There’s no place like the Main Line for the holidays…

Juliana Romano

As the first semester comes to a close, it is pretty easy to get wrapped up in a sea of final exams and studying. What people often forget is that the end of the semester not only brings piles of work and late night library trips, but also ushers in the holiday season. As events on campus come to a close, there are still plenty of ways to get a dose of holiday cheer.

There are even ways to feel the Christmas spirit right in the comfort of a dorm room. Movie nights are quick and easy to put together and are a great break from all of the studying (See Entertainment page 23 for ideas!). Many people already own Christmas movies, but if you do not, Reel Divine Campus Video, located in Connelly Center, has a wide selection, including all of the favorites. Hot chocolate, eggnog and gingerbread cookies are some delicious additions that will amp up the Christmas experience of any movie. If you don’t have the time for movie watching, simply putting on some Christmas music is also a great way to lighten the mood.

But if you’re looking to get off campus this holiday season, don’t fret because there is plenty to do. The surrounding area, especially Philadelphia, is full of Christmas cheer, and there are lots of fun things to do everywhere you turn. So grab a friend and get ready because this holiday season is sure to be eventful.

Christmas Village is a lively outdoor holiday market located at Dilworth Plaza on the west side of City Hall in Philadelphia. The Village is set up to resemble one that would have existed in medieval times. Vendors sell a variety of goods, including European food, sweets, drinks and international holiday gifts, such as ornaments and arts and crafts. The Plaza is surrounded by lights, booths and trees and has a central stage for live performances of local choirs, orchestras and bands. Additionally, the Village sets up Santa’s house as well as a Christmas tree. Christmas Village is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Christmas Eve, and admission is free.

As a holiday tradition, Pennsylvania Ballet and PNC Arts Alive once again present “The Nutcracker,” performed at the Academy of Music and running through Dec. 31. Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the premier ballet companies in the nation and is now in its 41st year of production. Although the performance is engrossed in tradition, dazzling new sets and costumes were added in 2007, and this performance is sure to be a hit.

Run by the Chestnut Hill Community Association, this is a comprehensive tour of five amazing homes with architectural examples spanning over 300 years. Each house is brilliantly decorated by a variety of professional designers and florists who bring already spectacular homes to a new level full of holiday cheer. Tours meet on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, and, in addition to the houses, there are a variety of restaurants and cafes that will offer a 10 percent discount with the presentation of tour wristbands. While on Germantown Avenue, check out the unique and quaint stores for some Christmas shopping. The tour takes place in an area thriving with history and is a unique experience for all.

Located right on the Main Line, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute will be showing “A Christmas Carol: A Unique Take on a Holiday Classic” on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Ian Abrams, a professor at Drexel University, will lead the screening and discussion of this unusual version of the Christmas classic, starring Alastair Sim, Michael Caine, George C. Scott, Bill Murray, Patrick Stewart and Mr. Magoo, each playing the role of Scrooge. “A Christmas Carol” has been made into a screen production numerous times, and this version tries to combine all of them into one unique look at the traditional tale.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a relatively new tradition for Philadelphia. The 19-minute 3-D show consists of beautiful, original holiday images, music and more and is played on the Comcast Experience video wall in the Comcast Center lobby. This video plays at the beginning of each hour daily through Jan. 1 and takes viewers on a sleigh ride through snowy rural Pennsylvania to downtown Philadelphia. Additionally, the show allows viewers to dance with the Nutcracker and sing with the Commonwealth Youth Choir, Keystone State Boy Choir and Pennsylvania Girl Choir. The show is free and each audience member is given a complimentary pair of 3-D glasses.

Although it’s a bit of a hike, located 30 miles outside of Philadelphia in Kennett Square, Pa., Longwood Gardens is definitely worth the trip. Spread out over 20 indoor rooms and acres of outdoor gardens, the entire property transforms into a spectacular Christmas display full of decorated trees, poinsettias and intricate light displays. Longwood Gardens hosts a variety of events besides a tour of the grounds, including ice skating shows, sing-a-longs, carolers, choir and hand bell concerts. Christmas events run through January and occur daily.