We’ve grown a lot as a company in the last 18 months, and as a team of 30 (and counting), we’ve spread our wings beyond Philly to find the best talent in places around the country and across the ocean. We’re still Philly at our core, but as a remote and diverse team that now bridges not just state lines, but regional and international cultures, we get to learn about how the holidays are celebrated in all of the places our various team members live and work.
From Philadelphia to Houston, Chicago to Nashville and even Italy and Spain, here are some of the eCity team’s favorite holiday activities across our remote landscape, as offered by the folks who live in those places and love these things.
The Holiday Season in Philadelphia
Our headquarter city offers countless opportunities to get into the holiday spirit, and we take advantage of our favorite holiday hot spots every year.
- Longwood Garden’s Christmas Lights: This city staple features a holiday light display juxtaposed with its botanical garden. The beautiful flowers and vegetation give even regular visitors a fresh perspective on the garden’s beauty. —Becca Zinn, executive director of digital marketing, social impact & edtech and Heather Magenta, senior designer
- Peddler’s Village: We love that Peddler’s Village offers a kick-off to the holidays the first week of December with Santa parades, holiday food and drink specials, tons of shops and boutiques, live music, and a gingerbread display. There’s even an inn for those who wish to wake up in this Christmas wonderland and explore more.—Tom Kegelman, managing director
- Miracle on South 13th Street Holiday Light Display: We have our own version of Miracle on 34th street here in Philly. The residents of this stretch of 13th street in South Philly go all out with an incredible display of lights and decorations, and people come from across the city to walk or drive through and soak it all up. And because this is the City of Brotherly Love, organizers host a food drive for visitors to drop off shelf-stable foods to help those in need.—Becca Zinn, executive director of digital marketing, social impact & edtech
- Christmas Village: Each year, City Hall becomes a winter carnival with games, rides, and even a Ferris wheel on and around its grounds in Center City. There’s also a pop-up German Christmas Market with dozens of stalls of food, beverages, and plenty of local vendors offering a plethora of potential holiday gifts. We suggest taking it in with a cup of hot cider or cocoa.—Heather Magenta, senior designer
- Macy’s Dickens Village: The Macy’s Dickens Village, also in Center City, will take you back to the 1800s where you can meet Ebenezer Scrooge and all of the classic Dickens characters. But the star of the show is an incredible live, indoor, multi-story light show and concert, with holiday favorites belted out by the automated in-house organ.—Dariel Davis, junior graphic designer
- Watching the Eagles Thrive: We may not all be born-and-bred Eagles fans, and this is certainly not an annual tradition, but it sure is fun this year to have a winning team as the cold weather sets in, the holiday lights come out, and the city sings “Fly Eagles Fly” every weekend.—Aaron Stern, director of content
What Our Team Loves to Do Outside of Philly
As a company that spans across the country, and even across the pond, some of our team celebrates the holidays in different cities.
Holidays in Houston
Houston has one of most famous zoos in the United States. And this time of year, the Houston Zoo goes all out with holiday lights and exhibits. One of its best exhibits is the 33 foot tree that has string lights that change color throughout the night.
Kids and adults can visit Santa in his workshop, then head over to the Hanging Pollinator Garden for a canopy of glowing butterflies and flowers. The zoo’s ability to make each stop a fresh experience with the holiday light show is second to none, and this event is perfect for all ages.—Paolo Santamaria, business development manager and Nicole Shupe, senior editor
Nashville at Christmas
Like Philadelphia, Nashville offers historic buildings that lend themselves to beautiful light displays come the holidays. Cheekwood has a beautiful outdoor light show, perfect for the entire family. As you walk around this legendary estate, the lights and music will get you in the spirit.
Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Hotel offers a famous indoor light display with over three million lights; some themed for Christmas, some themed for the music industry. And because Nashville is a very family and pet friendly place to live, there are several opportunities for pictures with Santa, and most raise money for local animal shelters, food drives, and other charitable organizations.—Ashley Chapman, content producer
Chicago at Christmas
In Chicago, Maggie Daley Park offers ice skating and it’s perfect during this time of year. The park’s ice skating ribbon offers a quarter mile track that skaters can enjoy while taking in the cityscape and the festive lights throughout the area. Skaters of all levels and ages come back every year to enjoy this special view of the city. —Jori Bonadurer, project manager
The eCity Team Across the Ocean
Rome for the Holidays
As a remote company, we have the honor of embracing the holidays in all sorts of ways.
Based at the center of the Befana Market, the Piazza Venezia offers an incredible 75 foot tree lit up in front of Italy’s capital building for all to see. Some like to walk around the city or market and enjoy the lights throughout, then end at the tree for the grand finale of the evening to admire the beauty next to the old architecture. After enjoying the Piazza Venezia tree, the Befana Market itself is a hot spot for those seeking holiday activities. This Christmas market offers everything you need for Christmas shopping and sightseeing.—Jori Bonadurer, project manager. Yes, Jori splits her time between Chicago and Rome and we’re a little jealous.
A Very Merry Christmas in Valencia, Spain
The holidays last a little longer in Spain than they do in the U.S. It’s tradition that children get presents from the three wise men, but this gift giving happens on Jan. 6. In Valencia, the Welcome Parade comes through to celebrate the holidays on Jan. 5. This incredible parade showcases the royal court and participants are instructed to practice more traditions that night after they return home, like leaving their shoes on their balcony so presents can be hidden inside.—Paula Mestre, UX consultant
Happy Holidays, Wherever You Are
The year has come and gone and we’re ready for what’s next. Our company has grown so much this past year, and there are exciting changes on the way in 2023.
Wherever you are, we hope you have a great holiday season. We are excited to share the new year with you and continue the partnerships that we are proud to be a part of and that make us look forward to every season.