The Christmas Village in Philadelphia

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The Christmas Village in Philadelphia
ChristmasVillage PHL KeyVisual Credit DaveLakatos.jpg
Christmas Village in Philadelphia in LOVE Park facing City Hall
BeginsNovember 11 (November 11)
EndsDecember 31 (December 31)
Years active2008–present
ActivityMore than 70 vendor booths
  • Käthe Wohlfahrt Tent
  • Daily Performances
  • City of Philadelphia Christmas Tree
  • Santa's House
  • European Food Specialties (bratwursts, crepes, lebkuchen, stollen, gluehwein, etc.)
  • Hours:
  • 11am to 7pm Sunday-Thursday
  • 11am to 8 pm Friday-Saturday

The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an annual outdoor Christmas market event in LOVE Park, at which vendors in wooden booths and a vendor tent sell international seasonal holiday gifts, ornaments, arts and crafts, as well as European food, sweets and hot beverages.

The Christmas Village was formerly held at City Hall, since LOVE Park was under construction. In 2017 Christmas Village returned to the newly renovated LOVE Park and turned it into an authentic German Christmas market. As in past years, the event will be open from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve with a Preview Weekend on November 17th and 18th, 2018.


The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is modeled on the style of traditional German Christmas Markets. Christmas Market events such as the famous Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, which dates back to the 16th century, are part of a long tradition of farmers' markets in Germany's inner cities. [1][2]

Several wooden booths and tents sell food specialties such as German bratwursts with sauerkraut, schnitzel, Berlin doner kebab, goulash and Bavarian pretzels. A wide assortment of traditional sweet Christmas-food items like lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies), stollen, spekulatius, roasted nuts, cotton candy, chocolate covered fruits, waffles and crepes are offered. In addition to hot drinks such as hot chocolate, coffee and tea, Christmas Village offers Gluhwine (mulled wine). [3][4][5]

Besides local vendors and artists there are German vendors selling genuine Christmas decorations, pewter ornaments, candles, nativity sets, glass ornaments, toys, woollens, wooden ornaments, lace, spices and jewelry. [6] [7] The booths' assortment is related to the winter season and the upcoming holidays.

Highlights of the event include live demonstrations of glass blowing, glass ornaments painting and wood carving, a Christmas tree vendor, and arts and crafts products. For children there is a Santa's house and more special themed events; for adults there are daily live performances from local artists such as string and brass bands, soloists and school choirs at a central stage, and an opening ceremony with the original Christkind from Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg, the City of Philadelphia's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and a German American weekend.[8]

Shoppers at Christmas Village in Philadelphia in LOVE Park
German Bratwurst at Christmas Village in Philadelphia in LOVE Park
Glass ornament vendor at Christmas Village in Philadelphia in LOVE Park

Name controversy[edit]

In 2010 Christmas Village in Philadelphia was subject to a major controversy about its name. After City Officials proposed to change its name and its portal signs to “Holiday Village”, the controversy became a national news topic. Jay Leno scoffed: “The annual ‘Christmas Village’ in Philadelphia has been renamed the ‘Holiday Village.’ In fact, they’re not Santa’s reindeer anymore . . . They’re now ‘nondenominational venison.’” After three days of controversy Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael A. Nutter intervened and the name and signs were restored.[9][10]

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