Philadelphia’s spirit is a family thing

December 11, 2010 – Philadelphia is a city of great traditions.

The latest evidence: U.S. Airway’s Magazine ranked Philadelphia No. 1 for the most holiday spirit. The City of Brotherly Love beat out London and New York for the honor. Among the deciding factors were the city’s light show and Dickens Village featured at Macy’s downtown store.

Both of these exhibits are rooted in the city’s history, and those roots run through my family, as well. As a kid, nothing was as magical as visiting downtown Philadelphia during the holidays. The family tradition started with the Gimbel’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which my father took us to every year.

Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’d hop on the downtown train again, this time with my older sister, to see the Christmas decorations on Market Street.

The tour started with the light show and a musical performance courtesy of the historic pipe organ, a ritual started by John Wanamaker’s in the 1950s. After the show, we’d head to the Crystal Tea Room for lunch highlighted by Christmas tree shaped ice cream for dessert.

A walk to Lit Brothers to visit the Enchanted Christmas Village followed, and the last stop on our journey was Gimbel’s to visit the “real” Santa who arrived in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It’s heartwarming that families still visit these delightful displays, and that U.S. Airways Magazine acknowledges our tradition. It just goes to show you, no matter how you slice it, there’s no place like home for the holidays.

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