Hello neighbors. Can you believe that December is upon us? Though we may be busy compiling our holiday shopping lists, we must remember to take time to join with loved ones at the many awesome events and happenings during the holiday season in the Susquehanna River Valley!

Our downtowns are full of events and fun for kids of all ages with many kicking off the first week in December. Our local towns offer a variety of events that include tree lightings, visits with Santa, late shopper’s nights, free movies, Santa and elf runs, plus so much more! Mifflinburg hosts its outdoor authentic German Christkindl Market, Dec. 12-14, offering a wide variety of German food, entertainment and holiday shopping. While at Christkindl, stop by the Gutelius House for homemade cookies, warm spiced cider, and fiber arts market. Along with Christkindl, the Historic District celebrates the holidays so be sure to stop by the Elias Center for the Performing Arts to warm up with a hot toddy and friends old and new.

Many businesses are hosting open houses to celebrate the holidays and offer gifts suggestions. Wine lovers won’t want to miss the Annual Wine Trail Christmas (through Sunday), a self-guided wine tour of Susquehanna Heartland wineries with tastings, ornaments to add to a wreath, plus wine discounts. Country Traditions at DC invites you to its “Home for the Holidays” open house to enjoy friends, sales/discounts, food, and guest vendors offering personal and outstanding Christmas decor for every home. (Thursday through Saturday). The Cellars at Brookpark Farm is hosting Holiday Arts & Crafts Pop-Up Shops (Saturday). Find discounts and drawings, make and takes for all ages, a free two-ounce sugar scrub and gift wrapping with purchase at Pompeii Street Soap Company (Friday through Sunday). An ornament sale will be held at the Thomas T. Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society (Friday through Sunday). Talented regional artists have created limited edition, one-of-a-kind ornaments to benefit the museum. While at the museum take time to check out the Annual Holiday Exhibit, When the Circus Comes to Town. Wild for Salmon will host a holiday sampling party (Dec. 14). Celebrate the season, enjoy tasty salmon treats, and get inspiration for your holiday meals! Visit our website to learn more about holiday open houses and sales throughout the season.

The river valley is filled with holiday music and theatre for all to enjoy. Celebrate the holidays at The Community Arts Center with the Nutcracker Ballet (Saturday and Sunday), the Repasz Band (Tuesday, Dec. 10), a Christmas Spectacular party (Dec. 15), Williamsport Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Gatherings concert (Dec. 14) and Fiddler on the Roof (Dec. 17). Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble presents Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (through Dec. 29), the unofficial sequel to Pride & Prejudice which has been a hit at theaters from coast to coast. Country Cupboard hosts Re-Creation’s magical Christmas tour (Wednesday), a holiday concert with the Hoppers (Thursday), the ever popular A Christmas Carol dinner theater performance by Gerald Charles Dickens (Dec. 10), and a family friendly ventriloquist and comedy show (Dec. 31). Prepare your heart for Christmas at Susquehanna University’s beloved Candlelight Service (Dec. 10). Millbrook Playhouse presents Elf, The Musical Jr. (Dec. 13-15). The Weis Center for Performing Arts presents a Celtic Family Christmas (Dec. 10), See a Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker at RiverStage Community Theatre (Dec. 14) and Penn View Bible Institute’s annual Christmas musical, A Baby Changes Everything (Dec. 12-14). Dress warmly and bring a flashlight to the beautiful Historic Warrior Run Church Candlelight Service (Dec. 14) followed by cookies and warm mulled cider after the service. Enjoy the Susquehanna Valley Chorale’s Candlelight Christmas (Dec. 14-15) which follows the 100-year-old tradition of Nine Lessons and Carols, originated at Kings College, Cambridge. The Buffalo Valley Singers bring you Christmas is Coming, a holiday concert (Dec. 21-22). Shamokin is host to the Anthracite Symphonic Band’s holiday concert (Dec. 19). On stage at The Community Theatre League see It’s a Wonderful Life (Friday through Dec. 15) and the Williamsport City Jazz Orchestra’s annual Jazz Christmas (Dec. 20).

Winter holidays are all about children. Throughout December, children can experience the magic of Christmas at the Campus Theatre’s free holiday movies. Create and fill a stocking at Selinsgrove’s Stocking Stuff and Santa Pets Parade (Saturday). Compete in the Selinsgrove Santa Sprint 5K (Saturday) or in Lewisburg’s Running of the Elves 5K or children’s fun run (Saturday). Enjoy breakfast with the Grinch and a showing of The Grinch movie with the Lewisburg Sunset Rotary Club (Dec. 14). Area public libraries are offering holiday craft workshops, parties, and special visits with Santa. Jolly old St. Nick will also make stops in area downtowns, including Danville, Mifflinburg, Milton, Shamokin, Sunbury and Watsontown. You can also have breakfast with Santa, decorate cookies and do Christmas crafts at Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village (Saturday); and at Ponduce Tree Farm (through Dec. 15); the Purple Platypus (Friday); the World of Little League Museum (Sunday); Lincoln Caverns (Dec. 14); Hoopla’s Xtreme Family Fun (Dec. 14); and the Campus Theatre (Dec. 21). And don’t miss the chance to ride the Holiday Express Train Ride with Santa and friends in Sunbury (Friday and Sunday).

Speaking of trains, you won’t want to miss the Holiday Train Display at our SRV Visitor Center (Dec. 13-15); the Milton Model Train Museum’s Christmas Open House (through Dec. 29); the Shempp Model Train Exhibit at the Taber Museum of the Lycoming County Historical Society; the Lower Anthracite Model Railroad Club open house (Dec. 15-29); and view the Loose Ties Model Railroad Club layout at the Silver Moon Flea Market on Sundays, its holiday layout at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, and at The Mifflinburg Buggy Museum (Dec. 12-14).

And what’s a holiday season without Christmas trees and ornaments? Visit Country Cupboard’s Christmas Shop, Graci’s Christmas Shop, or the Christmas tree displays and ornaments at Country Farm and Home Gift & Garden Center. Or visit the festive gift shop and market, choose the perfect tree for decorating, and enjoy home-cooked goodness in the Farm Restaurant at Ponduce Farm’s Winter Wonderland. Plan a fun daytrip to Kohls Stony Hill Tree Farm & Christmas Shoppe which boasts over 80,000 ornaments, fresh-cut trees, and the world’s largest Christmas tree stand collection. View dozens of festive trees and vote for your favorite at TreeFest in Bloomsburg (through Sunday) or at Shamokin’s Christmas Festival (Dec. 14). Travel north to the Corning Museum of Glass for their Glass Wonderland and Holiday Open House with live music, special glassmaking experiences, and other festivities. Be sure to view their dazzling 14-foot tree decorated with hundreds of glass ornaments — the perfect backdrop for your family holiday picture!

The Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau “Shop Local” Holiday Shopping Pass campaign has begun, urging everyone to support area and family-owned businesses. Pick up a Shopping Pass filled with discounts to over 60 local businesses. The Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau wishes our residents, visitors, families, friends, and communities a happy holiday season filled with love and laughter! For more information on these and other holiday events in the Susquehanna River Valley go to VisitCentralPA.org; call us at 570-524-7234 or stop by our Visitor Information Center.

Andrew Miller is executive director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.

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