Owners of some of the most magnificent private abodes in town open their colorfully decorated doors to the public for this one-of-a-kind tour sponsored by the Lewes Historical Society. Also included is a visit to the LHS’s Shipcarpenter Street campus, where you’ll see nine period-decorated 18th- and early 19th-century properties. Mingle with interpreters to help navigate your journey to the past and purchase your fresh holiday greens and gifts from the dozen invited artisans. (The LHS campus and marketplace are also open December 1. Admission is free.) historiclewes.org.
Watch one man portray all 26 of the characters in this Charles Dickens classic at Winterthur. His only props? A table, wing chair and hat rack. This awe-inspiring feat is performed by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great-grandson of the illustrious author of this time-honored Christmas tale. Follow with a Yuletide at Winterthur tour—open through January 7—to see the house decked out in its holiday finery, including magnificently decorated trees (don’t miss the dried flower tree) and lavish table settings for Christmas dinner. winterthur.org.
In this fantastical tale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, you’ll encounter a whole world of magical creatures, including Knooks, Faeries, Ryls and the dreaded Awgwas that hide under human children’s beds to frighten them. The Possum Point Players bring to life how Santa got his sleigh to fly (with the help of Jack Frost), why he slides down the chimneys, how he made his first toy and the story behind his infectious laugh. It’s bound to be a don’t-miss “Ho! Ho! Ho!” holiday delight. possumpointplayers.com.
The Christina Cultural Arts Center presents the story of Christ’s birth according to the Gospel of St. Matthew at The Grand. Celebrate the holiday through contemporary music, exuberant dance and powerful narration. Vocalists from Philadelphia perform alongside the Eleone Dance Theater and Eleone Connection of Philadelphia. ccacde.org.
A classic holiday tale receives a modern retelling at the Clear Space Theatre Company. A Christmas Carol is told through the experiences of Ebenezer Scrooge’s great-great-granddaughter with influence from Great Expectations, Little Dorrit, Bleak House and other Charles Dickens novels. clearspacetheatre.org.
The Delaware Symphony Orchestra closes its 2023–2024 season at the Hotel du Pont to celebrate the festive season. Enjoy Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Aria: Grosse Herr from the Christmas Cantata, among other offerings. The show features baritone Grant Youngblood. delawaresymphony.org.
Dance and theater students from the Christina Cultural Arts Center showcase their talents. ccacde.org.
Settle in for a trip to long ago and far away as Rockwood Museum’s Poet in Residence David R. Kozinski and actress and director Patti Allis Mengers bring the words of renowned Welsh poet Dylan Thomas to life. Enjoy this tale of youthful years and simpler times along with other traditional holiday favorites. Admission is free for this two-hour event. newcastlede.gov.
About 150 of the region’s finest artists and artisans will ring in the season at the Chase Center on the Wilmington Riverfront. The inaugural affair will showcase painters, jewelry-makers, potters, photographers and fabric artists who have attracted the area’s art lovers to the Brandywine Festival of the Arts in September for more than 60 years. Attendees can shop for holiday gifts and mingle with popular artists and fellow art enthusiasts. The two-day festival will also feature food vendors, live music and entertainment, face painting and other children’s activities. brandywineholiday.com.
The Grand continues a holiday tradition with The First State Ballet Theatre’s performance. Take a magical journey through the Land of Sweets from the audience of Copeland Hall. thegrandwilmington.org.
A celebration of holiday sights, sounds and flavors, this event was inspired by a combination of the festive Christmas markets in Europe, an amusement park and a music festival. From the top of the Ferris wheel, get a bird’s-eye view of the colorful action below, from carnival rides to 4 million LED lights to 1,000 decorated trees. Browse the Christmas Market’s 35 curated gift shops while being serenaded by Victorian carolers. Daily parades will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus riding in a horse-drawn carriage to the lively music of local marching bands. There’s even a stage with national-caliber live music. yuletidedevon.com.
All aboard an authentic steam locomotive at America’s oldest operating railroad for a 45-minute ride with holiday entertainment. Choose from one of four experiences. The Santa Claus Limited gives families an opportunity to get up close and personal with the man in red; Santa’s Paradise Express adds professional carolers. The Night Before Christmas Train features a performance of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, and the Christmas Tree Train takes you to a grove where you can pick out a pre-cut Fraser fir to take home. strasburgrailroad.com.
Immerse yourself in a land of enchantment where your family can wage snowball battles, roller skate on a supersized rink or tube down a sledding hill. Guests can frolic in 18 miniature decorated playhouses filled with toys and activities, find their way through a magical maze, take a train ride through a tunnel of lights, meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus and shop in over 30 artisan boutiques. There will be live entertainment on the Snowflake Stage and a beer garden for the grown-ups. Admission is free. schellbrothers.com.
Build the candy-covered home of your sweetest dreams or just check out what more than 30 other confectionary architects have constructed during Hagley Museum & Library’s sixth annual Gingerbread House Competition. The gingerbread display is included with your admission to the museum, so while you’re there, take a tour of Eleutherian Mills, the du Pont family home, which will be decorated in a “Treasures and Traditions” theme. hagley.org.
Longwood Gardens is colorful all year long, but never so stunningly as at holiday time. Stroll through a living winter wonderland illuminated with more than half a million lights. Trees are bedecked in seasonal finery; gardens are in bloom and multihued waters dance to festive music in fountains. The holiday spirit shines brightly and beautifully at this iconic Chester County destination. longwoodgardens.org.
If you’re searching for a wild New Year’s Eve party, look no further than the Brandywine Zoo where your favorite furry, finned and feathered friends will ring in 2024 at noon instead of midnight. The whole family can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while counting down the moments until the disco ball drops and kicking off the “Noon Year” with an apple cider toast. The zoo’s large lemur mascot and, weather permitting, some ambassador animals will be on hand to join the celebration. brandywinezoo.org.
All eyes will be on the Lightship Overfalls as its ceremonial anchor is lowered at midnight. visitdelaware.com/events/new-years-eve-anchor-drop-lewes/77678.