Hanukkah lights, Charlie Brown’s back and a reimagined ‘Nutcracker’ in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

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Hanukkah candles

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The outdoors and virtual activities prevail as we head into the holiday season. A bonanza of lights greets the celebration of Hanukkah, beginning today, and some beloved annual traditions are still accessible online.

Light up the holidays

Thursday marks the first night of Hanukkah and Boathouse Row will commemorate the occasion by kicking off their first themed light display of the 2020 holiday season. The historic attraction lights up for Hanukkah from Dec. 10-17. On Dec. 19, the display will change to illuminate for Christmas through Dec. 25 and then from Dec. 26 – Jan. 1 for Kwanzaa. Boathouse Row can be seen from Martin Luther King Drive, which remains closed to vehicular traffic, or from the area directly behind the Philadelphia Art Museum near the Fairmount Water Works. The Betsy Ross House does their Menorah lighting ceremony online Thursday at 4:30 p.m., but it will remain on display through the Hanukkah holiday. You can watch the ceremony here. The Independence Seaport Museum’s annual Parade of Lights is also virtual this year, accompanied by suggestions for family-friendly holiday activities and recipes for cocktails and mocktails. It streams on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m.

Holiday Peanuts

Charlie Brown fans were angered when they learned that for the first time, the Charlie Brown Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials would no longer be aired on free TV. For the first time since the 1960s, and after 20 years on ABC, rights to the Peanuts catalog were sold exclusively to AppleTV+. Apple responded to the controversy by airing the specials for free for limited time periods, but you’d still need to have AppleTV+ and a compatible streaming device to watch. Fortunately, PBS was granted an airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. it will air on WHYY and WHYY PBS Kids. (Note: It will not air on the PBS Kids video app.) If you do have access to Apple TV+, it airs for free on-demand from Dec. 11 – Dec. 13.

Festive winter

The Delaware Museum of Art reconfigured their annual Winter Festival and is bringing it outdoors. Traveling carolers will provide entertainment and an outdoor holiday market features local vendors selling everything from jewelry and holiday ornaments to leather goods and locally-brewed beer. Heaters will be on the grounds, but your ticket also allows you museum admission if you need to go inside to warm up. That will give you the chance to take a peek at one of the current exhibits, including one highlighting the contributions of essential workers and another on the work of African American photographer Percy Ricks. 

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Delaware Art Museum Winter Festival
2301 Kentmere Pkwy. Wilmington, Del.
Saturday, Dec. 12 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
$5, registration required with timed entry

Rappin’ Tchaikovsky

It’s impossible to know whether or not the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky would have appreciated contemporary alterations of his music, but we can figure he’d be happy that people are still enjoying it more than 100 years later. “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” takes liberties with the classic, infusing it with dance, beats and rhythms not found in its traditional production. Pioneering hip-hop artist Kurtis Blow, is the MC for the popular annual production. (This production predates his recent successful heart transplant surgery.) The Kimmel Center is streaming the New Jersey Performing Arts Center performance directed and choreographed by Jennifer Weber. Yes, the characters do go on the same adventures but are transported from E.T.A Hoffman’s original Germany to present-day New York City.

“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” presented by the Kimmel Center
Saturday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., virtual
$25 and up
VIP access includes a post-show panel discussion and an autographed show poster

Shopping for a cause

As you complete your holiday shopping, consider going local and contributing to two initiatives put in place this season. City Councilmember Cherelle Parker sponsored Shop Black Business Friday to assist Black and brown local businesses adversely impacted by the pandemic. The initiative extends through every Friday through December. You can find a list of local Black businesses here. You can also support the Sisterly Love Food Fair, a traveling food market that supports women-owned food businesses in the city. The market runs on weekends through Dec 20. This weekend it stops at Jezebel Café in West Philadelphia and Triple Bottom Brewing Co. in Spring Garden.

 Keep checking in with “Things To Do” as we continue to provide our picks for entertainment during the industry’s COVID-19 hiatus. Please consult our coronavirus updates to keep up with the latest information regionally.

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