Festival of Trees
Need a little Xmas? Right this very minute? Head to the Ritz-Carlton restaurant to take in a dozen designer-trimmed evergreens while sipping spiked peppermint cocoa with homemade marshmallows from the hotel's afternoon hot-chocolate menu.
Ritz-Carlton, 10 S. Broad St., through Dec. 29 (cocoa served noon-5 p.m. daily, $8-$14), 215-523-8273, ritzcarlton.com.
The orchestra's "Glorious Sounds of Christmas" LP, made in the 1960s, has remained one of the best-selling recordings ever. The annual reprise of its stirring arrangements continues to resound as the sonic emblem of the season, with Curtis Institute alumna Sarah Hicks returning to the podium.
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 7 tonight and tomorrow night, $35-$120, 215-893-1999, philorch.org.
Holiday Garden Railway
Only two evenings left (including tonight) for this alfresco Chestnut Hill tradition. Magical mini-trains speed through lush wintry nature past little versions of well-loved local sites. (Railway runs through Jan. 5.)
Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave., 4-7:30 tonight (and Dec. 27), $7-$16 (advanced tickets required), 215-247-5777, morrisarboretum.org.
Mary Ellen Desmond
Seasoned Philly thrush celebrates the season and her new CD, "Comfort and Joy," with special guests like sax great Larry McKenna. We love her bossa nova-tuned "White Christmas."
Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., 8 and 10 tonight, $15, 215-568-3131, chrisjazzcafe.com.
'Murray the Elf and the Case of the Terrifying Tinsel'
Christmas is in jeopardy when a Tinsel Monster invades the North Pole, interrupting the elves' work and causing Mrs. Claus to ask for help from Murray the Elf, and the audience, in this comedy-mystery best for kids age 5 and up.
Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler, today and tomorrow sold out, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Dec. 27; 11 a.m. Dec. 28-29, $8-$12, 215-654-0200, act2.org.
The Philly Pops' final performance of their seasonal extravaganza overflows with special vocal guests - Angela Brown, Philadelphia Boys Choir, African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir - plus organist Peter Conte.
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 3 p.m. tomorrow, $40-$131, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.
Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
North Philly musicians in grades one through eight perform at this festive, first-ever concert, a Tune Up Philly combo of kids from the People to People Charter School and Kroc Salvation Army Community Center.
Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce streets, 3 p.m. tomorrow, goodwill offering, 215-545-0502, pyos.org.
Presented by the Hallmark Channel, this pomp-rock arena cavalcade returns with "final" encore performances of "The Last Christmas Eve." Buy tix online to get a free download code for the Kindle ebook edition of TSO mastermind Paul O'Neill's "Merry Christmas Rabbi" novella.
Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., 3 and 8 p.m. tomorrow, $30-$70, 800-298-4200, comcasttix.com.
Renaissance artist (singer/painter) and friends bring it home for the holidays.
Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., 8 p.m. tomorrow, 2 p.m. Sunday, $35, 215-257-5808, st94.com.
More than 100 tubas, sousaphones and euphoniums make a joyful noise.
Commonwealth Plaza, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, noon and 5 p.m. Sunday, free, 215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org.
Steakhouse dinner-theater staging of "A Christmas Carol" features the elements of Charles Dickens' timeless classic, plus a heaping helping of what's billed as Marx Brothers-style comedy. Reservations required.
The Palm, Tropicana, Boardwalk at Brighton Avenue, Atlantic City, 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday, lunch $55 ($35 ages 12 and under), dinner $85, 609-344-0483, thepalm.com.
Handel's ubiquitous "Messiah" gets the large-orchestra treatment, with associate conductor Cristian Macelaru on the podium. The Philadelphia Singers add their resplendent choral sumptuousness to the work's familiar Christmas portion.
Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce streets, 2 p.m. Sunday, $35-$125, 215-893-1999, philorch.org.
Christmas on the Block
South Street gets the spirit as local legends Kenn Kweder, Larry Saklad and George Manney host this 30th annual sing.
Legendary Dobbs, 304 South St., 3-7 p.m. Sunday, $8, 215-501-7288, dobbsphilly.com.
Filled with psychedelic soul music, mirth, magic and mayhem, Holidelic is the retro-futuristic brainchild of NYC singer/songwriter/producer/director/actor/dancer Everett Bradley.
World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 p.m. Sunday, $22 (all ages), 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
WCL's smaller room counter-programs with Ariel Hammerstein and Yakob Veivelman's "New Yawk" Jewish takes on the season.
Upstairs at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., 7:30 p.m. Sunday, $15 (all ages), 215-222-1400, worldcafelive.com.
Being [ ] at Christmas
Fill in the blank. This annual all-day family affair offers the city's coolest Xmas alternative, featuring Baby Loves Disco and plenty else to keep the littles happily busy.
National Museum of American Jewish History, 5th and Market streets, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, $5-$12 (12 and under free), 215-923-3811, nmajh.org.
Thoughtful sound crafters merge complicated, proggy guitar lines, splashy time signatures and angsty, riveting imagery. (Think Rush having way more fun.) Also on tap: Mansions, Birthmark, Marge.
First Unitarian Church, 2125 Chestnut St., 7:30 tonight, $13-$15, 215-821-7575, r5productions.com.
Donna the Buffalo
A rare breed mixing bluegrass and bayou, the Buffalo hipsters roam to the plains of suburbia. Rugby Road rolls in first.
Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., 8 tonight, $25-$30, 610-649-8389, ardmoremusic.com.
Jamaican guitarist joined Bob Marley and the Wailers for the "Exodus" album and all that would follow. Catch his "Tribute" to the reggae master, one of the last shows to be staged at this soon-shuttering (sigh) University City club. Philly-spawned SensaMotion and Cultureal open.
The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St., 9 p.m. tomorrow, $18-$23, 215-222-1234, theblockley.com.
Low Cut Connie
Boogie-rockin' Philly-billies cut a mean rug. With soul organ-scorched openers the GTVs and DJ Dan Connie.
Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 9:30 p.m. tomorrow, $12 (21+), 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.
Twangcore/dieselbilly legend shares the night with the often honored (four Boston Music Awards) retro-rocking Girls, Guns and Glory. Sure to be a hoot!
Tin Angel, 20 S. 2nd St., 7 p.m. Sunday, $15, 215-928-0978, tinangel.com.
Ever clever, always current, the comic recently riffed on Paula Deen, kids and sandwich-making. But we have a feeling this comedy genius makes those topics much funnier than we do. This tour stop was announced just a week ago, so good tickets are still up for grabs.
Tower Theater, 19 S. 69th St., Upper Darby, 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, $58.50, 800-745-3000, livenation.com.
- Compiled by Jonathan Takiff, Lauren McCutcheon, Tom Di Nardo, Chuck Darrow