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What to do in Philly Dec. 13-19: Brunch in a greenhouse, enjoy tuba Christmas, get caffeinated at coffee and tea fest

Plus: holiday crafting at Fairmount Park’s historic houses, sing-along Silent Night, and more.

Laurel Hill Mansion, one of six Historic Houses of Fairmount Park, decorated for the holiday season
Laurel Hill Mansion, one of six Historic Houses of Fairmount Park, decorated for the holiday seasonRead moreCourtesy Fairmount Park

We’re approaching peak holiday season. And whether you’re decking the halls or already at Bah, Humbug, there’s lots to keep you busy:

  1. Holiday concerts galore. Which means it’s time for The Nutcracker and the Philly Pops, and, for added good measure, there’s a big tuba concert and “Silent Night" singalong.

  2. Santa, but in a lifeguard boat. Sure, you know summer down the Shore. But the winter holidays are just as wild and wonderful. Amy Rosenberg tells you how to do it right, from Polar Bear Plunges to snowboarding the dunes.

  3. It’s the other most wonderful time of the year: Star Wars time. While we patiently wait for the next (and final) film to hit theaters next week, there are a lot of other Star Wars related goings-on. We’ve got a roundup of the best, from Quizzo to roller-skating and even wrestling. Do or do not. There is no try.

— Megan Griffith-Greene (@griffithgreene,


Fishtown Flea Holiday Market

Shop for candles, jewelry, apparel, ceramics, bath products, and more at this local-vendors-only pop-up. You’ll find wares from Printfresh, Voloshin, Llani, and Hemlock&Hyde, among others. The market will be held inside La Colombe, and the cafe will also have food and drink specials to help you warm up. — Grace Dickinson

5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Ave., free,


‘Silent Night’ Sing-In

Last year, more than 1,200 people gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of “Silent Night," by singing it all together. This year, the Kimmel is staging another community carol sing-in, featuring the same familiar song, and adding a second one to the mix: “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” — Megan Griffith-Greene

6 p.m. rehearsal, 7 p.m. performance, Monday, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., free, 215-893-1999,

Tuba Christmas

This is exactly what it sounds like: holiday classics performed by more than 100 regional tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players. Now in its 46th year, Tuba Christmas takes place across the world, and comes to the Kimmel Center on Sunday. — G.D.

Noon and 6 p.m. Sunday, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., free, 215-893-1999,


Crafts of the Season

Take a tour of the historic houses of Fairmount Park, all dressed up for the holiday season. On Sunday, each house will offer arts and crafts activities and workshops for people of all ages, including make-your-own ornaments, wreaths, and holiday cards. And Lemon Hill Mansion will be hosting Santa, for those who want a photo with the big guy. — G.D.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Fairmount Park Historic Houses, Sedgley Dr., $8-$35,


Contemporary Photography Exhibition IX

The winners of Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s contemporary photo competition — Sasha Phyars-Burgess and Guanyu Xu — both explore, in their work, issues of race, representation, and sexuality. Phyars-Burgess captures images of domestic life to reveal what it means for us to look at bodies (particularly black bodies). Xu secretly takes over his parents’ Beijing home, with portraits of himself and other gay men, landscapes, and buildings from around the world, and magazine images he collected as a teenager. The resulting images protest his conservative upbringing and claim the home as his own. The exhibit showing their winning work opened this week and runs till February. — M.G.G.

Through Feb. 22, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, 1400 N. American St., free,


Coffee and Tea Festival

Warm up with tasty beverages from more than 50 coffee and tea exhibitors from around the world. Then put that caffeine to good use by taking in an afternoon seminar, on everything from the fundamentals of tea tasting to how to master siphon brewing. And for added fun: teapot racing, featuring teapots mounted on a radio-controlled chassis. — G.D.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Greater Philly Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, $20,


‘Polar Express’ Day

Classic holiday tale The Polar Express comes to life: climb aboard the iconic Baldwin 60000 locomotive, learn about the science of snowflakes, and partake in train-based science activities. Families can also settle in for a screening of the movie, and kids who show up in their pajamas get $2 off general museum admission. — G.D.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., included with general admission, 215-448-1200,


Helen Sung

With album titles like Sungbird, pianist Helen Sung has never been afraid to lean into her pun-friendly last name. Perhaps it was inevitable that she’d release a vocal album, but Sung with Words shows that she wisely took her time getting there. Featuring a collaboration with the poet Dana Gioia and a range of singers, the album finds the classically trained pianist weaving the evocative texts into rich narrative compositions. She’ll be joined by vocalist Charenee Wade for two nights at South. — Shaun Brady

7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, South Jazz Kitchen, 600 N. Broad St., $25, 215-600-0220,

Martina McBride

Country-pop singer (and cookbook author) Martina McBride had a long run as a Nashville hit maker, winning the CMA award for best female vocalist four times. (Reba McEntire is the only one who has won it as often.) McBride’s signature hit is the 1994 Gretchen Peters-penned “Independence Day,” a song about striking back against spousal abuse. Last year, McBride, who will be the subject of a Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit next year, released her second album of holiday songs, a satisfying, conventional “Winter Wonderland”-style set. She’s bringing her Joy of Christmas tour to the Met. — Dan DeLuca

8 p.m. Friday, the Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad St., $31-$89, 800-653-8000,

Ghostface Killah

The Staten Island rapper born Dennis Coles has had a typically busy 2019. As a Wu-Tang Clan member, he participated in the Shaolin collective’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) anniversary shows. And the superb storytelling emcee has also released two albums under his own name, the energetic combat effort Ghostface Killahs and the collaboration Czarface Meets Ghostface, pairing him with the funk-forward production team whose members include Wu-Tang’s Inspectah Deck. With Intelligenz, Miyachi, and DJ Antlive. — D.D.

8 p.m. Friday, Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, $35-$55, 610-649-8389,

Darlene Love

She’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, thanks mainly to the way her voice soared over Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound productions in the early ’60s, but Darlene Love is also now “The Queen of Christmas,” as dubbed by David Letterman. That’s because of her annual performances of one of those Spector classics, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” on Letterman’s late-night shows beginning in 1986, now continuing on The View. And it’s clear from those performances that she has lost none of her soaring power. — Nick Cristiano

8 p.m. Friday, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, $39-$69, 215-572-7650,

The Original Misfits / Dropkick Murphys / Agnostic Front

What’s this bill of old punks doing at the Wells Fargo Center? Turns out there are enough history-minded horror-punk fans to recognize that the return of original Misfits singer and songwriter Glenn Danzig — who took an acrimonious 33-year hiatus from the band that bassist Jerry Only kept alive — qualifies as a major event. In 2016, Danzig reunited with Only and Only’s guitarist brother Doyle for what was said to be a contractually obligated 10 shows. Saturday’s show is the surprise 11th and includes long-standing Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys and hardcore stalwarts Agnostic Front. — Steve Klinge

9 p.m. Friday, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $49.50-$249.50, 215-336-3600,

Cautious Clay

All the cool kids are playing the flute. Like Lizzo, Joshua Karpeh is a flautist as well as a pop singer-songwriter. However, the Ohio-born, Brooklyn-based artist who performs as Cautious Clay — and also plays saxophone — makes moody electronic-textured music that leans more toward the James Blake side of the R&B spectrum. California songwriter Remi Wolf opens. — D.D.

8 p.m. Saturday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St., $20-$40, 215-232-2100,

Los Lobos

The great Chicano band from East Los Angeles has been criminally left out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What does the Hall know, anyway? The David Hidalgo- and Cesar Rosas-fronted band will display its broad stylistic range, from rock to blues to norteño, in a two-night stand. — D.D.

8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, City Winery Philadelphia, 990 Filbert St., $57-$72, 267-479-7373

Mount Eerie

After making two stark, heart-wrenching Mount Eerie albums that grappled with the death of his wife, Phil Elverum broadens the frame of reference (slightly) on Lost Wisdom pt 2. It still has moments of explicit autobiography, but it deals obliquely with his recent, brief second marriage to actress Michelle Williams. And, by including singer Julie Doiron, Elverum sounds, and is, less alone. Doiron also collaborated with Elverum on 2008’s Lost Wisdom, and the two volumes will be the focus of Sunday’s duo performance. The setting is perfect: the somber sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church. Karl Blau opens. — S.K.

7:30 p.m. Sunday, First Unitarian Church Sanctuary, $25, 2125 Chestnut St., 215-821-7575,