So, I’m in Wanamaker’s – I doubt that I will ever be able to call it Macy’s – on the day before Christmas Eve, walking between one quiet block to another. And all I can feel around me is an eerie calm. I get that it’s our first COVID Philadelphia Christmas and that scared shoppers mulling around is at an all-time low. I get too that department store shopping at a time of Amazon cholera is a rare, pleasant thing of the past, with so many other Macy’s in other cities shuttered and down. No, this spooky quiet was all about the fact that the ever-present Christmas show at Wanamaker’s, the one originally voiced by CBS/NFL “Voice of God” John Facenda, then Julie Andrews, wasn’t happening. There was nothing there, no big light show, no roaring organ, no splashy finale. The no-show silence had been caused by COVID-19 so that people wouldn’t gather so close together around the Wanamaker eagle and gawk. Damn it.
If there was ever a moment I felt COVID’s claw, it was that. Putting the pandemic behind us, here are a few things I’m hoping you can get to during your Philadelphia Christmas.
South Philadelphia’s street light shows. I am pleased as spiked holiday punch that Delco dad Mike Kane crafted a locally mapped out new app, ChristmasPrism. In order to point toward the best, most colorful Christmas light presentations and monster-sized outdoor decoration sites.
My advice is just to spend a few hours and zig-zaggingly drive through the streets of South Philly below Washington, and through to the sports complex area. I promise you will be amazed.
dosage MAGAZINE has already alerted you to online virtual theatricals from 1812 Productions (“This is the Week That Is”) and Lantern Theatre (Anthony Lawton and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”). I’d quickly like to add something oddly oblong and warmly chatty from Philly’s Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium’s YouTube channel, Saturday’s “Into the Absurd: A Virtually Existential Dinner Conversation, at 5 pm for 50-minutes on Zoom and Facebook Live.”
This week, the local Idiopaths are going around the globe, virtually, to explore 60 years of the Bangalore Little Theatre with Vijay Padaki. That’s a Zoom and Facebook Live thing too.
Hot off the press or fresh out of the cask, I don’t know, is the brand new Philadelphia Christmas Village Kölsch Golden Ale that you can purchase in four-pack cans at the food court in the middle of Love Park at The Alm (beer garden) by the beer booth just past the giant grill hut. Brewed in German style, the 5.8% lightest draft beer at Christmas Village, joins the Bar Hygge/ Brewery Techne brews such as the Lemon Meringue IPA and the Wohlig Weissbier.
Remember though, the Christmas market will close on Christmas Eve at 5:00 pm.
Man, I hate to be a crepehanger on the holidays. But, respect must be given. Philly-Montco rap legend Alexis “Mistaa” Dean passed away quietly as Christmas Eve dawned.
Once a part of the 80s Tommy boy label stable, Dean is most famed and locally beloved for his time as part of the Birdheadz (with Pretty Poison yet) and writing “Flyin’ wit DaBirdz 05” when the Philadelphia Eagles were in the Super Bowl.
As I am writing this it is 2 pm on Christmas Eve, and if you are looking for a unique gift that goes beyond handing somebody something in a bow, give them a handful of Philly-based, wellness and education-focused Ignition Arts Workshops to brighten their day and enliven their brains.
Ignition Arts is all about finding new ways to enhance creative thinking and inspire new work and new ways of working. Plus, for C-19 Ignition Arts figured out how to collaborate virtually and create ensemble and content while physically apart.
Cue Wonder Woman music. If you don’t have HBO Max, the Philadelphia Film Society and the Navy Yard got together for another PFS at the Drive-In affair. This time with “Wonder Woman 1984” and “News Of The World.”
Go ahead. Just hang out at Tinsel at South 12th Street. They have Mexican food from Sueño, and cocktails to keep you warm, or cool. Since it’s like 62 degrees out on Christmas Eve…