In the middle of bustling Philadelphia is a park known as LOVE Park. People far and wide will recognize the sculpture it is named after. Many a tourist stops to snap a picture anytime of year, but this is quite possibly the best time of year to visit LOVE Park. In the middle of this crazy holiday season, take a step back and find some holiday activities in Philadelphia. When you do so, make sure you add a visit to LOVE Park and the Christmas Village. Come hungry and bring your shopping list, because ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ to get hand crafted gifts and special food gifts.
Christmas Village is an authentic German Christmas Market, bustling with outdoor shops filled with food and gifts, and the chance for more toned down simplistic photos with Santa than the ostentatious display at the mall. I recommend an evening visit when the light of day has disappeared, and been replaced with merrily twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and shop booths. That’s when the sounds of beautifully played Christmas music drifting through the air truly turn to magic. Even with the hustle and bustle of people, “all is calm, all is bright”.
A Present Under the Tree
I love finding special gifts for people that show them I was thinking of them, while buying from small businesses and artisans. Christmas Village is the perfect spot to do just that. One of my favorite things about artisans is their complete delight in telling an interested customer about their business and their product. The love that comes through in ownership is beautiful.
The first thing that caught my eye were the beautiful bowls at the Silk Road Traders. We saved that stop for last as they are not only beautiful but also fragile. I couldn’t resist purchasing a few bowls. Isn’t this the sweetest little dish for salt?
I didn’t get a chance to go into the booth for the most sought after and talked about, Käethe Wohlfahrt, which means I am headed back before the season is over. Make sure you don’t miss out like I did.
What the world needs now is puppets. Or so my 11 year old says. He is a novice *ahem* ventriloquist and how could the Silly Puppet booth NOT call his name? In fact, I think he still hears them calling his name.
Chic Afrique is there with natural soaps and scrubs that would be perfect in the toe of a stocking. Who doesn’t love a pretty soap for something special?
Wireworx has unique bead and wire work accessories that are perfect for the entertainer. They have beautiful statement pieces, including spreaders and wine bottle stoppers.
Local author, Tammy Lee Dwyer, is also there, sharing her story of The Christmas Pickle. It’s such a fun story that reinforces the joy of giving anytime of year but especially now.
Bring us Some Figgy Pudding
Would the Christmas Village be complete without food? Oh food, glorious food. Christmas Village is the perfect place to get food gifts for others or for the perfect holiday party dish. I love the chance to reconnect with favorite local foods and discover foods from farther away. Here are a few of my favorites.
I dare you to make a simple choice at John and Kira’s. The ladybugs are the sweetest chocolates ever and one belongs in every child’s stocking. However, if you need to rationalize and eat healthy, just buy some chocolate dipped dried fruit. See? They’ve got you covered.
I highly recommend the garlic and cranberry cheeses at Brunkow Cheese. Buy a block of cheese to go and then grab some cheese on a stick to snack on.
According to the murmurs around us, the Wandering Waffle cannot be missed. No need to check a map. You will smell this booth a mile away. Yum! We had already sampled chocolates and macarons so this is also on my “next trip list”.
Speaking of Macarons, Baked by Tiffany has a booth full of macarons, beautiful pastel macarons that you have to indulge in. I loved the salted caramel but if you’re in the mood for holiday flavors, try eggnog or candy cane kiss.
It stands to reason that if it’s a German Christmas Village there should be German food, right? Never fear, there is a German grill. Do not miss it. This is where you want to buy dinner. Try one of everything, but the Berliner Currywurst is my favorite. It’s making my taste buds sing even now.
If you are looking for the perfect glass of local wine, Chaddsford Winery has a booth where you can buy a bottle or a glass. I recommend taking a bottle of the mulled wine home. Serve warm with mulling spices. ‘Tis the holiday season’!
And we can’t forget a local favorite, The Bacon Jams. Seriously awesome stuff – from a cracker spread to burger topping, bacon jam is fantastic.
Here is a complete list of vendors.
Christmas Village will be live in LOVE Park from November 27, 2014 – December 28, 2014
1500 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Sun. – Thur. 11am – 7pm
Fri. – Sat. 11am – 8pm
There are numerous parking garages within 3 blocks, and limited meter parking.
You can also take the train in for easy hassle free travel.
Here is my challenge to you this holiday season. When you visit Philadelphia and the Christmas Village, keep your eyes open for someone in need. This season is about getting and giving, and sometimes giving something as small as a sandwich to that stranger on the street can change a life.