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There is no place like home for the holidays. To so many, Lancaster is their home-sweet-home, whether they have been a part of this community for a lifetime or are new to the area and have just settled in. One thing that Lancaster is never short on is a variety of things to do locally, especially during the holiday season. So order that large peppermint mocha from Prince Street Cafe to go and get decked out in your favorite Christmas sweater and get in the holiday spirit!

So you don’t get overwhelmed while researching what fun activities to see and/or do this year, we have selected 4 to put on your radar!

1. First Friday

On the first Friday of every month, the sidewalks of Lancaster city fill up with individuals of every age who are looking to explore all that the city has to offer: gallery walks featuring beautiful artwork created by its talented residents, mouth-watering appetizers and dinners for every budget, and an active but modest nightlife for those who aren’t quite ready to end their evenings.

December’s First Friday will offer all of the activities and excitement of a typical First Friday, but with a holiday twist! There will be lights, carriage rides, visits with Santa, and some galleries will have affordable products available for sale for the art-lover in your life. And don’t forget to bask in all the holiday cheer in front of Lancaster’s famous 30-foot Christmas tree in Penn Square!

2. Amusement Park Fun

Worried that you won’t be able to find any holiday-inspired fun for your kids? How does a holiday-themed amusement park sound? Dutch Wonderland is getting a makeover and trading in their usual look for twinkling lights, holiday music, and holiday entertainment!

However, this holiday version of Dutch Wonderful, temporarily renamed Dutch Winter Wonderful throughout November and December, will only be open on select days throughout the rest of the year, so make sure you check out the dates and times before planning your visit.

3. Christmas Ball

Go back in time and celebrate the holidays surrounded by timeless themes at the Lancaster Convention Center. There will be music and dancing from past eras, a live orchestra, and a DJ. You can come dressed up as someone from your favorite time period or, if you would rather just take in your surroundings, you can wear your best modern attire.

This Christmas Ball is a little more expensive than some of the other local events, but proceeds help benefit children in crisis both nationally and internationally, so you can truly get in the holiday spirit by giving back!

4. Holiday Shopping

Get out and explore Lancaster while also completing some of your gift shopping. There’s a vast selection of stores and products that are just a walk or short drive away, so you will be able to find that perfect gift for your pickiest relative or for the friend who “has it all.”

There are larger, more well-known stores to shop at, like Tanger and Rockvale Outlets, or, if you are an advocate for supporting local businesses, smaller boutiques, like That Shuu Girl or Ellicott & Co are a perfect place to find clothing, shoes, and accessories. For family or friends who have more unique, eclectic taste, there are great thrift stores to peruse as well! Building Character is just one of the many second-hand stores you can find in the heart of downtown Lancaster.

Add some of these activities to your holiday to-do list and invite your family and friends to join! There is nothing better than celebrating the holidays with your closest loved ones in the heart of your hometown.