START CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS! – The fun begins Dec. 4 with Philly’s official tree lighting ceremony on the west side of City Hall. There will be special guests, holiday songs, festivities and much more. Information: www.philachristmas.com. Dec. 7, Ride PATCO’s Silver Sleigh. Santa and his elves take off from Lindenwold at 10, 11:15 and 12:30, and you can hop aboard his decorated train at any stop for a fun-filled festive day in the city.
Ongoing Holiday Events – Nov. 28-Jan. 1, come see the Christmas Village in Philadelphia – an outdoor holiday market at Love Park on JFK Plaza (1500 Arch Street). Vendors will sell food, drinks, ornaments and gifts: www.philachristmas.com. The legendary Holiday Light Show runs at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Macy’s from Nov. 29 through New Year's Eve. Macy’s is also the home of “A Christmas Carol,” a display of animated figures that tell Charles Dickens’ classic tale. Information: www.wanamakerorgan.com. See the colorful, high-tech Comcast Holiday Spectacular on the hour (10 a.m. - 8 p.m., except 5 p.m. on weekdays) at Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Blvd. Visit the sprawling model railroad display at Reading Terminal Market featuring a dozen working train lines running through a wonderland of scenes. Information: www.readingterminalmarket.org. The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts Kwanzaa Celebration activities on Dec. 29. Information: 215-574-0380 or aampmuseum.org.
THE NUTCRACKER – Dec. 7-29, at the Academy of Music. George Balanchine’s glittering “Nutcracker” is a must-see for children and adults alike. This production boasts dazzling sets, glittering costumes and world-class ballet. Information: 215-551-7000 or www.paballet.org.
RING IN THE NEW YEAR – New Year’s Eve fireworks will launch from barges in the Delaware River at 6:00 p.m. and again at midnight. Watch the display from Penn’s Landing or Wiggins Park. Stick around Jan. 1 for the nation’s oldest folk parade as the Mummers string bands strut down Broad Street. Information: 215-965-7676 or www.gophila.com.