Christmas tree stands in the Square during the Mayor's Tree Lighting & Tuba Christmas event in Lancaster on Friday, November 29, 2019.

In an effort to limit crowd sizes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lancaster Office of Promotion is tweaking its traditional holiday ceremony this season.

Instead of having the city of Lancaster gather for the Mayor's Tree Lighting, the city has reimagined the holiday festivities and is calling it the Weekend Winter Wonderland. It will be held the first weekend of December (Dec. 4 and Dec. 5).

The massive tree that typically occupies Penn Square arrived right on schedule Tuesday morning, though.

This year's colossal conifer is a Norway Spruce standing between 35 and 40 feet tall. It was cut fresh this year and was donated by Martha Tout of Landsiville.

Despite the lack of a large central ceremony, various tree lightings and other holiday events are planned around the city for the Weekend Winter Wonderland, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Crispus Attucks Community Center and the Southeast Community will host the Southeast Light Up. Attendees are welcomed to explore a driving route to see the community Christmas tree, along with the light displays throughout the neighborhood. The tree lighting and lights displays will be available for the entire weekend.

The Weekend Winter Wonderland will also include Prima's Lancarolers Mobile Performance. Prima Theatre will hit the streets of Lancaster city on Friday, Dec. 4 for a festive mobile holiday performance. It will begin at 4 p.m. and conclude around 7 p.m.

Santa will be making his customary appearance as well. With the help of Lancaster Bureau of Fire, Santa will make his way through several neighborhoods in Lancaster. He'll be escorted by the "Kringle Caravan," as he spreads some Christmas joy to local Lancaster families and visitors. 

Santa's first trip through Lancaster will be on Friday, Dec. 4, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.. His second venture will come on Saturday morning, from 9 a.m. to noon, and his final journey through Lancaster will be later that afternoon, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m..

For more information of this year's Weekend Winter Wonderland, visit the Lancaster Office of Promotion's website.  

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