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The city is at peak Christmas this weekend. Last week, everyone was still recovering from Thanksgiving. Next week, everyone will be panicking that they haven’t yet bought any friends or family gifts and will descend en masse to King of Prussia Mall, Century 21, Nordstrom Rack and then quickly realize they should’ve just used Amazon. Make no mistake, this Saturday is the day. So before Christmas season descends into chaos, Billy Penn has crafted a precise schedule to allow you to experience all the Christmas goodness.
7 a.m., Your house
Wake up early. You have a lot of Christmas to pack into this day. Early weekend mornings are best accompanied by something warm, so have hot chocolate ready. If you’re having trouble getting in the holiday spirit, spike it with Bailey’s. That’ll do the trick.
8:30 a.m., Ugly Sweater Run, Fairmount Park (4231 Avenue of the Republic)
If you’re the running type, make it 8 a.m., sign up ($40 day of, $35 in advance) and actually partake in the race. Otherwise, show up for the conclusion. You’ll get to see a bunch of people running around in ugly Christmas sweaters and hopefully you can partake in the post-race celebration featuring hot chocolate and beer. See? Being up early on Saturday isn’t so bad.
10 a.m., Macy’s Light Show, Macy’s Center City (1300 Market Street)
Get to Center City however you can and don’t worry from here. You’ll be able to do everything from here on out by foot, SEPTA or Uber if you get tired. The Macy’s Light Show has been a Philly Christmas staple since 1956 and features LED reindeer, snowflakes and ballerinas, along with organ music. And it’s free.
10:30 a.m., Coffee, La Colombe (1414 S. Penn Square)
Order anything. It’s all incredible and will keep you even warmer for what should be a decent weather day (40s, no rain).
11 a.m.: Christmas Village, LOVE Park (1599 JFK Boulevard)
Walk through City Hall to get here — snap a quick photo by the City Hall tree if you’d like — and stop in Love Park for Christmas Village. There are plenty of cool snacks and gifts that range from sweaters to crafts and are both cool and kitschy (we’ve covered the strangest ones already). Can’t guarantee Philly Jesus will be there but considering it’s a Saturday and it’s Christmas season, he shouldn’t be too far.
Noon: Brunch/Lunch, Cafe Lutecia (2301 Lombard Street)
Cheap, quick and delicious — and pretty darn close to your next stop.
12:45 p.m. Holiday double feature of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “A Year Without a Santa Claus,” PFS Theater at the Roxy (2023 Sansom Street)
For $8 — $7 if you have a student ID — you can see two holiday classics. Don’t worry it’s not the interminable “Jim Carrey Grinch” (Given the choice between that movie and a seasick crocodile, I’d take the seasick crocodile); it’s the “guy who did the voice of Tony the Tiger sings the cool songs Grinch.”
3 p.m., Troeg’s Tap Takeover at the Fieldhouse (1150 Filbert Street)
Fieldhouse and its endless array of televisions aren’t exactly the place you think of when you think of Christmas, but this Saturday it will be. Fieldhouse will be having plenty of the three words that make anyone long for the holidays: MAD FREAKIN’ ELF. This concoction of cherry, honey and chocolate malts that is 11 percent ABV is part of a special Troeg’s event that goes from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.. Drink up.
5 p.m., Nutcracker Market, Kimmel Performing Arts Center (300 S. Broad Street)
Get a little bit of evening shopping, too. Whereas Christmas Village is spread out across a square, Nutcracker Market consists of three levels. It features jewelry, art, toys and food.
6 p.m., South Philly Christmas Light Viewing, 1300 Morris Street
Plenty of places to choose from around South Philly. For the sake of this guide, try the “Miracle on 13th Street” and then just walk around until your next stop for dinner.
6:45 p.m., Dinner at Stogie Joe’s, 1800 E. Passyunk
Stogie Joe’s is one of 35 Philly restaurants/bars that have a fireplace. It’s really cozy in there, and comfort foods like their loaded potato wedges, stromboli and sandwiches get the job done.
8:15 p.m.: Rittenhouse Square tree and drink, Rittenhouse Square
Take the BSL up to Rittenhouse Square and get a good peek at the Square’s lit-up Christmas tree. Then pick a bar, any bar for a quick drink.
9:15 p.m., Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest (201 S. Columbus Boulevard)
This Christmas season isn’t complete without a stop at the River Rink Winterfest, winter’s version of the Spruce Street Harbor Park. You can ice skate and eat s’mores and Jose Garces food and drink spiked ciders in a makeshift ski lodge. There’s also skee ball!
11:30 p.m., Your house
Go home a little early because “Love Actually” is on Netflix. Watch it, and I dare you to not cry when Colin Firth is trying his damndest to speak Portuguese. Good night!