Halloween has just ended, so you might be thinking - isn't it a little early to be shopping for Christmas items? To which I reply, not at all! Actually the best time to stop into your local Christmas shop is probably sometime between now and Thanksgiving. After all, you want to get in on all the choice merchandise before it starts disappearing from the shelves! Christmas will be here quicker than anticipated and by then it may be too late.
In Michigan we made our annual trip to Frankenmuth in the Fall, which is home to the world's largest Christmas store, Bronner's. If you've never heard of Bronner's, I will tell you, it is a sight to behold! It offers 96,000 sq. ft. of holiday merchandise and gifts, and is open 361 days a year. If all that wasn't enough, the 1/2 mile long drive is covered with thousands of lights and displays. There is also a beautiful replica of the Silent Night Chapel, which is where the beloved carol was sung for the first time in Austria on December 24, 1818. Here are a few pictures from our visit last year:
The little German town, where the store resides, also offers a great deal of fun for visitors with its cute little specialty shops and charming old world architecture. For most, a trip to Frankenmuth is an all day event, but even if you don't have a sprawling, extravagant holiday super store, I'm sure that no matter where you live there is bound to be a Christmas shop of sorts to be found. You may want to start by looking here: Christmas Stores By State.
In San Diego, that store is City Lights. According to their website they are Southern California's largest holiday store with over 22,000 sq. ft. of displays and product. Though it may dwarf by comparison, it's certainly large enough to appease this Christmas lover. The outside is not nearly as elaborate as Bronner's, but inside there is a vast array of neatly arranged ornaments, trees and decor. My favorite part of any store like this is looking at the impressive Department 56 village layouts, and City Lights has one of the best I've ever seen! I could spend days just gazing upon the tiny landscapes and dreaming I was set squarely in the center of it all. Best of all, they had a large room for discounted items, which is worth stopping into as you never know what you may find!
This is such a great way to spend the afternoon with the family, so be sure to find out where your nearest Christmas store is located and take a visit. There is no better way to invoke those visions of sugar plums dancing in your head!