With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season has officially sprung into full bloom. Pumpkins and leaves are being replaced by candy canes and string lights — and speaking of lights, Philadelphia has come prepared to crank up the Christmas spirit. All around the city, Christmas trees are being hoisted up and decorated, ready to be lit for the public, so if you’re looking to lighten up during this dreary finals season, check out the following Philly tree lighting festivals.

East Passyunk Tree Lighting 

On November 29, the Annual East Passyunk Christmas Tree Lighting is here for Philly residents to kick off the Deck the Avenue holiday festival that goes throughout December. The two–hour lighting celebration includes photos with Santa and free samples of holiday treats and beverages from local Avenue bakeries, restaurants, and retailers. Don't miss the Hot Chai Apple Cider from Rival Bros Coffee and and Traditional Vietnamese Hoagies from Teas N’ Mi. 

CBS 3 Philly Meteorologist Lauren Casey will also be act as Master of Ceremonies, leading the counting down for the lighting of the Christmas tree around the Singing Fountain. The festival doesn’t stop after the tree is lit though, as there will be performances of holiday music by local Philadelphia bands including the Philadelphia Mummer string band, the Andrew Jackson School HOME rock band, and more. East Passyunk’s tree lighting goes from 5–7 p.m. and is completely free, so make sure to stop by the Avenue and start the holiday season off right.

Location: 1904 East Passyunk Avenue

The Betsy Ross House Lighting

In the mood for something a little more historic? The Betsy Ross House will also be hosting a Christmas tree lighting to kick off the season with its second annual Historic Holidays Tree Lighting Ceremony on November 29 from 5–8 p.m. Enjoy seasonal treats such as kettle corn from Fezziwig’s Sweet Shoppe, musical performances, and the start of the Old City’s Window Decorating Contest where local shops, restaurants, and museums deck out window displays with holiday spirit. Make sure to vote as well for a chance to win an Old City Prize Pack full of goodies from different Old City vendors. 

The main event of the Ceremony though is the appearance of Betsy Ross (well, someone who looks like her) and the lighting of the holiday tree, which was designed by Old City’s own Parisian florist and garden designer Petit Jardin en Ville. Make sure to stop by on December 2 as well from 4-5pm for the Old City Jewish Arts Center for the Community Menorah Lighting which includes Colonial chocolate making and local choir performances.

Location: 239 Arch Street

Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by PEPCO

Delaware River Waterfront is concluding their opening week holiday festivities with one of their biggest events of the season: the Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by Pepco. This Friday (November 30) from 6–9pm, the event will feature ice skaters, dancers, and performances by the Philadelphia-based singer and songwriter who was the first winner of America’s Got Talent, Bianca Ryan. Other performers include Jackie Verna from season 14 of The Voice, the Trinidad and Tobago Baltimore Steel Orchestra, and many more. 

Make sure to also take part in holiday activities such as pictures with Santa, face painting, and even making your own flower crowns. The night ends with the grand lighting of the Christmas tree, followed by fireworks to make it a truly lit occasion.

Location: 101 South Columbus Boulevard 


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