The long: Caroling hayrides and photos from laps are nice. But watching Santa ride a century-old tugboat that does 360s in a festive boat parade - that's special.

The short: Riverside Night in Venice, with cocoa.

The crowd: 300 nautical folks.

Indoors: The Independence Seaport Museum makes a day of it: Lighted model ships, gingerbread boat and ornament making, warship ice sculpture, high-school choir and selfies with Santa take the first floor, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (most activities after noon).

Out: At 5 p.m., guests grab hot chocolate and go to the 2nd-floor balcony. KYW1060's Steve Nikazy emcees hour-long procession of a dozen lights-trimmed working vessels and pleasure boats, including a water-spouting fire boat. Look for Santa on the Jupiter, that 1902 tug.

The discounts: Funsavers has half-price tickets, while they last ($6.75 adult, $5 age 12 and under).

The free: You could watch the parade from Penn's Landing itself, near the Olympia and Becuna. But you'd miss the hot chocolate.

Also that day: The museum theater has "Christmas with the Calamari Sisters," 2-4 p.m. Floor 4 hosts 94WIP's "Tailgate Throwdown," 1-3 p.m.

Souvenirs: Crafting kids give grown-ups time to sneak to the gift shop for stocking stuffers.

Moment to yourself: Stand on the balcony, breathe the brackish air, try not to think about your holiday to-do list.

The hours: 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The basics: 211 S. Columbus Blvd. (at Walnut Street), $13.50, $10 students, children, seniors, active military, free under 2 (discounts at Funsavers.com). 215-413-8655, seaportmuseum.org.

If you SEPTA: No. 25 bus.

If you drive: Parking lot north of museum, $10 with validation from visitor services.

Lauren McCutcheon is a features reporter with a kid she sometimes takes to special events, sometimes leaves at home.