Philly insiders tell us what’s hot in December

Here are four Philly VIPs top picks for other types of winter cheer this month — plus a few tips on where to ring in the new year.

Patty Jackson

Radio Personality, WDAS 105.3

• Heading into the weekend, tonight the hot spot will be DJ GaryO’s birthday celebration at Harrah’s Philadelphia. You know it’s always a rockin’ hip party when DJ GaryO is involved.

• On Dec. 8, City Councilwoman Marian Tasco will be honored at a retirement ceremony at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. After her long run of dedication to the city of Philadelphia, it’s time for us to give back and honor Tasco as she opens the political window for others.

Bebashi celebrates 30 years of AIDS education and awareness at the Ben Franklin Hotel on Dec. 11. I’m one of the honorees during the ceremony, which features performances by El DeBarge and Howard Hewitt. And I’m truly thankful to be honored for my work in helping Bebashi spread the awareness of AIDS education. With El DeBarge and Howard Hewitt as part of the night, it will make for an even greater celebration!

• The Kimmel Center hosts a Soulful Holiday Celebration to pay tribute to gospel great Pastor Shirley Caesar on Dec. 15 I love this event each year! To witness several church choirs come together for an evening of holiday cheer is truly uplifting. You will not be able to remain seated when you hear the music.

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Keith Jones

Anchor and Reporter, NBC10 News

• You can’t miss the Comcast Holiday Spectacular.It’s an innovative 15-minute holiday show on the world’s highest resolution LED display in the lobby of the Comcast Center. Dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet move to music from “The Nutcracker,” a magical sleigh floats over the Philadelphia countryside and actors from the historic Walnut Street Theatre perform.

• I teach at my alma mater, Villanova University, as an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism. Every year, I look forward to producing and recording my students’ December newscast, which caps the fall semester! I’m always blown away at my students’ growth and potential. Oh, and you have to catch a Villanova men’s basketball game. As a former student manager, you could say I’m a bit partial. Go ’Nova!

• If you’re looking to volunteer this holiday season, check out local nonprofit Main Line Deputy Dog, which helps people with physical disabilities or mental health concerns train their own dogs to be fully certified service dogs. I’m an animal lover myself — and pamper my 6-month-old mini Australian shepherd, Charlie. MLDD is a frequent outlet for me during the holiday season. I even volunteer on the board of directors.

• For New Years Eve, NBC10 is the TV sponsor of the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Sugarhouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks. It’s a family affair, and one of the best New Years Eve celebrations in the country! Come out to watch the show in person or watch it on TV.

HughE Dillon

Photographer and Blogger, Philly Chit Chat

• LGBT grant-making agency Delaware Valley Legacy Fund hosts the ninth TOY party on Dec. 5, in Old City at Fire and Ice. Help them put smiles on the faces of local kids: Bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and those served by ActionAIDS.

• On Dec. 7, Zarwin Baum joins Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham and his foundation TEAMGRAHAM in hosting a toy drive at Vesper. Make a donation of $10 (or more!) and/or bring an unwrapped toy as the admission price — and get light bites, tasty drinks and maybe even a chance to chat with an Eagle. The event benefits Little Smiles PA.

• ‘Tis the season to rock your ugliest sweater and get judged for it at the fifth annualCancer is Ugly! Party (Dec. 19) to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

• On top of holiday parties, I’m also looking forward to a few eateries opening before 2016, including Italian BYO A Mano in Fairmount, from Townsend Wentz, and Tredici Enoteca in Midtown Village, by the guys behind Zavino’s. In Rittenhouse Square, look for Revolution Taco opening by the folks that operate Street Food Philly, Taco Mondo, and Say Cheese trucks.

• Back in Midtown Village, I can’t wait for Double Knot. Michael Schulson and Kevin Yanaga are opening a coffee shop — behind a bookshelf you’ll find a hidden staircase to a sushi bar and Japanese restaurant on a lower level, for children to ring in the New Year.

Nicole A. Cashman

President, Cashman & Associates

One Liberty Observation Deck is a must-see experience: It’s Philly’s view from the top, literally. A towering 57 floors — and more than 883 feet — above street level, the observation deck provides sweeping views of the skyline but also a one-of-a-kind vantage point to take in the continuing evolution of the city.

• Eat breakfast with Santa at The Union League. We’re looking forward to taking [our son] Jett to get his first visit with Santa Claus.

• Shop local at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park, which is new this year. The market showcases the work of local artists, crafters, confectionaries and designers.

• Ring in the new year with Countdown 2 Noon at The Please Touch Museum. I’m excited to take part in this fun family event with Jett and Nigel. Countdowns will take place at noon and again at 1 p.m. to accommodate all of the little party animals and their families. It’s a holiday tradition and the perfect party for children to ring in the New Year.

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