By Allen Foster

Philadelphia may be the undisputed king of cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and attitude, but did you know, we are also home to some incredible holiday shopping experiences too? These aren’t the big mall, national chain pitfalls where you snag the latest kitsch for a remarkably overpriced ticket, we’re talking one-of-a-kind handcrafted magic that will brighten hearts and spread cheer. There are a number of bustling markets where you can find genuinely unique items while strolling about fabulously festive wonderlands that are filled with wintry sights and sound. Here are five places you should consider visiting this holiday season… but only if you want to here gasps of gratitude when Aunt Everly or Uncle Zayden open your gift.

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Christmas Village in Philadelphia
1500 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

For its 10th anniversary, the Christmas Village in Philadelphia is moving back to the famed LOVE park. Fun Fact #1: This will be the first event held at the newly renovated park. Fun Fact #2: Christmas Village is Philadelphia’s largest holiday attraction. Fun Fact #3: Over the years, the Christmas Village has been called Philadelphia’s “Best Outdoor Amusement” and Philadelphia’s “Best Family Event.” More than 750,000 people (and their pets) are expected to come experience the authentic German market complete with over 80 wooden vendor booths, unique Philly-themed hand-crafted collectibles, live entertainment, wine tasting, gingerbread, waffles, Bratwurst, Schnitzel, and so much more. And don’t forget, the admission is free!

ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks
101 Founders Way
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 332-1300

It’s a little bit of a jaunt from Center City up the Northeast Extension to Bethlehem, but it’s well worth the trip. This year, Christkindlmarkt is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary of being one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. The month long event features over 150 artisans, ice carving, glass blowing, Käthe Wohlfarht’s handmade ornaments and collectibles from Germany, live music, breakfast with St. Nicholas, and more. And if that ain’t enough to make you fuel up for the adventure, did you know the official nickname for Bethlehem is “Christmas City, USA?” That definitely sounds like a place you’d want to be for the holidays.

Holiday Light Show
Shady Brook Farm
931 Stony Hill Road
Yardley, PA 19067
(215) 968-1670

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Nothing creates that holiday magic like family. Shady Brook Farm is a family enterprise that has been in business for over 100 years. It is currently being run by its fourth generation of farmers. Shady Brook’s annual Holiday Light Show is in its 23rd year. Visitors can take a leisurely drive through more than 3 million lights to ignite that warm seasonal glow! While there, grab a cup of hot cocoa and toast some s’mores at the bonfire. then, head over to the Farm Market to get your picture taken with Santa, do some shopping, and pick out the perfect tree!

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Holiday Craft Show
Pearl S. Buck House
520 Dublin Road
Perkasie PA 18944
(215) 249-0100

It’s that time of year again. Time to head up to Perkasie to the Pearl S. Buck House to enjoy the scenic splendor of the area. Of course, you won’t just be going for a Sunday drive, when you get to your destination, you can marvel at The 39th Annual Festival of Trees that offers guided daily tours and reservation-only candlelight tours at specified times. While there, you can also stop by the acclaimed Holiday Craft Show featuring over 50 hand-picked artists and craftspeople displaying their wares. Feel free to gasp in awe when you see the incredible paintings, jewelry, pottery, clothing, antiques, and more at this holiday shopping extravaganza.

Peddler’s Village
Routes 202 and 263
Lahaska, PA 18931
(215) 794-4000

For over 50 years, visitors have strolled the meandering brick paths of the historic village located in Bucks County, just a short drive from the city. With over 50 shops offering everything from food and fashion to toys and art, Peddler’s Village is a regional icon. And when the holidays hit, they kick it up a notch. The Season of Lights is an extraordinary event that illuminates the entire village with over a million jewel colored lights. Shop in unparalleled splendor this holiday season, find your paradise at Peddler’s Village.

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