Take a step back in time during “A Very Philly Christmas” at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park (www. holidaysinthepark.com). On December 5, the Fairmount Park Conservancy opens the doors to Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, and four other storied homes that preserve the look and feel of 18th- and early 19th-century America. Local garden clubs and design companies have been tasked with decking the halls of these stately landmarks for Christmas. Special events like cooking demos and craft-making workshops are part of the program on select days, and ticket prices and packages vary.
If you’re looking for a merry time without having to open your wallet, head to one of the city’s many free Christmas-themed events. Every night this month, the “Deck the Hall Light Show” projects dazzling imagery onto the façade of City Hall. You can watch the display between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. from Dilworth Park (1 S. 15th St., www.centercityphila.org). “The Christmas Light Show” at Macy’s Center City (1300 Market St., 215.241.9000, www.visitmacysusa.com/philadelphia) offers another beloved seasonal happening, with a show that takes place every two hours and incorporates more than 100,000 LED lights and music from the famous Wannamaker Organ. Afterward, stop by “Dickens’ Village,” a walk-through experience with figurines that tell the story of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
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