That calendar on my wall tells me it’s December already. I know it sounds so very trite, but honestly, where DID the year 2019 go?
Regardless of my incredulousness at it being the last month of the year, that calendar also shows me there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yikes! This empty nest Mama needs to get her Christmas preparations jump-started.
The empty nest will be filled to the brim with three grown up offspring, their spouses, three adorable grandchildren, and a grand-doggy for several days over the Christmas holiday. And my heart is so very happy about that!
But there is MUCH to do – hauling out the holly, illuminating the outside of our country home, decking out the halls, adorning the Christmas tree, menu planning for meals (carefully due to one family member with celiac disease who must eat gluten-free), grocery shopping, gift wrapping, and devising Christmas fun activities for the family to enjoy.
Thankfully, three items are already checked off my list – the Christmas cards have been signed, sealed, and are in the mail to be delivered, gifts have been purchased, and Papa handled the majority of the outside decorations.
Yet Mama’s plate is full of plans to make our home this year a Christmas wonderland, especially for the grandchildren.
But while I embrace this blessed season, I still have a couple more stories and pictures to share about our autumn trip to Michigan. Appropriately, the subject is Christmas, “the most wonderful time of the year.”
When we stopped at the quaint town of Frankenmuth, MI, our goal was to visit the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, which has been in business since 1945.
And what a wonderland it truly is! The store is open 361 days a year and is gigantic (they claim it’s the size of one and a half football fields!) and filled with everything you can imagine that has to do with the Christmas holiday.
I’ve shopped in many Christmas shops, but I’ve never been anywhere that comes close to Bronner’s with 50,000 decorations and gifts in 15 store sections.
The half-mile lane leading into this huge store is lined with thousands of lights and outdoor Christmas displays everywhere you look. We arrived in the morning as the store opened, so I can only imagine what a spectacular sight it would be to view the lights at night (dusk until midnight).
Onsite adjacent to the Christmas store is the Silent Night Chapel, a replica of the original chapel in Austria where, on Christmas Eve in 1818, the well-known Christmas hymn Silent Night was first sung. (I’ll highlight that in an upcoming post.)
Papa and I spent at least three hours just browsing, being amazed, and purchasing some gifts and special ornaments to add to our Christmas tree.
Tree ornaments are grouped by categories in some sections, by colors in other areas, and by country in yet others. And there is a large area with ornaments that can be personalized (free while you wait).
Looking for Christmas jewelry? It’s there. Nativity sets? For certain. Nutcrackers? They’ve got them. Advent calendars, wreaths, Christmas trees, stockings, garlands, ribbon, cards, angels, lighted village sets, books, linens, snow globes, figurines, lights and displays, Santa suits….you name it, Bronner’s has it.
It’s a Christmas treasure trove and certainly puts shoppers in a merry spirit for the season no matter what time of year you visit.
Even though I have a checklist a mile long to prepare for Christmas with my family, I pause for a moment to remember our visit to that Christmas store, admire the ornaments we purchased there, and smile as we enter into the “hap-happiest season of all.”
“Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.” ~E. C. McKenzie