Get in the Holiday Spirit With These Fun (but Safe) Things to Do in PA: Dec. 4-6

The Brandywine Railroad returns to the Brandywine River Museum of Art. (Courtesy of the Brandywine River Museum of Art)

By Cassandra Stone

December 3, 2020

There are things to do inside or outside. If you decide to venture out, make sure to wash your hands, wear a mask, and follow social distancing guidelines.

Weekends in Pennsylvania have no shortage of things to do, especially during the holiday season. While events might look different during the coronavirus pandemic, there are plenty of ways to have fun on your own, or with the family or friends in your quarantine bubble.

Here’s a roundup of activities to participate in the weekend of Dec. 4-6.

If you decide to venture out, make sure to wash your hands, wear a mask, and follow social distancing guidelines.


A Virtual Festival of Light and Hope: Music and Dance From Around the World

Celebrate the holidays in song and dance from the comfort of your own living room. Nashirah, the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia, hosts this day-long virtual festival on Sunday. It begins with a yoga warm-up for singers. New York cantor Natasha J. Hirschhorn will speak about “Hanukkah as a Roadmap for Healing from Trauma,” Nashirah will sing, Yiddish and Argentine tango dancers will perform, dancers from the Jerusalem Ballet will perform “Memento,” and there will be a Hanukkah sing-along and social hour.

The event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices range from free to $36, depending on which events you choose to participate in or watch. Get more information and buy tickets at Eventbrite.

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum

Watch model trains chug along a quarter-mile of track that includes seven loops, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and tunnels. The tracks run through and between models of Philadelphia landmarks that have been decorated for the holidays.

The Garden Railway runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The arboretum also hosts Garden Railway Nights from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through December. Timed tickets are required, and you can get them online.

Southeastern PA

Holiday Magic at Brandywine

Watch model train sets once owned by Nicky and Jamie Wyeth, the sons of artist Andrew Wyeth, chug along 1,000 feet of track in the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s annual holiday display. The display also includes artist and composer Ann Wyeth McCoy’s dollhouse, which has six rooms and hundreds of miniature objects, and the museum’s Christmas tree decorated with the museum’s popular critter ornaments.

The display is open through Jan. 10. All visitors must reserve timed tickets. You can get them online at the museum’s website.

Watch Charles Dickens’ Great-Great-Grandson in a Virtual Performance of “A Christmas Carol” 

Byers’ Choice in Bucks County continues its holiday traditions of offering tours of its Christmas Museum, and putting on a production of “A Christmas Carol.” Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson of “A Christmas Carol” author Charles Dickens, plays all 26 characters in this 70-minute show. But unlike years past, you can watch Dickens’ performance from the comfort of your own living room.

Byers’ Choice is streaming the performance through Dec. 31. Tickets are $20. Each ticket buyer will be able to watch the performance on Vimeo for a period of seven days. Get more information or rent the show at Byers’ Choice’s website.

Northeastern PA

Creches From Around the World

See more than 100 tableaus of all sizes depicting Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and their various visitors at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.

The display is open through Jan. 4. Admission is free, but donations to Hands-On Disaster Relief are encouraged. Please check the event website for ongoing updates, possible cancellations, and health and safety protocols.

Decorate Christmas Cookies at Ridgewood Winery

Sip some wine and decorate Christmas cookies at Ridgewood Winery on Daffodil Hill Farm in Bechtelsville this weekend. Each participant gets two cookies to decorate.

Tickets are $5 per person. The winery is offering the event at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Get more information and tickets at Eventbrite.

South Central PA

Make a Wreath

Make a live wreath to decorate your doorway this holiday season in a 30-minute hands-on workshop at Miller Plant Farm in York County.

The $25 workshop fee includes a 22-inch live wreath, instructions, tools, and a bow. Other embellishments cost extra. Classes are at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Get more information or reserve your spot at Miller’s website.

Virtual Gingerbread Celebration

A much-loved Gettysburg holiday tradition continues this year in a new virtual format. See gingerbread houses made and decorated by local bakers, businesses, and nonprofits. Vote with dollars for your favorites, and help local bakers win cash prizes, or bid on a gingerbread house to decorate your home.

Voting and bidding begin at 10 a.m. Friday. Get more information from the Adams County Arts Council.

North Central PA

Reelin’ in the Years: The Music of Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers

The Uptown Music Collective kicks off its performance season with a tribute to Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers. The performance is the first of its kind in the area since March.

There will be limited tickets available for three live performances as well as a ticketed live stream of the Saturday night performance. All CDC and state health recommendations and procedures will be adhered to for this event. Visit for more information.

Southwestern PA

Season’s Greetings Saturdays at the Aviary

Take your kids to visit the National Aviary and enjoy festive holiday fun with enhanced safety protocols. Families can write letters to Santa and put them in a special North Pole mailbox. Meet and greet birds while listening to bird-themed Christmas carols (a partridge in a pear tree, perhaps?), and take part in holiday crafts and photos.

The program runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, 12, and 19. Visit the National Aviary’s website for more information. 

Greene County Christmas Parade

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Waynesburg Christmas Parade is moving to the Greene County Fairgrounds for a county-wide celebration.

Instead of the parade marching around the fairgrounds, the floats, fire trucks, marching bands, dancers, and other performers will stay in one place, and you’ll drive along the route to see them all. At the end of your path, Santa will be waiting to wave “hello.” The first 300 children will receive a treat bag.

The parade runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Northwestern PA 

Erie Philharmonic presents “Holiday Concert Tour of Homes”

The Erie Philharmonic’s Holiday Tour of Homes is back, but it’s online this year. Exclusive performances will take place in each beautifully decorated home, and they’ll be streamed online for you to watch from the comfort and safety of your living room.

Tickets are $20. Each ticket-buyer will receive a link, so they can view the performances (and homes) as many times as they want whenever they want through the month of December. Get tickets and more information at the philharmonic website.


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