A Pure Michigan Christmas All Year Long at Bronner’s

On today’s blog, Lori Libka from Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland gives an overview of the World’s Largest Christmas Store.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” all year long at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the World’s Largest Christmas Store® in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Open 361 days of the year, Bronner’s brings the warmth and wonder of the Christmas season to guests all year long.

Bronner’s late originator, Wally Bronner, a sign painter and window dresser in the mid to late 1940s, began providing cities and businesses with Christmas decorations upon request in the early 1950s. Requests for home holiday décor soon followed, and the year-round Christmas decorations business was born.

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland’s first year-round location, a downtown structure built by Wally’s father, quickly expanded to two additional buildings. In 1977, Bronner’s moved to its current location, 25 Christmas Lane, where it continued to expand.

Bronner’s features over 50,000 trims and gifts for all seasons, reasons and budgets. Half of Bronner’s items sell for under $10, and two thirds sell for under $20. Guests to Bronner’s can find an ornament to commemorate most any occasion from over 6,000 ornament styles available. Many ornaments can be personalized at no additional cost. Customer service can put together a beautiful ornament gift box in celebration of a wedding, anniversary, birthday, retirement, new baby, or other special occasion. Friends unable to make a visit to the Frankenmuth store can shop Bronner’s online at www.bronners.com, where Christmas lights, trees, wreaths, ornaments, stockings, tree skirts, collectibles, Nativity scenes, home décor, outdoor décor and more are available.

Nearly two million guests visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland annually from around the world. Bronner’s and Frankenmuth  make a popular summer vacation destination and a must-see attraction during the months leading up to Christmas. Bronner’s salesroom, the size of 1.7 football fields (2.2 acres), is filled with displays featuring over 300 decorated trees and more than 700 animated and fiberglass figurines. Approximately 100,000 lights illuminate Bronner’s half-mile long Christmas Lane every evening for guests’ enjoyment.

A visit to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland isn’t complete without a stop by the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. A replica of the original chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, where “Silent Night” was first sung in 1818, Bronner’s chapel was dedicated in 1992. A tribute of thankfulness to God from Wally and Irene Bronner and family, the memorial chapel is open daily for visitation and meditation. The Bronner family will host a Christmas-carol sing-along Thursday and Friday, December 22 and 23, from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Bronner’s program center in section 2. On Saturday, December 24, from 3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., a member of the Bronner family and guest guitarist will lead the singing of “Silent Night” in Bronner’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel. The public is invited to attend.

Pure Michigan Holiday Light Events

The holidays are a busy time of year. There are parties, shopping and preparations to be made for family visits. That’s why it’s nice to sometimes just take in the scenery of the season. There are some great events coming up this month with some amazing light and holiday displays to enjoy at your leisure. For a full list of events check out michigan.org.

Holly Dickens Festival
December 9 – 11, 2011, Holly
See the characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” come to life on the streets of Historic Downtown Holly during the annual Holly Dickens Festival. Make special memories with your family while enjoying carriage rides, caroling choirs, hot roasted chestnuts and much, much more amidst unique shops and the Victorian atmosphere of the holidays. Head to the Holly Dickens Festival site for full event details and schedule.

Candle Light Christmas Walk
December 9 – 11, 2011, Marshall
The Marshall Historical Society’s Christmas Candlelight Tour is a highly personalized walking tour of five private homes decorated for the holidays. This is a walking tour of approximately 1.5 miles at a slow pace. Ticks are $20 sold in advance and only 600 tickets are sold. For more information, call (269) 781-5163.

The Big, Bright Light Show
Now-January 1, 2012, Rochester
You are invited to brighten your holidays in downtown Rochester with The Big, Bright Light Show! All the buildings on Main Street from the south bridge to Romeo Rd. will be covered in over a million points of light, along with East and West Fourth Street. Also, there will be large, lighted displays on Walnut from Third to University, The Dazzling Tree of Lights at the Depot Plaza (E. University & Water), and The Snowflake Spectacular on the Western Knitting Mill on Water Street. For more information on this event, visit their website or call (248) 656-0060.

Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic
Now – December 30, 2011, Flint
This holiday fantasyland features thousands of sparkling lights and Michigan’s most spectacular moving light display, the Huckleberry Railroad. The entire village is aglow with colored lights and more lights decorate the railroad’s locomotive, coaches and trackside displays. For information and reservations call (800).648-PARK or visit the Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic site.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
December 9 – 10, 16 – 23, 26 – 27, 2011, Dearborn
Marvel at the splendor of a turn-of-the-century old-fashioned holiday experience complete with carolers and live reindeer along candlelit paths at this historic location.  For more information visit the Holiday Nights site. You can also call (800) 835-5237 or (313) 982-6001.

Spruce Up Your Holiday with a Christmas Tree from Pure Michigan

When it comes to Christmas trees, not even the best replica can match the exact look or scent of a fresh evergreen.  Thankfully, Michiganders looking for a wholly authentic holiday experience won’t have to look very far.

Michigan ranks third in the United States for the number of holiday trees harvested, with the Michigan Christmas Tree Association’s website listing over 70 you-cut farms and almost 30 retail lots throughout the state.  Some tree farms take the fun beyond the woods: Duddles Tree Farm in Reed City offers campfire hot dog roasts and a petting zoo, while Juneau’s Christmas Trees and Reindeer Farm lets kids see bottle-fed Blitzens up-close.

No matter where you choose to find your fresh Christmas tree this season, michigan.org offers several tips:

  • Douglas, Balsam and Fraser firs hold their needles best and are considered the most fragrant.
  • Before taking your tree home, shake it to eliminate dead or loose needles. Most tree farms have mechanical shakers to perform this task after you choose your tree.
  • When transporting your tree, bring a cover for the top of your vehicle, wrap your tree in a tarp and tie down securely. The top of the tree should point toward the hood of the car to protect needles from flying off.
  • Once home, keep a good level of cool water in the base container as fresh trees may dry out quickly.
  • When the holiday season is over, call 1-800-CLEANUP to locate the nearest Christmas tree recycling program.

Take special note of that last tip.  While artificial trees are often made of non-biodegradable plastics and possible metal toxins, fresh trees are renewable.  In fact, for every real Christmas tree harvested, up to three seedlings are planted in its place the following spring.