With cultural attractions, performing arts venues and shopping meccas that pull out all the stops, a visit to Greater Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. A weekend tour of the area’s most iconic sites is a good way to soak in the local traditions.

One of the season’s most eye-popping spectacles, A Longwood Christmas, located at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, showcases the horticultural gem’s floral displays, which once a year include winterberry, winter-flowering begonias, tulips, amaryllis, narcissus, cyclamen, snapdragons and, of course, thousands of scarlet poinsettias. Wander inside the 4.5-acre conservatory, which traditionally suits a theme. But, not to be missed are more than 500,000 outdoor lights that illuminate this winter wonderland. In addition, entertainment includes choral, harp and bell concerts, as well as sing-a-longs beside the famous pipe organ. 

Known for its collection of 85,000 American antiques, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library is among Delaware’s premier destinations. During Yuletide at Winterthur, select rooms in Henry Francis du Pont’s former home are repositories for past and present traditions, which are detailed by docents during guided tours. Many are decorated to demonstrate how the family celebrated the holidays in era’s past. Look for a colossal tree in seemingly every room on the tour—one more beautiful than the next. Keep watch for the dried flower tree, a tradition since 1985.

 The Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, PA renowned for work by three generations of Wyeth artists, celebrates A Brandywine Christmas with trees of all sizes decorated with hand-made ornaments made by the volunteer staff. But the real delight for children of all ages is the toy train exhibit with its sleek miniature train cars, neon signs, tiny drive-in theater and everything else that makes the mini-town come to life.

 Leave time for a detour to Christiana Mall and the neighboring Christiana Fashion Center, which is a paradise for diehard holiday shoppers. The mall draws over 20-million visitors a year for its tax-free shopping.

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