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Events for the family

Special Events Philadelphia Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Tree lighting, holiday choral performance by Northeast Oratorio Society, light refreshments. Glen Foerd on the Delaware, 5001 Grant Ave.; 215-632-5330. www.glenfoerd.org. Donations accepted. 12/18 7 pm.

Special Events

Philadelphia

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tree lighting, holiday choral performance by Northeast Oratorio Society, light refreshments. Glen Foerd on the Delaware, 5001 Grant Ave.; 215-632-5330.

» READ MORE: www.glenfoerd.org

. Donations accepted. 12/18 7 pm.

Fred's Magic World: Winter Wonders

Blend of magic & comedy featuring escape artists, "psychic" sisters, dueling magicians, musical numbers & more. Adrienne Theatre, 2030 Sansom St.; 215-568-8077.

» READ MORE: www.interacttheatre.org

. $15; $10 students & seniors. 12/15 2 & 7 pm. 12/16 2 pm.

Pennsylvania suburbs

Brunch With Santa

Meal, pictures with Santa & special gift. Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Blvd., Norristown; 610-277-3825.

» READ MORE: www.elmwoodparkzoo.org

. 12/15 10-11 am. 12/18 10-11 am.

Gingerbread & Spices

Learn about the history of gingerbread & spices in early America & decorate a gingerbread house to take home. Chester County Historical Society, 225 N. High St., West Chester; 610-692-4800.

» READ MORE: www.cchs-pa.org

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$6; free for adults with children. 12/15 10 am-noon.

Nelson Family Magic Show

Act II Playhouse, 56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler; 215-654-0200;

» READ MORE: www.act2.org

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$20; $12 children under 18. 12/14 7 pm. 12/15-12/16 11 am & 1:30 pm.

*FREE*

One Winter Night

Family-friendly Christmas celebration includes music, storytelling, Living Nativity, hayrides, bonfire & refreshments. Grace Point Church, 592 Washington Crossing Rd., Newtown; 215-968-2354.

» READ MORE: www.gracepointpa.org

. 12/14 6:45-10 pm.

Valley Forge Gun Show

Firearms, rifles, military surplus, hunting & fishing knives, gun parts, accessories & more. Valley Forge Convention Center, 1160 First Ave., King of Prussia; 610-354-8212.

» READ MORE: www.valleyforgegunshow.com

. $8-$15. 12/14 4-8 pm. 12/15 9 am-5 pm. 12/16 9 am-4 pm.

New Jersey

*FREE*

Christmas at the Farm

Jingle bell wagon rides, craft vendors, food & more. WoodsEdge Wools Farm, 78 Bowne Station Road, Stockton; 609-397-2212.

» READ MORE: www.alpacasllamaswoodsedge.com

. $5 for Jingle Bell Wagon rides. 12/14-12/16 10 am-5 pm.

Christmas Train

Train ride to check out the Village's holiday decor. Towne of Historic Smithville, 1 N. New York Rd., Smithville; 609-748-7160. historicsmithvillenj.com. $2. 12/15-12/16 10 am.

Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Rides

Trolley ride through the historic district featuring holiday-themed ghost tales. Closes 12/31. Downtown Cape May; 609-463-6415.

» READ MORE: www.capemay.com

. $10; $5 children. 12/14 8 & 8:45 pm. 12/16 7:45 & 8:45 pm. 12/17-12/20 8:45 pm.

*FREE*

Kwanzaa Celebration

Featuring a performance by the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble. Atlantic City Free Public Library, One N. Tennessee Ave., Atlantic City; 609-345-2269. 12/15 2:30-3:30 pm.

*FREE*

Patcong Valley Society of Model Railroaders Open House

Model railroad displays. Patcong Valley Model Railroaders, Rte. 40 & 1st Ave., Richland;

» READ MORE: www.patcongvalley.com

. 12/15 10 am-4 pm.

Winter Holiday Open House

Interpretive walk, games, crafts & campfire. Fernbrook Farms, Rte. 545, Bordentown; 609-298-4028.

» READ MORE: www.fernbrookfarms.com

. $15; $10 children under 12. 12/16 2 pm.

Delaware

Spiced Punch: A Victorian Musical Performance

Sponsored by First State Heritage Park. Old fashioned Yuletide with Dickens-era tunes, tales & toasts. Reservations required: 302-739-9194. Christ Church, State & Water Sts., Dover; Reservations required: 302-739-9194.

» READ MORE: www.christchurchdover.org

. $5. 12/18 7 pm.

Sports Card, Comic Book, NASCAR & Collectible Show

Presented by A2Z Promotions. Aetna Fire Hall, 400 Ogletown Road, Newark; 302-559-7962;

» READ MORE: www.a2zshows1.com

. $2; free for children under 12. 12/16 10 am-3 pm.

Kids' Stuff

Children's performances

Ed Stivender

Storyteller Ed Stivender's performances are a mixture of humor, music, song, dance & more. Thomas Mansion, 6245 Wissahickon Ave.; 610-259-8825.

» READ MORE: www.fairmountpark.org/ThomasMansion.asp

. Donation suggested: $5; $2 children under 12. 12/16 1:30 pm.

*FREE*

Eric Dasher: Holiday Magic

Burlington County Library, 5 Pioneer Blvd., Westampton; 609-267-9660.

» READ MORE: www.bcls.lib.nj.us

. 12/14 7 pm.

Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World

World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400;

» READ MORE: www.gustaferyellowgold.com

. $10; $7 children 1-12; free for children under 1. 12/15 11:30 am.

Children's Events

Breakfast With Santa

Continental breakfast, visit with Santa, crafts, cookie decorating & more. Lower Bucks County YMCA, 555 S. Oxford Rd., Fairless Hills; Reservations required: 215-949-3400. $5. 12/15 9:30-11:30 am.

*FREE*

Celebrate Nicki, American Girl 2007

Activities & games. Harleysville Books LLC, 674 Main St., Harleysville; Registration required: 215-256-9311.

» READ MORE: www.harleysvillebooks.com

. 12/15 1 pm.

Downingtown Log House Santa

Sponsored by Downingtown Historical Parks Commission. Photos with Santa, books on history of Downingtown, Log House Hearth prints. 610-269-0344 x200. $5 pictures with Santa (proceeds benefit Log House). 12/15 noon-4 pm.

Ferret Fun

Children's program about ferrets. Brandywine Zoo, 1001 N. Park Dr., Wilmington; 302-571-7747.

» READ MORE: www.brandywinezoo.org

. $8. 12/18-12/19 9:30-10:15 am, 10:30-11:15 am. 12/20 10:30-11:15 am.

A Kid's Guide to Reindeer

Green Lane Nature Center, 1492 Gravel Pike, Green Lane; 215-234-8497. $1 materials fee. 12/16 2 pm.

*FREE*

Meet Hannah Montana's Mitchel Musso

From the hit Disney Channel show. Sponsored by Radio Disney. The Crayola Factory, 30 Centre Square, Easton; 610-515-8000.

» READ MORE: www.radiodisney.com/philadelphia

. 12/14 6-8 pm.

Santa Claus Arrives by Train

Children will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Santa at the Brass Lantern. 215-598-7165. Carousel Village, 591 Durham Rd. (Rte. 413), Wrightstown; 215-598-0707.

» READ MORE: www.carouselvillage.com

. 12/15-12/16 11 am-5 pm.

Children's museums & attractions

Camden Children's Garden

3 Riverside Dr., Camden; 856-365-8733.

» READ MORE: www.camdenchildrensgarden.org

. Butterfly house, maze, treehouse & more. Holiday Festival of Lights - 4.5 acres of gardens with 100,000 holiday lights & animated light sculptures. $3.50; free for children 2 & under (additional fee for train ride). Fri.-Sat. 5:30-8 pm thru Dec. $6; $4 ages 3-11; free for children 2 & under Tue.-Sun. 10 am-5 pm.

Garden State Discovery Museum

2040 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill; 856-424-1233.

» READ MORE: www.discoverymuseum.com

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Hands-on children's museum featuring an activity wonderland for infants through age 10. Pancake Breakfast With Santa. $15. 12/15 9:30, 10:15, 11 & 11:45 am. $9.95; $8.95 seniors; free for children under 1. Sun.-Fri. 9:30 am-5:30 pm; Sat. 9:30 am-8:30 pm.

Insectarium

8046 Frankford Ave.; 215-335-9500.

» READ MORE: www.insectarium.com

. Ongoing: Arachnid Alley, Cockroach Kitchen, Working Beehive & more. $7; free for children under 2. Mon.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm.

Kix & Giggles Children's Playground

9356 Old Bustleton Ave.; 215-677-4140.

» READ MORE: www.kixandgiggles.com

. Attractions include a wrap-around gym, a rock wall, soft-play section for babies & toddlers, an outside seating area & more. Mondays 10 am-3 pm are reserved for children with special needs & their families. See website for more details. Visit With Santa - Kids can visit & have pictures taken with Santa. Reg. adm. plus $10 per picture. 12/15-12/16 noon-4 pm. $6.95. Tue.-Thu. 10 am-8 pm; Fri.-Sat. 10 am-9 pm; Sun. 10 am-8 pm.

The Please Touch Museum

210 N. 21st St.; 215-963-0667.

» READ MORE: www.pleasetouchmuseum.org

. Arts & crafts, stories, theater, interactive exhibits, hands-on activities & more. Enchanted Colonial Village - Designed by Lit Brothers display designer, Thomas Comerford, & built by German toy firm Christian Hofman, this is a 3/4 life-size display depicting scenes of workshops in a small colonial hamlet preparing for the holidays. Closes 12/31. $10.95; free for children under 1. Daily 9 am-4:30 pm.

Sesame Place

100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne; 215-752-7070.

» READ MORE: www.sesameplace.com

. Holiday Shopping & Character Photo. 12/14-12/16 10 am-3 pm. Sesame Place's Holiday Shop & Dine Breakfast With Big Bird & Friends. $16.95; $14.95 children 2-11; free for children under 2. 12/15 9-11 am, 1-2 pm. 12/16 9-11 am. $44.50; $39.50 seniors; free for children under 2. Weekends only.

*FREE*

Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse

Intersection of 33rd & Oxford Sts. in E. Fairmount Park; 215-765-4325.

» READ MORE: www.smithplayhouse.org

. Three-story "play mansion" for children 0-5 yrs. old & huge outdoor play park for children 0-10 featuring the Giant Wooden Slide, the giant net climber, the Apollo spinner climber, the Biggo Duo swing & much more. Victorian Holiday Open House - Featuring magic from the Amazing Taddo, singer Jackie Pack & the Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels. 12/15 10 am-1 pm. Tue.-Sun. 10 am-4 pm. Children must be accompanied by adult.

Literary Calendar

Book signings & readings

Barnes & Noble

150 W. Swedesford Rd., Devon; 610-695-6600.

» READ MORE: www.bn.com

. Dave Brown:

Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time

. 12/16 noon.

Barnes & Noble

2300 Chemical Rd., Plymouth Meeting; 610-567-2900. Dave Brown:

Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time

. 12/19 7-9 pm.

Barnes & Noble, Rittenhouse Square

1805 Walnut St.; 215-665-0716.

» READ MORE: www.bn.com

. John McGrail:

Pennsylvania Impressions

. 12/15 1 pm.

Barnes & Noble

4801 Concord Pike, Wilmington; 302-487-9677.

» READ MORE: www.barnesandnoble.com

. Phil Martelli:

Don't Call Me Coach

. 12/14 7:30 pm. Dave Brown:

Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time

. 12/15 11 am.

Borders Books & Music

4010 Dearborn Circle, Mount Laurel; 856-866-9090.

» READ MORE: www.borders.com

. Sal Paolantonio & Ruben Frank:

The Paolantonio Report

. 12/19 7 pm.

Borders Express

217 Neshaminy Mall, Cornwell Heights; 215-355-1850. Dave Brown:

Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time

. 12/15 3-5 pm.

Borders Express

205 Upper Level, Media; 610-566-3361.

» READ MORE: www.borders.com

. Dave Brown:

Philly Jocks: The Best Philadelphia Pro Athletes of Our Time

. 12/14 noon-3 pm. Jonathan McGoran:

Blood Poison

. 12/15 2-4 pm.

Borders Express

268 Montgomery Mall, North Wales; 215-362-2772.

» READ MORE: www.bordersstores.com

. Marie Lamba:

What I Meant

. 12/15 1-3 pm.

Gloucester County Library

389 Wolfert Station Rd., Mullica Hill; 856-223-6000.

» READ MORE: www.gcls.org

. Paul Stankard:

No Green Berries or Leaves

. 12/19 7 pm.

Ocean County Library

101 Washington St., Toms River; 732-349-6200. oceancountylibrary.org.

Jonathan Bresman:

MAD About Star Wars

. Call 732-349-6200 to register. 12/16 2 pm.

Soulutions for Daily Living

126 N. State St., Newtown; 215-295-5444.

» READ MORE: www.soulutionsfordailyliving.com

. Yanni Maniates:

Magical Keys to Self-Mastery

. 12/15 1-4 pm.

Poetry & lectures

*FREE*

Annenberg Center - Studio Theatre

3680 Walnut St.; 215-898-6701.

» READ MORE: www.annenbergcenter.org

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Rumi in the 21st Century - Blend of music, theatre, readings & spiritual discussion of Rumi & his writings. 12/15 2:30-5:30 pm.

*FREE*

Belmont Hills Public Library

120 Mary Watersford Rd., Bala Cynwyd; 610-664-8427.

» READ MORE: www.lmls.org/belmonthills.html

. Annual Winter Solstice Celebration - Hosted by Arlene Bernstein & Friends, featuring poetry/performances by Arlene, Adam Coben, Ken Pobo & music by Joe Fanning, Joe Fasy, Matt Lamar & Ray Duffy. 12/19 7-10 pm.

*FREE*

Fergie's Pub

1214 Samson St.; 215-928-8118.

» READ MORE: www.fergies.com

. HATG Monologue Slam - Participants perform three-minute monologues for a chance to win prizes. 12/19 7 pm.

*FREE*

Haverford College

370 Lancaster Ave., Haverford; 610-896-1333. Rumi in the 21st Century - Blend of music, theatre, readings & spiritual discussion of Rumi & his writings. 12/14 2:30-5:30 pm.

Jardel Recreation Center

1400 Cottman St.; 215-329-4793. Philadelphia Poetry & Literary Forum - Guest poet followed by an open reading for those who love poetry, prose, short stories, etc. Donation suggested: $1. 12/15 1:30 pm.

Painted Bride Art Center

230 Vine St.; 215-925-9914.

» READ MORE: www.paintedbride.org

. Rock The Pen! - Poetry reading by local high school students. $5. 12/18 10:30 am-noon.

*FREE*

Robin's Bookstore

108 S. 13th St.; 215-735-9600.

» READ MORE: www.robinsbookstore.com

. Leonard Gontarek & Barbara DeCesare - Readings by two PA-based poets. 12/18 6 pm.

The Rotunda

4014 Walnut St.; 215-573-3234. foundationarts.org.

The Philly Youth Poetry Slam - Workshops, support, instruction & supervision by recognized local talent. Youth 13-19. $5-$7. 12/15 6:30 pm.

World Cafe Live

3025 Walnut St.; 215-222-1400.

» READ MORE: www.worldcafelive.com

. Soul Aquatics - Open mic, jam session, art displays, poetry readings, spoken word, networking party & more.

» READ MORE: Rashid@SoulAquatics.com

. $5. 12/15 9 pm.