The holiday season is officially here!
Throughout Montgomery County, there is so much to do in December, from watching some great comedy to shopping to decorating gingerbread houses. Please check the event links for the most accurate timing, pricing, and COVID protection requirements.
Light up the night
Although the nights are longer, a variety of walk-through light installations will brighten Montco for the month. First, celebrate Elmwood Park Zoo’s favorite holiday tradition, Wild Lights, featuring live entertainment, holiday music, animals, and Saint Nick himself. Lasting now until Dec. 30 in Norristown, Wild Lights will have one night of quieter music and lower lights for individuals and families with sensory sensitivities, on Dec. 8. Even more lights are in store at The Fairgrounds at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks: At “Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular presented by Dietz & Watson,” guests can stroll through a winter wonderland of lights, check off their holiday shopping list, dine on festive treats and beverages (including Spiked Warm Cider and Christmapolitans), skate on a synthetic ice surface, and much more. Tinseltown will run until January 2.
Take a little road trip and visit our neighbors in Bucks County with “Light Up the Vines,” where the member vineyards of the Bucks County Wine Trail will illuminate their fields each evening through January 2. Bring your blanket and come gather around the fire pits and food trucks. And for some indoor-outdoor festivities, check out A Longwood Christmas, which features a fire and ice theme at Longwood Gardens now through January 9. Whether you’re running through the rainbow 200-foot Meadow Tunnel or warming up indoors in the blaze-themed East Conservatory, there is so much to see.
Catch a show
Close your Netflix tabs – local theaters, ukulele players, and comedians will make sure you never run out of viewing options. On Dec. 3, the Keswick Theater hosts a Glenside rock showdown guaranteed to spark debate – “Beatles vs. Stones.” On Dec. 10 through 12, Norristown’s Theatre Horizon offers a variety show “Holiday Spectacular” with poetry, music, and two Philly actors. And on Dec. 12, enjoy some twanging strings with the Philadelphia Main Line Ukulele Jam Group, back again at Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville. If you feel inspired to get onstage, Steel City hosts open mics every Thursday and poetry slams on Dec. 26.
Later in the month, show your out-of-town family a little taste of Delco, and go see Aunt Mary Pat at Ardmore Music Hall on Dec. 15. The comedian comments on life in the ‘burbs on her Jersey-PA-Florida tour. Keep the laughter flowing with Act II Playhouse’s “Really Good Tidings” improv variety show, running Dec. 1-30 in Ambler. Or start a holiday tradition with Schuylkill Valley Regional Dance Company’s “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 18 in Bryn Mawr. Finally, get back to your couch after this busy December and stream “Spin the Lonely World” from Jenkintown’s Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre Company. Running Dec. 27-30, the series of short plays meditates on transformation and connection.
After you’ve stopped by the big mall stores in King of Prussia Willow Grove, you can also get some unique Montco-made stocking stuffers in holiday markets that run right up to Christmas. The Big Talent, Small Works Annual Sales Exhibition will last until Dec. 30, showcasing pieces from around the region all under $300. Located in an Ardmore tattoo parlor and art gallery, the sale will feature paintings of small-town streets alongside more abstract works. Another “big” and “small” event will raise the stakes in the Spring-Ford region on Nov. 26 through Dec. 5: in Shop Small to Win Big, you can show receipts of over $50 from certain stores for a chance to win $10,000 in local gift cards.
After the suspense of Shop Small, there will be plenty of sure wins at the Moss Mill Holiday Market, hosted by a Huntingdon Valley brewery on Dec. 5. Enjoy the beer garden tent and live music from band Low Totem, as you wander the stalls selling beef jerky, jewelry, upcycled clothes and more. Then, from Dec. 11-12, West End Civic Association’s holiday pop-up event will supply your last-minute gifts. Help this Gulph Mills community organization fundraise for their building with a hot chocolate bar, selfie station, and raffle baskets – that’s all before the booths with wine, candles, essential oils, and more. If you forgot a host gift or need one last treat for a family member, check out the Hatfield Holiday Pop-up event on Dec. 15. The township is also hosting a Toys for Tots box and giving tree, so that other area families can enjoy a merry Christmas.
Take a sip
For teetotalers and drinkers alike, Montgomery County has plenty of places to wet your whistle in December. On Dec. 8, Iron Abbey Gastropub presents its 12 Beers of Christmas Dinner, and after their six courses and 12 surprise beers, you’ll want to give them five golden rings. On Dec. 9, get behind the bar yourself at Cocktails for a Cause and Holiday Market in Lansdale. Boardroom Spirits will host cocktail workshops, alongside appetizers and some gift vendors, all to benefit families caring for seriously ill children.
Enjoy festive teatimes in two relaxing and fun locations: from Nov. 30 through Dec. 23, Cairnwood Estate hosts holiday tea and tours in Bryn Athyn. Pair your scones and petit-fours with the historic fashion exhibit. Or head over to Wayne between Dec. 4 through 26, and experience Winter Wonderland Teas with A Taste of Britain. The tea shop is offering a multi-course menu of savories and pastries, both dine-in and to-go, along with your favorite loose-leaf brew.
For babysitters who need a novel outing, Lansdale’s Eclipse Center for Creative Community has three upcoming art workshops to get you out of the house. On Dec. 1, parents and kids of all ages can make a tree poster that will stay green year-round, while on Dec. 2, grandparents and toddlers can decorate a snowman ornament. Also on Dec. 2, your teen or tween over 11 can create a vibrant alcohol ink ornament.
Keep making memories and decking the halls with a wreath-making workshop on Dec. 4 at Elmwood Park Zoo. In the last event of the Norristown landmark’s eco-family programs, participants can transform leftover evergreen branches into festive door decorations. And for a 2D ornament experience, pick up a paintbrush at Regina Marie Designs Gallery in Skippack. On Dec. 11, a morning watercolor workshop will help you paint a sparkly ornament, perfect for framing or giving as a card.
Whether you watch, shop, drink, or craft this month, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board hopes you have a safe and fun December in Montgomery County. See our holiday guide for even more info on holiday festivals and kid-friendly events!