lucia Fest, Dickens Festival December 3-4

Forget about Christmas shopping, holiday cards, and to-do lists for a moment. Holiday festivals, seasonal theater productions, and chance encounters with Santa Claus await Philly families this weekend!

Soak in the holiday spirit at Peddler's Village's Christmas Festival or the American Swedish Historical Museum's Lucia Fest. Immerse yourself in 1840's London at Narberth Dickens Festival. Watch one of the many traditional holiday shows such as The Walnut Street Theatre's Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or The Media Theatre's A Christmas Story. Take the kids to The Philadelphia Zoo to visit the animals and search for Santa on a scavenger hunt throughout the grounds. Or, experience a Greccio Live Nativity at Neumman University.

Be sure to browse through our December GoList to find the best picks for the month. Now, keep reading to find all the fun that this weekend has in store.

December GoList: The Best Things To Do with Philly Kids This Month

The holiday season has officially arrived. Everywhere you look, folks are decorating their houses, the air is getting colder, hats and mittens have come out of hiding, and the scent of evergreens are in the air! This month is full of tree lightings, holiday shows and traditions, breakfast, photos, and even train rides with Santa, and more. Visit one of the many holiday markets and craft fairs to check some names off your shopping list, then check out one of these great events happening through the month of December. Have fun and enjoy a happy and warm holiday season!

Be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter to see our weekly roundups of events as well!

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farms in the Philadelphia Area

Thanksgiving is over, and, while you might still be working on those leftovers, Christmas time is just around the corner. Between shopping, seeing all the lights, and taking photos with Santa, it might be tricky fitting in the time to find a good place to cut down your tree.

Create a new family tradition or continue a long-standing ritual by picking out an evergreen that’s going to be front and center for the month of December! Some of these local farms offer additional family fun, such as crafts, cider and hot cocoa sampling, or other treats.

Looking for even more fun this season? Check out our Holiday Guide and our Events Calendar for the latest events!

Dinosaurs Come Alive in Jurassic World at The Franklin Institute

It's finally here. After months of teasers, press releases, and photos, the long awaited Jurassic World exhibit is open at the Franklin Institute. Whether you grew up watching the Jurassic Park movies, or you've got kids who have just recently gotten into the franchise, or maybe you have a dinosaur-loving toddler like I do, this exhibit is sure to spark some excitement. The excitement was definitely palpable as you waited in line and entered the "intro" room of the exhibit. Everyone was on their toes just waiting to see what was in store. If you're attending this exhibit with kids of any age, we've got plenty of tips and advice to share before you go.

Weekday Picks for Philly Kids: Santa, Tree Lightings, Parade November 28-December 2

And so it begins... the holidays have arrived in Philadelphia! There is so much to see and do throughout the city and suburbs as can be seen from the explosion of activities found in our events calendar.

This week, visit 'the Big Guy' early for pictures at King of Prussia Mall, Springfield Mall, or Cherry Hill Mall. Get into the spirit at a tree lighting ceremony in Media, Phoenixville, Wayne, or Lansdale. See festive entertainment at West Chester's Old-fashioned Christmas Parade or at Wayne's Santa's Parade. Or, cuddle up for a Polar Express Storytime at Barnes & Nobles in Bensalem.

Stay up to date with the latest fun by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Keep reading to discover the fun that awaits this week.

Santa Express: Christmas Train Rides for Kids in PA, DE & NJ

There is something about trains that evokes nostalgia at Christmastime.  It could be stirring up childhood memories of building a model train set under the twinkling tree lights. Maybe it is a reminder of that "coming home for the holidays" idea, where folks would arrive at the train station, arms filled with Christmas packages for family at home.

Whatever the reason might be, many railroads in the tri-state area hold events to bring back that old-fashioned holiday tradition. At many of these special outings, families can ride a real locomotive with Santa Claus, hear Christmas stories, sing carols, sip hot chocolate and admire the views of the passing countryside. Children are even invited to wear their pajamas at some of these events!  We have rounded up a list of railroads hosting holiday-themed trains of all kinds. Some of these are located more than an hour's drive from Philadelphia, but can make for a fantastic holiday outing. All aboard for some Christmas fun!

Tree Lighting Ceremonies and Holiday Parades in and around Philly

If you're looking to start a new family tradition this Christmas (or keep up an old tradition), tree lighting ceremonies and Christmas parades are sure to fulfill your needs. From the beautiful dazzling lights, to visits with Santa, hot cocoa, and more, these events are sure to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit. If you're looking for more holiday fun, check out our guide as well as our events calendar to see everything happening in the area!

Moana: A New Disney Princess for Our Multicultural World

The heroine of Disney's new animated feature Moana may be the daughter of her Polynesian tribe's chief, but don't go calling her a princess. When her partner in adventure, the demigod Maui, snarkily insists that, "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess,” Moana challenges his preconceived notion—as she does throughout the movie. Yes, from a marketing point of view, she's the latest in a long line of Disney royalty. Yet her character defies and redefines that role. She's a powerful, self-possessed young woman of color who battles climate change and doesn't need a man to save her. In fact, there's zero romance in this film; it's not even mentioned. Instead, she spends most of the flick bickering and bonding with Maui, who acts as a kind of goofy, surrogate big brother on their mission to save Moana's imperiled island homeland.

But while the film's feminist and multicultural elements make Moana feel decidedly 21st century, story-wise it follows the studio's tried-and-true formula of a princess—make that future chieftain—on a dangerous (but inevitably successful) quest. Just how scary is it? We've got the scoop, plus whether it's worth splurging to see her escapades in 3D.


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