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FunTimes Magazine

Let it snow, man!

Dec 19, 2023 12:00PM ● By FunTimes Staff
Photo by Randy Giancaterino

FunTimes Magazine, “Culture + Entertainment” column, Week of December 18, 2023

‘Tis the season to enjoy a host of holiday happenings. Here is a candelabra of free or low-cost activities featuring the best of Kwanzaa. So, on three: Yo, yo, yo! Merry Christmas and a very Happy Kwanzaa! And don’t forget: While enjoying your fun-filled final days of 2023, please take precautions, especially when in groups and indoors, with the current COVID variants and other infectious health threats. Check with the event organizers about their safety protocols. 

For the FunTimes holiday stress-relief series, expert Jarde Allen gave tips on financial discipline.

FunTimes reduces the stress mess…

FunTimes had a little idea that’s having a big outcome: How can we all cope with the growing pressures and frenzy of the holiday season? Our special holiday online video series, “Holiday Stress Busters and Solutions: Managing Self-care, Finances, Diet and Nutrition” has been a success! With valuable how-to information, it effectively covers many of the stress-causers when trying to prep for Thanksgiving Day in the United States, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Nuggets of advice came in the form of brief useful interviews, or vignettes, led by our super-hosts, Lavonne Nichols and Jennifer Smith, with leading experts in health, nutrition, finances, and self-care. For example, Jarde Allen, CEO of In the Moment Financial Services based in West Philly, explored the value of communicating and setting price limits, through family White Elephant or Pollyanna gift-giving exchanges. Check out our gift to you – Holiday Stress Busters and Solutions -- posted on YouTube and the FunTimes website: or


A Nat King Cole Christmas

Thursday, December 21, 2023. Legendary singer Nat King Cole was gone too soon, at age 45 in 1965. But the light of his legacy shines. Celebrate the music of Nat King Cole and his classic holiday songs in a jazzy way. It’s sort of a King Cole Christmas show. Philadelphia’s vocalists Khadijah Renee and Arlene Hilton will pay tribute to him at Jazzy Christmas featuring some of Philly’s top musicians – pianist Dave Posmontier, bassist Kevin MacConnell, drummer Jerry Tannenbaum with guest artist singer Kevin Valentine. Enjoy food, drinks, raffles, and door prizes. Cole recorded more than 100 hits since his debut in the 1930s and broke musical color barriers. Like Cole’s time-honored hit, the night promises to be “Unforgettable.” 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST, $20, Black Squirrel Club, 1049 Sarah St,

Samara Joy

Joy to the world!

Friday, December 22, 2023. Samara Joy: A Joyful Holiday featuring The McLendon Family may be the cure to nudge even Scrooge into the holiday spirit. At 23, Joy has two Grammys on her mantle from her impressive debut, Linger Awhile, paying tribute to the classics from the Great American Songbook. The New Yorker is an old musical soul, channeling Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald. Her voice has been described as having “gravitational pull.“ NPR’s All Things Considered program called the rising Gen Z star a "classic jazz singer from a new generation.” Joy landed her GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album and the Best New Artist award in February. Ten months later, she will grace the Philadelphia stage. $35 to $75. Two shows: 5 pm. EST. and 7:30 p.m. EST. Miller Theater, 250 S. Broad St. 215-893-1999 or

Kwanzaa kickoff 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 to Monday, January 1, 2024. Rejoice in a weeklong Kwanzaa Festival highlighting cultural community programs, interactive workshops, and special evening museum hours at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP). Celebrate the traditions of the season with virtual and in-person family-friendly activities that recognize and honor the Nguzo Saba including a night market featuring Black-owned businesses, Quizzo, a live soul food demonstration, doll-making, yoga, animation, music, and more. At the Opening Unity Ceremony at AAMP on the first day of Kwanzaa, December 26th, rejoice in Umoja, which means “to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.” The family-friendly event will include the kinara lighting, learning the Nguzo Saba, music, education, and storytelling. from 5 p.m. EST to 8 p.m. EST. $14, for adults; $10 for kids, ages 4 to 12, students, and seniors. Preregistration is encouraged, along with dressing in Kente, Ankara, or Kwanzaa-related attire. 215-574-0380 or

Read also:

Christmas and Kwanzaa Gift Ideas for Loved Ones

Christmas and Kwanzaa Gift Ideas for Loved Ones

If you're looking for some last-minute gift ideas, here are the best Kwanzaa or Christmas presents we have in store. Read More » 



The best traditions of Kwanzaa

Tuesday, December 26, 2023. Celebrate Kwanzaa 57th Anniversary Celebration with a bevy of fun-filled activities at the Kwanzaa Cooperative. Billed as a “celebration of family community, and culture,” the day will kick off with a celebratory Kwanzaa program at 6 p.m. Shop for authentic items from vendors, enjoy entertainment, a Cultural Children’s area, and a candle-lighting ceremony. Take part in a workshop, Kwanzaa 101, by the Kwanzaa Cooperative’s Chair, Mama Maisha Ongoza. View Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair, Department of African Studies CSULB; Executive Director, African American Cultural Center (US), through a live stream. Add to your recipe repertoire with cooking tips from chef Abdarahmane Diop, of African Small Pot Restaurant, who will whip up tasty dishes from Mauritania and Senegal. Learn how to wire-wrap jewelry or craft specialized beadwork from artist Mama Tiye Carter at a “Make it and Take it” workshop. Free entry, 3 p.m. EST to 8 p.m. EST. (candle lighting and Chef Abdarahmane Diop cooking demonstration, $20, both activities, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST). Imhotep Institute Charter High School, 6201 N. 21st St. 215-385-0214 or

Read also:

African Small Pot, Southwest Philly’s Premier West African Restaurant, Endures and Cultivates Community During COVID-19

FunTimes sat down with restauranteur Abdarahmane Diop to learn about his story of persistence through COVID-19, and insights on the community he has cultivated through his business. Read More » 


Queen Nur

It is all about Kwanzaa for kids

Friday, December 29, 2023. Celebrate Kwanzaa with African diasporic holiday traditions at the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. Enjoy an interactive performance featuring Queen Nur. chef demonstrations, engaging storytelling, songs, drumming, and dancing. Enjoy access to activities in the whole museum. Reserve tickets in advance: $19 to $22, two sessions: 11 a.m. EST to 11:30 p.m. EST and 12:30 p.m. EST to 1 p.m. EST. Please Touch Museum/ Hamilton Hall, Memorial Hall, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, 215-581-3181 or

Read also:

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Culture and Unity

Kwanzaa was created using the traditional harvest celebrations of the Ashanti and Zulu peoples. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first ... Read More » 


City Council and its partners last week announced the creation of a new public kinara sculpture to celebrate Kwanzaa.

First and foremost…

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 to Monday, January 1, 2024. A new, nine-foot kinara sculpture will be installed for Kwanzaa at Philadelphia’s City Hall by the end of December. The sculpture is credited as the city’s first public kinara. A team of six led by Maisha Sullivan-Ongoza, of the Kwanzaa Cooperative, created the piece, which will be displayed at City Hall near the monument of civil rights activist Octavius V. Catto. The Catto art was dedicated to the City Hall apron in 2017. The kinara was built as a group reflecting the Kwanzaa principle of collective work, organizers said. The kinara is made of wood and represents Kwanzaa symbols such as corn, the unity cup, and crops. The kinara is in time to celebrate Kwanzaa, the week of December 26, 2023, to January 1, 2024. The first day of festivities will include the lighting of the new kinara including a black candle symbolizing “Umoja,” or unity of the people, and a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” It will be hosted by the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Kinara sculpture was established by City Councilwoman Kendra Brooks, the Kwanzaa Cooperative, Visit Philadelphia, Welcome America, Inc.,  and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. City Hall (southwest corner), near Broad and Market streets.

It’s electric at Franklin Square

Through Sunday, February 25, 2024. Winter in Franklin Square featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO is a holiday must-see. Experience the cheer of the season with dazzling lights and a cool soundtrack of classics like All I Want for Christmas is You and Feliz Navidad while warming up around the fire pits. Check out Franklin Square Street Curling, an adaptation of the Olympic team sport in which two teams play on an elevated platform taking turns sliding “stones” across the curling surface. Observe a Kwanzaa celebration on Tuesday, December 26, a visit from Santa on Saturday, December 23rd, and A Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown on December 31 to usher in 2024. Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show is free, every half hour, from 5 p.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST. The Franklin Square Street Curling is $40 for a half hour for groups of up to 8. Franklin Square closes at 8 p.m. EST on Sunday, December 24, and Sunday, December 31, and is closed, on Monday, December 25, and Monday, January 1. The nighttime activities are 5 p.m. EST to 9 p.m. EST daily, weather permitting. Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th St. To buy tickets in advance: 215-629-4026 or