Patti LaBelle, Philadelphia Rare Book Fair, dual Nutcrackers, and Hanukkah celebrations in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Dec. 7 - 10: Rare Book Fair in Philly, “Who’s Holiday” in N.J., and Winterthur seasonal events in Delaware are among the weekend’s highlights.

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A large menorah is seen in the foreground. In the background is Independence Mall

File photo: A large menorah is seen on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The holiday season is upon us, which means the city’s mood is festive as Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa are coming back to back before the year’s end. Elfreth’s Alley’s “Deck the Alley” combines Philadelphia’s rich architectural history with holiday cheer. In Delaware, Winterthur is already dressed in its Yuletide finery and is hosting three seasonal events over the weekend. While there, you can also view the Ann Lowe exhibit, which goes through Jan. 7. The Philadelphia Rare Book Fair brings bibliophiles together to buy and sell hard-to-find books, and at Cookie Chaos you can make, bake, and take holiday cookies. A weekend of music legends begins with tenor Andrea Bocelli at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night and our own Patti LaBelle taking the stage at Met Philadelphia on Saturday.

New Jersey | Delaware | Special Events | Holiday Markets | Arts & Culture | Food & Drink | Comedy | Music

New Jersey

Who’s Holiday

  • Where: South Camden Theatre Company, 400 Jasper St. Camden, N.J.
  • When: Dec. 8 – 17
  • How much: $5 for Camden residents with ID, $20 general admission

In “Who’s Holiday,” Cindy Lou Who is all grown up and reminiscing about the days when the Grinch changed her life. Though based on characters from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” this is an adults-only play that deviates from the origin story in humorous fashion.

Indigo Girls

They’ve been around for three decades and sold over 15 million albums, but the Indigo Girls won fans from a new generation when their 1989 song “Closer to Fine” was used in this summer’s “Barbie” movie. They head to South Jersey’s Scottish Rite Auditorium for two shows on Friday and Saturday.

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Weekend at Winterthur

The Yuletide Tree at Winterthur Museum
Yuletide Tree at Winterthur (Courtesy of Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library)
  • Where: Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 5105 Kentmere Pkwy., Wilmington, Del.
  • When: Friday, Dec. 7 – Sunday, Dec. 10
  • How much: Various prices

If you’ve ever thought of spending a holiday weekend at Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, this is the one. Several holiday events are scheduled, including “A Christmas Carol Live” on Thursday at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday’s OperaDelaware by Candlelight includes performances of holiday classics and more, and on Sunday, you can Brunch with Santa. In addition, this year’s Yuletide decorations were inspired by Ann Lowe, whose exhibit continues through Jan. 7.

Special Events

The Philadelphia Rare Book Fair

People walk around at a rare book fair
(Courtesy of Philadelphia Rare Book Fair)
  • Where: Trinity Memorial Church, 2212 Spruce St. 
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 7, 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: Preview night on Thursday, $50. Friday and Saturday, free

From “Antiques Roadshow” to sports trading cards and rock star memorabilia, there’s value in vintage items. At the Philadelphia Rare Book Fair, buyers and sellers come together to talk, buy, and sell books that are sometimes worth hundreds of thousands. You may want to explore that trove of books in your attic and basement — you never know! The fair is free, but Thursday’s preview event is $50.

Deck the Alley

A view of Elfreth's Alley
Shown is Elfreth’s Alley. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

We doubt the original residents of Elfreth Alley ever thought their homes would become a museum, but it’s likely they enjoyed the seasonal festivities as the city evolved around them. Deck the Alley, the annual holiday celebration, invites visitors into those homes for a glimpse of those who lived there in the past and who occupy the historic homes today.

Hanukkah Celebration

The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History hosts a Hanukkah celebration featuring Michael Winograd & the Honorable Mentshn, a book signing by Dr. Helene Jawhara Piñer, and an onstage menorah lighting ceremony and sing-along. Free wine is provided by local kosher winemakers Camuna Cellars.

Community Menorah Lighting & Hanukkah Celebration

  • Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St. 
  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: Free

The Betsy Ross House hosts their annual community menorah lighting and Hanukkah celebration in conjunction with the Old City Jewish Arts Center. Traditional Hanukkah treats including latkes and jelly donuts will be served, and menorahs and gelt will be offered for takeaway.

 Yardley Chanukah Village

  • Where: Main Street, Yardley, Pa.
  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m.
  • How much: Free

Yardley’s Chanukah Village celebration includes activities, giveaways and treats, and a grand menorah lighting with LED Robot.

The West Philly Holiday Hoopla

  • Where: Multiple locations in West Philly
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 9, various times
  • How much: Free, some events ticketed

West Philadelphia hosts The West Philly Holiday Hoopla, a day-long festival with music, arts, a pop-up ice rink and beer garden, craft fest, plant sales, and even ticketed performances. The day-long event (the craft fest extends to Sunday) happens at multiple locations, including The Rotunda, Trolley Portal Gardens, Freebird Greenery, the Lawn at uCity Square, and the Annenberg Center.

Christmas in the Barrio

  • Where: Esperanza Arts Center, 4261 N. 5th St. 
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m.
  • How much: Free

Christmas carols and traditional Latino music are included in Christmas in the Barrio, the annual community party at the Esperanza Arts Center, which serves the Latino community. Face painting and other family-friendly activities are on the schedule. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Salvation Army toy drive.

Holiday Frost Fair

  • Where: Pottsgrove Manor, 100 W. King St. 
  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $2 suggested donation

Experience how holidays were celebrated in the colonial era at Pottsgrove Manor’s first Holiday Frost Fair. The outdoor fest includes access to the museum, gingerbread baked in an outdoor oven, living history demonstrations, and games from the 1700s.

Holiday Markets

Italian Extravaganza

  • Where: The Armory, 22 S. 23rd St. 
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 7, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Celebrate the food and culture of Italy while learning how to make some of the country’s cuisine at the Italian Extravaganza. Chef Jessica Botta will demonstrate her techniques for making pasta dough and then incorporate that into a recipe. Style consultant Rose Agliata provides tips on Italian fashion and how to find the looks should your travel plans include Milan and Naples. An on-site marketplace means you don’t have to travel that far for Italian food or fashion unless you want to.

Handmade x Mercado Cultural

The Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia, which occupies a former church, offers classes and programs to children and adults. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
  • Where: Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catherine St.
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

The annual Handmade x Mercado Cultural Marketplace incorporates a juried art exhibition with unique, handcrafted items for sale. Some vendors come through the El Mercado Cultural Exchange, while others are handpicked by local artists and makers. The 125th annual Adult Student Exhibition will also display their work, much of which is also available to buy.

Trans Art Market

  • Where: Bok Building, West Gym, 821 Dudley St. 
  • When: Sunday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $5 at the door

The winter 2023 Trans Art Market provides non-judgemental space for vendors who are trans, non-binary, and gender expansive to market their works. A portion of the proceeds will benefit reparation efforts. Masks and a vaccination card are required to attend. If no proof of vaccination is given, a COVID test will be administered on-site.

Arts & Culture

Philadanco! Intangible Influences

  • Where: Perelman Theater, 300 S. Broad St. 
  • When: Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m.
  • How much: $29 – $49 

In their latest performance, “Intangible Influences” Philadanco! premieres a newly commissioned work by Christopher Rudd that combines ballet and the circus, along with a revival by Nijawwon Matthews, a Philadanco! alumnus.

George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker,’ and Dorrance Dance: ‘The Nutcracker Suite’

It’s officially holiday time when “The Nutcracker” is in town. In Philly, there are multiple productions to choose from starting this week.  You can see the classic George Balanchine “Nutcracker”  from the Philadelphia Ballet, or head to the Annenberg for Dorrance Dance tapping their way through Duke Ellington’s “The Nutcracker Suite.”

Food & Drink

Cookie Chaos

  • Where: The Deep End Studios, 1313 S. 33rd St. 
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 9, Sunday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • How much: $10 for cookie dough, $12 on-site

If you’re leaving cookies out for Santa or want some for yourself, head to Cookie Chaos, the artist-led cookie creation event on Saturday and Sunday. They provide everything but the dough, which you can purchase online in advance. Enjoy live music and hot beverages while you create your most outlandish cookie designs. You can also design cards and cookie tins — so Santa’s will still be fresh on Christmas Day.


Depths of Wikipedia Live with Annie Rauwerda

If you’re struggling to grasp how Wikipedia entries can be used as fodder for comedy, you’ll have to check out “Depths of Wikipedia Live” with Annie Rauwerda.” After creating an X (formerly Twitter) account about arcane facts and details posted in the online encyclopedia, naturally she had to take it on the road.


Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli performs onstage
File photo: Andrea Bocelli performs during the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala honoring Laura Pausini in Seville, Spain Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. (Photo by Jose Breton/Invision/AP)

World-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli makes his way to the Wells Fargo stage in support of his 2022 holiday release, “A Family Christmas,” and after the release of “The Journey,” a documentary of his life released earlier this year. (You know you’re a pretty big deal when a sitting Pope appears in your doc.) The performance is presented by WHYY, PBS, and NPR.

Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle sings into a microphone onstage
File photo: Patti LaBelle performs during CMT Smashing Glass on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. The pre-taped show airs Nov. 15. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Aside from Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle may be the most beloved female artist of her generation. And at 79, she has a multimedia career that spans food, acting, and music. But at the Met Philadelphia on Saturday night, she’s showcasing the voice that has enthralled fans for six decades. Carol Riddick, another of Philly’s plethora of talented female vocalists, will open the show.


  • Where: Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave. 
  • When: Friday, Dec. 8, Saturday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m.
  • How much: $25 – $50

Popular jam band Spafford holds down the festival circuit in the summer and fall, Still, in the winter, they check in for a two-night mini-residency at Ardmore Music Hall. In a special promotion, you can buy a pass for individual shows or as a two-night package.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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