We love the holidays at SGC, and we’re especially fond of traditions, like when Susan gives the children of her employees money to give to the charity of their choice. Last year, so many traditions were suspended due to COVID-19, but we’re happy to report that many in-person events are back this year.
Whether you are renewing a cherished family holiday tradition or looking for a new one, here are 10 events to consider attending in Central PA from now until New Year’s Day. We hope you enjoy them as much as we will with our own families!
1. Strasburg Railroad
All aboard the train at the Strasburg Railroad, where you can choose from several events to celebrate Christmas. The Night Before Christmas Coach is perfect for families with older children, while younger ones may enjoy the Christmas Trolley, which includes a visit with Santa. For more information, click here.
2. The Pennsylvania Christmas Show
Avoid the supply chain snafus this holiday season and buy local! The annual event held at the Farm Show Complex includes more than 500 vendors and runs through Dec. 5. You must purchase a ticket ($8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens) to enter. Visit the show’s website to get $2 off the $10 parking.
3. The Ugly Sweater Crawl
Held Saturday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. in New Cumberland, the event invites people to wear their ugliest sweaters as they visit the charming shops of the borough. Pictures of the 10 ugliest sweaters will go up on Facebook, and the person who receives the most votes gets a holiday-themed prize. Find out how and where to get tickets by clicking here.
4. Skate With Santa
On Saturday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 3 p.m., join Kris Kringle during a public skate at Klick Lewis Arena in Annville. The big guy and his elves will actually take the ice and pose for pictures during the event. (And if you can snap photos while you skate, we salute you!) For more information, click here.
5. Christmas at the Cloister
One of the best parts of the holiday is the beautiful music. The Ephrata Cloister Chorus puts on a concert of favorite lessons and carols at the Ephrata meetinghouse. Tickets are required, and you can buy them online before the concert.
6. The Hershey Symphony Orchestra
You have two chances to hear this exquisite concert, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., on Dec. 11 at Hershey Theatre. Santa Claus will also make an appearance, so it’s a good one for younger children, who will also enjoy the familiar music, including songs from The Polar Express. Reserve your tickets in advance.
7. ‘A Christmas Carol’
What would the holiday season be without Charles Dickens’ classic tale illustrating the true meaning of Christmas? You can catch performances at Open Stage running from Dec. 4 to 23. Purchase your tickets in advance.
8. ‘The Nutcracker’
Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet presents the beloved ballet at two locations, in Hershey (December 11 and 12) and Harrisburg (December 18 and 19). The sets, the costumes and the choreography combine for a merry celebration. Find links to ticket purchasing on the CPYB website.
9. Hershey Sweet Lights
Hailing from Hershey, we may be a bit biased, but we believe the Sweet Lights set the standard for area holiday light displays. You get to stay toasty in your car and blast Christmas music as you take in the festive atmosphere, too — don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot cocoa! Sweet lights is open daily (except Dec. 25) through Jan. 2.
10. Christmas Tree Showcase
See trees decorated by a different local florist. Their creativity and vision make for an inspiring walk-through, plus you can listen to music by a live harpist as you stroll. The Showcase is open now through Jan. 2.