'Cannoli' Happen Once a Year: Termini Bros. celebrates South Philly Christmas Eve tradition

It was a festive environment at Termini Brothers Bakery all morning long.

Friday, December 24, 2021
TaRhonda's Christmas Eve Morning at Termini Bros.
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TaRhonda Thomas spent Christmas Eve morning celebrating a Philadelphia tradition at Termini Bros.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Joe Achuff of Northeast Philadelphia couldn't imagine Christmas Eve without Termini Brothers Bakery.

It's the reason he arrived to line up in front of the South Philadelphia store with his son-in-law at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.

"It's our tradition," said Achuff who was the first in line for the famous pastries at the Termini Bros.' location on South 8th Street.

Every year, loyal customers line up on Christmas Eve to buy blue and white boxes filled with cannolis and other baked goods that the family has been serving up for 100 years.

"I'm very grateful to Philadelphia for accepting my father here 100 years ago," said 83-year-old Vincent Termini Sr.

He was speaking of his father and uncle's century-old story of opening the bakery in South Philly and remaining fixtures in the Italian-American community. On the outside wall Friday morning, a projector showed photos of the bakery throughout the years.

"One hundred years of remembrance of all the hard work and dedication that went into building our brand for 100 years," said Vincent Termini Jr.

But this year, the tradition almost didn't happen when the bakery's 80-year-old cannoli machine broke right after Thanksgiving.

RELATED: Cannoli crisis averted! Philadelphia Christmas tradition saved at Termini Bros

The family was able to get some help from a local company, Port Richmond Tool & Die, to get the machine back up and running in time for the Christmas Eve rush.

"It messed up our plans a little bit, our production schedule. But we'll have cannolis for Christmas," said Termini Jr.

The cannolis were saved. The long lines were back. And the Philadelphia Christmas tradition continues...