What would it be like if we could live among all our Chirstmas decorations all year long? Do you think you would get tired of the sparkling lights, pine tree garlands, snowman staring out the window at you swimming in the summer or playing carols at your next neighborhood bbq? Most likely, many of us would grow tired of being stuck in one holiday all year long. So we pack up the pretty ornaments, wrap up the twinkling lights, box the Santas and carefully put away our nativity sets until next year. So what do you do if you get in the mood for some Christmas delights in the middle of the year or on your summer vacation? Take a trip to the National Christmas Center in Paradise, Pennsylvania!
On our annual trip the Strasburg, Pa each year, we always look for a new place to explore. Several years ago, I found a brochure for the National Christmas Center and thought this might be interesting, not expecting much.
Our first visit was a day in mid July in which there was a Christmas sale in the parking lot. Lots of interesting vendors selling new, homemade, and antique Christmas items. Not knowing what to expect, we ventured into the museum building. After paying a small fee, that was well worth it-- we listened to a brief introduction on the history of the museum and a review of rules before our self guided walking tour of the exhibit. Thinking by the size of the building from the outside, it would not take long, we found ourselves wandering around inside of the building for quite some time.
The exhibit is amazing! Room after room in a walking maze of Christmas history from traditions around the world, trees of every color, twinkling lights, snow, a story of moving characters to follow, windows to peek in, doors to look behind, old fashion stores with all their time period decorations for pretend sales, scenes from past, present and future, and the biggest nativity collection from all over the world that I have ever seen plus a walk through manger explaining the events of the Holy Night--- all so beautiful! Although many pictures can be seen at www.nationalchristmascenter.com, they do not do the museum justice. It's a place that needs to be seen and the spirit felt in person. Once you have been there, you will understand that this musuem is also a place that going once is not enough. We have been three times over the years and there is always something you see that you missed or is new. A place where everyone is a child again reliving their favorite memories.
The National Christmas Center is located at 3427 Lincoln Highway, Paradise, Pa. They are open weekends in March and April, and daily May through New Years. Open all year for larger groups.
They accept all the major credit cards and is handicap accessible.
Quoting from their website-- the Travel Channel calls it the " Most Christmasy Place in America".
To complete your experience, visit the gift shop for a variety of Christmas items.