clock menu more-arrow no yes

Have Yourself a Very Kitschy Christmas and Holiday Season!

View as Map

Though there are some people who approach the holiday season piously—who recall that it comes from...uh...some religious thing?—most Americans think of it as a time to buy stuff, take off of work, give presents, eat a lot, and watch the Roots' Questlove rock an ugly Christmas sweater and sing a corny Christmas song on national TV. It's a holiday that frees us from our shackles of self-presentation and makes it okay to be kitschy, in the same way that Halloween makes it okay for women to dress like hookers (oh, wait, bad example).

Nothing is too garish or too tacky on Christmas. You might be the type who never departs from a suit, a string of pearls and pumps, but come Christmas, you can wear a reindeer LED pin without a hint of shame. You can also sit on the floor of Macy's next to a 5-year-old and watch a light show that was last perceived as avant garde in 1910—and be delighted and amazed. It's just that time of year.

Read More

1. Macy's Holiday Light Show

Copy Link
1300 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 241-9000
Visit Website

Betwixt the shoes and the jewelry, there's a carpet of children, heads tilted upward, watching the famous light show. It's rather cheesy and underwhelming, sort of what IMAX might have been like at the advent of electricity. The organ, though, is tremendous.

2. Adventure Aquarium

Copy Link
1 Riverside Dr.
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 365-3300
Visit Website

Is there really more to say than Santa goes scuba diving at the aquarium? Does the fun not speak for itself? If nothing else can solve Camden's problems, perhaps this will. Scuba Santa also sticks around to get photos taken with kids—we assume after he's dried off.

3. Brandywine River Museum

Copy Link
1 Hoffman's Mill Rd
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
(610) 388-2700
Visit Website

The Brandywine Critters are made from pine cones, sticks and plant materials, and they end up looking like frogs, bunnies or pine cones that have rolled around a lot. This is a famous tradition: There's a book about the Critters and the ornaments have graced the White House tree.

4. Smedley Street Christmas Lights

Copy Link
2700 S Smedley St
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Christmas decorations are kitsch in the best way possible. South Philly is the undisputed king of Philly lights, and Smedley Street—between 16th and 17th, Moyamensing and Oregon—is a power grid unto itself. For other South Philly holiday lights, check out the 1600 block of South 13th Street.

5. Kindy's Christmas Factory Outlet

Copy Link
2900 S 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145

What does a giant penguin have to do with the message of Christmas? Nothing, really, but you can get one anyway at Kindy's Christmas Factory Outlet, along with any other Christmasy kitsch you require—on sale. As they say at the outlet, "Stack ’em deeper, sell ’em cheaper."

6. Pictures With Santa at PetSmart

Copy Link
2360 W. Oregon Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 462-2080
Visit Website

The animals always look quite serious in these photos, perhaps because they're utterly terrified: 'Why is this hairy human-beast holding me so tightly? What have I done?' But for pet owners, there's nothing more hilarious to have on the fridge. Oh, how it brightens the Kitschmas season.

7. Santa in Franklin Square

Copy Link
200 N 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Philly has costumed-reenactor kitsch nailed down, what with Ben Franklin impersonators gallivanting around town. Now Santa comes to Franklin Square to ride the carousel and play mini golf. Question: Have Philly Ben Franklin and Philly Santa ever been seen in the same place at the same time? Hmm.

8. A Dickens of a Murder

Copy Link
Hulmeville Rd
Bensalem, PA 19020

Charles Dickens knew, during his lifetime, that some of his writing was kitsch—and he embraced it. But what would he think of this mystery dinner theater experience that brings Scrooge and many other Dickens characters together with Sherlock Holmes? In Bensalem?

9. Tacky Christmas sweaters

Copy Link
38 N. 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA

Sazz Vintage has the spirit of Christmas kitsch nailed down with sweaters like "Lime Green Ugly Xmas cardigan w/smiley Santa Faces!" The sweaters are mostly online and not in the Old City store, but special arrangements can be made in event of a sweater emergency.

10. Lincoln Financial Field

Copy Link
1020 Pattison Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148
(267) 570-4000
Visit Website

Ben Franklin + Santa + Eagles = unparalleled kitsch. We're not sure what the Pro Shop has on each given day, so online may be your best bet. But if you're making a pilgrimage to pray for the team like a traveler to Lourdes, you might as well stop in.

1. Macy's Holiday Light Show

1300 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Betwixt the shoes and the jewelry, there's a carpet of children, heads tilted upward, watching the famous light show. It's rather cheesy and underwhelming, sort of what IMAX might have been like at the advent of electricity. The organ, though, is tremendous.

1300 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

2. Adventure Aquarium

1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ 08103

Is there really more to say than Santa goes scuba diving at the aquarium? Does the fun not speak for itself? If nothing else can solve Camden's problems, perhaps this will. Scuba Santa also sticks around to get photos taken with kids—we assume after he's dried off.

1 Riverside Dr.
Camden, NJ 08103

3. Brandywine River Museum

1 Hoffman's Mill Rd, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

The Brandywine Critters are made from pine cones, sticks and plant materials, and they end up looking like frogs, bunnies or pine cones that have rolled around a lot. This is a famous tradition: There's a book about the Critters and the ornaments have graced the White House tree.

1 Hoffman's Mill Rd
Chadds Ford, PA 19317

4. Smedley Street Christmas Lights

2700 S Smedley St, Philadelphia, PA 19145

Christmas decorations are kitsch in the best way possible. South Philly is the undisputed king of Philly lights, and Smedley Street—between 16th and 17th, Moyamensing and Oregon—is a power grid unto itself. For other South Philly holiday lights, check out the 1600 block of South 13th Street.

2700 S Smedley St
Philadelphia, PA 19145

5. Kindy's Christmas Factory Outlet

2900 S 20th St., Philadelphia, PA 19145

What does a giant penguin have to do with the message of Christmas? Nothing, really, but you can get one anyway at Kindy's Christmas Factory Outlet, along with any other Christmasy kitsch you require—on sale. As they say at the outlet, "Stack ’em deeper, sell ’em cheaper."

2900 S 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19145

6. Pictures With Santa at PetSmart

2360 W. Oregon Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19145

The animals always look quite serious in these photos, perhaps because they're utterly terrified: 'Why is this hairy human-beast holding me so tightly? What have I done?' But for pet owners, there's nothing more hilarious to have on the fridge. Oh, how it brightens the Kitschmas season.

2360 W. Oregon Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19145

7. Santa in Franklin Square

200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Philly has costumed-reenactor kitsch nailed down, what with Ben Franklin impersonators gallivanting around town. Now Santa comes to Franklin Square to ride the carousel and play mini golf. Question: Have Philly Ben Franklin and Philly Santa ever been seen in the same place at the same time? Hmm.

200 N 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

8. A Dickens of a Murder

Hulmeville Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020

Charles Dickens knew, during his lifetime, that some of his writing was kitsch—and he embraced it. But what would he think of this mystery dinner theater experience that brings Scrooge and many other Dickens characters together with Sherlock Holmes? In Bensalem?

Hulmeville Rd
Bensalem, PA 19020

9. Tacky Christmas sweaters

38 N. 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA

Sazz Vintage has the spirit of Christmas kitsch nailed down with sweaters like "Lime Green Ugly Xmas cardigan w/smiley Santa Faces!" The sweaters are mostly online and not in the Old City store, but special arrangements can be made in event of a sweater emergency.

38 N. 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA

10. Lincoln Financial Field

1020 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

Ben Franklin + Santa + Eagles = unparalleled kitsch. We're not sure what the Pro Shop has on each given day, so online may be your best bet. But if you're making a pilgrimage to pray for the team like a traveler to Lourdes, you might as well stop in.

1020 Pattison Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148