Ten Holiday Things To Do In Pittsburgh

I’ve made these lists up in the past, filled with big plans and remorse over what I didn’t accomplish. Still, here we are on December 1 once again and I’m giving it the good try. Here’s my list of things to do in Pittsburgh this year to celebrate the holidays. Or at least things I want to do. Our budget is a little tight this year because we are saving for a roof and the possibility of buying a new-to-us car as well as hoping the AC doesn’t die this summer. And I need to travel to reach people about #AMPLIFY more than I need to attend non-essential events. So it is a frugal list this year.

I Made It! For the Holidays
Ledcat and me at I Made It! for the Holidays!

1. Holiday Markets – There are two we really like, I Made It! for the Holidays and Handmade Arcade. We try to visit both every year to purchase gifts and enjoy the DIY ambiance. IMI was the weekend after Thanksgiving here on the Northside which we enjoyed. Laura bought several gifts and I bought a hat for myself. Ha. Handmade Arcade is this coming Saturday and we plan to be there as well. My goal is to buy some handmade fingerless gloves and perhaps some fun holiday tee shirts. I haven’t got this gift thing down yet do I?  You can also check out The Procrastinators Ball on Dec 19 if you need gifts closer to the big day thanks to the Second Shift Crafters.

2. Holiday Lights – This year, Butler County unveils Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland on the Butler County Fairgrounds. We are planning to give it a visit. It costs $25 per carload which isn’t cheap. Plus, if you have kids – everything else costs extra. Fortunately, we’ll probably stop to pee and head home without indulging. I find it just fascinating that someone has built a holiday light industry on the name of one the three youth who survived a fiery attempted death in the Bible. I’m sure there’s great irony here. Perhaps I’ll blog more about it after we take the trip.

3. Scrooge – I still haven’t pulled off the revisit to the Dicken’s classic, BUT Laura did win passed for us to see this new production at Bricolage – Yinz ‘R Scrooged. We loved last year’s Midnight Radio rendition of It’s a Wonderful Life. Yinz ‘R Scrooged  runs through December.

Kennywood Trains
Kennywood Trains


4. Holiday Music – This is more for Ledcat who really enjoys a good concert of Christmas carols. Unfortunately, we can’t attend The Messiah this Saturday on the Northside so that’s out. We also have a conflict with  RCC Holiday Concert on December 12. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.  We might go to see the Highmark Holiday Pops with the Pittsburgh Symphony – tickets are as low as $24.

5. Holiday Trains – I didn’t make it to the Carnegie Science Center last year to see the trains, but we did see a miniature display at Kennywood. It was super terrific. Since we live a mile from the Science Center we need to make this happen. I just prefer to go when it is least crowded! Kennywood was okay last year, but it turned me off how much they try to squeeze out of parents for all of the extras. It felt grubby.

6. Feast of the Seven Fishes – this remains an unfulfilled wish for me. We are open to Christmas Eve invitations!  Last year on Christmas Eve, we had sushi which was an unusual twist I suppose.

holiday serving tray
My grandmother made this holiday serving dish in a ceramics class in the late 1960s. I put cookies on it. Sometimes a cat sits on it, too. Send cookies to keep the cats away!

7. Christmas Cookies! – we’ve lent the driveway out to several friends for their visits to Heinz Field for a fee of one plate of cookies per parking session. We love them! I try very hard to set out to bake them myself each year, but it doesn’t seem to work out. I blame the cats. If you’d like to send some cookies round, please do.

8. A Holiday Party – it is fine to be social and mingle around a holiday theme. We did get an invite to a party in Downtown held by some new acquaintances. I tend to shy away from social events that overemphasize alcohol, but it is nice to get decked out and visit the balls. And the halls. Perhaps with a nice cup of plain egg nog or some coffee. LOL. I have a stack of invitations to political holiday parties, but I don’t have a penny to donate and they all request a donation.

9. Holiday Project – last year, I swore off holiday projects and ended up doing two, one for Persad’s LGBTQ elders and one to Save Christmas.  We’ll be announcing plans for the Second Annual Reach OUT to Help Neighbors ‘Adopt a Family’ project with SAGE/Persad. In this case, the family includes 5 local LGBTQ elders living in rural communities.

10. Boxing Day – This is new to me, an invitation to a Boxing Day luncheon with a collection of items to support North Hills Community Outreach.

There’s some fun in knowing that when I revisit this list in a month or so, it will look very different.


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