Philly Christmas Walk brings holiday cheer through Center City

The Wanamakers exhibit featured a bright and cheerful Christmas tree

Olivia Tamburrino ('24)

The Wanamaker’s exhibit featured a bright and cheerful Christmas tree

The Philly Christmas Walk really does make you feel like you’re walking in a winter wonderland. The Philly Christmas Walk tour through Center City brings much Christmas cheer and spirit with its many attractions and festivities. The walk takes you through many special Christmas activities such as a Comcast Christmas show, Christmas Village, Wanamaker’s lights along with a Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” show held inside, and history on the significance of The Church of the Holy Trinity. The Christmas walk requires a tour guide who leads you through the many sights and attractions around Center City.

This festive walk started off at the giant Christmas tree in Center City (Olivia Tamburrino (’24))

The very first attraction to this tour was the Comcast Holiday Spectacular show, the best way to start off the tour. The annual holiday tradition of the 15 minute long Comcast Holiday Spectacular show was brought outdoors this year but was still a wonderful way to start off a Christmas-filled day. This holiday show included many different Christmas carols and sing-alongs to put you into the Christmas spirit. Classic carols they included in the show were Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, and the Twelve Days of Christmas. This show also includes snips of the Nutcracker and takes you through Philly on a virtual sleigh ride creating the perfect cinematic experience for friends and family.

The Comcast Christmas show got everyone in the holiday spirit (Olivia Tamburrino (’24))

After the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, I was led to the Bloomingdale’s Outlet on Chestnut to see the great Christmas tree they put up for all shoppers to take pictures or just gather around and enjoy. The tree is as tall as two floors and was full of colorful ornaments and sparkling lights. I had much fun capturing pictures of this ginormous Christmas tree and very loved soaking in the festive decorations all around.
After the short visit to see the tree, I was led to the Christmas Village which had a variety of fun Christmas activities and decorations. Overwhelmed by all of the amazing sights, I turned to the ice skating rink located in the middle of the village and found myself surrounded by warm and cozy Christmas shopping tents and lights. While observing the ice skating rink and skaters themselves, I noticed the festive Christmas music they played on the speakers along with the many stringed lights hung over the rink. The Christmas shopping tents had many holiday gifts such as jewelry, winter sweaters and scarfs, cozy socks, baked goods, and more.

Ice skating in Center City was a perfect activity to do during this event (Olivia Tamburrino (’24))

After spending time in the Philly Christmas Village, we made our way to the Wanamaker’s department store. Not only is this department store known for its size, but it also has a historical background and relation to Christmas. The Wanamaker’s department store was one of the first department stores in the United States founded by John Wanamaker and was also known to be the place to go Christmas shopping during the holidays. Another thing this department store is very popular for is their annual Christmas light show. When first walking into this store, a huge display of Christmas lights and a tree fill the wall of the department store. I had never seen any other department store or store in general so decked out for Christmas. The decorations inside this department store were astounding and covered the store very nicely.

The Wanamaker’s Christmas Carol show was both entertaining and informative for the crowd watching (Olivia Tamburrino (’24))

Shortly after enjoying the sights of the Wanamaker’s lights and decorations, we made our way to the Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” show located inside the Wanamaker’s department store. This was by far my favorite part of the tour because it went into depth with my favorite and one of the most famous Christmas stories. Instead of seeing an actual performance or reenactment of the tale, it had animated figures that depicted different scenes throughout the book which told the story. This was a very unique experience and the show had impressive sculptures of characters in the book by Dickens. This show walked you through Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas present, past, and future and the detailed village and scenery made it feel as though you were living in the story. Not only did this retell and go into detail with Charles Dickens’s novel, but it also recreated a winter wonderland of snow and a Christmas village that made up the setting for the story.
To finish off the day, we took a visit to The Church of Holy Trinity where much history lays. Phillips Brookes, writer of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” was a rector of Philadelphia’s Holy Trinity Church. The church’s historical features were very engrossing, especially with its relation to Christmas. This was the perfect way to end the tour with its very important and interesting significance behind Christmas.