Holiday cheer on East Passyunk Ave.

‘Tis the season on East Passyunk Avenue, as an annual Christmas tree lighting will kick off a month of holiday cheer in South Philadelphia.

A slew of festivities big enough to fill Santa’s sleigh will take place along the trendy avenue, which is home to more than 160 independently owned businesses in the area. The annual event called “Deck the Ave” returns in full force.

“We are excited to celebrate the holidays on East Passyunk with a number of brand-new businesses, beloved classics and ongoing events and entertainment to keep things festive throughout the season,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.

The Christmas tree lighting will return to an in-person event after being held virtually last year. Residents and guests can gather ‘round the Singing Fountain at the intersection of East Passyunk and Tasker Street on Dec. 2 from 5-7 p.m. for the annual joyous event, kicking off a month of holiday festivities. In addition, this year’s tree is receiving an upgrade, decked out in LED lights and aimed to reflect the sounds of holiday music within the surrounding area. 

Immediately following the tree lighting, children and pets can get their photos taken with Santa. Residents can bring a camera and snap free photos with Jolly Old St. Nick from 6-7 p.m.

There will be three more opportunities to get a photo with Santa, as he will be hanging out at 1904 E. Passyunk Avenue on Dec. 8 from 5-7 p.m., on Dec. 18 from 4-5 p.m. and on Dec. 19 from noon to 2 p.m. There will be plenty to do while waiting for a photo op.

Pop-up music performances, spirited decorations adorning the Avenue and much more will keep visitors occupied. Shoppers and holiday goers can even take part in the East Passyunk Punch Card, where shoppers can receive a punch for each $10 spent at participating businesses. Submit the completed card of $100 spent and enter to win a weekly gift card from a raffle drawing on behalf of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.

Guests can look forward to Hanukkah Happenings on Dec. 5 at the Singing Fountain, which celebrates the festival of lights with the South Philadelphia Shtiebel for Hanukkah menorah lightings on the Avenue.

On Dec. 12, there will be a Holiday Concert and Dance at Society Hill Dance Academy at 1919 E. Passyunk Ave. Join SHDA and City Rhythm Orchestra for a holiday concert and dance party open to all at 4 p.m.

That same day, visitors can enjoy Shop and Stroll Sunday with bounces, sidewalk sales, pop-up events and holiday surprises all along the Avenue.

All throughout the season, kids can send their letters to Santa by express mail at the North Pole Mailbox at the Singing Fountain while carolers, musicians and Mummers dazzle crowds with pop-up music performances. Visitors can also take in the breathtaking spirited scenes outdoors and stop by the annual holiday display inside Urban Jungle at 1526 E. Passyunk Ave.

Nice Things Handmade at 1731 E. Passyunk Ave. will hold its 11th Annual Ornament Show with more than 30 local artists submitting handmade ornaments.

Guests are asked to mask up when in close proximity to others, and bring a mask or proof of vaccination when going indoors. Check with individual businesses regarding their COVID safety requirements. For more information about Holiday Happenings, go to

“Whether you are coming to the Avenue from around the corner or traveling here as a destination, this is the year to make memories that will last a lifetime,” Leiter said.