Celebrate the Holidays in University City

A snowy day in Clark Park
Nov 30, 2020 51 days ago

Need a little joy in your life after a difficult year? Below, view our in-progress ways to celebrate the holidays locally and to support local businesses. Want more events and activities? See our community calendar for a comprehensive list. If you have events or promotions to add, please email us! 

 


 

UCD'S GIFT CARD PROMOTION

This winter, we are partnering with local vendors on a gift card promotion. Through December 24, every $25 spent on gift card purchases from participating businesses gets you one chance to win one of three gift card bundles, totaling $600 in value. The more you spend, the more chances you’ll have to win! All you need to do to enter is to purchase gift cards online or in-person from vendors listed on this page and supply your name and email address, and you'll be automatically entered. Gift cards are a great way to lend support for businesses struggling from the impact of COVID-19. Click here for a list of participating businesses, and the best way to purchase cards. 

 


 

WEST PHILLY FAVORITES GIFT PACKS

University City District is proud to present West Philly Favorites, a curated series of gift packs filled with handcrafted and locally produced items from neighborhood small businesses. Our first run of four unique gift packs features delicious and decorative items for your table, perfect for enjoying your West Philly Favorites from the comfort of your own home. Whether it’s locally roasted coffee, handmade ceramics, Argentine pastries, flower arrangements, or artisan snacks and sauces, there is something for everyone. Plus, the sale of these curated items provides much-needed support to small businesses at the time they need it most.Buy packs individually for weekly pick-up at Trolley Portal Gardens or purchase a subscription to four weeks of packs for a discount. Sales for individual packs close two weeks prior to pick-up, and pick-ups begin the last week of January 2021 and run for four weeks straight. Details on pick-up, as well as reminders, will be sent at time of purchase.  

 


 

SEASONAL DISPLAYS

Want to get into the holiday spirit? Check out this in-progress list of places to see seasonal lights, displays, and decorations! Know some good spots we missed? Feel free to email us (and include a picture) to let us know! Send us photos of your own holiday displays for a chance to be featured on our University City Instagram account. One submission chosen at random will also win a $25 gift card to a local business. 

 

Ronald McDonald House Holiday Light Display

Each year, our friends at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (3925 Chestnut Street) host a festive lighting ceremony to thank the community for their support and to bring holiday cheer to the neighborhood. The beautiful lights remain up throughout the holidays for the community to enjoy. 

 

Sansom Street Holiday Display Presented by New Deck Tavern

The folks at New Deck Tavern (3408 Sansom St) will be creating a #DecemberNotToRemember winter spectacular on the 3400 block of Sansom starting on Thursday, December 3rd.  They'll have lights, blankets, tents, heaters, and multiple blow-up Santas, plus a real-life, socially distanced Santa Clause on weekends. They'll be serving up hot cocktails for enjoyment there or to-go, and will be giving out hats, coozies, socks, other swag, and gift cards.  

 

 


 

HOLIDAY DRIVES

Whether you're looking to donate or could use help for your family, below you'll find details on holiday drives happening in the neighborhood. 

 

ACHIEVEability's Children's Holiday Gift Drive 

Every year, ACHIEVEability provides holiday gifts to children in West Philadelphia that would otherwise go without – and this year will be no exception. Join them as they continue their tradition of bringing joy to families in need and spreading holiday cheer throughout the community. This year they aim to give over 300 gifts to children in West Philadelphia. Click here to read more details about you can provide help before the December 6th deadline. 

 

Camp Exposure Christmas Toy Drive 

The Cedar Park Neighbors community organization has launched their 2020 Holiday Food Drive, the event held annually since 1985. This season, in lieu of holiday food baskets, CPN will work with their community partners to distribute grocery store gift cards safely to families. There is no suggested amount for donations; any amount is welcome. Donations are now being accepted on the CPN Holiday Food Drive website or you can send a check to: Cedar Park Neighbors with Memo line “Holiday Baskets”, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Business owners who would like to donate gift cards may contact Michelle Lewis, CPN Holiday Baskets Committee Chair. 

 

Cedar Park Holiday Food Drive 

The Cedar Park Neighbors community organization has launched their 2020 Holiday Food Drive, the event held annually since 1985. This season, in lieu of holiday food baskets, CPN will work with their community partners to distribute grocery store gift cards safely to families. There is no suggested amount for donations; any amount is welcome. Donations are now being accepted on the CPN Holiday Food Drive website or you can send a check to: Cedar Park Neighbors with Memo line “Holiday Baskets”, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143. Business owners who would like to donate gift cards may contact Michelle Lewis, CPN Holiday Baskets Committee Chair. 

 

Eddie's House and Growing Resilient Communities Holiday Drive

Eddie's House and Growing Resilient Communities are providing holiday warmth and comfort to members of the Philadelphia community through a holiday drive. They'll be accepting donations of new warm clothing (hats, gloves, scarves, blankets), hygienic products (toothpaste, body wash, soap, deodorant), canned and dry foods (beans, pasta, rice, etc), and monetary donations, which can be made by clicking here. To schedule a donation or drop-off, call 215-921-8375, or email them at [email protected].

 

Girls Like Me, Inc. Doll Drive and Toy Giveaway

Every year, Girls Like Me, Inc. collects toys to distribute as gifts to those in need during the holiday season. If your family needs a little extra attention from Santa this year, please bring your children to their Holiday Toy Giveaway on Saturday, December 12 outside at the Kingsessing Library (1201 S. 51st St) at noon. Donations are welcome too! Festive music from special guests and donors, The Joe Ferry Christmas String Band, will bring us all into the Holiday Spirit! Learn more here. 

 

Families Forward Philadelphia 

Families Forward Philadelphia, a local non-profit meeting the needs of Philadelphia's homeless families, is hosting an annual Holiday Toy Drive and other fundraising campaigns for children and families in their emergency housing system. For more information on how you can help these families, click here.

 

People’s Emergency Center’s (PEC) Holiday Drive 

For their annual Holiday Drive, PEC is asking that gifts be new and unwrapped. Due to COVID-19, they are requesting that donations be shipped and not dropped off in person this year. Please ship the donations to: PEC, Attn: Development Holiday 2020, 3902 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 between December 1 and December 17. Gift cards to local restaurants and stores can bring cheer and offer choices to teens and parents. Visit https://bit.ly/PECWish for gift ideas and links to cards that can be ordered online. Please send gift cards between December 1 and December 23 to PEC, Attn: Trish Downey, Holiday 2020, 325 N. 39th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 

 

 


 

OTHER LOCAL PROMOTIONS & EVENTS

Gift cards aren't the only promotions happening through the neighborhood this holiday season! Below is a snapshot of other local specials to help you with your holiday shopping. 

 

Black Hound Clay (715 S 50th St) 

The local clay studio is selling electronic gift cards that can be redeemed for classes, workshops, project kits, and supplies. They also just launched new project kits for take-home creative projects. Ornament kits must be dropped off for firing by December 10 to ensure they’ll be ready for Christmas. You can find them by clicking here. 

 

Fire & Ice Kwanzaa Celebration 

Head to The Bank Building at 3750 Lancaster Avenue on Friday, December 11th from 4-6 PM for a festive Fire & Ice Kwanzaa celebration! This event, presented by the PEC Neighborhood Advisory Committee, will feature ice sculpting, a free wreath & turkey pickup, and a Kwanzaa bonfire celebration. Registration is encouraged, but not required. If you'd like to register email Kevin Brown with your name, address, and phone number. Wear your masks and come to The Bank from 4-6 PM.

 

La Bodega and Holiday Boxes at Distrito 

The team from Distrito (3945 Chestnut Street) has launched La Bodega, Chef Jose Garces' curated marketplace of Mexican specialties and groceries, featuring everything from meal kits, fresh produce, gifts, housemade sauces, and heat-and-serve items. They are offering 15% off all first-time orders from La Bodega with promo code BODEGA15, now through 12/15. Customers can browse the complete inventory and place orders through this link. Distrito is also offering Holiday Catering Boxes to help remove the stress from cooking this holiday season. Each kit feeds four and includes Cochinita Pibil style pork, butternut squash soup, judias verde salad, mozzarella and corn mashed potatoes, and poblano cornbread, and must be picked up on Thursday, 12/24 between 10am-4pm. Click here to order. 

 

VIX Emporium (5009 Baltimore Ave)

In addition to gift cards, local giftshop VIX Emporium will be taking holiday shopping appointments on weekends starting on Black Friday. Read more and make your appointment to get in your holiday shopping here!  

 

Walnut Street Cafe Holiday Market and Outdoor Seating

Walnut Street Cafe (2929 Walnut Street) is rebranding their market for the holidays! Launching December 1 and dubbed “Walnut Street Holiday Market” for the season, guests can expect pre-packaged seasonal treats (think: peppermint bark and peanut brittle), giftable cocktail kits, locally made ceramics from Felt + Fat, gift cards to local businesses, fresh wreaths, seasonal florals and more. All of this, paired with Walnut Street Cafe’s newly winterized outdoor patio area now home to additional heaters, a spacious tent with windows, holiday decor, and cozy vibes.  

Want even more? Check out this 2020 guide to Philly gift guide curated by Billy Penn. 

 


 

GIFT CARD PROMOTIONS

High Street Provisions 

Customers can purchase gift cards online at highstreetprovisions.revelup.com/weborder. They'll be contacted by email and receive gift cards in the mail. 

honeygrow

It’s the season of giving (and getting!) and honeygrow is here to help you out with both. Enjoy a $10 Bonus Card to use on your first order in 2021 with every $50 spent in gift cards. To redeem, order a gift card in-store (3731 Walnut) or on their website. *Terms apply. $10 bonus can be used from 1/2-2/9/21. 

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