Well, she’s no John Facenda, but Julie Andrews does a decent job.

It’s Christmas in Philadelphia again, and though we can’t quite compete with New York, Philly has its own charms to offer.

One of those delights is Dame Julie Andrews’ narration of the beloved Wanamaker’s (Yes, I know it’s now Macy’s) Christmas light spectacular, taking place in the grand court in Macy’s Center City Philadelphia store from now through December 31st.

The show runs every hour on the hour and has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1956. If you grew up in Philly, odds are, you’ve met someone “at the eagle” and watched the show. Magical! 

A recent visit to the store found new generations of parents and kids sprawled on the floor (grab a spot near the eagle if you really want the whole Wanamaker’s effect) staring wide-eyed at the enormous display reaching high above the crowd and dazzling onlookers with brilliant lights, music and the melodious voice of Ms. Andrews.

Interweaving the tales of the Nutcracker, Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman, to a delightful musical score, the show holds appeal for all ages. In fact, I dare you not to smile if you go.

To continue your Christmas journey at Macy’s, head up to the Dickens’ Village on the store’s third floor, where you’ll be treated to animatronic figures telling the tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge and The Christmas Carol. Stroll through Victorian England and experience Ebeneezer’s life-changing dreams along with him as he eventually finds his way to redemption. Another Philly tradition and, like the Christmas light show, absolutely free. Even better, this is an open exhibit; no need to wait for show times, so you can work this visit around the hourly Christmas light show.

If something with even more international flavor suits your mood, head over to Love Park and experience Philadelphia’s version of a Christmas Village, featuring over 60 vendors in 90 cabin-like booths offering international Christmas ornaments, jewelry and various arts and crafts. Special Christmas treats are also on hand to quell a rumbling tummy. And again, free! Hours daily through December 24th from 11 AM until 7 PM Sunday through Thursday, until 8 PM Friday and Saturday.

And finally, the FREE again, Comcast Holiday Spectacular returns for a fifth year with the sights and sound of the season dancing across a gigantic 83′ wide by 25′ high LED video screen. It’s music, it’s state of the art technology, and it’s really fun. Shows also on the hour, 10 AM to 8 PM (except at the 5:00 rush hour!) through New Year’s Day.

A stroll around the city will reveal more delights; these are just a few. Take a break from shopping and enjoy the holidays in Philadelphia!