The Christmas Village in Philadelphia

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The Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Location City Hall, Philadelphia
Address 1400 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Preview November 19/20, 2016
Opening Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016
Closing Christmas Eve, December 24, 2016
Hours 11am to 7pm Sunday-Thursday

11am to 8 pm Friday-Saturday

  • 70 vendor booths
  • Käthe Wohlfahrt Tent
  • Daily Performances
  • City of Philadelphia Christmas Tree
  • Santa's House
  • European Food Specialties (bratwursts, crepes, lebkuchen, stollen, glühwein, ...)

The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an annual outdoor Christmas market event in Center City Philadelphia, 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. Along with The Nutcracker, the light shows at Wanamaker's and the Comcast Center, the Christmas Village is one of Philadelphia's main Christmas attractions.

The Christmas Village was formerly held at Dilworth Plaza, on the west flank of City Hall. It was moved to LOVE Park to make way for the construction of Dilworth Park in 2011. In 2016 Christmas Village was moved back to City Hall due to the remodeling of LOVE Park.


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 Erzgebirge 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 including a lantern parade; 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]

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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