28 Vintage Photos of Philadelphia During the Holidays


The holiday season always makes me nostalgic for things I’ve never actually had, like that creamy root beer float at the soda fountain in Bedford Falls, or the smell of pine from that glorious tinsel-strewn tree Bing Crosby and I decorated together. I’ve never celebrated Christmas in real life, but the Margaret O’Brien inside my soul tears up every time she hears “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in a store.

Philadelphia is especially beautiful during the holidays, with all the unsustainable twinkling lights and smiling people who tend toward the curt during other months. The SEPTA employee I buy my train tickets from was wearing a Santa hat today, its oversized white pom-pom bouncing over her face as she went to take my cash. It’s a lovely time.

Has it always been like this? Well, as we discovered from doing a little historical research, the twinkling lights, SEPTA grace notes and gigantic public Christmas trees have been around for a long time. But other local holiday traditions have come and gone. Below, a selection of vintage photos from holidays past in Philadelphia, in no particular order, with no particular theme — just interesting moments in time that’ll make you nostalgic, too. Read more »

16 Things to Do in Philly This Week

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If you’re looking for last-minute holiday gifts, why not take your loved ones to a show this week in Philly? There’s plenty of options for all ages and tastes, from the return of Disney on Ice and Martha Graham Cracker to Robert Glasper and John Waters. If movies are your cup of holiday tea, head over to the Roxy to catch a tipsy BYO National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. All our picks below:

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PHOTOS: SEPTA Trolleys, All Jolly and Merry Like Christmas

SEPTA operators have decked the rails for the holidays.

Four cars all done up with lights, tinsel and more are now rolling down the tracks on four of SEPTA’s city trolley lines:

  • Car 2336, the only PCCII in the bunch, is operating on all-surface Route 15.
  • Car 9052 can be found on Lancaster and Lansdowne avenues, working Route 10.
  • Car 9030 runs out to Darby via Woodland Avenue on Route 11.
  • Car 9080 follows Route 36 from Center City to Eastwick.

Riders in Center City and University City may see all three of the Kawasaki trolleys making their way around the trolley subway. Read more »

Your Weekend Workout Playlist: The Only Christmas Playlist You Need This Season

Breaking news: Ariana Grande just came out with an album of original Christmas songs called — wait for it — Christmas & Chill. Yes, the name is genius and yes, the songs are so good, you’ll forgive her for that regrettable donut-licking incident earlier this year.

Seeing the news of her album reminded me that, holy [insert all the curse words here], Christmas is right around the corner and I am so behind on my Christmas gift buying. The solution: Drown out my anxious thoughts with loads of Christmas songs, from a throwback Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey duet (remember when they were married?!?!) to the classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey to the embarrassing “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber. I am going to go ahead and call this Christmas playlist a masterpiece, and I hope you agree. Happy listening and happy holidays, friends! Read more »

Spend Christmas Eve with Stargazy Pies at Aldine


South Park’s Cartman would appreciate this pie fest.

In what we hope becomes a long running tradition, on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th, Aldine chef/owner George Sabatino is inviting his long time friend Sam Jacobson, chef/owner of East Passyunk’s British pie and mash shop, Stargazy, to come over and celebrate the holiday.

And instead of turkey, ham, seven fishes or even Chinese food, there will be pies. An all-you-can-eat pie buffet to be exact. The event will cost $40 per person and will include Stargazy staples plus special pies like, pulled beef cheek; chorizo and mussel; chana masala (vegetarian), and winter pumpkin with house ricotta (also vegetarian).

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22 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend


It’s official, folks: We’ve made it to the last weekend before Christmas. There are still plenty of festive ways to celebrate — from Peek-A-Boo Revue’s burlesque show to the elegant performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Be sure to see Hedda Gabler — a luxe costume drama staged in the Physick House mansion — and Orbiter 3’s A Knee That Can Bend this weekend; they both close on Sunday. We’ve also got a list of happenings for the Star Wars fans to check out in honor of the debut of The Force Awakens. Check out all our picks below, or just click ahead to the categories that strike your fancy.

Holiday (Nice) | Holiday (Naughty) | Star Wars | Murals, Magic, Markets | Comedy Theater | Music

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Recipes: 12 Healthier Holiday Cookies You Won’t Feel Guilty About Eating


No matter your age, you’ve got to admit, Santa Claus is one impressive dude. You don’t see many other senior citizens traveling the whole world in one night to spread holiday cheer, do you? Exactly. And for that, he deserves the millions of cookies left out for him each Christmas Eve. But we’re a bit concerned that whole holly-jolly and round thing can’t be too good for him when he’s, like, hundreds of years old, so we just want to help him be a littleeeeeee healthy(er) this year. That’s where these cookies come in: We’ve found 12 healthier holiday cookies you can bake for Santa (or yourself) this holiday season, featuring all of the sweetness and none of the guilt.

Below, you’ll find everything from vegan thumbprint sugar cookies filled with jam to chocolate chip cookie cheesecake bars. Happy baking! Read more »

This Photo of Adam Joseph’s Son on Santa’s Lap Has Gone Viral

Somewhere in the stacks of your mom’s old photo albums, there is definitely a photo of you in Santa’s lap crying your eyes out to get away. And yes, dad may have pulled it out a time or two to humiliate you in front of friends, but only a handful of people have seen it, right? 6ABC weatherman Adam Joseph’s little boy, Jacob, won’t have that luxury.

His pops dropped a photo of him on Facebook bawling his eyes out when he met Santa a few days ago. The photo has gone viral — like many of Adam Joseph’s updates do — at press time being liked by well over 10,000 people and shared by 82 more. (83 now, if you count me.) Check out the little guy below. The picture is adorable, capturing, as Joseph remarks in his status, a rite of passage for the family. “I was secretly happy he cried (can use as blackmail later in life) but the dad in me wanted to hold his hand,” he writes

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10 Awesome Christmas Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard

best-christmas-songs-robert-drakeMost folks have a love-hate relationship with Christmas songs.

Perhaps it’s the feeling of being forced to embrace the season regardless of what life has thrown your way the past 11 months. Or maybe it’s simply that many Christmas songs are so sickeningly sweet that you might as well carry a NovoLog insulin pen just in case.

But for the 200 or so Christmas songs we all know, there are thousands more that have rarely been heard — from renditions of classic songs to original tunes that embrace the season, warts and all.

For the past 22 years I have had the honor of hosting The Night Before on XPN, a live radio extravaganza. Every December 24th, I take-over WXPN (88.5FM) in Philadelphia for 24 hours nonstop to play anything I want from my insane collection of holiday music that has grown over the past 30 years.

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10 Strange Christmas Traditions to Make You Grateful for That Damned Elf on a Shelf

Left: "Gruss vom Krampus" by Unknown - Historie čertů KrampusUploaded by Kohelet. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. Right: "Mari Lwyd (wiki)" by R. fiend - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Left: “Gruss vom Krampus” by Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons. Right: “Mari Lwyd (wiki)” by R. fiendOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The Washington Post ran a story last week, later picked up by the Inquirer, about boomer parents who are ready to be done with Christmas but can’t be because their millennial kids won’t let them — and boy, did it hit home. Essentially, the gist is that boomer parents were so kid-centric that they now have entire rental storage spaces full of Christmas crapola they long to jettison, but that their offspring, who because of student loans and the lousy economy live in barely furnished hovels with no closet space, are neglecting to put up their own holiday decorations and instead want to be able to come home for Christmas and find everything exactly the same as it was when they were eight.

This story spoke to me in a big way because last year, in a break with tradition that absolutely shocked my kids, I didn’t put up a tree. For every single one of their then-respective 22 and 25 years of life, we’ve had a big ol’ tree that we all trudge out into the wilds of the local cut-your-own-tree place to secure and which we then drag home, erect in the living room, and festoon with lights and thousands of ornaments, each of which holds a special place in our hearts. Except what the hell do I mean “we,” because I’m the one who does the festooning, while son Jake plays video games and daughter Marcy watches Real Housewives reruns and my husband … well, I’m not actually sure what Doug does, but it sure isn’t decorate the tree. Read more »

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