Winter Wonders

December is an ideal time to get out and about Greater Wilmington (sorry, we couldn’t resist). From concerts and performances to decked out halls and confetti countdowns, our area boasts an impressive array of holiday options. Following are more than 30 suggestions. Enjoy!

Longtime Holiday Traditions

Yuletide at Winterthur

Now–Jan. 7, 2024 | Winterthur Museum & Gardens

Experience a celebration of American elegance in holiday style, inspired by Ann Lowe: American Couturier. This year’s Yuletide Tour features custom fashion by local designers Shawn Pinckney and Asata Maisé Beeks, whose creations reflect the history of Winterthur and the design sensibilities of Henry Francis du Pont and Ann Lowe. Explore the house decorated in all its finery with Winterthur’s signature traditions, including the Dried-Flower Tree, artistic Christmas trees inspired by Ann Lowe gowns, and a spectacular table set for Christmas dinner.

A Longwood Christmas

Now–Jan. 7, 2024 | Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pa.

Guests can experience a radiance of retro, a bevy of bright, and numerous nostalgic moments at Longwood Gardens. You will find playful trees draped in throwback baubles to shimmering tinsel to childhood-favorite toys; a festive holiday party scene; a vintage Christmas street scene and, of course, vibrant light displays including some super-sized surprises.

Festive Family Fun

Santa at the Zoo

Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3, 10am | Brandywine Zoo, Wilmington

Kids can meet and take a photo with Santa at this winter wonderland tradition at the Zoo. Enjoy free hot cocoa, holiday activities, and story time, too. Tickets are $4 for members and $8 for non-members (children under 3 are free). Registration required at

Light Up the Square

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6pm | Rodney Square, Wilmington

The City of Wilmington will host its annual tree-lighting celebration. The evening will include live performances, face painting, a children’s book giveaway, plus a special visit from Santa Claus and Rudolph. In addition, DE.CO Food Hall, at 111 West 10th Street, will host a holiday pre-party beginning at 4:30pm with food and drink specials and live music by Son of Sinatra. 

Holiday Light Express

Dec. 6 – Dec. 30 | Wilmington & Western Railroad, Wilmington

Experience the magic of riding aboard a festively decorated, historic locomotive with heated coaches, each covered in thousands of holiday lights, and admire the decorated trackside homes and yards on this one-hour trip through the Red Clay Valley. Reservations required. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at

Sankta Lucia Celebration

Sunday, Dec. 10, 1pm & 3pm | Old Swedes Church, Wilmington

St. Lucia, the bringer of light, is celebrated with song and ceremony in the candlelit church. A beloved Swedish tradition, it marks the beginning of the holiday season. To commemorate this celebration the Delaware Swedish Colonial Society welcomes guest to attend and share in this age-old Swedish Christmas tradition. Tickets are $5.25-$15.50 and can be purchased at

Holiday Magic Brunch with Santa

Saturday, Dec. 16, Seatings at 10am and 12:30pm | Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington

Enjoy brunch, a petting zoo, face painting (3-6pm at Riverwalk Mini Golf) and a visit from Santa. Then view the holiday light display along the Riverwalk. Brunch tickets are $25-$49; visit for reservations and more information.

Holiday Classics

It’s A Wonderful Life

Through Saturday, Dec. 23 | The Candlelight Theatre, Arden 

One of the most popular Christmas tales ever written, this heartwarming classic, based on the Frank Capra film, follows George Bailey, whose dreams of life outside the boundaries of Bedford Falls lie crushed beneath the weight of family and community. An enduring and endearing parable of love, honor and friendship. Ticket includes dinner and show. Purchase at

A Christmas Carol

Monday, Dec. 18, 7pm
The Playhouse on Rodney Square, Wilmington 

The music of 26 beloved traditional carols of the season is woven throughout this new adaptation of Dickens’ ever-popular classic. Lush costumes, stunning sets and puppetry, song and dance, a heavy dose of humor and a timeless message make this a great way to celebrate the holidays. Tickets are $49-$59 and available at or 800.37GRAND.

Ladies Dancing & Lords a-Leaping

Delaware Arts Conservatory — The Snow Queen

Saturday, Dec. 9, 12pm & 5pm; Sunday, Dec. 10, 2pm | Laird Performing Arts Center at Tatnall School, Greenville

Delaware’s timeless holiday production of The Snow Queen returns for an all-new show. Based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, and the inspiration for Disney’s Frozen, the performance is told through various forms of dance with colorful costumes, scenery and projections that are a feast for the eyes. Tickets are $10-$25, available at

Christina Cultural Arts Center — Carols in Color

Sunday, Dec. 10, 4 pm | The Grand Opera House

For a unique holiday treat, check out this one-day-only performance in Wilmington. Carols tells the story of Christ’s birth according to the gospel of St. Matthew using contemporary music, exuberant dance and powerful narration. Tickets are $35, available at or 800.37GRAND.

Wilmington Ballet Academy of  the Dance — The Nutcracker

Saturday, Dec. 15, 7:30pm; Saturday, Dec. 16, 2pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday, Dec. 17, 2pm | The Playhouse on Rodney Square, Wilmington

Wilmington Ballet has produced Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic since 1967, making it the longest running production of The Nutcracker in the city. This season stars Richard Villaverde of The Martha Graham Dance Company as The Nutcracker, and Ballet X’s Francesca Forcella as The Sugar Plum Fairy, with Maestro Allan Scott conducting The Wilmington Ballet Orchestra, accompanied by the angelic voices of The Choir School of Delaware. Tickets are $20-$45, available at or 800.37GRAND.

First State Ballet Theatre — The Nutcracker

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, Dec.17, 2pm; Friday, Dec. 22, 7pm; and Saturday, Dec. 23, 2pm | The Grand Opera House, Wilmington

Join Delaware’s only professional ballet company on a magical journey through the Land of Sweets in this lavish production that has become a favorite holiday tradition. Tickets start at $19.99 and are available at or 800.37GRAND.

Do You Hear What I Hear? Holiday Music!

Mastersingers of Wilmington Nativity Carols

Saturday, Dec. 2, 3pm | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square

Market Street Music’s holiday concert features its own Mastersingers with conductor David Schelat and organist Marvin Mills. The program includes music by Jonathan Dove, Felix Mendelssohn and more. Tickets are $25 ($30 at the door) and are available at 

Thursday Noontime Concert — Charlie Zahm: A Celtic Christmas

Thursday, Dec.7, 12:30 | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square

Take a break from your workday and enjoy a concert of traditional Celtic and Christmas songs sung by this expert balladeer. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

The Choir School of Delaware — Sounds of the Season

Saturday, Dec.9, 7:30 | Grace United Methodist Church, Wilmington

Ring in the holidays with a cheerful performance of seasonal tunes. The Choir School will sing music from around the world for the whole family to enjoy, featuring popular movements from Handel’s Messiah. Tickets are $15-$25; free for those 18 and under. Purchase at

Music School of Delaware’s Holiday Extravaganza

Sunday, Dec. 10, 4pm | St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, Wilmington

Indulge in an evening filled with dazzling music and captivating performances. Cantabile Women’s Chorus combined with The Delaware Women’s Chorus will perform along with Small Wonder Jazz Singers and a guest brass quintet, Blechblaser Aufnehman, for an afternoon of holiday music. For admission, bring a non-perishable food item to help support the St. Stephen’s Food Pantry.

Delaware Symphony Orchestra – Holidays at the Hotel

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 7:30pm | The Gold Ballroom at the Hotel du Pont, Wilmington

Celebrate the holidays at the magnificent Gold Ballroom of the Hotel du Pont as DSO performs festive melodies by Bach and Tchaikovsky. The concert showcases the Orchestra’s esteemed string section, joined by baritone Grant Youngblood. The evening includes a lavish intermission featuring wine and desserts. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at

Thursday Noontime Concert — Center City Chorale: Christmas Comes Again

Thursday, Dec. 14, 12:30pm | First & Central Presbyterian Church, Rodney Square

Wilmington’s favorite “downtown choir” performs a rich and lively assortment of holiday music to send you toward Christmas. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Cartoon Christmas Trio with special guest Wilmington Children’s Chorus 

Friday, Dec. 22, 7pm | Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington

Wilmington Children’s Chorus joins the Cartoon Christmas Trio for a special night at the Delaware Art Museum. Audiences will be treated to music from classic Christmas cartoons, including Vince Guaraldi’s familiar tunes from the beloved Peanuts Christmas cartoon. Tickets are $10 for Delaware Art Museum members and $15 for non-members, and can be purchased at

The Halls Are Decked

Noël at Nemours Estate

Now – Dec. 30, 10am-5pm | Nemours Estate, Wilmington

Tour the festive displays in the 77-room Nemours Mansion, Chauffeur’s Garage and select areas of the gardens. Live music performances will also be held in the Mansion throughout the season. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children (free entry for 5 and under). Visit for tickets.

Rockwood Holiday Open House 

Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2, 5pm | Rockwood Park & Museum, Wilmington

Rockwood’s annual family event features spectacular holiday displays of lights in the park, museum tours, free photos with Santa, and performances from local choirs, dance companies, and more. Food vendors will also be on site. Free admission.

Wreath Making Workshop

Saturday, Dec. 9, 1 pm | Mt. Cuba Center, Wilmington

Enhance your home’s holiday spirit with a festive, long- lasting evergreen wreath. Combine an assortment of fresh evergreen cedar, fragrant pine, and sturdy magnolia boughs, adorn it with foraged cones and berries, and add a bow for eye-catching seasonal flair. Bring hand pruners and a large box to transport your finished wreath home. Tickets are $79 and registration is required at

Hagley Twilight Tours

Tuesdays & Wednesdays, Dec.12-14 and Dec. 19-21, 4-7 pm | Hagley Museum, Greenville

Enjoy a rare opportunity to see Eleutherian Mills — the first du Pont family home in America — dressed for the holidays with softly glowing lights. This year’s theme, “Treasures and Traditions,” celebrates the little things in life that bring us joy in the holiday season. While there, visit the Hagley Barn to view this year’s creative Gingerbread Contest entries. Admission: $10 for members; $20 for non-members. Reservations required at

Wrap It Up — Gift Giving

Holiday Bazaar & Winter Greenery Sale

Friday, Dec. 1, 12pm and Saturday, Dec. 2, 10am | Delaware Center for Horticulture, Wilmington

Check off your gift list with handmade gifts made by local artisans and pick up seasonal ornamental greens to trim your home. Sit by their fire pit and enjoy the holiday music and festive ambiance. Learn more at

Brandywine Holiday Festival of the Arts

Saturday, Dec. 16 & Sunday, Dec. 17, 11am-7pm | Chase Center on the Riverfront, Wilmington

Find unique and meaningful gifts for your family and friends at this event featuring 150 local artists and artisans. Admission is $5, children under 12 are free. Visit

Festive Folly — Adults-Only Fun

Blitzen Bar

Now through December 24 | 220 W 9th Street, Wilmington

Wilmington’s holiday pop-up is back. Cozy up by the fireplace for a pre-dinner cocktail or stay all night for the reindeer games. Christmas attire is welcomed, but not required. Visit

Ugly Sweater Crawl

Saturday, Dec. 9, 8pm | 12 locations throughout Wilmington

Out & About teams with Motorcycle Santa for this annual bar crawl where you’re encouraged to don your tackiest holiday apparel (you could even win a prize!). One $5 cover gains admission to all the clubs and benefits the Ronald McDonald House. Toy donations are accepted at all venues. For a list of participating clubs, visit

Cheer in the New Year

Confetti Countdown

Sunday, Dec. 31, 11am, 12pm & 1pm | Delaware Children’s Museum, Wilmington

Bring the kids to DCM and ring in the New Year early and count down to a big confetti release. In addition, enjoy special performances from We Kids Rock, appearances from Pinky the Puppet, and more. Visit

Roaring into the New Year

Sunday, Dec. 31, 9pm | Delaware Museum of Nature & Science, Greenville

Celebrate the New Year at noon with a special countdown to 2024. Guests will enjoy live bird presentations and celebratory activities, including a special science-related ball drop. Admission: $3 for members; $17 plus for non-members, ages 3 and up. Registration required. Visit

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Sunday, Dec. 31, 9pm | Wilmington Riverfront

Enjoy a spectacular fireworks show over the Christina River and Wilmington skyline as part of Holiday Magic at Riverbright Wilmington. Prime viewing is between the public dock and Riverfront Market areas. Visit