Kathy Romano's 10 Must Do Holiday Activities for 2018

As the chill in the air arrives, we transition from Fall activities to Holiday activities!  It’s time to put on your hat & gloves and gear up for all this delightful season has to offer!  The holiday season should be filled with joy and happiness for you and for your children! Seeing my son’s eyes light up when he sees Santa for the 10th time in one month is what it’s all about.

Whether it’s holiday lights, choosing a tree, decorating, desserts, or holiday drinks, I love everything about the season!  This year’s holiday list consists of a lot of brand new activities for us and a few traditions we just can’t break! Please follow along on my holiday journey on social media @kathyromano11.  And, take me along with you and your family by tagging me in your holiday activities. Use the hashtags #kathysholidayactivities #kathysactivities

KATHY’S HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES 2018

1. BYOB holiday light trolley tour in Philadelphia - Last winter, Founding Footsteps launched a popular Holiday Lights Tour.  They’re back again this year with a few new stops on their evening tours during the entire month of December.  The decorated trolley travels to some of the most dazzling light displays in the city.  Your ride is BYOB and pizza will provided to riders! You can bring wine or beer to sip while you listen to live holiday music and view the spectacular holiday lights around the city.  Tickets are $38 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under. The trolley runs Wednesday through Sunday at varies times depending on the day from 5:30p.m. - 9:30p.m.

2.  The Holiday Trees Exhibit at the Bucks County Visitor Center is a display of Christmas trees that’s free to attend.  What makes this exhibit so special is the designer and decorator.  Coleen Christian Burke is a Bucks County native who led the annual White House Christmas decorating efforts under President Bush and President Obama.  Coleen will be designing 18 trees that will be on display from November 16th - January 2nd. The Visitor Center is open 7 days a week from 9a-5p with extended Saturday hours until 8pm on November 24th, December 1st, 8th & 15th.

 

3.  West Chester Railroad is this year’s choice for a holiday train ride!  They have 2 great options for you to take your kids on a traditional Christmas railway adventure.

    • Santa’s Express is a 90-minute journey on a heated decorated train that takes you through the beautiful Chester Creek Valley.  Each child will get the chance to see Santa twice: once on the train, and later at the Glen Mills Station kids can sit on Santa’s lap for a picture!  You’ll have about 30 minutes to explore and take photos at the historic Glen Mills station.  While on board Santa and his helpers keep the kids entertained throughout the train ride with lots of  Christmas music sing-a-longs!  Santa’s Express runs on Saturday and Sundays through December.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for children and $8 for toddlers (9 months - 23 months).
    • Christmas Tree Train takes holiday lovers to Wiggins Tree Farm in West Chester to cut down their own Christmas Tree.  Hand saws will be supplied. Once you cut your tree down, it will be wrapped, tagged, placed on the flat car of the train and taken back to the Market St. Station for you to strap to your car and take home.  This trip only runs on 3 days, Nov 25th, Dec 2nd and Dec 9th at 8am only! The whole trip lasts 2 hours. Tickets are $21 for adults, $15 for children, under 2 ride free. All trees are an additional $45.

*Important notes for those traveling with children: There are no bathrooms on the train, snacks are available for purchase on the train or you can bring your own!

 

 

4. Holiday Workshops  - Classes guiding you through creating your own holiday decorations are on my radar this season. I’m doing a number of these local workshops.  The following 2 locations had classes that caught my eye!

  • Terrain opened a new location this year in Glen Mills. They’re kicking off the Holiday season with an open house on November 17th. The day will be filled with holiday activities including a Gingerbread Cookie Decorating Workshop at 1p & 3p for $45 and a Holiday Wreath Making Workshop at 12p & 3p for $75. On December 1 Terrain will hold a Winter Bulb Planters workshop at 1p.  The cost is only $15. If you visit them at any time during the holiday season they always have kids crafts and s’mores by the fire!
  • We visited Floral & Hardy of Skippack for a stop on my fall activity list {Pumpkin Succulent Workshop} and were so impressed that we’re headed back for a few of their holiday workshops! Its a low key location and classes are fairly small.  It lasts about an hour to an hour an a half. It can be a fun girls night, a solo activity, or a family event! You can BYOB if you’d like but there are also great bars & restaurants in the area to check out afterwards.
    • Wreath Decorating Workshop – Nov 20th 10:00 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. Nov 24th at 10am
    • Holiday Kissing Ball Workshop – Nov 29th at 6:00 p.m. & Dec 8th at 2:00 p.m.
    • Winter Container Workshop – Dec 1st at 10:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
    • Christmas Tree Centerpiece Workshop – Dec 6th at 6:30 p.m. & Dec 8th at 10:00 a.m.
    • Holiday Centerpiece Workshop – Dec 13th at 6:30 p.m. & Dec 15th at 10:00 a.m.
    • Kids Holiday Mug Workshop - Dec 15th 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

5.  Wild Lights will transform the Elmwood Park Zoo for the first time this holiday season! The zoo will become a spectacular winter wonderland on November 16th. Millions of lights will illuminate the 16 acres of zoo grounds.

Animated lights, interactive elements, and lit pathways {Disco Ball Way and Candy Cane Lane} all lead to Santa himself!  In addition to photos with Santa you’ll also be able to meet and take pictures with a real live reindeer! The zoo will have a tree lighting ceremony on December 5th at 5:00 p.m. The Wild Lights festival is open Thursdays through Sundays until Dec 9th and then is open nightly December 13th through December 31st.

 

6.  Feeney’s  - has been a Bucks County tradition for many residents for over 5 decades.  With over 20,000 square feet of sparkling lights, sounds and scents of the season, its much more than just shopping.  Its a one of kind experience. They have everything you could possibly need or want to decorate your home for the holidays.  You can get everything from modern holiday decor to some amazing antique favorites. Feeney’s promises they offer only the best quality in both artificial Christmas trees {ask for the fake tree expert Adam if you have any questions}, and fresh cut trees, wreaths, garland and holiday plants.  In addition to shopping for all your holiday decorations, kids can visit with Santa on the weekends. All the money collected from Santa photos is donated to charity.  Last year Feeney’s donated over $15,000 to the Ronald McDonald House. Check their website for holiday demonstrations and Santa hours. They’re open weekdays 8am - 6pm, Saturday 8a-5p and Sunday 9a-5p.

 

7.  Choosing a Christmas Tree  should be a fun activity for both you and the kids! Make it a day of building excitement for this wonderful season! Whether you cut your own tree or pickup a pre-cut tree go to a farm that offers a full holiday experience. That way you can kill 2 birds with one stone {you know because birds are stupid}.

  •  In addition to great fresh cut trees to choose from, Shady Brook Farm in Bucks County also offer photos with Santa, S’mores by the fire and the area’s most elaborate drive through light show.

  • Johnson’s Corner Farm in Medford NJ offers a full list of holiday favorites and photos with Santa are free!  You can experience a light show on the lake or on a hayride, purchase Gingerbread Man and Cookie decorating kits, and make S’mores by the fire.  Then choose from hundreds of fresh cut trees to take home and decorate with the family.
  • Carousel Village Christmas Tree Farm in Wrightstown, PA  is located behind the Village where you can shop and eat. The farm offers hayrides through the fields on weekends.  Some of the friendliest staff  including a few of my favorite teachers of all time) will help you cut your tree, bundle it up and tie it to your car! They also offer a large selection of pre-cut Christmas trees.   A steam engine replica runs through the 40 acre Indian Walk Christmas
    Tree Farm on weekends, weather permitting.
  • Linvilla Orchards in Delaware County offers cut your own or pre-cut trees.  Santa is there on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.   You can take a caroling hayride, enjoy delicious treats, and shop their garden center that is turned into a Christmas Shop during the holidays.
  • Corkum Farm is a smaller farm in Collegeville, Montgomery County.  We went here last year and bought a pre-cut tree but the owner said the 2018 season would offer larger cut your own trees.  Their staff is friendly, helpful, and full of holiday spirit. My son loved the very vocal Thomas the Turkey and had fun running through all the trees looking for the perfect one for our home.
  • Yeagers Tree Farm in Chester County offers convenient hayrides out to the fields to cut down a tree every Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving & Christmas. They have a Christmas photo station and offer hot cider, hot chocolate, cookies and coffee in the cafe.  They are having a wine & cheese Christmas preview on Nov 20th.

 

8. Morris Arboretum’s Garden Railway is sure to impress the little train lovers!  Their ”Friday Night Lights" display was so popular they have now added Saturdays to the schedule and changed the name. “Holiday Garden Railway Nights” tickets are now on sale for Fridays and Saturdays 4:30p-7:30p from Dec 1 - Dec 22.  The train display is brightly lit, and involves fast moving trains above and below you!  You can view the trains during the day (10a-4p) but its much more impressive at night! Dress warm because you’ll be outside the entire time!

(Mark Stehle Photography)

 

9.  DIY Photos with Kara Raudenbush has become a holiday tradition for my family. Why pay for a full professional photo session when you’re likely not printing the photos in large sizes or hanging them on the walls of your house.  If you’re just using your photos for a holiday card this is the perfect option! Kara sets up a very festive holiday scene with a number of different props {sleigh, chimney, snowy window, Santa boots, snowflakes, gifts, mini tree, etc.} and proper lighting and she allows you to use her professional camera to take photos of your kids.  If you’re not photographer, don’t worry. Kara is there the entire time to make sure you are getting great photos. Online booking is now open. Appointments are weekends starting on November 11th.

 

10.  Hershey Lodge’s New Years Eve Celebration is how I’m ending this year’s holiday tour of activities.  At the lodge you can celebrate with an indoor carnival including a full size carousel.  Along with the carnival your package comes with dinner & dessert buffet, music, arcade games, and visiting with Hershey characters. During the day kids can spend time at the Waterworks indoor pool and play area.

If you can stand the cold, Hershey Park is fun during the holiday season. There are holiday coaster rides and light displays.  You can meet Santa and 9 live reindeer, including Rudolph! Jump in your car, warm up and enjoy the 2-mile Sweet Lights drive-thru holiday light display through the woods!

 

I hope you take part in some of this year’s picks on my Holiday Activity list!  Please tag me in your social media posts @kathyromano11 and use the hashtags #kathysholidayactivities #kathysactivities

 

Happy Holidays!!!