by William R. Valevio, director and CEO

With the holidays upon us, Woodmere is gearing up for the merriment and cheer of the season. On Saturday, Nov. 22, festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Circle of Trees party for families, and at 6 p.m., Santa arrives on his fire truck to launch the holiday season up and down Germantown Avenue.

On view in our galleries will be three historic Belsnickels, the centerpiece of our new exhibition of toys and holiday items of the Pennsylvania German tradition. Don’t miss our Victorian card-making workshop on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., or the holiday classic movies,”The Shop Around the Corner” (on Dec.9 at 7 p.m.) and “White Christmas” (on Dec. 16 at 7).

Our big jazzy holiday music jam, Crooner Christmas, a sing-along to holiday favorites, takes place on Friday, Dec. 19, from 6-8 p.m. Finally, please don’t forget that the staff at Woodmere’s holiday store is glad to help with all your holiday gift needs.

Among all the activities of the holidays, there is one standout event every year – a special program that percolates for months and reaches a crescendo in an exhibition, “Kids Care,” currently on view through Dec. 14 in Woodmere’s Helen Millard Gallery for children’s art. Now in its 21st year, Kids Care is designed to give approximately 1,000 kids the opportunity to express care for another, less fortunate child who will be spending the holidays at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. Join us at our Kids Care party on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.

Kids Care is a masterpiece of collaboration and logistics. Throughout the year, Woodmere’s staff works with art teachers and classroom groups across the region – this year we worked with 23 schools ¬– on art projects connected to a Woodmere exhibition. This year, children made art responding to the theme “on the road,” looking at the landscapes of Walter Elmer Schofield (1866-1944), the great American Impressionist and Chestnut Hill resident whose retrospective is currently on view in our galleries.

The works on view in Kids Care include mixed media reliefs, color monoprints, ceramic sculptures, pastel landscapes, hanging tapestries and more – all together they make a dazzling array from floor to ceiling of the free spirit of children’s art.

Finally, a literal wrap-up event takes place on Monday, Dec. 15, the day after the exhibition closes to the public. A veritable army of volunteers arrives and each of the hundreds and hundreds of works of art made by children throughout the year are wrapped in holiday paper and brought to St. Christopher’s Hospital, where each gift is given to a child who will be in the hospital during the holidays.