It’s the 13th go around for Philly’s popular annual holiday attraction Christmas Village, but this year—for obvious reasons—is a bit different. The open-air German styled market still looks the same, but the way Philadelphians are going to maneuver through the shopping venue has shifted.
Safety has been at the forefront of the shopping experience for 2020 at Christmas Village. According to a release: “The outdoor market will be set up in a modified layout with 50% less vendors, a one-way street shopping concept and separated food court to allow proper social distancing. In order to provide the safest experience, all visitors and staff must be masked throughout the Christmas Village.”
Shoppers can still find the unique items they are accustomed to when visiting this holiday tradition. That includes international and local gifts, crafts, arts, holiday decor, clothing and more as well as some hand sanitizer along the way. Each hut housing the goods are spaced out at least ten feet apart to help keep distances for visitors as well.
The Village also has always served up German fare, something that typically pairs well during the chilly months in the outdoors. You’re not completely out of luck if you’re looking to still find some of these treats, they just have to also be consumed a bit differently this year for safety. Philadelphians can still munch and sip on Bratwurst, Raclette Cheese, Schnitzel, Tarte Flambé, Lebkuchen, French Toast and Gluhwine, but must do so inside a fenced-off and crowd-controlled food court with generous spacing. Social Distancing Ambassadors and extensive signage will guide visitors in the right directions, and waiting areas will be established to make socially distanced waiting possible at locations like the food court entrance and select food vendors.
“With the changes this year, and with safety as our top priority, we strongly encourage weekday visits this year. With many people working from home and having flexible schedules, we want to remind everyone that we are open seven days a week and there are less crowds Mondays to Thursdays. We are also open during the daytime hours during the week, and Christmas Village is a great spot to visit for lunch as well,” says Christmas Village President Thomas Bauer. “No matter when you visit, we want to remind everyone to wear their masks and stay at least ‘one Christmas tree length’ (six feet) away from all other guests. Santa will indeed be watching – and the rules will be enforced.”
There are also obvious precautions that can be taken as well, which includes sanitizing stations throughout the park, Social Distancing Ambassadors and extensive signage that will guide visitors in the right directions, regulate waiting lines and remind them to follow all rules. Guests that feel sick or have been in contact with a sick person are required to stay home, and all staff will wear face coverings, get their temperature checked daily and are required to sanitize their hands at least every 20 minutes.
A full list of vendors are listed on the official site, but some old favorites are returning such as Käthe Wohlfahrt offering her ornaments and finely crafted decor in a well-ventilated and crowd-controlled tent. The Christmas Village Carousel will once again be housed in the City Hall Courtyard closer to The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. The carousel has been a fan favorite for five years, and in addition, Christmas Village will also bring back additional vendors set up in a socially distanced way around the courtyard to complement the carousel. To help keep everyone safe, carousel operators will follow state and city guidelines and take all necessary precautions in response to Covid-19 including less carousel seats, a crowd-controlled waiting line allowing proper social distancing and a strict cleaning protocol.
According to the release, the open-air Christmas market will remain open through Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24. Daily market hours are Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Eve hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit philachristmas.com