Philadelphia FIGHT Teams With Eastern State Penitentiary for Holiday Toy Drive

philly fight toy drivePhiladelphia FIGHT‘s Institute for Community Justice — which works “to reduce not only the number of people in prison living with HIV, but also the lasting effects of mass imprisonment on communities most affected” —  is teaming with Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP) for its annual toy drive benefitting children of incarcerated or recently released parents. Now through Dec. 15, any visitor to ESP who donates a new toy or children’s book that’s still in its original package will receive a second admission free of charge. Don’t feel like a stroll through the prison? Folks can make donations during regular business hours even if they don’t plan on taking the tour.

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BUY THIS: This Rainbow Christmas Tree Will Be the Most Fabulous Fir in Town

rainbow treeDear Sexy Santa,

I’m going to go out on a limb and ask that you bring every gay man and woman in Philadelphia this rainbow tree. It’s been a big year for us LGBTQers, so what better way to recognize it than to end 2013 with one of these bad boys sitting proudly in our living room windows?

The seven-foot beauty is available at Treetopia for (oh look, it’s on sale, Santa) $228. There’s even a mini version for those living in smaller abodes. It’s only three-feet-tall and available for $48.

It will truly be the most fabulous holiday tree in town.

Love, G Philly

P.S. Can we send Daryl Metcalfe and Governor Corbett one, too?

7 Gayest Covers of Mariah Carey’s
“All I Want for Christmas is You”

mariah carey justin bieber all i want for christmas is you

You can groan all you want about how you hate holiday music, but I dare you to sit in a room where Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” is cranking and not get touched — at least a little — by the Christmas spirit. From the opening jingle bells to the reindeer-prancing beats, the song is undoubtedly one of the catchiest holiday tunes to come out of our generation — and a bona-fide greatest hit in Mimi’s catalog (61,342,438 YouTubers agree.)

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From Collingswood Cash to Ardmore Dollars, Local and Alternative Currency is All The Rage

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

You’ve got to love American resourcefulness. If the economy fails, if the dollar bottoms out, what do we do? Hey! Let’s make our own money!

That’s what more than a few municipalities have been doing recently. And it makes sense: If you can’t trust in God — or the U.S. government, anyway — you can still trust in, say, Collingswood cash. (Incidentally, Standard & Poor’s recent rating of AA- is the highest in the borough’s history, wiping out the Moody’s trash talk of 2011.)

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Secret Santa: Confessions of a Department Store Santa Claus

Santa Claus

Many of the people who play Santa Claus for major department stores are contractually forbidden from talking to the press about their jobs. But we found one department store Santa Claus willing to cross the thin red line, under the condition that we protect his identity. Here, a man who puts on the Santa suit for a popular Philadelphia-area department store for seven hours a day tells us what it’s like to do so in an age of helicopter parents and Xbox One. It’s not easy being Santa. Read more »

One Simple Rule For Surviving Christmas With Your Family

shutterstock_christmas-faces-940

Photo | Shutterstock

I was once told by an older gentleman that it is not a true family gathering unless one person leaves crying and another leaves in a huff.

There is a lot of truth in this humorous remark.

Family, by definition, are the people who you have to be with this time of year. When you put too many divergent personalities together in a room, there is bound to be friction. Now that the opening act of Thanksgiving is over and all of the relatives have safely returned home, it is time to gear up  yet again for the main event: Christmas week. How does one adequately prepare for even more quality time as children, spouses, in-laws — and the occasional stray dog that always seems to end up as part of the scene — arrive? If that is not enough, this time you might even get snowed in with them.

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VIDEO: Man and Woman Steal Christmas Decorations in South Philadelphia

christmas theft

First came the Black Friday stun gun fight at Franklin Mills Mall. Then came Wednesday’s violent brouhaha at Philadelphia’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in, yep, Love Park. And now, to continue the tradition of Christmastime malevolence, we bring you a pair of yuletide bandits who, according to police, stole Christmas decorations off of a home in South Philadelphia, which I’m pretty sure is a capital offense in that particular neighborhood. Read more »

The Ugliest Of All Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Just when you thought ugly Christmas sweaters were limited to attached jingle bells and fuzzy candy canes, there’s this: A sweater by Digital Dudz that has an inner pocket for a smartphone, which—once you download a free  app—will  actually animate the sweater (the options are surprisingly vast: there’s a caroling kitty, a crackling fireplace, a snowglobe). Watch the video and prepare to dominate your Ugly Christmas Sweater parties.

TONIGHT: PGMC Channels Bette Midler for its Holiday Extravaganza

Bette Midler (The Divine Miss M, if you’re nasty)’s peppy holiday classic “Cool Yule” is the inspiration behind Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus’s 2013 holiday concert, called, wouldn’t you know, “Cool Yule.” For the event, Artistic Director Joseph J. Buches has hired a Big Band that will guide his 140-strong group of songbirds through a catalogue of little-known holiday tunes from the swing era. I ran into PGMC member — and occasional Philly Mag writer — Sandy Smith last night at KNOCK, where he hilariously regaled me with a sampling of two or three of the songs on the agenda, like “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” which he crooned to me in his best “eight-year-old voice.”

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